Saturday, September 10, 2016

IN MEMORIAM: Irma Slavit & Joyce Silverman

Jewish gravestone 
Two of my older relatives passed away recently within one day of each other, and it has me bummed out.

Listen, I know it's the way that all things must go, and not to get morose, everyone will one day die. It's just making me feel my mortality all over again.  I'm 52.  How many years do I have left?  (I don't really want to know, and I hope it's a lot!)

And my two relatives lived pretty long lives.  My great aunt Irma lived to be 97, and her niece Joyce lived to be 83.  It seems easy to say "Well, they had pretty long lives."

Both Irma and Joyce were smart funny women, very involved in politics and activism.  My Aunt Irma was the past president of the League of Women Voters and an officer of a chapter of the ACLU.  She went to Pembroke College (Brown's sister school)

Joyce was also a past president of the League of Women Voters and was active in local politics.

Both Irma and Joyce were in the class of relatives that for the longest time I did not know how I was related to them.  We didn't see them that often in our everyday life, but whenever there was a family function (Bar Mitzvah, funeral, wedding, etc) they were always there.  You know, I was 10 or 13-- I knew who they were, but didn't know how they were connected.

Part of that comes from the fact that they are from my dad's fathers side, and my dad did not have a relationship with his dad, so that piece was missing.

Irma was my Great Aunt.  She was the younger sister of my Grandfather. 
Joyce was my Dad's first cousin.  She was the daughter of my Dad's Aunt Bess.  I'm not sure if that makes us first cousins once removed, or second cousins.

I had been meaning to go down to Tucson to see Irma for a couple of days just to say Hello and ask her questions about family stuff (she was the family historian)  But I procrastinated, and now it's too late.

Rest In Peace Irma and Joyce.

SILVERMAN, Joyce Gorman Age 83, passed away peacefully on September 2, 2016, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. She is survived by sons Mark Silverman (Sue Fields) of Conway, MA, and Peter Silverman (Suzanne Sullivan) of Barre, MA, and daughter Amy McFarland (Tom McFarland) of Stoughton, WI; by grandchildren Sarah Silverman, Jason Silverman, Eliza McFarland, Ricky Silverman, and Kyra McFarland; and great-granddaughter Kyla Benson. She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister Marilynn (Gorman) Siegel; and her dear companions Bill Dutzcak and Edmund Murphy. She was born in Providence, RI, the daughter of Bess (Gertsacov) and Adolph Gorman, on October 30, 1932. She attended Wellesley College, Class of 1954, and married the late Richard Silverman in 1952 (divorced 1980). She lived for over 40 years in Weston, MA, was president of the League of Women Voters and served on the Town Democratic Committee. She worked as legislative aide for ten years to State Senator Carol Amick, and in many other public service positions. She retired to a waterfront home in Wareham, MA in 1998, and was active in Democratic politics there. She was an avid gardener and music lover, was devoted to her family and to politics, and was a dedicated daily newspaper reader. 

SLAVIT, Irma Gertsacov, Age 97, passed away peacefully on September 1, 2016. She is survived by her son Dr. Michael Slavit and daughters Roberta Carichner (E. Norbert Carichner) and Betsy Slavit, grandchildren Michelle Slavit aka Jazmine Bridget Knight, Joanna Carichner (Ben Christensen) and David Carichner (Barbara Methot) and great grandchildren Logan Carichner and Sarah Carichner. She was preceded in death by her husband Leonard in 2007. Irma was born in Providence, RI, the daughter of Ethel (Reffkin) and Max Gertsacov on May 27, 1919. She attended Pembroke College and married the late Leonard Slavit in 1939. She lived for 87 years in Providence and Warwick, RI. , was president of the League of Women Voters and an officer of the R.I. chapter of the ACLU. She worked as Graduate Placement Director of Brown University, and as an employment counsellor and counsellor trainer for Blackstone Valley Community Action and Rhode Island Displaced Homemakers. She retired to her daughter Roberta's home in Tucson, AZ in 2006. She was an avid reader, was devoted to her family and to political action. She was celebrated by all who knew her as a positive presence in the world through her social, employment and volunteer activities.

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