At times it seems like only yesterday since last we shared company with Mort Peskin, yet other times it feels as though it’s been forever. In truth, it has been just short of one year — May 27 — since Mort died, but his presence, his warmth, his love and his life were so huge and so fulfilling to share we sometimes find ourselves marveling that we knew such a man, much less have him remain so essential in our lives. And we ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I get more?”
Mort was so many things to so many people in so many places, yet he chose to stay here to be everything for us — his family, his friends, his neighbors, perfect strangers and always his community. Our community.
One portion of our community that Mort cherished with all of his heart was The Children’s League, a non-profit organization that has been in existence since 1926 and incorporated as The League for Crippled Children Inc. in 1934. The League’s mission is, “To provide free professional orthopedic, orofacial, cerebral palsy, brace, speech/language, occupational therapy and physical therapy evaluations, therapy and referrals to assist each child to meet his/her full potential and ultimate level of independence.”
If there was one man who believed in and lived with independence it was Mort the Sport, and he was the first to say he had been blessed with the means to do so. Yet he worked a lifetime to achieve this means and he worked most of a lifetime to make sure the children of The League had their means as well. Thus, as a way to remember and honor their friend and to celebrate his spirit of providing, The Children’s League has announced it will dedicate its 31st annual golf tournament and auction weekend, the organization’s largest fundraiser, to the memory of Mort Peskin, who, along with Robert Martin Sr., Earl Nonnenmann and Dorothy Emerson, was one of the founders of the event.
The event takes place Thursday and Friday, June 12-13, at the Cumberland Country Club. The pre-tournament cocktail party and auction, Thursday, June 12, at 6 p.m., is open to the public for a nominal fee with all proceeds supporting the free services offered to League patients and families. To play golf or to make a donation contact any golf committee member, Rich McKenzie, Carl Belt, Jr. or Robert Martin, Jr., or call the League office at 301-759-5200.
“Mort meant so much to The League,” said Executive Director Cathy Growden, “and with what he gave to The League and what The League meant to Mort we feel it’s appropriate to do this.”
Growden emphasized that as important as the golf tournament is to The League, Mort’s reach for its children went far deeper. After serving in the U.S. Marine Reserves for close to two years and in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, Mort went to work for Florsheim Shoes, Wyman Shoe, Hutzler Brothers Co. and Children’s Hospital in Baltimore, then succeeded his father, Morton W. Peskin Sr., as owner and president of Peskins’ Inc. on Baltimore Street. Mort was a certified pedorthist and was responsible for the children of The League having properly fitted shoes, having learned this craft at Children’s Hospital. He took care of the orthopedics