Services Held for Optical Lab Veteran Morley Gwirtzman

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ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Morley Gwirtzman passed away peacefully in the presence of his family, November 29, 2020, at age 81, in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. Gwirtzman was born in Rochester, N.Y. to Sam and Hazel Gwirtzman on January 26, 1939. He was born with a rare blood disease that was known to be fatal, yet he survived. In kindergarten, his hearing loss was discovered, possibly from blood transfusions given at birth. He wore hearing aids ever since and was grateful to the Rochester school system for giving him both one-on-one speech lessons, and to Herman Goldberg for teaching him to lip read in his office when Morley was seven years old.

Gwirtzman graduated Monroe High School in 1956 and went on to pursue a degree in business administration from the University of Michigan, where he worked for The Michigan Daily, the student newspaper, performed in theatrical productions, and developed lifelong friends. Upon graduation, he immediately headed to New York City to work in the advertising field. A year later, his father called him home to Rochester to help with the family business, Advance Optical, a wholesale optical laboratory and supply company founded in 1922. He subsequently took over direction of the company until his retirement in 2009.

Gwirtzman was a valued member of the optical industry, highly respected for his comprehensive knowledge. He was inducted into the Optical Laboratories Association Hall of Fame as an “Optical Pioneer” in 2009.

“Morley’s work ethic was exemplified in all that he did: his impeccable attention to detail, his genuine curiosity and interest in his work, and his complete and utter attention to the relationships he formed over the course of 50 years in the optical industry and his life,” according to a statement from the Gwirtzman family. “The passion and pride he felt as part of Advance Optical was exemplified in how he treated employees and customers as family.”

A burial was held at Mt. Hope Cemetery on December 2, 2020.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Wendy Gwirtzman, children, Lisa (Giuseppe) De Marco and Daniel (Stefanos) Gwirtzman, granddaughter, Giada De Marco, sister, Ann (Arthur) Kolko along with nieces and nephews, Joel (Beth) Kurland, Andrew (Dvora) Lang, Tracy (Mike) Podol, Kevin (Eileen) Lang, Rebecca (Aaron) Friedlander, Jon (Jess) Kolko, grandnieces and grandnephews, Josh, Rachel, Noam, Hannah, Danica and many cousins.

Donations may be made to the Hearing Loss Association of Rochester and the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired.