By Larry Berman
Milton Bronstein, whose financial expertise strengthened Touro Fraternal Association as its long-time Investment Committee chairman, passed away on September 6th at the age of 101. He was Touro’s oldest member.
In addition to his dedication to Touro, he was a legendary figure both in the state’s labor movement and within the Rhode Island Democratic Party.
Mr. Bronstein joined Touro on March 14, 1951 and was active until only a few years ago.
“Milton chaired the Investment Committee well into his 90s,” said Alan Lury, chairman of Touro’s Board of Directors. “I had the honor of succeeding him in that position. They were big shoes to fill, as Milton had successfully led the committee through bull and bear markets. He did not let market turbulence affect his calm and steady hand in ensuring that Touro would have in place the income to manage our operations and continue to fund our charitable commitments.”
Touro honored Mr. Bronstein with a special tribute on September 19, 2012 as a celebration of his 95th birthday that he marked earlier that year. Then-Chairman Robert Miller, long-time friend and fellow board member Nate Lury, and Jeffrey Davis, his son-in-law and Touro board member, all offered accolades that evening.
“Milton was an invaluable board member, guiding us through both good and difficult times with excellent investment and financial advice,” said Chairman Emeritus Miller. “We appreciate his decades of dedicated service to Touro, and he will be sorely missed.”
“Milton’s contributions as a long-time board member and Investment Committee chairman are well documented. But it should also be noted that for decades, he was the living embodiment of Harmony, Friendship and Benevolence,” added Chairman Emeritus Jed Brandes. “He had an easy, engaging manner, and was always quick with words of sage advice, encouragement and appreciation. We would all do well to keep him in our thoughts and follow his example.”
Mr. Bronstein was born on February 2, 1917, when Woodrow Wilson was in the White House, our nation was involved in World War I, and two months before Jacob Eaton obtained the charter to create Touro Fraternal Association.
Mr. Bronstein grew up in Providence, but lived most of his life in Providence and Cranston before residing in retirement homes in Warwick and East Greenwich in the past few years. For fifty-two years, until her passing, Mr. Bronstein had been married to his wife, Claire, and together they had three children, Harvey Bronstein, Andrew Bronstein and Cynthia Davis. He was the cherished grandfather of seven grandchildren and the very proud great-grandfather of four.
Mr. Bronstein served our country with honor and distinction as a First Sergeant in the Army Air Force. He served during World War II and was primarily stationed in England.
For 30 years, Mr. Bronstein worked as a fiscal agent and head of the Patients Resources and Benefits for the Department of MHRH (now known as BHDDH) and was a long-time union executive. As an active member and leader of Rhode Island Council 94, he led the charge to organize and improve the quality of life for Rhode Island workers, serving as the council’s first president.
During his tenure as president, he oversaw the unification of AFSCME Councils 70 and 22, resulting in a more powerful voice for workers all across the state, and helped to establish Supervisory Local 2883. Not a man to remain idle, upon retirement, Mr. Bronstein became active in the council’s retiree chapter, serving as vice president for many years and stepping down at the age of 99!
Mr. Bronstein was also an active member for decades within the state Democratic Party, serving as the recording secretary. Senator Jack Reed once nicknamed him “Mr. Democrat” for all his efforts on behalf of the party. When Touro honored him in 2012, Senator Reed sent a video tribute from Washington and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a close friend, penned a letter that was read. The U.S. Senate and the Rhode Island House of Representatives both honored him last year on the occasion of his 100th birthday.
Incredibly generous with his time and involvement with Touro, the labor movement and in politics, he left a lasting legacy of kindness and civility. He was a widely-respected gentleman who impacted the lives of so many Touro members through his wealth of financial knowledge that will benefit generations to come.