b. 26 Dec 1906 - Homestead, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA
d. 2 Feb 1996
Notes about Sarah Seiavitch Epstein
For many of you gathered here today, the most immediate recollection of Sarah Ep[stein may be her Eightieth Birthday Celebration cruise in July of 1988, with the generations of her family joining in songs and skits, plus T-Shirts and special dances in her honor. Loved ones included her ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren, as well as relatives of the wider Seiavitch and Burechson families. All this began almost ninety years ago in the town of Homestead, Pennsylvania, and it is therefore to that town famous for steel production and Jewish community that we return for the beginning of our tribute and the seeds of Sarah's story we celebrate.
Sarah was born to immigrant parents named Lena (Jacoson) and Benjamin Seiavitch, after two older brothers named Robert and Maurice ( both of blessed memory). Sarah's "partner" in that nuclear family back early in the Twentieth Century was her sister Lillian (Burechson), also now of blessed memory. Sarah graduated from school and found employment at the Homestead Milk Company; her mom ran the business end and her dad was likely at shul. At a Singles Dance she met the man who would be her soul mate and life partner for almost fifty years, Joe Epstein who had come from Beaver Falls, was a Jewish businessman, and had a car! The Epsteins were married on February 4, 1930 in the Morrowfield on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill with Aunt Lil as the Maid of Honor. (and for posterity: a bat Levi marrying "up" to a Kohen).
Sarah and Joe were blessed with a daughter Ina (Laman), a son Arthur, (married to Sybil), daughter Bernice (married to Jack Meyers), son Robert (married to Renee), and a daughter Lois (of blessed memory) married to Sid Somers. In addition to her mothering and housekeeping, Sarah was part of shul and community leadership ( Joe owned as Scrap Business), setting an example for the generations of her family to follow. The recollections of her sealing and sending packages to the mishpacha in Poland whenever she could are solidly sealed in the memories of all her relatives.
The children grew quickly and by mid-century there were weddings and new babies in the clan. Sarah and Joe moved to New Brighton for a new home and number 528 12th Avenue became the new magnet for their "yiddishkeit in action." Granma and Grandpa's was the center of life for forty years of weddings, visits, and baloney sandwiches for Bob (her youngest and always recipient of special family attention). The bubbe known as "Wonder Gran" emerged as the "World's greatest back seat driver" as a long list of wonderful grandchildren brought her joy and nachus: Keith, Amy, Shelly, Alyssa, Marcy, Jamin, Michael, Jillian, Matthew, and Allyson. It is hard to focus on one relationship among ten grandkids, but surely we should make special mention of "Wonder Gran" at the 1982 Bar Mitzvah of Matthew Meyers at Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem as part of a festive family delegation. Back closer to home, the generations of her family knew she was likely out shopping, with social visits always a priority at the Kosher butcher. She loved wrestling, the Steelers and the Pirates. And great-grandchildren Amy and Matt deserve to hear lots of stories and anecdotes about how special she always was.
Sarah Epstein never lost her youthful vitality. Ten years ago she joined a raft trip, and has attended countless high school and college graduations. She joined your vacations, especially to Atlantic City, and was "Mrs. Epstein" to "Mr. Somers," always with a great sense of humor. To her very end, she declared "I feel Great". Having moved to Beacon Place in 1984, she still rode the bus downtown for shopping, and stayed involved in Hadassah as in your lives. The Jewish People were always important to her, and you were her eternal Jewish bounty and blessing.