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Woodlawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park

400 Woodlawn Cemetery Road, Gotha, FL

OBITUARY

Rita Nadelman

March 17, 1925December 4, 2019
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Rita Nadelman, 94, a resident of Plant City, Florida, passed from this world on Wednesday, December 4th. She passed away in the company of her two favorite people at her bedside, her loving daughter Susan Anders, and her devoted granddaughter, Beth Cooperman – both holding her hands and providing her comfort as she slipped from the bonds of this world to rejoin her beloved husband of 72 years.

Rita was the oldest child of Irene and Benjamin Bernstein, born on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 1925, in New York City. As a young girl she thought the annual NYC parade was in her honor. In 1984 she and Jack moved to Florida.

There are not enough superlatives to describe this wonderful woman. It was a blessing to have her in our lives for as long as we did. She was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, and friend.

In her younger years she worked as a clothing design consultant in a Manhattan boutique. She would provide advice as a buyer for the store and people from all over New York would come there asking for “Rita” because she “really knew how to dress people.” Rita certainly had an amazing sense of style and folks would say that she had that classy “Jackie Kennedy” look.

She acted as President and Membership Chairman at the Queens Chapter of the Women’s League for Israel . She was a creative consultant and writer who continuously wrote skits and songs for charity events and shows to raise money for Israel.

Rita loved Saturday visits to Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant; barbecue boneless wings at Chili’s; shopping at Belk and Steinmart with her daughter; singing Frank Sinatra and Rodgers and Hammerstein songs; reading Mitch Albom books; watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune; the many visits from her only granddaughter Beth, who lives in New York City; the daily visits from her only daughter Susan, who spent many an hour reading to her, singing her favorite songs, sharing comments about the design of homes and interior decoration on HGTV; and bringing the family dog, GiGi, for visits, which always lifted her spirits.

Rita is survived by: • Susan Anders, daughter • Beth Cooperman, granddaughter • Karen Aravich, niece • David Jacobowitz, nephew • Ron Jacobowitz, nephew • Irwin Bernstein, brother She was preceded in death by: • Jack Nadelman, husband of 72 years • Irene Bernstein, mother • Benjamin Bernstein, father • Gloria Sanschagrin, sister

Arrangements have been entrusted to Woodlawn Funeral Home in Gotha, Florida, located at 400 Woodlawn Cemetery Road, Gotha, Florida 34734. Celebration of Life service will be Monday, December 9, 2019 at 2:00 PM. Condolences may be offered at www.woodlawnfuneralhomegotha.com

RITA NADELMAN’S EULOGY By Susan Anders, daughter

Who was RITA NADELMAN? She was the BEST wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, aunt, friend and doggie grandma. She was MY BEST friend. Bethie was the “apple of her eye”. She loved Rob and when he would visit, she would reach out to hold his hand and say, “He’s my friend.” She loved Nick, Beth’s partner, her niece, Karen and nephews, David and Ron. Despite losing her soul-mate of 73 years, declining memory (she usually referred to me as her Aunt Lena), repeated hospitalizations, inability to walk, inability to independently use the bathroom. (She frequently said, “I have always been so modest…I hate that everyone sees my tushie!) Recently the speech pathologist diagnosed her with a swallowing disorder and put her on thickened liquids. She would yell, “Don’t give me that “fat water”!! I WANT A COKE!!” She always managed to keep her SENSE of HUMOR as well as keep everyone laughing. She NEVER stopped dancing to the music and belting out a Frank Sinatra or Broadway tune. She even had the therapists singing with her in the gym. She loved when I played PANDORA on my phone. The last song that we sang together had always been her very FAVORITE – “Someone to Watch Over Me” by Frank Sinatra. She turned to me with tears in her eyes and in a little girl’s voice said, “Did you know that this is my favorite song?” • Mom was so PATIENT and the BEST LISTENER and ADVICE GIVER. When I was younger we would sit at the kitchen table together for hours talking about boys, school, crushes, boys, friends, analyzing people’s behavior, boys, and talking about our dreams. She even listened to my longwinded, nerdy archaeology stories! When I was sick she would lay with me on the bed and tell me stories about magical places to make me feel better. I think that sparked my love of travel and adventure. As a young child I was very anxious and afraid to go to sleep. Mom would sit with me until I fell asleep and that could take a LONG TIME! Maybe not recommended by DR. SPOCK but it made me feel so secure and loved.

• Mom had the most amazing SENSE of STYLE. She had that classy Jackie Kennedy” look. For years she worked at a clothing boutique in Manhattan. Her boss (and family friend) would cleverly take my mom buying with him to 7thAvenue/Fashion Avenue. She helped to make his business a success! Customers would come from all around NYC to the store and ask for “RITA” because she had a gift for dressing people to accentuate their best features. Mom and I loved going shopping together at Belk, Steinmart, Macy’s, and Loehmann’s.

