Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Location: Waters Chapel
Cemetery: Beth Moses Cemetery
Shiva will be observed at the home of Paula and Richard Dank, 65 Chenango Drive, Jericho,New York on Wednesday following the interment until 5pm, also Wednesday from 6:30-8:30pm, Thursday 1:00-5:00pm and 6:30-8:30pm, Friday 1:00-5:00pm, Saturday Evening 7:00-9:00pm Sunday 1:00-6:00pm.
Please omit flowers. Contributions in memory of Harriet Dank may be sent to Hadassah or ORT or Gurwin, Fay Lindner Residences
For our friends and family who were unable to join us at Mom’s funeral service this was my eulogy:
This past Saturday night, Mom’s first grandchild, Jordan was married. Sunday morning was a brunch. As Larry and I were driving, after the brunch ended ,to see Mom, I got a call that she was declining rapidly. The immediate family gathered at her bedside and she was gone 15 hours later. Mom never inconvenienced anyone, she would especially never want to interrupt a family celebration and she didn’t.
A number of years ago Mom fell and broke her wrist, there were no calls to us……. Mom drove herself to Mohs Surgery and called a taxi after a colonoscopy. She was a beautiful woman of gentle strength, who never complained.
Mom was the greatest influence in my life. She encouraged me to always continue my education and to use the skills, she recognized I had ,for a career in business. She set the example, by completing in 1978, her B.A. in English, that was interrupted when she became pregnant with me. She took courses throughout her life.
A number of years ago, I gave Mom a plaque that says and I quote “all that I am, my mother made me” by John Quincy Adams. On another occasion, I gave her sculpture that reads “I have dreamed. I have achieved. All because you believed in me.”
Rich, Steve and I were very lucky to have Harriet and Irving as parents. And, they were lucky to have each other as life-mates.
Mom planned, with some help, and gave me a surprise 60th birthday party. That is a memory I will always hold dear.
When Mom could no longer use the telephone, her friends began calling me on a regular basis. I now have a cadre of old friends in their late 80’s. Many of these women knew Mom from childhood and some of them were her bridesmaids. To me they were adopted aunts. The calls to these ladies were the most difficult calls I had to make when Mom passed. But, they all had wonderful stories to tell me about Mom, some of which I didn’t know. The beauty contests she won. She was much too modest to tell us about. There were always “pushkes” — charity boxes for coins on the counter in Mom’s kitchen. That she never said a bad word about anyone even if they deserved it. As a teenager she would lend clothes to her friends when they didn’t have things to wear on a special date. How Daddy saw her quiet, elegant manner and vigorously pursued her. As I heard the story, Dad had a new car, which I guess was somewhat unusual after the war. If she went out with anyone else he would wait outside and after her date ended he would drive the guy home. One friend referred to her as “Saint Harriet”.
Larry told me he knew little about Mom because she always asked about him and didn’t talk about herself. A niece who couldn’t be here called to say “she was the best Aunt and was always there for her.”
Mom always taught us if you can’t say anything nice, please say nothing at all. She never gossiped or criticized. As she walked around the assisted living facility, she was always saying hello to people, asking how they were, and if you gave her anything there was always a big thank you.
Mom had lots of interests, family and friends came first, literature, the arts, traveling, trips with friends to Tanglewood, tennis…….. I could go on and on. As a child, I thought all families spent their weekends in the museums. Early in my life, Mom introduced me to the theater, always followed by a trip to a café.
Mom and I switched roles as her memory declined but she remained Mommy until the end.
One of the suggestions we made, if you wish to donate in Mom’s memory, is to Gurwin. If you do so, please specify it is in memory of Harriet Dank. I’ve spoken to the Director of Fundraising, as Gurwin has multiple facilities, I have asked that these monies be used in the memory care unit where mom resided for the last two years and was so well taken care of. Some of those individuals who helped to care for Mom are here today and we will always be grateful to them.
Thank you for coming today to honor Mom and her memory.