Obituaries, July 2023 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Obituaries, July 2023

Dr. James J. Ansfield 

Dr. James J. Ansfield, a vibrant fixture of Milwaukee’s Jewish community, died on April 10, 2023, at his home in Mequon. He was 81.  

An adored physician, husband, father, friend, and chocoholic, Jimmy dedicated his life to sharing life’s joys and his infectious spirit with others. Among much else, he will be remembered as an extraordinary doctor who prioritized bedside manner and personalized care over the bottom line. Known later in life as “Jimmy Blue,” he was often seen in cobalt hues, exuding sweetness, compassion and youthful cheer. Even at the age of 80, he was a crowd favorite in the annual Whitefish Bay Fourth of July Parade, rollerblading in his stars and stripes costume as “Patriotic Super Roller Doc.” 

The son of a revered doctor (Maurice) and UW-Milwaukee literature scholar (Esther), Jimmy graduated from Whitefish Bay High and UW-Madison. In his formative years he spent summers in the Northwoods helping to launch Camp Timberlane. He later earned a degree from Marquette Medical School (now the Medical College of Wisconsin) and trained at Wadsworth VA Hospital in Los Angeles and Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver, before entering private practice and returning to Milwaukee in 1977. Over the next 35 years, he honed a profoundly humanistic approach to internal medicine and gastroenterology. An appointment with Dr. Ansfield was as likely to traverse intestinal issues as it was family matters. In all probability, he would whip out his wallet and share photos of his kids and grandkids. 

Jim will be dearly missed by his beloved wife, Joni, his children Jonathan and Amy (Li) Ansfield, and Bench Ansfield and Nataliya Braginsky, his brother Dr. Tom and Lynn Ansfield, his stepchildren Randy, Timmy, and Danielle Strauss, and his grandchildren Mirah and Rivah Ansfield, and Chandlar, Cole, Justin, and Riley Strauss. 

The funeral took place April 14 at Congregation Sinai. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center or the charity of your choice are appreciated. Burial at Second Home Cemetery. Rabbi David Cohen and Blane Goodman Funeral Service assisted the family.  

Norman J. Blankstein 

Norman J. Blankstein died on May 24, 2023, at the age of 85.   

Beloved husband of Beverly Blankstein (nee Pearlman). Loving father of Mona (John) Dunn and Michael (Jennifer Dressler) Blankstein.  Proud grandfather of Katherine Dunn. Preceded in death by his siblings, Donald (Marilyn) Blankstein and Shirley (Eugene) Bass. Further survived by other dear relatives and friends. 

As a principal, co-leader, and vice president of Blankstein Enterprises and a certified property manager member, Norman was in the second generation of a family business that owned and managed hotels and apartments in the Milwaukee area. Norman shared his knowledge and helped others obtain real estate certifications by teaching real estate courses in Milwaukee and Florida. He was president of the Council of Independent Managers, where he led a group of privately-owned business owners who regularly met to discuss issues, challenges and opportunities that they each faced in their respective businesses. As an active member of Congregation Beth Israel in Milwaukee, Norman was treasurer, a member of the men’s club, taught Jewish history in the synagogue’s Hebrew school, and regularly led services. He graduated from Michigan State University, loved major league baseball and Wisconsin sports, and collected sports memorabilia. He enjoyed going on cruises, traveling abroad, and attending concerts and plays with his wife, Beverly.   

Beginning with his dedication to the well-being of his parents, Norman was a loving and devoted son, husband, father and grandfather. 

Graveside funeral service held on May 28 at Second Home Cemetery, Milwaukee. Rabbi Joel Alter officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association or Jewish Home and Care Center appreciated. 

Betty Ann Croen 

The children of Betty Ann Croen, née Zien, are sad to announce the passing of their beloved mother at age 97 on June 11, 2023 in Milwaukee.  

Betty was a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, graduating from Shorewood High School in 1944, the University of Michigan in 1948 and marrying her cherished husband Philip Croen in 1950 with whom she shared 62 years. Together they raised four children, including Shari Croen (deceased 1992) and Fred Croen (Amy), Ronald Croen (Riva Aelyon) and Laura Croen (Mark Erlich), six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Betty’s last years were graced by the loving care of Cherry Ainsworth who provided continuous and loyal support. 

Funeral services held June 16 at Second Home Cemetery, Milwaukee, followed by a shiva service at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun. 

Contributions may be made to a charity of your choice. Burial at Second Home Cemetery. Rabbi Marc Berkson assisted the family, with Blane Goodman Funeral Service. 

Lila Freedman 

Lila Freedman (nee Mallin), Glendale, died on April 6, 2023, at age 91.  

