I admit that I have been putting off this blog post. Because it makes me sad. One of the great gifts I’ve experienced in doing genealogy is learning about and sometimes having conversations with older people whose memories and lives can teach us so much. The downside of that is that I am catching them in the final chapter in the lives.
In the past year or so, four of my parents’ first cousins have passed away. I already wrote about my mother’s first cousin, Murray Leonard, born Goldschlager, son of my grandfather’s brother David Goldschlager. You can see my tribute to Murray here, in case you missed it.
Two of my mother’s other Goldschlager-side first cousins also died in the last year: Frieda Feuerstein Albert and Estelle Feuerstein Kenner, who were sisters and the daughters of Betty Goldschlager, my grandfather’s sister, and her husband Isidor Feuerstein.
Frieda died on July 30, 2015; she was 93. Frieda was born in New York on April 21, 1922. She married Abram Albert in 1943, and in 1957, they moved with their children to Arizona, where Abram opened a bedspread and drapery store in Phoenix. He died in 1991, and Frieda continued to live in Phoenix until her death last summer.
Her younger sister Estelle died almost three months ago on May 16, 2016. She was 86 years old and had been living in Florida for many years. She was born May 15, 1929.
Estelle and Frieda each had three children who survive them—six second cousins I’d never known about until I started doing genealogy research.
I never had a chance to speak to either Frieda or Estelle, but have been in touch with some of their children. My mother recalls Frieda and Estelle very well, although she had not seen them for many, many years. She remembers them as beautiful young girls coming to visit her family in Brooklyn when they were living out on Long Island.
The other cousin who died in the past year was my father’s first cousin, Marjorie Cohen. I wrote about my wonderful conversations with Marjorie here. She died on July 6, 2015, but I did not learn about it until quite recently. She was just a few months shy of 90 when she died, and she was living in Ventnor, New Jersey, near Atlantic City, where she had lived for almost all of her adult life after growing up in Philadelphia. She was born on October 15, 1925, the daughter of Bessie Craig and Stanley Cohen, my grandfather’s brother.
According to her obituary,
She was a graduate of the Sacred Heart School in Philadelphia and Trinity College in Washington, DC. For 33 years she served as the Director of the AAA Mid-Atlantic Travel Agency in Northfield. During her time with AAA she escorted both cruises and tours throughout the world. In 1978, she was the recipient of the Contemporary Woman of the Year Award for outstanding community involvement by McDonald’s Restaurant and radio station WAYV. Upon retirement she became actively involved in volunteer work with the Atlantic City Medical Center, RNS Cancer and Heart Organization, the LPGA Annual Golf Tournament and served as a Hostess with the Miss America Pageant for a number of years. Throughout her life, she had a deep and abiding love for all animals and was a generous supporter of the Humane Society. (Press of Atlantic City, July 9, 2015.)
I am so grateful that I had the chance to talk to Marjorie, and I am filled with regret that I never was able to get to Atlantic City to meet with her as I had hoped.
These losses remind me once again how important it is to find my extended family members, especially those whose memories run back the longest. I wish I had had the chance to meet all of these cousins, and now it is too late.