Marshall Stoltz’ faith is such an important part of his life. For instance, Marshall had a big meeting with his book publisher, Simon & Schuster. But the meeting went long and it was just about time for Passover Seder.
He and his brother, Dr. Don Stoltz, left the meeting to make sure they went to Seder.
Today, at The Watermark at Vistawilla in Winter Springs, Marshall doesn’t miss a Seder because of the work of The Jewish Pavilion, which brings the services to him.
“The Jewish Pavilion is providing a service that to me is so wonderful it keeps us up to date with our Judaism,” Stoltz says. “Out of 300 people at Watermark, there are only four Jews, but Susan Bernstein still shows up and she very kindly holds the services. We all sit around singing the songs that I learned so many years ago in Hebrew school. I used to love them, but sadly those days would be gone without The Jewish Pavilion.”
Those days were pretty phenomenal for Marshall, who was internationally known for curating the largest collection of Norman Rockwell art in the world alongside his brother. The two of them operated the Norman Rockwell Museum in Philadelphia for more than three decades.
Marshall was a sought-after speaker about Rockwell. He gave more than 1,000 speeches in every state and throughout the world. His signed Rockwells are a find on the internet. His books on Rockwell were sold throughout the country.
He still remembers the day when he met Rockwell with his brother – August 13, 1970.
It was a different time then. Marshall and his brother had already amassed a large collection and Marshall thought it would be a good birthday present for his brother to meet Rockwell. So, he called the Stockbridge, Mass., operator where Rockwell lived and asked for his number.
“I was amazed when the operator said home or studio,” Marshall says. “I figured it was the middle of the afternoon, so he must be at work, so I asked for the studio number. I rang up the number, and a male voice answered. I asked for Mr. Rockwell and he replied, ‘This is Mr. Rockwell.’”
Rockwell had heard of the Stoltz’ collection and invited them up to visit, which was the start of a long friendship.
With the museum and the speaking engagements, Marshall has no shortage of stories for someone wanting to listen. He has a great story about the comedian Red Skelton after an appearance at Notre Dame.
And he treasures the time Michael Jackson invited him and his family backstage at the height of his popularity because he loved Norman Rockwell’s art too.
“He was really the sweetest kid,” Marshall says. “When the photos of him with my daughters were developed, my daughters became heroes at school.”
One of his daughters was one of the reasons Marshall and his wife moved to Florida, spending the first 12 years in the state at the Villages. But his daughter asked them to move closer than an hour and a half drive.
Now, the couple are just 10 minutes away.
And while there are few Jews at Watermark, he’s found the staff to be very accommodating. In many cases, The Jewish Pavilion works with staff to help educate them about the traditions of Judaism.
“I came from a home that was orthodox, so when it comes to certain products, my wife and I find ourselves eating something else instead of bacon,” Marshall says. “Fortunately, the kitchen provides what I ask for.
“There’s a lot of people who are interested in learning about Judaism,” he adds. “If anyone’s interested, I’ll talk to them.”