We’re here today to mourn the passing but also to honor the life of Priscilla Garber, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and cherished friend.
She was born in New York and raised with her brother Philip who we remember today.
She went to Hunter College for Business and then into the work world. She was the highest paid secretary in the Empire State building; she made $18 a week.
She was introduced to Harold by her best friend and cousin. When Harold was courting her, he brought her a gardenia on the train from New Haven. They were married and moved here and had Heidi and Alan. Priscilla was a loving but firm and strong parent who raised her children with wonderful values including the virtue of hard work.
In 1953, when Heidi was three, they started the store on Whalley Ave. They starting selling venetian blinds. She was the inside person and Harold was the outside person. Harold would make the fixtures. They they started doing linens; they would buy 100 of towels and then sell 100 towels and then buy more. In 1963, they started the Amity store. There was a fire in 1974 and they rebuilt and then moved to the Litchfield Turnpike.
Priscilla and Harold had a wonderful relationship that included work and family. They traveled to places like California, St. Martin’s and Guadeloupe. There was Aruba every year. In the last stage of Harold’s life, Priscilla was the greatest wife anyone could have had for 46 years. She was superhuman in her dedication to her husband; no one could have done more, day in and day out, sacrificing everything for him, neglecting herself and her needs. We are so sorry that Harold passed away so early, when he was only 72. And here is Priscilla who lived until she was almost 96.
Priscilla took wonderful care of her mother Molly Brandfon who lived until 103. Heidi learned a lot from watching Priscilla with her mother. There will be sadness about her mother’s death, but no regrets, because everything that could have been done for her was done. And even from California, Alan has always been a wonderful son to his beloved mother.
We mourn today with Heidi and Alan and Michelle.
We mourn with her cherished grandchildren Jeffrey, Eric and Jillian. There were wonderful times like a trip to Cooperstown. We mourn with Eric and Jaimie and her great-grandchildren Eli, Carson and Isabel.
I can tell you that over the years, she always knew everything that was going on with each of the kids and she felt every up and every down personally and deeply.
She was close to her nieces and nephews.
She has been a member of this synagogue since the early 60. She was an active member of the Sisterhood.
She was a sociable person who played Mah Jongg and canasta.
Priscilla was a strong person, a survivor, an independent person. Priscilla made several circles between the towers and the hospital and rehab homes and back to the Towers. But in all that time, she never let anyone know how bad she was feeling. Even towards the end, she always had a smile on her face.
If you disappointed her, she told you so, but then that was it; there was no grudge and it never came up again.
We thank her aide Nevea and her family who became family to Priscilla.
I want to add a personal note. At one of the rehab centers she was at, I asked her about how they started the store. And in exquisite detail, she told me how they did it, step by step by step. She remembered everything. And as opposed to bragging of their success, she told me how every order and every step was a risk that they took. She brought me back to each situation. I have had a thousand conversations about business with people over the years, but this was the best one I ever had; it was like an education in how to start and run a business. And now remember that she was 94 at the time. To me, she was quite remarkable in every way.
To Heidi and Alan 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.