I received some sad news this past week about the passing of a hospital foodservice legend, Jacques Bloch. Bloch, the former head of food and nutrition at Montefiore Medical Center, The Bronx, N.Y., died Sept. 20 at the age of 91.
Had Jacques lived in another, smaller city, he likely would have received a flowery write-up. In New York City, the only mention I could find of his passing was the small, paid obituary in The New York Times. And yet, in the world of healthcare foodservice, he always will be larger than life.
Jacques was already a celebrated director by the time I began covering this industry in 1984. He had earned an IFMA Silver Plate award in 1982, and then went on to capture the ultimate prize, the Gold Plate at the NRA Show that May. By the time I was writing about healthcare on a regular basis, he had retired, so I can’t say that I knew him well. But he was always a joy to speak with, as well as a wealth of information for a younger writer learning this segment of the business.
But it is often in death that we learn amazing things about the industry people we writers come in contact with, usually because all we ever speak with our readers about is their jobs. For Jacques, it was the fact that he survived the famous Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s last offensive move of World War II. Bloch, a member of the 106th Infantry Division, was captured and spent time in a German prison camp.
His family has requested that those who wish to remember Jacques can do so with donations to the American Ex-Prisoners of War Association. The address for the National Headquarters is 3201 East Pioneer Parkway, Suite 40, Arlington, Texas, 76010.