Dr. Mal Brahms.jpg

Brahms

Dr. Malcolm Brahms was nothing short of “a mensch,” according to his youngest child and only son, Rabbi Jan Brahms of Houston. Brahms died at age 103 March 19.

Dr. Malcolm Brahms’ marks his 103rd birthday

Dr. Malcolm Brahms’ marks his 103rd birthday in 2022 with the B’nai Jeshurun Congregation minyan, which would be his last birthday party.

Brahms, who was known throughout Northeast Ohio for his longtime career as an orthopedic surgeon, serving as the team surgeon for the Cleveland Browns from 1965 to 1980. He operated on Paul Warfield, who eventually went on to become a Hall of Fame wide receiver. That surgery caught the attention of former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, who offered him the position. Many surgeries followed throughout his tenure, including Milton Morin, a Browns tight end, Brahms told the Cleveland Jewish News in a December 2019 interview commemorating his 100th birthday.

“I had operated on Milton Morin, who was a member of the Browns as a tight end, and he had a very successful Sunday afternoon in which he was given the game-of-the-day ball in the locker room by Blanton Collier, the coach,” Brahms said in the December 2019 interview. “But he didn’t accept the ball. He threw it to me because I had done successful surgery on his back.”

Born Dec. 1, 1919, in Dayton, where he was also raised, Brahms went on to graduate from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine in Cleveland. He then practiced as an orthopedic surgeon at the now-defunct Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland before his employment with the Browns.

Dr. Malcolm Brahms in 1932

Dr. Malcolm Brahms in 1932, just before he celebrated his bar mitzvah in Dayton, where he grew up.

After leaving the Browns, he joined Dr. Alvin Tramer’s orthopedic practice, leading to the creation of Brahms, Cohn & Leb Orthopedics, which still exists today. Brahms was also a founding member of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. He retired in 2000, but then ended up becoming an expert witness for a U.S. government medical department until he was 95, consulting in cases of medical disability.

“He made such a name for himself as a surgeon,” Rabbi Brahms told the CJN. “As his son, I was very proud of those accomplishments. Every person I would bump into would tell me how they were a patient of his or that he operated on them. He was quite well-known and respected in the medical field. He was very talented.”

A World War II U.S. Army veteran, Rabbi Brahms said he and his older sister, Lauren, lived with their grandparents while their father attended medical school and completed his residency. Even though they weren’t with him during that time, he said he and his sister still felt “very close” to him.

“He was so devoted and loving and kind,” Rabbi Brahms said. “He gave as much time to us as he possibly could, all while working very hard. He was such a phenomenal father, grandfather and great-grandfather and devoted husband. Our parents were married for 74 years before our mom, Evelyn, died in 2018.”

Dr. Malcom Brahms with family

Dr. Malcom Brahms, center in white jacket, with family, friends and daily minyan members at his 103rd birthday party in December 2022.

His father’s faith was also a very important aspect of his life, Rabbi Brahms said.

“He was such a devoted Jew, and attended a daily minyan at B’nai Jeshurun,” he said. “He loved Judaism and cantorial music. He was so extremely generous, outgoing, kind and ethical human being. Simply put, he was a mensch.”

In the December 2019 interview, Brahms told the CJN joining the B’nai Jeshurun minyan “was a great decision.” He attended a daily minyan there regularly for almost 15 years, driven by Hannah Leonard, his caregiver of four years. Since his 100th birthday, Brahms also celebrated his birthdays with the minyan.

Dr. Malcolm Brahms celebrates his 100th birthday

Dr. Malcolm Brahms celebrates his 100th birthday in 2019 at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation with the daily minyan he attended frequently for almost 15 years.

“I’ve made a lot of good friends who are almost constantly concerned about my well-being and are glad that I’m part of their group,” he said.

A lover of family, sports, playing golf, supporting charitable causes and discussing politics, Rabbi Brahms said he will always remember his father “with great fondness, appreciation and respect.”

“He was really a unique man,” he said. “If I could talk to him again, I would love to tell him how much I truly admired, loved and respected him.”

The funeral will be at 1 p.m. March 23 at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation at 27501 Fairmount Blvd. in Pepper Pike. Interment will follow at B’nai Jeshurun Cemetery. Shiva will be observed at the congregation from 5 to 7:30 p.m. March 23 only. To view the service, visit venue.streamspot.com/e1728d50.

He is survived by children, Lauren (Robert) Resnik and Jan (Ann Dee) Brahms; grandchildren, Andrew (Jamie) Resnik, Jamie (Kevin) Wechter, Lisa Brahms (Sherlock Terry) and Steven (Tamara) Brahms; great-grandchildren, Cassidy and Cody Wechter, Max and Julia Resnik, Lily, Emmett and Ida Terry, and Oliver Brahms; brother-in-law of Jay (Jane) Davis; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife of 74 years, Evelyn; his three siblings; and his wife’s two siblings.

The family also expressed thanks to Hannah Leonard, Linda Medley and her staff for their care, which enabled him to live at home in his declining years.

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