HAMDEN – Julius “Julie” Hyatt died last Dec. 6 at age 94. The Hamden resident and founding member of Temple Beth Sholom was remembered this year as the congregation prepared for Sukkot, in the shadow of the new memorial plaque bearing his name. This was the first year since 1950 that Hyatt wasn’t physically present to help put up the Beth Sholom sukkah.
Hyatt was born on June 26, 1919 in Clinton, the son of Morris and Dora, and brother of Eve, George, Hy, and Helen. He graduated from Commercial High School in 1937 and served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II. A resident of Hamden for 63 years, he was active for more than six decades in the Jewish War Veterans in the New Haven area and in the Masons’ Hiram Lodge No. 1 in New Haven.
Hyatt began his professional life as a cattle dealer in Madison. He later became an owner-operator of the Hy-Dee Meat Co., based in West Haven.
In the early 1950s, Hyatt was one of eight people who turned the then-existing Hamden Jewish Community Center into the synagogue that would be named Temple Beth Sholom in 1956.
Hyatt was involved with everything at the synagogue, from helping with grounds maintenance to serving as nursery school zayde to organizing a temple youth basketball team in the Biddy Basketball community league. A past president of the synagogue’s Men’s Club, he was named Man of the Year in 1957 and received the Beth Sholom President’s Award in 2000.
In his eulogy, Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic of Temple Beth Sholom drew on the game of golf to describe Hyatt, an avid sports fan.
“I’ve thought that Julie lived all 18 holes,” Scolnic wrote. “He played the straight-aways and the ones that pass by the lake and the short ones and the long ones. My kids and I played golf with Julie and he knew every inch of every hole, and he played every hole with enthusiasm and skill. And he found every lost golf ball that had been forgotten or passed over by everyone else. He found every golf ball like he cared about every lost person. That’s why he remembered everybody even after 80 years, because he cared about every person. And that’s how he lived his life, all 18 holes.”