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Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home

201 25Th Ave North, Nashville, TN

OBITUARY

Rita E. Feldman

August 31, 1921October 3, 2019
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Rita Ethelyn Horowitz Feldman Rita Feldman was one of three sisters raised in Bayonne New Jersey. Her parents immigrated from Russia and Austria, married in NY in1915. They lived a modest life in an Orthodox home. Each sister was set on a path. Esther, the oldest, was the most studious, graduated College and went on to become a college professor. Anita, the youngest, was considered the most beautiful, pursued a life in modeling and television. And Rita was polished and groomed at a finishing school to become the perfect wife.

In 1939 she moved to Washington DC and work with the Army's Quartermaster Corps as secretary. In 1942 she moved back home and took a secretarial job in NYC for a man that told her to change her name to Howard because many employers would not hire Jews. Through the 1940s she was employed in NYC as Rita Howard. She loved to dance and even won some contests in NY. She was invited to a friend’s wedding in Nashville, TN, set up with a blind date, Ned Feldman, with whom she fell in love and married in 1950.

The birth of her 2 daughters came in 1955, Valerie Sue and 1957, Devery Joy. Rita’s life was very full as wife, mother, mahjongg maven, book club member and more. She was involved in many Jewish organizations offering her acting and singing talents for benefits, volunteering and financial support.

She began recording books for the Tennessee Library for the Blind, utilizing her many dialects to make the characters come to life. This was something she continued for almost 40 years, including the recording of law school books which enabled a blind law student to graduate.

She ran her home life traditionally, with family dinners every night, and weekly Shabbat meals with blessings. She regularly attended Friday night services at The Temple, and never missed a High Holiday Service. It was important to impart her love for Judaism to her children, hoping they would embrace the religion.

Her favorite family holiday was Passover. She would set an elaborate Seder table, making sure to include Vandy students who couldn’t get home to their families or nonJewish friends with whom she wanted to share the experience. Ned, her husband, would lead the Seder using the Union Haggadah, always including after dinner a race of the prose, “Who knows One.” I think she was usually the first one to finish, always ending in a great laugh fest. Something that was important to her was to always end the Seder with ‘My Country ’Tis of Thee’. She was very proud to be an American.

When her children were grown, she would travel extensively throughout the world. This gave her great pleasure, seeing and learning about other cultures. Later in life she created a lamp based on her trip to Kenya, which she said were her most fond travel memories. She has been a loving grandmother to Daniel(Amiee), Erin(Joey), Allison and Nikki. When Ned passed, she sold the house and moved to the Blakeford, where she has been to this day. She met a friend, Gerry, in Yiddish class. He became her soul mate. Gerry played the piano, was very social and outgoing- they were two peas in a pod. They would enjoy each other’s company as he would play and she would sing-so much fun to watch. They would often perform downstairs for resident events. This was a passion for her.

Her 17 years at the Blakeford have been so enjoyable. She loved her friends, apartment, attended many classes, cocktail hours, and most importantly costume parties- her personal favorite.

When Gerry passed it was extremely hard on Mom, she had lost her dearest friend. Her health declined. A wonderful, caring team of women, lead by Jan Norby RN BSN, of Geriatric Health and Care Management, along with many loving caregivers from Comfort Keepers, have nurtured and watched over her for the past several years. We cannot thank them enough for all their love and kindness. And, at the end, Alive Hospice was here to help all of us with Mom’s journey.

She always enjoyed visits with her daughters and grandchildren. I venture to say that those who knew Rita found her to be a humorous, gracious, thoughtful and appreciative of other’s kindness. She will live on in our happiest of memories.

Visitation on Sunday, October 6, 2019 from 1:00pm-4:00pm at Marshall Donnelly Combs. Service celebrating the life of Rita Feldman will be held on Monday, October 7, 2019. Graveside service will be held at The Temple Cemetery, 2001 15th Avenue North, Nashville TN at 4:00pm. In lieu of flowers please send donations to American Cancer Society, 2000 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37203.

Services

  • Visitation Sunday, October 6, 2019
  • Graveside Service Monday, October 7, 2019

Memories

Rita E. Feldman

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Aggie Ramoya

October 8, 2019

My dear sweet Ms. Rita. I am going to miss you alot, but I will always remember the fun times we shared and all the walks we took. Thank you for inviting me into your life.

Cindy Lovelace

October 6, 2019

I really enjoyed reading the rich stories of your mom and grandmothers extraordinary life. I especially liked the readings in various dialects for Tennessee School of the Blind. What a gift! We are so grateful to have been included in many family moments and our prayers of support and comfort are being sent. We are in Boston where I’ve been at a conference and we do not return until Monday night. Love to all 💕 Cindy and Gene

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