March 30, 1937 – March 8, 2019
KWARTLER, Sheila of Tewksbury, MA., passed away peacefully on March 8, 2019 at the age of 81 surrounded by her family. She was the beloved wife for 54 years of Richard, devoted mother of Bruce and Douglas – and loving mother-in-law to Bruce’s wife Cecelia, and to Douglas’ partner Susan. She was a cherished grandmother of David, Timothy, Hannah and Sadie, loving sister of Allan Steckenberg and sister-in-law to Minna Shyman.
Sheila (maiden name Steckenberg) grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Her family loved hearing about her memories of Brooklyn, and her childhood there. She attended Lafayette high school near the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, along with the famous sports hero, Brooklyn Dodger, Sandy Koufax.
Sheila graduated high-school at the age of 16 and attended Brooklyn College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She then went on to attain a Master’s of Science degree in Education at Yeshiva University. She went on to teach elementary school for several years, which she loved very much. In the early 1960’s, Sheila met Richard Kwartler, who also grew up in Brooklyn, and they were soon married. In 1970, Sheila, Richard and their two young sons moved to Great Neck, NY. During that time, and for the next several years, Sheila, along with her husband Richard, and her brother Allan, published one of the first ever newspapers entirely made for children, called “Read All About It”.
Sheila also grew up with a love and talent for art. It was this love that propelled her to start designing and making porcelain dollhouse dolls, something that she would eventually become extremely well known for across the country in the doll collection world during the 1980’s.
Some of her accomplishments during this time included her dolls being accepted into the collection of the Museum of the City of New York by noted curator John Noble. Designing and making a doll specifically for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s holiday catalog, and designing and sculpting an official, limited edition portrait of actress Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of The West in The Wizard of Oz). Some of Sheila’s dolls, including that portrait, can be found to this day, selling by and to collectors through Ebay.
Later in life, before retirement, Sheila was also a legal administrator for many years.
Sheila was a wonderfully kind person who always strived to do the right thing. One example of Sheila’s extreme kindness was to take in an older co-worker, Gladys, who she became very close with. When that co-worker, who had no family left alive, needed to move out of her apartment, Sheila offered her a place to live. Gladys lived with Sheila and her husband for close to two decades before Gladys past at age 98.
During her husband Richard’s many illnesses, Sheila kept him going and worked hard taking care of him, for many years.
Like her husband, she became very interested in politics later in life and was an avid follower of what was happening in political news. She was proud to call herself a liberal democrat.
Sheila also loved folk and rock music including Pete Seeger, Woody and Arlo Guthrie, Peter Paul and Mary and The Eagles. She also loved Howard Keel and Irish singer John McDermott.
Sheila was always proud of and deeply loved her family, treasuring her time with her 4 grandchildren.
- Dana Farber Cancer Institute
- Funeral Service Monday, March 11, 2019