Fanny “Francine” Gelernter

Fanny “Francine” Gelernter

GELERNTER: Fanny “Francine” Gelernter. During Shabbat, Dec. 24, 2021, our beautiful ladybug and butterfly lovin’ Fanny “Francine” Gelernter, aka “Mrs. G.,” of Squirrel Hill and formerly Monroeville, Pennsylvania, was again reunited with the love of her life and husband, Simon (z”l), who preceded her in death in 1997, along with their son, David Bruce Gelernter (z”l) in 1959, and parents Israel Olitsky (z”l), Zena (z”l) and Leon Schack (z”l).
Survived by her children Maureen “Mimi” and Joel Waldman, and Steve and Jacki Gelernter; grandchildren Sara and Brendon O’Connor, Dara Brown, Max Gelernter and Eli Gelernter; “bonus” grandchildren, Lindsay Kopecky, Jonathan Waldman and Margot Waldman; and extended family Natalie and “Sir” Richard Berger. The four-legged family members: Frankie 4 Paws, Yoffi, Maya, Bjorn, Tova and Shadow, were also a great source of joy for her.
She taught students of all ages for 45-plus years at Hebrew Institute, Temple David, Temple Sinai, Parkway Jewish Center and Rodef Shalom. She was gifted and dedicated when assisting a student in the preparation of their bar/bat mitzvah.
Upon the sudden death of Simon, Fanny decided to keep his memory alive by continuing his practice of delivering presentations about her childhood Holocaust experience, including Kovno ghetto and Stutthof concentration camp, stating “I am the voice who speaks to you on behalf of all of the voices that have been silenced.” She had a bat mitzvah at age 79 and, later that year, returned with Steve, Jacki, Max, and Eli to her hometown of Kovno, Lithuania, as well as to Palanga, Lithuania, the beach town where she vacationed as a young bourgeois girl. She sought to also go to Stutthof, Poland, visiting the concentration camp she didn’t think she would survive, let alone return to see the ladybugs and butterflies that gave her hope throughout her life.
Fanny considered every day a “birth day” and brought unique perspective to every situation in her life. She always said that her children (and later her grandchildren) were her “diamonds and furs.” Consistent with her belief that it is best to “give with a warm hand,” she delighted in taking the family on a trip to Israel in 2007.
In lieu of a funeral, we will have a celebration of Fanny’s life in the spring at a time, date and place to be determined. To be notified of this event and/or share any story or experience as we Celebrate Fanny G, please email Donations may be made in her memory to The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh online or mailed to: Attn: Holocaust Center, Chatham University 0 Woodland Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15232.
Fanny’s kind, sweet wit, sass, humor and inspiration will be missed by all who met her. Do svidaniya and zei gezunt! Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. PJC

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