Arie Gluck, 86, of Voorhees, a member of Israel's first Olympic track team and a legendary director of a summer camp in the Poconos, died Thursday, June 23, at Virtua Voorhees Hospital.
Mr. Gluck was the director at Camp Harlam for 37 years, starting in the summer of 1966. Current director Aaron Selkow described him as "one of the great legends in this field." While he ran an organization built around fun and play, Mr. Gluck's former colleagues remembered him as a leader commanding great respect.
Rabbi Richard Address, who had known Mr. Gluck since working as a counselor during his first year as director, said staffers would call him "Ha-ish," Hebrew for "the man." If Ha-ish called on a staffer, they knew to get moving.
"He was just loved and respected and feared and revered by the entire camp," James Soffer, Mr. Gluck's former Hebrew School student and staffer, said.
Mr. Gluck invited young people from around the world to work at Camp Harlam. It was a way to give international exposure to campers and staffers, friends and family said. His daughter Roni Detrick said the family has been receiving emails from around the world from people whose lives her father had affected.
Mr. Gluck was born in Czechoslovakia on April 13, 1930. His Zionist father moved to Israel before he and his mother went by boat a couple years later.
At 18, Mr. Gluck fought in Israel's war of independence. His daughter Ruth said he would return to Israel several times a year to see friends he kept in touch with for roughly 70 years. At the end of March, Mr. Gluck and his family went on a final journey on what Detrick called "his goodbye trip."
In addition to his daughters, he is survived by seven grandchildren. His wife, Elaine, and a son, Gill, predeceased him.
Services were Friday, June 24, at Crescent Memorial Park in Pennsauken.