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Elene R. Needelman


1928 - 2020
Elene R. Needelman, born May 21st 1928 in Hartford, CT., passed from this world on Sunday March 22, 2020 at the UCONN hospital; the result of respiratory failure. Elene was born to, and was predeceased by her mother, Betty G. Rosenthal, and father, Judge Samuel Rosenthal. She survived the passing of her husband Sidney Needelman in 1957, and was left to raise two young boys, Marc (then 5 years old) and Steven (then 3 years old). She was raised in the West End of Hartford, where she attended primary school. Her secondary education was at The Gateway School in New Haven. Elene's early years were difficult, as she developed a spinal condition; the treatment for which required her to be placed in a full body cast for many months while she received treatment and care at a New Jersey hospital which specialized in such treatment. Fortunately, her treatment was successful and she recovered well. Post-secondary education took place at the University of Missouri, where Elene earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, which served her well later in life with her employment and other pursuits. While at the university, she was active in the Jewish Student Organization, an avocation she continued to pursue later in life. Elene met her husband to be, Sidney in Florida, shortly after his discharge from the military, and his enrollment in post-graduate studies at the University of Florida. Upon his graduation, they relocated to the Hartford area, where she remained for the rest of her full life. Once her two boys were born, Elene worked part-time in her mother's business, Town and County Clothes, which was located in West Hartford Center, but her real work was raising two boys by herself. This she did with true dedication and sacrifice, teaching her boys that the most important thing that they could do was to "do the right thing". Doing the right thing meant that when her father passed, she welcomed her mother into her home. Betty lived with Elene and the boys for many years. Imagine, two young boys living with two very strong-willed women! Once her boys were off to college, Elene entered the full-time employment field, starting with The Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (now Cigna), serving them as a Contract & Legislative Analyst. After many years of service, Elene "retired", only to take up a second career in Real Estate sales. She was licensed as a real estate agent, and joined Coldwell Banker where she made many friends, and helped numerous people buy and sell their homes. She became a Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist, and particularly enjoyed assisting those of her generation. Lest one think that Elene was simply a mother and part of the labor force, she always made time to serve and assist others. While the list is too long to mention in full, some of the most notable was her being a founding member and vice president of the Beth Hillel Synagogue in Bloomfield, where she relocated to in 1952, and remained a resident until her death. As a member of Beth Hillel, she served as the president of its Sisterhood. Her commitment went well beyond her faith. She joined and became a member of the Bloomfield League of Women Voters, eventually serving as its president. With her concern for public education, she served as a Director of the Citizen's Scholarship Foundation of Bloomfield. Elene's devotion to community and others were expressed by her involvement as a member and district co-chair of the Bloomfield Democratic Town Committee for more than 45 years. One of her proudest endeavors was her service to Bloomfield while serving as a commissioner on the Town Plan & Zoning Commission. Here she utilized her common sense, and training in business and real estate. She continued serving her community as a Commissioner of the Metropolitan District Commission, working to serve the interests of Bloomfield's residents, and those other communities served by the MDC. Again, Elene put to good use her training and experience in serving and leading as a president of the Balbrae Condominium Association. Although her background and training was in the corporate and business world, Elene still found time to belong to and serve as a director of the Wintonbury Land Trust which is based in Bloomfield. Concern, even for those she didn't know, led Elene to be involved for many years a Blood Mobile chair at the Cigna corporation. She was also chosen by the Governor to serve as a member of the State Board of Accountancy, which oversees the licensing and regulation of accountants. As if that weren't enough, Elene still made time to enjoy the world she lived in. Following the example set by her mother, Elene explored the world, traveling extensively through Europe, Israel and Asia. She was one of the very first Americans to tour China when it first opened up to the world. Her favorite excursions were music trips to Europe, where she enjoyed visiting and listening at the great opera and symphony halls there. In her later years, when getting around became difficult, she sought assistance from Jewish Family Services and Companions For Living, who sent her two marvelous aids, Jodi and Phyllis. Both women devoted themselves to her care and happiness; something the family is most grateful for. Elene is survived by her children, Marc Needelman, and wife Sandra of Bloomfield, and Steven Needelman and his wife Davida, of West Hartford. She leaves 3 adoring grandchildren, Sidney of Miami, FL., Seth of Queens, NY., and Jared of West Hartford. She also leaves her younger sister, Ann Hodgdon-Cyr of West Hartford, CT., and several cousins and nieces. Mom's final words to us were "It Came Too Soon". Think about that as we live on. Due to the pandemic, no public funeral service may be held and a private service and internment will take place at the Beth Hillel Synagogue cemetery in East Granby. For the same reason, there will be no Shiva (visitation). Elene was a Woman of valor. If you wish to honor Elene's memory, the family suggests that you consider a contribution to one of mom's most important charities; The Emanuel Synagogue- Library Fund, 160 Mohegan Dr. West Hartford, CT. 06117, or the Wintonbury Land Trust P.O. Box 734 Bloomfield, CT. 06002 . May her memory be for a blessing.
Published in The Hartford Courant on Mar. 24, 2020
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