In Loving Memory of Ruth Fern (Shagass) Goldstein
Ruth Fern (Shagass) GoldsteinScranton, PA October 20, 1927 ~ November 5, 2016 Date of Service: November 5, 2016
I am Dr. Erroll Goldstein. On Saturday, the 5th of November, during a peaceful morning nap, my Mother’s soul ascended to God’s eternal care, at the Jewish Home of Eastern PA in Scranton. The day before, her gaze at me, a tear in each eye, told me she decided it was time. She was 89 years of age.
Born October 20, 1927 in Montreal, Canada, she had a blind date in 1944 with an American sailor. 2 years later, after obtaining a teaching degree from McGill University, she married him and moved to his hometown of East Islip, New York. My older sister and only sibling, Cheryl, was born in 1948 and I followed in 1950. We both went to the same schools as my father, before we both also went to McGill. While a full-time teacher and mother, Mom earned 2 Masters Degrees, in education for her profession and in art for herself. I have dozens of her beautiful oil paintings.
She was an exceptionally devoted teacher to less-than-privileged children for some 40 years. She truly loved her students and often said she learned as much from them as she had taught to them. She traveled around the world with my Dad, and often with Cheryl and me, until the tragic and untimely death of my father, leaving her a widow at 48. Forty years and 1 day after Dad passed away, and barely 2 months ago, my sister Cheryl suddenly passed away.
I brought Mom to live in her own home in Clarks Summit in 2002 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to the great medical professionals here, she completely defeated the cancer, and went on to live a healthy and independent life here until Alzheimer’s took over. You cannot defeat Alzheimer’s, or stop advancing age. When she was 86, she became a resident at Elan Gardens in Clarks Summit, where she lived until July of this year, before moving to the Jewish Home. She enjoyed visits especially with her grand and great-grandchildren.
In Mom’s home, the pursuit of education was the norm, not an option, and even my father lived by that rule. Cheryl earned a B.A., M.A. and a PhD. in law, and I a B.S.,M.S., and an M.D/PhD. My father studied earth sciences and astronomy at Hofstra Unervisity. She was proud of her achievement.
An proud American citizen since 1946, she never once missed casting her vote on Election Day.
My Mom wanted it known that her health and longevity were thanks to the excellent health care she received in our community. Wonderful physicians, including Dr’s. Joseph Delserra, Harmar Brereton, and Martin Pentar, among others gave her a remarkable quality of life. I didn’t have to take away her car keys until she was nearly 87.
Mom loved her extended family and close friends from all over the U.S. and also from Canada. I promised my late Dad I would look after her to the end, and I can now say, “Mission accomplished.”
She is survived by me, her son, and also by 3 grandchildren, Alana Goldstein and Seth (Lydia) and Sasha Swift, 3 great grandchildren, Chaya, Asher and Talya Swift, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her her husband Seymour Goldstein, her parents Polly and Morris Shagass, and her two siblings, Dr. Charles and Fred Shagass and their wives, as well as her daughter, Cheryl Swift and a grandson, my son Simon. Every single time she suffered a loss she said the same words: “We all have to be strong.” She last said that two months ago. She was the last survivor of her generation on both sides of my family. An era has ended.
We are grateful for the wonderful, skilled and very loving care she received at the Jewish Home where every resident is treated equally and with dignity and where discrimination does not exist.
There will not be a local funeral service. When Dad passed away, Mom hand designed a headstone with a tree that has one broken branch bearing Dad’s name. She will now rejoin him after forty years, at New Montefiore Cemetery on Long Island, on Wednesday November 9th.
Shiva will be observed at my home, 1226 Olive Street, Scranton on Thursday, then Sunday through Tuesday, 1-4 PM and 6-9 PM with evening Minyan at 7:30 (7:00 on Thursday due to Krystallnacht observance at JCC) and this Friday from 1-4PM only.
In her memory, please consider a donation to the Jewish Home of Eastern PA at 1101 Vine Street, Scranton, PA 18510. I cannot thank them enough for their care of my mom, and of her own mom 20 years ago.
Mom, I love you. May you carry on in eternal peace. Amen