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I remember so fondly when we had you, your dad and his lovely wife Kitty at our screenings of the film in Sarasota, FL. Your father was a lovely man, a real gentleman. My deepest condolences to you and your family for this loss. May he rest in peace.

When you mske a film as extraordinary as "51," many people are going to feel this loss. Hang in there Doug. You dared to tell a family story with unflinching honesty and the rtesult was nothing short of a revelation and a new way to look at family dynamics.

Rest well, Mike.

Steve Gorelick

Dear Doug,
Our hearts are with you and your family. Your father will be missed by all who knew him. Your film will keep him, and your mom, and my mom, with us all and for our children. I treasure the interview you made with Natasha, and hope all of the moments you have preserved will serve your family well in keeping your parents with you. We send our love, and wish you peace and strength in the days ahead. Rebecca

I'm so sorry too hear this. I love that film and, like anyone who's seen it, feel like I got to know your Dad a little bit. You and your family are in my thoughts.


As others have said, I feel like I knew your dad from the film, which I found so moving. I'm thinking of you and I'm really looking forward to seeing "Almost Gone." If you're coming to Ithaca, please get in touch.


dear doug, i am very sorry about your dad, our deepest sympathy to you and all of the family, melissa edelson(phils daughter)/sanchez

Dear Doug:

I am married to Amy Weliky, whose mother Ruth is a cousin to your dear departed Dad.
Mike and Minna were at my home for dinner in Altadena California around 1999 and I was so taken with your Dad---and his legacy of his Men's Group---that after 9/11 I formed a men's groups based on Mike's inspirational chat with me and it exists to this day --eight years later.
Amy and I had dinner with Mike and Kitty a few years ago on the Pacific Coast Highway and we hung out together in NYC in recent years.
We adored Mike. We were just knocked out by his intellect,his rapport. Hhat a story-teller!!---we loved his easy manner. Mike Block was a mensch. He semmed to adore his baby cousin Amy. He called a her booble, short for bubbulah.
What can I say.
We loved your Dad.
He changed my life.
He helped me more than he ever realised.
I told him of his effect on me and he seemed pleased to have helped.

Our love and condolences to you and your family,
Allan Wasserman ([email protected])

Dear Cousin Doug,
Not my usual form of condolence, but hope this replaces the standard Hallmark well enough, to say how much I cared for your Dad. I loved coming out to Port Washington, the smell of the grass, the house, your smart, capable Mom, Mike always smiling at me, warm -- a kind presence. The fact that he was an engineer -- so cool. A handy Jewish male! Not to mention the sailboat -- my first watery expedition and a lifelong memory. But mostly: that kind presence, something I sorely needed and cherished.
I had the opportunity to see him several times in recent years, which was a total treat. My thoughts go out equally to Karen and Ellen, and your immediate family as well.
Cousin Carol

Dear Mr. Block,

I have just finished watching your film, "51 Birch Street" (about 5 minutes ago), and having found your blog, am saddened to learn of the recent passing of your father. I just wanted to take the opportunity to share my condolences, and to thank you, and your family for sharing such a remarkable experience in your lives that speaks to so many of us. How heavy the unspoken words are in families, and in sharing your story you've given so many people the insight to acknowledge their own.

Peace to you, and your family,
Jen Hunt Johnson

Dear Doug, I have just watched 51 Birch St here in Perth, Western Australia and found your dad so endearing that I immediately 'Googled' the film and discovered the sad news that he recently passed away. I would like to offer you my sincere condolences and assure you that I will seriously consider the many insights your father so selflessly and honestly provided through what he said and what he didn't say as well as how he looked in the earlier footage compared to later vision where the sparkle of delight was apparent in his eyes as he stood beside Kitty. I think he may have given me the shake-up I need to make some difficult decisions. Thank you for being brave enough to make the film and I am so glad you came to view your lovely, gentle father in a more positive, loving way and hope you managed to spend quite a bit of time together even after he moved to that 'different planet'!Best wishes for the future, Lisa Mulligan (originally from Dublin)

Many thanks to each and every one of you for your warm thoughts and concern. It's very much appreciated.

Hi Doug,
I have just this minute finished watching your Documentary 51 Birch St. Thank you for such a moving and insightful film. I related to the Woman your Mum was and wept when she died and opened up to your Dad, I am not sure at what stage in the film, but I saw how beautiful and wise he was. When he said, "she asked me to say, so I did" I saw his measure. I cried when you and your dad connected so beautifully at the end of the film - all in all it took me on a journey through my own family via you.

