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Pamela Moore Epstein

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Epstein, Pamela Moore ALBANY Pamela Moore Epstein, "The Lady Auctioneer," passed away on June 11, 2014 at Albany Medical Center with her loving family at her side. Pamela made a difference in the lives of many and will be missed by all who knew her. Her remarkable life ranged from a British convent education to becoming America's first woman auctioneer in New York's Borscht Belt. From Ave to Oy Vey, this English rose bloomed wherever fate planted her. Pamela was born in London, England on January 20, 1927, to nightclub owners and champion ballroom dancers, Matthew and Dena Davidson, who predeceased her. She survived the London Blitz, studied art at St. Alban's, learned to tap dance, play the ukulele and presided over the "Chimpanzees' Tea Parties" at the London Zoo. After the war, she moved to the United States, where she met and married decorated war hero Morris Gugig. In 1958, the couple moved to the Borscht Belt in Sullivan County with daughters, Debra and Melissa. Sadly, Morris died two years later. Devastated, Pamela returned to England where her daughters attended school for a year, before moving back to Sullivan County. There, her love of antiques led her to convert an old blacksmith's shop into "The Old Curiosity Stop" in Woodbourne. She filled it with a delightful jumble of unique antiques and collectables and drew discerning buyers from the tri-state area and beyond. Blessed with a quick wit and a silver tongue, Pamela decided to become an auctioneer. She graduated from the Reisch School of Auctioneering. She earned the auctioneer's title of Colonel but was known as "The Lady Auctioneer." She also attracted the attention of renowned antiques dealer, Robert "Trader" Moore, who won her hand and heart. Tragically, Robert predeceased her. Once again, Pamela's indomitable spirit carried her through. She achieved national fame for her skillful and lively performance in the male-dominated field of auctioneering. Her television appearances included "Good Morning America," "The Today Show" and the BBC's "London Live," while her appraisal and lecture tours took her around the country. Pamela was a voracious reader, die-hard "Star Trek" fan, and an accomplished artist who exhibited in New York's Greenwich Village. She was a free and creative spirit and a talented writer whose provocative letters to the editor were published without hesitation. She championed the rights of those who were less fortunate and spoke out against all forms of injustice. Pamela loved all animals and enjoyed watching and feeding birds. During her productive career, she used her talents to raise well over $250,000 to benefit the Liberty Ambulance Corps, Woodbourne Dutch Reform Church, Liberty Rotary Club, Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the Eagle Fest, animal shelters and many other causes. Pamela was the first woman director of the New Jersey State Society of Auctioneers; NJSSA also elected her the first woman Auctioneer of the Year. Other honors include winning the prestigious International Platform Speakers Association Award, and being listed in the "International Who's Who of Women." No matter how hectic her life was, her daughters never remember her saying, "Not now, I don't have time for you." Her birthday cakes, cream puffs and chocolate eclairs were legendary. So were the picnics, fishing trips and the number of places at the dinner table to accommodate her children and their classmates for dinner and school projects and folks who had nowhere to go on Christmas or Thanksgiving. Lawrence Epstein, a Supreme Court reporter, was captivated by Pamela's beauty and sense of humor. Lawrence and Pamela married in 1971 and collaborated on a series of humorous auction ads that featured colorful characters and dialogues that kept newspaper readers hungry for each new episode. Unfortunately, Lawrence died in 1983. Pamela took a job with the Rose Valley Senior Developmental Disabilities Program and eventually became their program manager. She brought in guest speakers and created diverse activities for older adults with developmental disabilities while still doing benefit auctions and appraisals. After suffering a stroke, Pamela spent her last years, near her eldest daughter Debra, at Our Lady of Mercy Nursing Home in Guilderland, where she received the utmost in loving care and attention. Pamela's family extends its gratitude to the staff of Our Lady of Mercy Nursing Home, especially Rich Mac Martin, CNA, Millie Antonecchia, RN, Mary Waugh, RN, and her aide Alnita Beathea, CNA. Donations in Pamela's memory to OLOM would be greatly appreciated. Pamela is survived by her daughters, Debra Gugig-Bauer (Alan) and Melissa Gugig-Rennie (David Shapiro); sisters-in-law, Phyllis Harris (Bernie) and Shirley Jaffee; nieces, Tzipora Reitman (Moshe) and Melanie Harris-Prospect (Michael); a nephew, Matthew Harris, a granddaughter, Samantha Shapiro; great-nieces, Dawn Bauer- Lombardo and Kristy Bauer- O'Reilly (Kevin) AKA "The Bauerettes"; her beloved cat Sophie Marie and countless friends and fans, especially, Gerri Bowers, Leni Binder and Carol Smythe. Services will be held on Friday June 20, 2014 at OLOM Chapel. Visitation at 1:30 p.m. Service at 2 p.m. For details, or to leave a condolence message or special memory, please visit SimpleChoicescremation.com.
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Published in Albany Times Union on June 19, 2014
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