February 24, 2023

Submitted by his wife, Debbie Kantor

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Joseph (Yossi) Kantor on Feb. 8, on his 80th birthday, his family by his side.

Joe was a pillar of strength, a joy to be with, a giant of a man, and always an optimist! Family came before anything else as he looked forward to his Shabbat calls from his children and grandchildren. He loved to travel and he and Debbie went to Israel, France, England, Italy, Brazil and throughout the U.S. Together they loved theatre and music and never missed an opportunity to travel to NYC for shows and great food!

Joe was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Avraham and Miriam (Wohlfeld) Spanbock. After his father’s untimely death his mother remarried Dr. Zwi Kantor who legally adopted Joe and his sister Miki.

Joe’s long and eclectic life was one of adventure. His adopted father was active in the exclusive political party Harute. It was here that he met Menachim Begin who became a life long friend of the family.

Joe was proud to know Shimon Peres and Ben Gurion and told stories of how they met.

Coming to the United States in 1956, the Kantor family set up home in Buffalo, NY where Joe attended High School. After graduation he left for Israel to serve in the Israeli army.

After the army Joe studied computers, working for a computer company in Israel. He soon realized that college was in his future, and wanting to return to the U.S., he applied and got accepted to the Philadelphia College of Textile and Science where he earned his degree in Textile Engineering. After graduation, Joe landed a job with Burlington Industries and was asked by them to open a textile factory in Ashkelon, Israel. When the Yom Kippur War started he had to close the factory and moved back to the U.S.

A dreamer among dreamers, Joe moved to Detroit, Michigan, learned the building business, creating the unusual and original idea of shell home building. His success led him to Central Florida where the home building business was booming in the 1980’s.

Joe’s pride in land development and home building is shown in more than the 2000 homes he designed and built throughout Detroit and Central Florida. He received numerous first place awards from the Home Builder’s Association for his architectural and interior designs, creativity and innovative residential home ideas.

Joe leaves behind his wife and best friend of 37 years, Debbie (Wolkind) Kantor of Sanford, Florida; sons, Avi (Rachel) Kantor, Ori Kantor and Jonathan (Alyson) Brooks; daughters, Galit Green and Heather (Jeffrey) Barkin; sisters, Miki (Luci) Moshe and Loli (Scott Ferree) Kantor; and his 11 grandchildren.

Funeral Services were held at CRJ Orlando with Rabbi Engel officiating, and graveside at the CRJ cemetery in Gotha with Rabbi Majesky officiating.

Those who knew Joe have been changed for the better.

In lieu of flowers please donate to: JNF Trees for Israel, Congregation of Reform Judaism, Orlando or Chabad North Orlando (Nate’s Shul) in Longwood.


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