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Oak Park jukebox, pinball supplier remembered for making people smile

The Detroit News

Oak Park — Whether he was tooling through his neighborhood on a unicycle or flashing a goofy gag gift he’d picked up somewhere, Jerry Rosenthal made people smile.

Mr. Rosenthal was the longtime owner of AA Quality Service, which provided jukeboxes, video games and vending machines to businesses, and his basement resembled an arcade, said his daughter Lynn Rosenthal.

“When we were kids, all our friends wanted to hang out at our house because my dad was so cool, and we always had the newest video games in our basement,” she said.

Mr. Jerry Rosenthal

Mr. Rosenthal died on Saturday, October 24, 2020, in Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital. He was 83.

He was born in Detroit on June 29, 1937, and served in the U.S. Army, where he did some boxing. He often joked about the time he was put in charge of a unit and marched the soldiers into a wall because he didn’t order them to change direction quickly enough.

Following his stint in the Army, Mr. Rosenthal took a few odd jobs, one of which was repairing jukeboxes and other machines. After learning the trade, he started his own company, and eventually secured contracts providing jukeboxes, cigarette machines, pinball machines, and later video game consoles to bars, restaurants and arcades throughout Metro Detroit.

“He was from the old school, where you did business with a handshake,” his daughter said. “His word was his contract.”

Mr. Rosenthal met Beverly Morris while visiting a mutual acquaintance in the hospital. They were married on July 7 1960.

“She was the love of his life,” his daughter said. “They went everywhere together, and especially enjoyed going to Houghton Lake; he’d drive the boat and my mom would waterski.”

Mr. Rosenthal enjoyed boating, waterskiing, pitching pennies and playing cards. His daughter said he regularly brought home electronic gadgets, trinkets, whoopie cushions and other dime store gags.

“He was always trying to make people laugh,” Lynn Rosenthal said. “He had a heart of gold.”

Mr. Rosenthal was never the same after his wife of more than 58 years died on Dec. 25, 2018, his daughter said.

“I was at his house about three weeks before he died, and I saw a 2018 calendar in his kitchen. I wondered why he had a two-year-old calendar still on the wall," she said. "I saw a note in his handwriting on Dec. 25 that said, ‘Today at 3:40 p.m., Bev died. The best part of my life is over.’ That said it all.”

Survivors include son Mark and his fiancé Misty; daughter Debra Cummings and her husband Frank Cummings; daughter Lynn Rosenthal and her husband, George Hunter; grandson James, and granddaughter Jessica; sister, Joyce; brother Burt Rosenthal and his wife Ann Rosenthal; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Beverly, and sister, Barbara.

A graveside funeral service was scheduled Sunday at Machpelah Cemetery in Ferndale. Hebrew Memorial Chapel in Oak Park handled the arrangements.