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VOLOVSKAYA, Deena December 30, 1917-July 25, 2011 Deena Volovskaya died peacefully Monday morning, July 25, 2011, from natural causes following a brief illness. A resident of the Sunrise Senior Living in Santa Monica, California, Deena was 93 years old. One of six children, Deena was born on December 30, 1917, to Israel Volovsky and Sarah Torgov in Yagorlik in the Ukraine. Brilliant and charismatic, she left home in her mid teens to study and earned teaching degrees in geography and history. Separated from her family during the Holocaust, she survived while almost all of them perished during World War II. After the war, Deena continued as a professor, eventually earning two gold medals, the USSR's most coveted awards in education, while also writing an acclaimed book on etiquette. In 1973, 55 year old Deena, a widow, visited her one surviving sister, Batya Geffen Sandler, in California, after obtaining a special visa. The two hadn't seen each other since early childhood. Upon Batya's insistence, Deena was able to remain in America and become a citizen. Leaving everything behind, Deena enrolled in night school to learn English while working two jobs, soon becoming known as the Fairfax neighborhood translator. With her passion for dialogue and avid interests in the arts, gardening, fitness, current events, education and world affairs, Deena has become a beloved member of numerous communities, never failing to share her joy and enthusiasm for life with everyone she meets. Deena is survived by her nephew David Geffen, as well as her many nieces and nephews, including Myles Uritz, Vivian and Elaine Geffen (daughters of the late Mitch Geffen) Julianne Gaupel Geffen, Renee Merar Geffen, Miriam and Victor Rivas Rivers, and her great-great nephew and niece, Eli Rivas and Valentina Geffen. The funeral is scheduled for Thursday, July 28, 2011, at 11 a.m. at Mt. Sinai Memorial. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Jewish Home for the Aged.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from July 26 to July 27, 2011
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