Nathan Youngman, the owner of N & M Youngman Co. from 1963 until his retirement in 1980, died recently at the age of 86. The former British Army and Israeli Army soldier was born in Poland and left that country at the age of 15 to travel to Israel, where he met and married Miriam Sacks. In 1954, the couple and their two small children emigrated and settled in the United States. Youngman tried his hand at a variety of jobs before being introduced to the gold import business by a distant cousin, Peter Schler of Zurich, N.Y.

During those early years, Youngman struggled to learn the business as well as the English language. He wrote his invoices in Hebrew, then gave them to Miriam to translate and send to customers.

The last 12 years of Youngman’s life were spent in Las Vegas. According to his family, he will always be remembered for his honesty and willingness to stand behind his merchandise, as well as the astonishing fact that he never once wrote a check. Youngman is survived by his two children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Stanley Church, former owner of Church and Company Manufacturing Jewelers, died Dec. 31 at the age of 90.

He began working for Church and Company in 1927 as an apprentice in the factory and became a traveling salesman for the firm in 1929. After serving on a destroyer escort in the North Atlantic and South Pacific for the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve during World War II, he was elected a director and secretary of Church and Company in 1946.

He purchased control of the company in 1963 and was elected president and treasurer. He was elected chairman of the board of directors in 1979.

Church’s service to the jewelry industry included serving as a director and member of the executive committee of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee; director of the Jewelry Industry Council; director and president of the American Gem Society; president and director of Jewelers’ Security Alliance; director and president and chairman of the board of the 24 Karat Club of New York; director (and second vice president) of the Jewelers Board of Trade; director of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.; member of the board of governors and treasurer of the Gemological Institute of America.

Church is survived by his wife, Irene, and son, Charles.

Elaine Leila Toback, who helped her husband Myron found Myron Toback Inc. and worked side-by-side with him since 1963, died Nov. 7, 2000. She was remembered as a pioneer in the jewelry industry and a generous spirit who helped launch many careers.

Toback was listed in Who’s Who in the Jewelry Industry and was a member of the International Precious Metals Institute, MJSA, WJA, Jewelry Historian’s Society, and Golden Circle Club of New York.

She is survived by her husband; a daughter, Joy; a son, Michael; and grandchildren Zachary, Sarah, and Harrison.

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