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Ida Ruth Schlesinger, age 111, died at her home on July 3, 2014, surrounded by her family. She was born in New Castle, Pa., on November 7, 1902, to Bessie Zieve Cohen and Harry Ellis Cohen.
Ida was raised in New Castle, where she was a product of the new spirit of the 20th century, that included optimism about a better future through technology and education, and this was reflected in her embrace of all things modern. In the 1920s, she was already driving a car, wearing pants in public, and furnishing her home with Art Deco furniture. Ida's love of movies may have started when the original Warner Brothers first came from Youngstown, Ohio to New Castle to show a movie in a storefront.
After graduating from New Castle High School, she attended the Kindergarten Training School of Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland, Ohio. She taught elementary school in New Castle, until her first marriage to Marvin A. Kohen, where upon she moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio. She was widowed in 1932.
In 1937, she married Attorney W. Louis Schlesinger and moved to Erie, Pa. They enjoyed 44 years together, before his death in 1980. They celebrated many happy occasions with their family and friends in their home, at the Peninsula, and on trips both in the U.S. and overseas. They enjoyed attending concerts, Broadway shows, and other events at Chautauqua, Cleveland, and Toronto.
She was a member of Temple Anshe Hesed and volunteered at the Sunday school, the Temple Sisterhood, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Golden Age Club. Among the other organizations she belonged to, were Hadassah, the Erie County Lawyers' Wives Association, and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Ida excelled in all the homemaking arts: cooking, gardening, interior decoration, needlework, and entertaining. She also enjoyed reading, playing canasta, and wrote beautifully descriptive and supportive letters to family and friends. She was an admirer of all of Erie's cultural organizations, especially those for children, and joined the zoo, in conjunction with other wonderfully planned events for her grandchildren's entertainment.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husbands, four brothers, Henry Cohen (Ida), William Cohen (Adell), Philip Cohen (Jennie Tave), and Louis Cohen; and three sisters, Helen Sachs (Max), Ann Cohen (Sol), and Rose Kahn (Abe).
She is survived by her daughter, Harriett Sue Schlesinger Friedberg of New York City; her grandchildren, Wendy Cawthon (David) of Seattle, Wash., Sandra Ezhikode (Anujan) of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mark Friedberg of New York City; and her great-grandson, Ross Cawthon, of Chicago. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews, and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
She will always be remembered for her friendliness, determination, generosity, and devotion to her family and community. The family wishes to thank all the devoted caregivers who gave her their time and friendship over many, many years. In addition, we extend our deep appreciation to Dr. Bruce Gebhardt and staff, and the team at VNA Hospice.
Burial was private at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Erie, Pa., with Rabbi John Bush officiating.
Arrangements were entrusted to Burton Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 602 West 10th Street, Erie, PA 16502.
Memorial contributions may be made to the
Published in the Erie Times-News on July 27, 2014