March 6, 1930 – September 18, 2020
DORIS May Greenspan March 6 1930 to Sept 18 2020
My mom was a quiet one, very practical and quick to laugh. When looking through her photos while putting together her birthday celebration panels, I found high school notes that said things like “quietest person but so sweet” “easy to spend time with”.
She tells a story that she met my dad at a vacation ranch where she was pretending to enjoy horses and he pretended to like scrabble. Maybe not the truest way to start a courtship, but something worked. As a young child I often heard them talking and laughing in the bedroom mornings and evenings.
The childhood of me and my siblings, Joey and Sharon, were spent boating, fishing, beaching and trailering throughout the United States. Though mom and dad took the coast guard classes to learn how to navigate by the stars and compass, it was mom’s mathematical abilities and practical nature that got us there and back. One time we had an engine problem near Block Island, Rhode Island, and no one could figure out how to fix it. Mom was able to provide a temporary solution with bubble gum so we could get back home. She often also drove the boat home when dad got seasick.
Although she was quiet, she advocated for herself and her children. When she wanted to go back to work and use her skills, there was quite a standoff but she won and had a successful career in accounts payable and receivable for 11 years. She was always able to get home in time to greet our arrival from school and make sure dinner was ready. A few times when we made dad real angry, she was there to smooth things over. She was generous with her time, taking us to the mall, teaching us a bit of sewing, making sure we had what we needed for school, baking cookies and being there. The year she agreed to be the cookie leader for my girl scout troop, which meant boxes of cookies piled high everywhere in the living room, was the year I stopped being a girl scout – she was a good sport about that. She also made time to volunteer for the Long Island Crises Center and the American Cancer Society.
Mom got to travel with dad … throughout the USA in a trailer, to Cuba, Israel and Egypt and Mexico when he received a teaching sabbatical there. When he found out that the sabbatical was about him spying on Russian influence at the University in Mexico City, he made friends with the locals and we spent a half year traveling throughout the country, a tall order in taking care of 4 and 2 year old children. She did a great job, except she wasn’t there when I got mad at my brother, and a friend and I cut all the pompoms off his Mexican hat!
Mom joined her sister part time in Southeast Florida for the winter months but eventually moved to West Palm Beach full time. It was there she became aware of exercising more, and began to take aerobic classes with a wonderful teacher Jeanette who allowed me to join her when visiting, and a good workout it was. She swam and later walked daily in the pool during the long warm Florida weather. I took her to nature parks and trails when I visited and she began to enjoy the birds and tropical flowers in more detail. One time I took her to what was going to be an hour guided tour of a very special preserve. The executive director came to lead the tour and in his excitement kept us on the trail for 3 hours. This was maybe 10 years ago and at 80 years old it didn’t faze my mom that the plans changed so quickly.
Mom and her sister Barbara played mahjong and bridge with friends, and scrabble when family members visited. For mom these years in Florida were quite social with all the games, exercise, and weekly Century Village entertainment.
Mom cared about the world in a quiet and determined way. In addition to the volunteer work she donated to many organizations concerned with Judaism, nature, health and more. When we traveled and my head was overfilled with history facts I couldn’t remember, I was amazed talking with her later just how much she remembered. She was interested in how the world worked and how people lived. She did her best to support her family without judgement and with love.
Lastly, I want to say, mom picked a place to retire that was not just for her, but for her family. West Palm Beach and the Century Village Retirement Community offered her family beautiful beaches, downtown music and events, a gym, pools, exercise classes and music events. Her neighbors, upon learning of her death, are saddened and surprised as they remarked she was always exercising and taking care of herself. They are already missing her quiet, endearing and steady presence.
And let me just say, my own opinion, that she left in good company, flying to the heavens on the same day at RBG and on the very special holiday of the Jewish New Year. Doris May Greenspan, you are missed.
Doris is was preceded in death by her husband Arthur Greenspan, son Joseph Greenspan, brother Herbert Katz, and companion Arthur Wolinsky. She leaves to cherish the many good times, daughters Roberta and Sharon Greenspan, sister Barbara Katz, grandson Sammy Greenspan and daughter in law Evelyn Greenspan. Also mourning her loss are cousins Susan and Joel Katz, relatives Elaine and Lisa Cohen.
The family would like to thank family friend David Pressler for presiding as Rabbi at her funeral. Donations in honor of Doris can be made to the Congregation Anshei shalom (561-684-3212) or American Heart Association
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020