Martin Irwin Silberg lived a rich and full life filled with love, passion and a true sense of adventure. He was a unique and gifted man who enriched the lives of those who knew him. He first appeared on the scene in Brooklyn, NY, in 1931 as the firstborn child of Sile and Elsie Silberg.
Marty graduated from Boys High School before entering West Point. His years spent at the Academy would be the source of wonderful memories throughout his life. He always believed the education he received as a cadet was unmatched by any other institution and served to shape the person he became. He was a member of the boxing squad and sang in the Jewish Chapel Choir. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and spent the next five years as a fighter pilot and flight instructor. According to Marty, this defense of west Texas prevented the area from becoming a North Korean enclave. Big Springs became home to him and his first wife and their children.
After five years, he entered civilian life and was employed as an engineer with several Long Island firms, including Republic Aviation Corporation. He attended the School of Law at St. Johns University at night and, upon graduation, was sworn in as an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County, Long Island, NY, where he remained for seven years.
Marty entered private practice in 1970 with offices in Mineola, NY, and developed a reputation as one of the most talented, respected, and admired criminal attorneys in the area. He loved his job and believed it was a privilege to be part of the legal profession. He brought to it his intelligence, skill, and special brand of performance. He was a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, and in 1973 he and three others founded the Former Assistant District Attorney’s Association. Marty was elected their third president.
Throughout the years, Marty has been honored by numerous organizations for his defense work, culminating on 15 Oct 1999, when he received the major award from the association he helped create.
After his first marriage ended in divorce, Marty married Sandy in 1975, and together they made their home in Huntington, NY. That was the beginning of a 25-year romance few people are fortunate enough to experience. In addition to their three children— Julie, Bill, and Caroline—their lives have been enriched with six magnificent grandchildren—Alec, Danya, Aaron, Hannah, Dillon, and Daniel. Together, they loved to travel and had many adventures all around the globe, some that were shared with the children during their high school and college years. Whether it was Thailand, Egypt, Russia, Morocco, Israel, or France, Marty could speak "food" in any language. He always was planning some exotic journey, but was wise enough to love his own backyard as well. He would sit by the pool and say, "It’s great to be alive." Theatre also was a big part of their lives. Spending Sundays in Manhattan, enjoying a Broadway show and a great meal always was fun.
Marty and Sandy went to West Point every year during football season to cheer on the cadets, and he never missed an Army-Navy football game, making it a family ritual with the guys on their annual trek to Philadelphia. His spirit, delight, and pride were infectious and all pan of the tremendous enjoyment.
Marty was an avid reader who knew so much about so much. He also was an enthusiastic sports fan who could appreciate a Yankee no-hitter on a summer’s day as well as a thrilling Jets victory in the bitter cold.
Marty loved fine food along with fine wine and enjoyed indoctrinating many with the pleasures of both. He was a great cook and whipped up fabulous meals for both family and friends, plying all with a glass—or two, or three—of wine. He was a storyteller extraordinaire who adhered to detail and always managed to captivate his audience, with or without the beaujolais.
Sadly, Marty was diagnosed with small-cell bladder cancer in January 1999 and fought valiantly with his strong spirit and determination to overcome the horrific condition. Unfortunately, he succumbed to the disease in June 2000.
Marty had an enormous degree of self-assuredness, combined with warmth and caring for his family and friends. He knew to enjoy life meant he had to have an active and aggressive pursuit to have fun and experience what was out there. He had a quick wit and a great sense of humor, along with a twinkle in his eye that endeared him to everyone. Martin Silberg had a love of life— a life that was all too short.
- COL Richard G. VanderMeer USA, Retired
- COL (R) and Mrs. Rocco F. Ventrella Jr. '53