We’re here today to mourn the passing but also to cherish the life of Helen Drucker, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Helen was born 98 years ago on April 20, 1921 in Manhattan. She grew up with her younger brother Leo. Her parents owned a candy store and she helped out. She would have a sweet tooth her whole life.
She graduated high school and worked during the war. Later she went back to work with a visiting nurse service for 17 years till she was 65.
She married Milton and they had their beloved daughter Thea, but Milton died at a very young age. Helen met Sol on a blind date and they married in 1954. They had Gary a year later. Thea and Gary have great memories of going to bungalow colonies in the Catskills every summer. Gary will talk about her as a mother in a few minutes.
They moved here in 87 to Sutton Towers. Sol passed away in 93 but Helen, at 73, kept going. She didn’t rue what she didn’t have. She was a survivor. Whatever it was, it would be ok.
She was active in Naamat. She volunteered at the Jewish Home when Sol was there and afterwards. She had hobbies, like playing Mah jongg. She did a lot of volunteering. She knitted for Preemies. She helped at the Downtown Evening Soup kitchen.
She was in Schulfand shows at the shul and there are great memories of her singing “Happy talk” and dancing with Malcolm Freedman.
Music ran through her life. Even in the last stages, she knew the words to every song. She had an amazing ability to remember all the songs.
She and Marge bonded in many ways but a principal one was their shared love of music. She became a second mother to Marge and Marge will talk about this herself.
She was proud of Thea and Richard and Gary and Marge.
She lived for 8 years at the Towers and had many friends there. She was in the Glee club. She went to services there and set things up for Friday night services.
She wanted to be very independent.
She took care of her own finances.
She tried to be self-sufficient.
She was a very good grandmother, and both Lonn and Robyn will speak in a few minutes. All the kids in the neighborhood loved her and called her grandma. They would go swimming in her pool at Sutton Towers. Helen would be at all their events and ball games.
She was thrilled about her great-grandchildren Nathan and Leo and talked about them a lot.
One of my favorite moments was when I stood up in front of hundreds of people at the Towers and I heard someone shout, “That’s my rabbi”. And with out looking, I said, “I love you too, Helen.”
I’m not exactly a huggy kissy kind of guy but I even kissed her once on the bima on the High Holidays.
Helen was a positive, loving, caring, wonderful person. Helen Drucker loved life. She was always dancing. She celebrated every day. She was always the first to offer a smile. She was the first to offer a helping hand. She wanted to be part of the party. Our friend Viv Kantrow, who worked at the Towers, said: “To know her was a special gift of a special friend.”
To Thea and Gary and the whole family, we wish you G-d’s comfort at this sad time. She was a righteous woman. May she rest in peace. Let us say Amen.