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Stella Stern Abrams

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Stella Stern Abrams Funeral services for Stella Stern Abrams (nee Rein), 87, will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, at Congregation Albert, 3800 Louisiana Blvd., NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Internment will be in the Congregation Albert Cemetery within Fairview Cemetery, also in Albuquerque. Shiva will be held at the home of her daughter, Paula Donahue. She died peacefully under hospice care in Albuquerque Friday, Feb. 3, 2006 after a long series of strokes over the past several years. At her side were her loving daughters, Paula Donahue and Rosella Stern and her dear son-in-law, Steven Donahue. She was preceded in death 33 years ago by her beloved husband and the father of her children, Jerome Stern and her second husband, Norman Abrams, with whom she shared a decade in her 60s and early 70s. She is also survived by her son-in-law, Freddie Walker and her granddaughter, Rebecca Bloom and partner Beth Bloom and her great-grandson, Elijah Jerome Bloom. She is also survived by a large extended family and Norman Abrams' children Peggy, Linda, Bill, Phillip and their families. Stella was born in Chicago on the first day of spring, March 21, 1918, the third child of Isadore and Dora Rein. Along with her older brothers, Sid and Joe, she spent her childhood on the near-Southside and old West Side of Chicago, graduating from Marshall High School in 1934. She worked for many years at the old Spiegel catalog company and became a stay-at-home mom as her children grew. She attended college classes in early childhood development and psychology and was active in the Emmett Grammar School PTA, B'nai Brith, and visual education for children. She was especially proud of her involvement in the start of Chicago public television as an educational conduit. At the heart of her life, however, was her closeness to her mother and extended family in Austin, a neighborhood of Chicago. Once her children were both settled in school, she began to return to work in the mid-50s to assist her elder daughter in attending college. She held a long-time position as a departmental administrator at Educational Testing Service in Evanston, Ill., and worked there until her retirement. After the death of her second husband, and her mother, who died at 99, she moved west to Albuquerque to live independently near her younger daughter Paula. She became active in the religious and cultural life of the city. She was the visiting grandma for children at Congregation B'nai Israel and Congregation Albert kindergartens. During those same years she taught cooking in the second grade at Kirtland Elementary. Stella was long active in teaching English as a second language to adults from around the world, both in Chicago and Albuquerque and prepared many adults for citizenship. Her community activities included the local Hadassah, the sisterhood of Congregation Albert and supporting vocational education for the State of Israel. She was nationally honored for her volunteer service as a member of the Ha Ha Cart at the University of New Mexico Hospital Service League. Stella enjoyed dance, theater, the visual arts and her walks in nature, as well as trips to Europe and Japan and cruises to Alaska and around the fjords of Norway. She was a friend to many, a support to individuals in need and a surrogate mother to those who had lost their own. In her later years, friends, family and caregivers all enjoyed her company and the effort that she made with the support of her daughter, Paula, to "stay in the swim" even after debilitating injuries and strokes. Always eager, Stella was once known for waiting by the door, seated with pocketbook in hand, ready to venture forth. Her brother, Joseph Rein and her step-sister, Gloria Edwards survive her as the remaining siblings of a blended Rein/Gold family including her elder brother, Sid Rein, and her stepbrothers and stepsisters, Rose Goldberg, Anita Bogorad, Herbert Gold, and Pearl Jacobson, who died this past week in Scottsdale, Ariz. She was a woman of strong will and deep love for life. She will be profoundly missed by all who were touched by her. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Stella's honor to Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, 5520 Wyoming Blvd., NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Arrangements were made by French Mortuary, Inc., Albuquerque, 505-275-3500.
Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on Feb. 6, 2006
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