As a museum docent, Claire Fabric inspired others to be uplifted by art and Jewish history. She brought warmth and care to every tour she led, said education directors at the Milwaukee Museum of Art and the Jewish Museum Milwaukee.
Fabric, a volunteer educator, an activist fighting hunger with Congregation Shalom, and a social worker for Jewish Family Services, died Oct. 25 of leukemia. She was 77.
Those whose paths she crossed remember her by the way she engaged others in positive conversation about their troubles and concerns, never her own.
“She was interested in the world in which we live,” said Congregation Shalom Rabbi Emeritus Ronald Shapiro. “She reached into her heart and her soul, and she always wanted to do whatever she possibly could to enrich the lives of others.”
The Claire Fabric Food Pantry Fund at Congregation Shalom was set up to commemorate the food drives she led, the most memorable one marking her 65th birthday. “Even though she is gone, she’s still feeding people. That is what she wanted to do, always.” said her husband, Dr. Ken Fabric, a Glendale ophthalmologist. Together, they had four children and 11 grandchildren.
Fabric was the first chair of the docent program when Jewish Museum Milwaukee opened in 2008. “Kids were inspired by her,” said Ellie Gettinger, education director. “She would be totally inspired by them. It was such a wonderful thing to see that mutual regard between her and each group, if they were 18 years old or 80 years old. She had this real sense of respect and energy that she got from the group she took through the museum.”
Fabric also served as a docent for 30 years at Milwaukee Art Museum. “She had this effervescent smile and sparkling eyes, a really warm and welcoming personality to make every visitor, including children, feel like a VIP guest,” said Amy Kirschke, director of adult, docent and school programs. “Kids didn’t want to leave because they were having so much fun.”
Dr. Fabric said his wife always wanted to learn and was a voracious reader. “She was always fascinated by the Holocaust. She had a way of reaching kids who were first learning that there was a Holocaust.”
As a college-trained social worker, Fabric worked many years ago for Jewish Family Services setting up programs in greater Milwaukee for spousal abuse, youth mentoring and refugee resettlement. “She was very instrumental in that,” Dr. Fabric said.
Contributions can be made to the Claire Fabric Food Pantry Fund at Congregation Shalom, 7630 N. Santa Monica Blvd. Milwaukee, WI 53217.