Mike & Natalie Segal

Meyer I. (Mike) Segal was born in Philadelphia, the son of Hessie Corngold and Hyman Segal, Russian
immigrants.  Hyman was conscripted to be in the Kaiser’s army in May, 1912; he apparently used his
military travel papers to cross the border into the west, and showed up in Philadelphia in October,
1912; Hessie, who had 3 young daughters at the time, somehow got herself, Rose, Connie and Claire
across Europe and reconciled with Hyman in the US.  The two younger children, Mike and Mollie, were
born in Philadelphia.

Mike grew up in Philadelphia.  His father died when he was a boy.  He often told us stories about how
poor they were (and we always thought he was exaggerating); ironically, these stories were
confirmed to me many years later, after Mike’s passing, by his cousin Raymond Shatz, who told me
stories of their unimaginable poverty.

Mike left high school with little prospects of achieving the Great American Dream, and joined the US
Marine Corps thinking he would get a college education.  In fact, he DID get an education - but it was in
the South Pacific fighting WWII with the 2nd Marine Division.  He served in the Pacific Theater until the
end of the war, and returned home in August 1946.

Natalie Elaine Youtie grew up in Atlantic City, the daughter of chiropodist (podiatrist) Dr. Ben Youtie
and wife Leona Davis Youtie, who had been a teacher.  The Youties were a well-known Atlantic City
family who owned a department store, and the Davises were a merchant family who owned a grocery
store – both families had immigrated to the US in the 1880’s.

Natalie grew up in a nice middleclass Atlantic City life in the 30’s and 40s, riding horses on the beach
and developing a love of clothing design and fashion.  She was clearly influenced by the still
somewhat glamorous environment of Atlantic City – the Grand Hotels, the Miss America Pageant, the
World’s Playground.  She graduated Atlantic City High School in 1946, the same year Mike left the
Marine Corps.

Following the war Mike was introduced to Natalie, who was 6 years his junior,
by their mutual friends Lois and Jerry Reiss.  Mike and Natalie married in
June of 1948; they set up house at 1605 E. Tupehoken St, Philadelphia to be
close to Mike’s Mother and 4 sisters.  In October 1949 son Stuart was born,
and in May 1951 daughter Sharon was born.

Mike worked for his brother-in-law Ben Blackman (husband of Connie), in his Point Breeze Avenue
store, Blackman’s Furniture, which sold toys, juvenile furniture, records, etc.  On many weekends and
much of the summers, Mike, Natalie and the kids would go to Atlantic City and stay with Natalie's
parents, Ben and Leona Youtie.

In 1958 the family moved permanently to the Shore.  Mike took a job selling furniture for a well
established furniture store, Grossman’s Kensington Carpet Company.  For the first year at the shore,
they lived with the Youties, while they renovated and prepared what would become their family home
at 4 North Dudley Avenue in Ventnor.

They moved into the Dudley Avenue home during the summer of 1959 (and watched the
Kennedy/Nixon debates on B&W TV that very year).  The kids would grow up in this home, and stay
until they left for college or marriage.  Mike would live in this house the rest of his life.  Natalie would
stay in the house until 1984, when after Mike’s passing she would relocate to an apartment of more
manageable size.

Through the 60’s and 70’s the family grew in this house.  

Mike served as a local politician – Councilman, President of Council, Commissioner – sometimes
taking responsibility as commissioner of public works, or public safety, or whatever was needed
most.  He became President of the 2nd Marine Division Association, a national veterans organization.  
He became President of an organization called “The Committee to Legalize Gaming”, which
spearheaded the initiative which eventually gained approval to open casinos in Atlantic City (prior to
which the only casinos in the contiguous 48 states were in Las Vegas).

Mike also was quite effective professionally  -  by the 70’s he was General Manager of Kensington
Carpet, who now had major stores in both Atlantic City and Northfield.

Natalie was always the perfect politician’s wife.  Well dressed and well spoken, she was a perfect
hostess for the political and social events that filled their lives.  She seemed to know everyone, and
seemed to know something about them all  -  if she didn’t know someone, she seemed to know their
relatives or friends.

Mike took ill in 1978, and fought a 4 year losing battle with cancer.  I got to know my Dad much better
in the last years of his life  -  I can tell you he was proud to see Sharon and I grown into responsible
adults, he reveled in the love of his grandchildren, and he was pleased that his dream of Casinos to
save Atlantic City came to fruition in his lifetime.

Natalie eventually moved to Dr. & Mrs. Youtie’s Tallahassee Avenue home, which she and sister
Barbara renovated after the passing of their parents.  She worked part-time at several jewelry stores
in the casinos (a job she loved because she could wear her jewelry, and always got to meet
interesting people)  -  -  but Natalie always seemed happiest sitting in her kitchen with “the girls”,
smoking and playing cards.  She passed away at age 75 in 2004.

It’s hard to put the lives of your parents in perspective, but someone pointed out something to me
about my parents that wasn’t so obvious, at least not to me - - - my parents had good lives,
and they
had a good time
.  I don’t think anyone ever enjoyed themselves more – in the good times were the
political campaigns, the parties, the card games, the weekends on the beach.  There was never a
more dashing politician than Mike, or a more gracious hostess than Natalie. . . and they sure seemed
to enjoy every minute.
MIKE SEGAL (1922-1982)      NATALIE YOUTIE SEGAL (1928-2004)
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