Preceded in death by loving husband Charles Freedman. Cherished mother of Michelle (the late Bill) Byrd, Mark (Linda) Freedman, and Rhonda (Larry) Dubin. Dear grandmother of Abby (Andrew) Seruya, Brynn (Chad) Persky, Carly (Brad) Schlafer, Sara (Greg) Block, and Greg (Keren) Dubin. Adoring great-grandmother of 12. 

Lila vigorously transmitted the values of a strong work ethic, a reverence for learning, unflinching honesty, loyalty, human rights and an unlimited devotion to caring for family members. Her family is grateful for all the years of love, kindness, strength, guidance, brilliance, perseverance, encouragement and fortitude. Lila will be missed and remembered, with much love and admiration, and has left a treasured legacy. 

Place of burial Mound Zion Cemetery with Rabbi Joel Alter and Blane Goodman Funeral Service. 

Carole Lee Giles

Valeriy Gozenpud 

Valeriy Gozenpud died June 3, 2023, at the age of 77.  

Beloved husband of Mariya Gozenpud (nee Litvina). Cherished father of Yelena (Vitaliy) Gorelik. Loving grandfather of Bryan and Nicole Gorelik. Dear brother of Efim (Zina) Gozenpud and fond uncle of Irina (Eric) Kasabov and Dmitriy (Natalya) Gozenpud. Further survived by other loving relatives and dear friends. 

Funeral services held June 6 at the Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home. Interment followed at Beth Hamedrosh Hagodel Cemetery, Milwaukee. Rabbi Yaakov Elman officiated. Memorial contributions made to the charity of your choice appreciated. 

Frieda Kaufman   

Frieda Kaufman was an extraordinary woman who lived a full life. She achieved a full lifespan of 100 years by her emphasis on good health, nutrition and excellent self-care skills. Most of all, she loved her family and always kept them all close to her. She was kind and generous to a fault.  

She was the loving wife of two wonderful husbands, Milton Marcus and the late Joe Kaufman. She is survived by her two sons, Jeffrey (Lynn) and Steven (Donna), and beloved grandchildren, Michael, Daniel and Marisa. She was preceded in death by many friends and relatives, including her parents, Sam and Margaret Schwartz, and her late sister, Evelyn (the late Ralph) Goldstein, all of whom she spoke of fondly and often.  

Graveside funeral services held at Second Home Cemetery on May 23.  Rabbi Taylor Poslosky officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. Memorial contributions to Congregation Shalom or the charity of your choice appreciated. 

Howard K. Messerman 

Howard K. Messerman died on June 13, 2023 at the age of 81.   

Howard, or “Howie” to his friends, of which he had many, was born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin to Maurice and Anita Messerman on May 16, 1942. By all accounts, he was a hard worker even at a young age. 

After graduating and being honorably discharged from the U.S. National Guard, he went on to run Messerman Furniture in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, until 1986, at which time he and his family moved from Two Rivers to the Milwaukee area where he began a successful sales career with Kern’s Carpets until his retirement in 2017.  

Howard was very active at the Anshe Poale Zedek synagogue in Manitowoc and, in his retirement, a frequent volunteer at the Jewish Food Pantry, Congregation Shalom, and the Brown Deer Public Library.  

Howard is survived by his wife, Sharol “Shari;” sons, Randy and Jeff (Chana); grandchildren, Andrew, Jamie, Mallory, Zoe, and Zachary; sister, Kathy (Dr. Mark) Aranson; sister-in-law, Adrienne Alyn; nephews, Nathan, Joel, and Matthew; and niece, Rachel. He was preceded in death by his parents, Anita and Maurice.  

Howard’s passions were many, from his beloved Brewers, Packers, Bucks, and Badgers to securing a historical marker placed in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, proclaiming it as the “birthplace of the Ice Cream Sundae.” Home improvement projects and gardening also brought him great joy. His principal focus in life was always family, being present and available for his sons and grandkids at all times, as well as for his many friends, co-workers, and clients. In a world where you couldn’t count on much, you could always count on “Papa” Howie.  

Graveside funeral service held June 15 at Mound Zion Cemetery, Brookfield. Rabbi Noah Chertkoff officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay assisted the family. Memorial contributions to Congregation Shalom, Jewish Community Pantry, or the Brown Deer Public Library appreciated. 

Rabbi Yosil Rosenzweig 

Rabbi Yosil Rosenzweig, 76, of Oak Park Michigan, peacefully passed away in West Bloomfield, Michigan on June 21, 2023. He was predeceased by his wife Kathy Rosenzweig, and is survived by his children and grandchildren Yudi, Kelli, Jackson, and Eli Rosenzweig (Detroit); Miryam Rosenzweig and Matthew Burchi (Milwaukee); Benji, Sarah, Na’amah and Ellah Rosenzweig (Detroit); Devorah, Yair, and Libby Klartag (Israel); Layah Rosenzweig (Israel). 