I came immediately to the computer to search for your site to find out how Mike and Kitty got on in Florida only to find that he had passed a few months ago. I offer you, your sisters and Kitty my tender thoughts. What a fitting tribute you gave your Mum and Dad with this film.

This film opened my heart little by little, tenderly leading me on a journey into your families’ life, so sensitively and skilfully put together it left me room to blend my own family with yours. My aim is to one day make a beautifully presented simple story like this. Thank you.

With warmth
Wendy Thompson (NSW Australia)

Dear Doug,
I saw 51 Birch Street last night and was very moved. Like most other people I could relate to it through my own family experiences. I was very close to my mother before she died very suddenly leaving me not only with a great sense of loss but a father that I realised I barely knew as he didn't talk about "things" especially feelings. The only good thing to come from my mother's death was that I had seven years with my father before he died and we developed a close relationship. If my mother had not died then I would never have got to know my Dad who was a lovely, quiet, gentle person. However it was sometimes difficult to hear the truth about my Mum as I guess she was perfect in my eyes. Sometimes I imagined, in the early days after Mum's death, how I would react if Dad met someone else. I like to think I would have acted like an adult but having been so close to Mum, I suspect I would have acted like a child and it would not have been my finest moment. I was never put to the test.
Thank you so much for telling a touching but difficult story so beautifully and also thanks to you, your father and everyone else for having the courage to reveal themselves, warts and all.
I was so sorry to hear your father had passed away. There is much comfort though in the relationship you developed in his last years and his obvious newfound happiness. These memories will stay with you forever.

I just saw 51 this weekend and was incredibly moved by it, and I am sorry to hear of your dad's passing. For what it's worth, I think he was truly grateful for the opportunity to have an open dialogue with you, via the film. I am glad that you were able to share that gift of open communication with each other.

I just watched 51 Birch Street this afternoon. I was glued to the DVD, and found myself clinging onto my husband several times today. Watching your courageous film and life journey through some truly difficult family issue, was inspiring. I admired the choices you made regarding your mothers diaries. And the effort you made to connect with your father as he packed to move away.

After the death of your mother, I felt she'd not been granted the life she'd desired, and thought it was due somehow to choices made by your father. By the end of the film I felt strongly about your mothers happiness having been short, but amended my simplistic conclusion.

Mike Block seemed to be a lovely man in his own right. And I was glad he followed the path to happiness with Kitty or Cathy or whatever her name is. She seems to be one of the good ones. She seems to live life and love, unguarded, and with honesty. It is beautiful to know they had each other for the time they did.

After the DVD led me to your site, where I'd hoped to read an update on your father and his lovely wife in Fl., Instead I learned of your fathers' passing only a month ago. This is one Netflix, I should have moved to the top of the list. My condolences for your loss. You mend a strain in your family and that is something your father must have been proud of.

I hope to see your next film, and more to come. Live large!

I just saw your film and really related to it in many ways. I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing. I am glad that you have the movie to watch his authentic loving self.

Just viewed 51 Birch Street yesterday. I will comment about that somewhere else.
My deepest condolences on the passing of your Father.
I hope Kitty is doing well, please post updates about her if possible.

Aitch Slavic
A documentary film fan.


I just heard about your dad. I'm so sorry that he's gone. I have such fond memories of all of the time we spent with him and your mom over the years.

Minna Reidel Vallentine

Dear Doug --
I enjoyed greatly both 51 Birch (having grown up as you know across the street on Birch) and The Kids Grow Up, which I watched with my mom this evening. Recollections are interesting - for example, I have a strong visual recollection of your dad pitching balls to you in your driveway and me thinking to myself "Gee - my dad never would think of doing that for me, or even if he did, he wouldn't know how to throw the ball." I can still hear in my mind the thump of your dad's pitches hitting your garage door or the sound of your bat hitting the ball into the dead end next to our house, but I digress.

My mom and I were shocked to read in the credits that the film was in memory of both your parents (we knew that your mom had passed), and so we found this site which confirmed your dad's death in 2009. I was sorry to read about it but, if he was suffering, at least it's good that he is suffering no more.

By the way, Pomona isn't that far away from where we are in L.A.; I hope you and your family can find some time to share a meal and/or a glass or three of wine with us when you next are in SoCal.

All our best to you and your family,

Norbert and Stefanie (Mom), and Wilma and family, too.

P.S. - Your daughter Lucy is beautiful, in every possible way.

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