Harold “Boots” Potler, 95, former longtime resident of Margate City, New Jersey, passed away Sept. 16, 2019, at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.
Boots was born June 3, 1924, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the son of the late Nathan and Minnie (Weintrob) Potler. He graduated from Atlantic City High School and enrolled in the University of Virginia, where he received an economics degree. His education was interrupted by World War II when he enlisted in the Navy. After spending a year at the Harvard midshipman school, he was deployed to the Pacific theater from 1942-45, where he was commissioned a Lieutenant (jg) and served on the destroyer escort USS George E. Davis. His experience in the Navy proved to be defining. He noted that his service gave him lifelong friends from a variety of backgrounds, an openness to new experiences, and a commitment to learning. This experience fostered an intense interest in people from all walks of life, which influenced him for the years to come.
After the war, Boots continued his formal education, receiving his MBA from the Harvard School of Business Administration in the class of 1947. His early professional life included an executive position for a large company in Philadelphia. From 1952-73 he was a partner in Capitol Furniture Company of Atlantic City. Boots later founded and became president of Whalon’s Furniture and Design stores in Ship Bottom, Avalon, Villas and Absecon, New Jersey. During this time he was an adjunct professor at Richard Stockton State College and also served on various boards both corporate and nonprofit.
He retired from business in 1997 but continued active service to his community, particularly CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and later mentored school children in Pittsfield. Boots and his wife, Arlene, spent the last five years at Kimball Farms Independent Life Care in Lenox. He always enjoyed the wonderful staff and interesting residents. He thought that the fine fare and good friends there made every night a dinner party. His friends would agree that Boots, with his ready smile, warmth, humility and sharp wit contributed to the enjoyment of life at Kimball Farms. Boots’ time with his treasured family was his main interest in life, and they loved and admired him in turn. His family will forever miss him, but his spirit and example will continue to inspire them.
Boots is survived by his wife, the former Arlene Snyder, whom he “swept off her feet” with his Hollywood good looks and married 70 years ago; his son, Dr. Andrew Potler and wife Marcia Powdermaker; son- in-law Martin Vega; grandson Natan Vega Potler; granddaughter Hannah Potler Espie and husband Charles Espie; great-grandson Alexander Espie; sister Alia Sayegh; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his beloved daughter, Cathy Potler Esq.