• Mom was very CREATIVE. She aspired to be a writer and she was a FABULOUS creative writer and storyteller. Three of my favorite stories stand out. She wrote one tale from the point of view of Santa’s unappreciated wife, Molly Claus; another story was called LUCK about Mr. Green, a down and out janitor who all of a sudden has a brick fall on his foot and in the hole in the wall is $100,000; and finally a story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears from the perspective of Goldilocks. (* posted at the end) Mom wrote a children’s picture book with pictures of Beth and her friend Lisa as toddlers called “A FRIEND IS…” She tried to get it published. Unfortunately, she did not have the right connections but…RANDOM HOUSE sent her a beautiful, personal letter which always made her so proud. She would say, “It wasn’t a form letter!” She also wrote and illustrated a series of 4 books for Beth called, “I CAN BE ANYTHING.” Mom always loved to read. We called her Rita the READER. She loved to read to me and then to her granddaughter, Beth, and in turn when she could no longer see the print or process the words, I read to her, EVERYDAY. Rob was the one who first suggested it. She especially loved MITCH ALBOM books. Her favorite was “THE 5 PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN”. Mom was President for one year, and Membership Chairman and Editor of the Newsletter for several years for the Fresh Meadows Chapter of Women’s League for Israel. She wrote many skits for charity events and shows in order to raise money for hospitals in Israel. She especially loved to parody popular songs. My parents sent me to Graduate School to become a Speech Pathologist, even though it was financially difficult for them. They did not want me to pay a dime. I graduated with NO DEBT. Mom valued education and was so proud that Beth and I went to college and Grad School and had professions that we loved. Mom did not have the opportunity to attend college because her family was poor and she and her sister, Gloria were expected to go to work directly after high school to help support the family. When I was growing up, sometimes it was difficult for them to pay the bills. I NEVER had any idea until I was a married adult. My parent ALWAYS made me feel as if I were the RICHEST girl in the world. Mom bought me the BEST dolls with the BEST accessories. She loved having the BEST dressed daughter with the BEST dressed BARBIE dolls. Mom always loved MATH. She could add numbers in her head faster than I could use a calculator. In her later years, she had become more confused but she retained her math ability. Recently, in the hospital, when we were watching FIXER UPPER on HGTV, someone wanted to spend $175,000 on a house. They bought the house for $80,000. I asked mom how much could they spend on renovations. She looked at me as if I was crazy and said, “$95,000!! What do you think I’m STUPID!!??”

As time went on the confusion got worse. First she said that she felt bad because she was an orphan. Then she swung the other way and did not believe that her mother, who died 30 years ago, was actually deceased. My “favorite” daughter, Beth, whom I love dearly, and her partner, Nick, spent an entire Saturday going from New York City to the cemetery in New Jersey, ripping away the weeds from around numerous overgrown markers, to finally be able to take photographs of the gravesite to provide mom proof that her mother actually was no longer living. In addition to photographs they Skyped Mom on my phone so she could see actually see the grave marker in real time. That seemed to comfort and placate her – at least for a while. Mom regularly confused Beth and me, frequently referring to Beth as her daughter. Somewhere along the line Mom began to think of me as her Aunt Lena – whom I met only once in my life. After a while it became a running joke as she sometimes realized after she called me Lena she was actually making a mistake. When I would say good night to her and tuck her in bed after every evening visit, I would give her a big bear hug and kiss. She looked like a scared little girl as I waved to her and blew a kiss from the door, saying, “I love you mom. See you tomorrow. She would respond, I’ll never forget you for visiting me every day, Aunt Lena (sometimes with a wink).

She was LONELY. She was SCARED. NO ONE could fill the VOID that my DAD left… not even me. Now she is at PEACE with my DAD. I will MISS her FOREVER. MOTHERS hold their children’s hands for a short while but their hearts FOREVER. It was a BLESSING that I was able to hold my mom’s hand everyday for so many wonderful years and at the end of her life Beth and I continued holding her hand as she slipped from the bonds of this world to rejoin her beloved husband of 72 years. As MOM would always say, “I wish you everything you wish for yourself”. I wish my MOM ETERNAL PEACE and HAPPINESS. MOMMY, I’ll LOVE you forever!!

* Creative short story examples by Rita (circa 1965) MRS. CLAUS: Mrs. Claus sank into a comfortable chair wearily. She turned on the TV and perked up when she heard the United Airlines commercial. “Why not?” she said. He gets all the credit and I do most of the work. Who ever heard of Molly Claus? Everybody must think he’s a bachelor. He never mentions me or the children. All he really does well is “ho-ho-ho.”

LUCK: I believe in luck. Some people claim we make our own and they have a point, but can you deny that there are those who always happen to be in the right place at the right time? As Mr. Green, a janitor, trudged wearily to work, all the misery and dissatisfaction he felt towards himself and with his life was plain to see and then… a brick fell on his foot and in the hole in the wall… you guessed it – it was $100,000.

GOLDILOCKS: I was never that blonde, but you know all that nonsense about “Blondes Have More Fun” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”… well… everyone thought people would like the story better if the leading character had fair hair. They also didn’t mention that I wore braces and spoke with a lisp. Baby Bear annoys me the most. He’s about 35 now and this overgrown idiot keeps saying in this infants voice… I may rejoin civilization.

Services

  • Visitation Monday, December 9, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, December 9, 2019
  • Entombment Monday, December 9, 2019

Memories

Rita Nadelman

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Elaine Nesbihal

December 9, 2019

A very nice, classy lady who saw the good in all people.

Dale Hendel

December 9, 2019

Sending Susan, Beth and the rest of the family our sincerest condolences on Rita’s passing. She was an integral part of our family’s business, both professionally and personally. Rita will live eternally in our thoughts, prayers and memories.
The Hen-Del Family

Margie Mudri

December 9, 2019

Dearest Susan,
Although I didn’t have the privilege of knowing your precious mom, I see her light shining through to you and Beth! What a wonderful obituary you wrote. I really gained a flavor of her from reading it.
You were so blessed to have her for as long as you did which I can only imagine makes it all the harder to let her go. Grieve my dear friend, but rejoice that she is at peace. Take care, Love, Margie

Claudia LaPlant

December 8, 2019

Our deepest condolences to Susan, Beth and her family. Rita was a beautiful woman inside and out. She will be dearly missed.

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