Benjamin (Ben) Massachi passed away on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 — surrounded by enduring love from his entire family, in both the U.S. and Israel. He was 79 years old.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Ben’s lifelong focus was on education: of himself, his family members, his students, and all others he knew. His passion for learning and teaching on a wide variety of topics helped shape his strong and loving character and caring guidance of his family. As the proud and focused eldest of 9 children, he excelled in school and was often called upon to help teach his classmates. As a young person, he even earned a coveted card to the National Library of Iran. When he was not studying, he earned money and offered any other assistance he could to help support his economically distressed family.
At age 16, he won a scholarship to attend the Abadan Institute of Technology, 400 miles from his hometown. He was one of about 75 selected students out of several thousand applicants. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering, he was instrumental in helping his mother move his family from Iran to Israel in the early 1960s. After they settled, Ben moved to New York City to earn a Master’s Degree in engineering at the City University of New York. He soon moved to Rochester, began working at Kodak, and married. Soon thereafter, he earned an MBA at the University of Rochester, and used this knowledge to become an entrepreneur and later a professor. In 1978 he moved with his family to Charlotte, NC. Several years later, after a divorce, he moved with his new partner to Las Vegas, NV. In 2018 he returned to Rochester until his passing.
Throughout his full life, Ben’s family relationships were the most precious to him, and his constant love and appreciation were reciprocated by all. He demonstrated and encouraged strong values, including: the importance of education and financial independence for both girls and boys, independent thought, self-confidence, persistence in the face of adversity, and balance in life to achieve happiness. He was an avid reader, and enjoyed studying Jewish and Persian history and culture (especially poetry and literature), science, politics, nature, and other topics.
But Ben was not all serious. He loved to enjoy celebrations, and was a talented dancer. He appreciated Persian and European classical music, was a formidable opponent in backgammon, craps, and cards, and appreciated the wonders of nature. Ben will be missed by many, and his memory will be treasured by those whose lives he touched.
Ben was pre-deceased by his parents, Rachel and Moshe Massachi; his brother, Jacob Massachi; and his partner, Adrienne Rosenberg. He is survived by his three cherished and loving children: Dalya Massachi (Kenneth McGee, recently deceased), David Massachi (Jennifer McGarrity) and Deborah Massachi (Cricket Keating); 7 younger siblings: Mort (Dafna) Massachi, Anna Miller, Ilana Magid (Ya’akov, recently deceased), Avraham (Flora) Massachi, Lea (Aaron) Morsky, Ester (Neal) Tobochnik, and Bijan (Yamit) Massachi; sister-in-law, Lari Massachi; ex-wife, Rose Diamond; 23 nieces and nephews and several great-nieces and great-nephews (who all knew him as “Uncle Ben”); several cousins, and friends.
Due to COVID restrictions, a private funeral will be held on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 at 11 AM ET. Those wishing to canClick here to view the service. If the service doesn’t start right at 11 AM, please be patient. There may be a delay of a few minutes.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ben’s memory may be made to one of the following organizations:
Children of Persia. Children of Persia is a non-profit organization dedicated to the health, education, and well-being of children in Iran. Click the link to donate online – https://childrenofpersia.org
Arts of the Islamic World Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum. This permanent exhibition is one that Ben enjoyed and is one of the finest collections of later Persian art outside of Iran. Using the “Leave a Comment” option on the Donation page, please earmark the donation for the “Arts of the Islamic World Exhibition.” Click the link to donate online – https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/support/annual_fund
Jewish Educational Loan Fund. JELF provides interest-free, last-dollar loans for higher education to Jewish students in need. Click the link to donate online – https://jelf.org/donate