Carmen Helen Marie Carmen, 91, died Oct. 13, 2013 after a tenacious fight with leukemia and Lewy Body dementia. She lives on in our hearts and will be remembered for her creativity, kindness, zest for life and "I can do this" spirit. She was an independent woman and self-made business owner years before the women's movement. Born Nov. 22, 1921, to Russian immigrants Louis and Sophie Rubinoff, she grew up helping run The Mart, the family's department store in Springfield, Ohio. She had a passion for theater and performed lead roles in high-school plays, winning an acting scholarship to Northwestern University. In the 1940s, she opened her own business, Quality Wholesale, and was a founding partner in a Real Estate company in Springfield. An excellent dancer, she volunteered during WWII with the USO to entertain the troops. She came as a bride to Columbus, where she continued her acting career alongside motherhood. She performed for years with Kenley Players and Gallery Players, and appeared on the WBNS-TV drama, The Judge. But her best-performance was as a mother and grandmother. She enjoyed a two-decade career with Defense Construction Supply Center, and was honored by Washington for negotiating more than $100 million in savings by searching out small manufacturers who could compete with sole-source parts suppliers and coaching them on how to secure government contracts: She was a one-woman small-business administration long before government discovered the concept. She spent retirement enjoying swimnastics, Toastmasters, lunch with "the girls," Tifereth Israel Sisterhood and her granddaughter. She is preceded in death by older siblings and their spouses Ben and Sylvia Rubinoff and Ida and Sam Friedman, and dearest friends Alyce Seff and Mary Michaelson. She is missed by her daughter Barbara and son-in-law Mark Fisher; beloved granddaughter, Sophia; son, Steven Carmen of Philadelphia; dear friend, Flo Gurwin of Columbus; brother, Carl (Diane) Rubinoff; nieces and nephews. The family is grateful to Wexner Heritage Village/Zusman Hospice and Dr. Shifra Tyberg for their excellent, tender care of Helen; she was privileged to have an amazing community at Wexner that allowed her to live her final days in joy and dignity. A graveside service will be held Tuesday at Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, with Rabbi Michael Ungar officiating. Arrangements handled by Epstein Memorial Chapel. In the Jewish tradition, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tifereth Israel or Columbus Montessori Education Center Scholarship Fund, 979 S. James Rd.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Oct. 14, 2013