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Jeanette Oshman

Obituary Condolences

JEANETTE OSHMAN passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home on March 25, 2009. Jeanette was oldest of three children born to Fanny and Jacob Epstein, who emigrated to Houston in 1921 with their young family from a small bordertown somewhere between Poland and Russia. They settled in Houston, where she quickly learned English as her fifth language. After graduating from high school, she began working for her uncle, Joe Levit, at Grocer Supply. Industrious and highly motivated, she began law classes at night school. It was while working at Grocer Supply that she first saw Jake Oshman and determined that was the man for her. She immediately decided that she needed a new pair of tennis shoes, and the best and only place to buy them was going to be Oshman's Sporting Goods. Of course she met Jake and he was charmed by her. They married in 1936. She was a devoted wife and wonderful mother to their three children. Sadly, they lost their son Martin Lee when he was just five. She was a spirited partner in both their family and business life. They were happily married until his death in 1965. After Jake's death she realized that her presence at the 7 Oshman's stores was needed and important to the associates. She shepherded the loyal Oshman's staff and convinced them that the company would survive Jake's death and remain in family hands. She then named son-in-law Alvin Lubetkin as president and herself as chairman of the board. It prospered. Lubetkin headed the organization until the 2001 merger with Gart Sports. In 1971 she met Meyer (Bubba) Efron and they soon married. They traveled, ate at Maxim's every Friday night and lived happily together until 1995 when he passed away. Jeanette was interested and active in the Houston business community. She always said "they can't make any more land" and "I think I'll buy some" and ventured into the real estate business. She showed that she had great instincts and a sense of timing. She had a soft way about her, but was a tough business woman. Others often referred to her as "the iron butterfly". She was a true independent thinker and certainly a contrarian. She leaves a legacy of generosity that will be remembered throughout Houston. Her commitment to both individuals and organizations has impacted many lives and can be seen in buildings and projects throughout the city. She supported Jewish organizations and others who emphasized education through universities, hospitals, schools, art and science. Baylor College of Medicine, Seven Acres, Houston Holocaust Museum, Musuem of Fine Arts, Beren Academy and the Baylor Institute for Molecular Genetics. Jeanette is survived by her two daughters, Judy Margolis and her husband, Kenneth, and Marilyn Oshman and partner, Alvin Lubetkin. She is also survived by her sister, Ruth Freedman and her three children. She adored her four grandchildren, Karen Desenberg, Gary Gerson and wife, Cindy, Andrew Lubetkin and his wife, Cindy, and Jay Gerson and his wife, Celine. She also was in awe of her 9 great grandchildren, in order of their ages, Jake Gerson, Max Gerson, Morgan Gerson, Ryder Desenberg, Alvin Lubetkin, Daily Desenberg, Hope Desenberg, Ava Lubetkin and Marilyn Lubetkin. Over the past seven years Jeanette's life was immeasurably enriched by the daily visits of Gary to see his grandmother. Her life was also immensely lengthened and improved by the loving care of Dr. Alan Hoffman and her attending caregivers, Sharon Campbell, Dionne Johnson, Berdie Tolden, LaShall Johnson and Sebrena Thomas. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in honor of Jeanette Oshman to Congregation Emanu El, Baylor Institute of Mollecular Genetics, or the Beren Academy. Services will be held at 1:00PM on March 27, at Emanu El Memorial Park in the Kagan Rudy Chapel, 8341 Bissonnet Friends and family will gather at the home of Karen Desenberg on Saturday, March 28, from 2:00PM.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 26, 2009
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