Rabbi Yosil Rosenzweig touched the lives of countless individuals through his teachings, music, and rabbinical care. Even his birth was a symbol of hope when he was born to recent Holocaust survivors Helen (Chaichu) and Jacob Rosenzweig on April 23, 1947, in a Displaced Person’s camp near Innsbrook, Austria. 

Yosil was a gifted composer of Jewish music. His song “Hu Yiftach Libenu” won the 1978 Hasidic Festival and Pitchu Li, Tadik Katamar Yifrach, and others profoundly influenced Jewish music since the 1970s. Many of his songs were made popular by the Diaspora Yeshiva Band. 

Many knew Rabbi Yosil as a dedicated teacher, imparting his wisdom through formal programs best known as a founding teacher of L’ivnot U’lhibanot. Others remember him as a compassionate congregational rabbi, serving communities from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Windsor, Ontario, Newport News, VA to Schenectady, NY. 

Beyond his role as a teacher and rabbi, so many knew him as Kathy’s beloved husband, sharing a deep bond and a life filled with love and partnership in education, music and creating a home that was open to hundreds around the world. 

In honor of Rabbi Yosil’s memory, contributions can be made to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit or the Friendship Circle of Michigan. In his final years, our father found support through the various programs offered by the Jewish Federation and Jewish Senior Life, enabling him to age with dignity and grace and continue as an educator and teaching classes at the Prentis Apartments. Our family continues to be supported by the people, programs, and community of the Friendship Circle of Michigan.  

Robert L. Sanderson 

Robert L. Sanderson died on May 22, 2023, in Milwaukee. He was 87. 

He was born in Milwaukee on Jan. 25, 1936. His parents were Irving and Mildred Sanderson. He grew up in Shorewood and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned his law degree and met his beloved and devoted wife Sharon (née Atinsky). They were married for 63 years. He was in private practice as an attorney in Milwaukee working for more than 50 years. He also served in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps in Virginia Beach, VA; was a board member of Congregation Emanu-El B’Ne Jeshurun, a member of Congregation Sinai, a member of the University Club and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs: Food & Wine Gastronomy Society and the Pi Lamda Phi (Pilam) Fraternity where he developed friendships that continued throughout his life.

His survivors include his cherished family members: wife Sharon, daughter Jill Sanderson Davis (Al Rosman), and sons Jeff and Darrell, grandsons Ben Davis and Tayten Sanderson (mother Traci Schwartz), nieces Nancy Seaman and Diane Pioso (Rick), nephew Rick (Millie) Geisenfeld, and 5 great-nieces, Melanie Seaman, Alyssa Geisenfeld, Jennifer Seaman, Marissa Pioso and Jenna Geisenfeld and 2 great-nephews, Jeremy Seaman and Michael Pioso,i and family pet Emma. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Beverly and brother in-law James Geisenfeld, in-laws Bess and Sidney Atinsky and granddaughter Harlow Sanderson. 

He resided in Milwaukee and Highland Beach. He loved spending time with his family enjoying the Florida sun and walking along the beach. Door County was also a favorite vacation spot with his family and friends. New York City was on the top of his list for taking the family to plays, musicals, museums and fine restaurants. He had many close friends with whom he and Sharon enjoyed traveling to Europe, Mexico and hiking and exploring the national parks of North America. He loved attending the opera, antiquing, reading, fishing and driving his MG. He lived life to the fullest.

Private services were held. Donations in his memory can be made to the Jewish Community Pantry of Milwaukee. 

Mary E. Schuman      

Mary E. Schuman of Delafield, 80, died April 20, 2023, from a rare brain disease called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. She is survived by her husband Philip Schuman who recently celebrated their 52-year anniversary. Her parents Myrtle and Edwin Kirchhoff preceded her in death. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class of Rufus King High School. She later received her BA, Summa Cum Laude, and MBA from Cardinal Stritch University. She worked in the business world being co-owner of an electronic manufacturing company. A community volunteer who was president of the Great Blue Herron Girl Scout Council; commodore of the Nagawicka Lake Yacht Club; president of the Friends of the Delafield Library and treasurer of Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha. Funeral services held April 23 at Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha. 

In lieu of flowers please contribute to your favorite charity or the Mayo Clinic, the Greater Delafield Fund or Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha. Thanks to Heritage Lake Country and Brighton Hospice for the wonderful care they gave Mary. 

Shirley Slomowitz 

A crusader for justice, who supported everyone she met and was loved by all, Shirley Slomowitz died May 22, 2023, three weeks shy of her 100th birthday. Shirley is predeceased by her husband and one true love, Dr. Jonathan Slomowitz, who beamed whenever she walked into a room, and who partnered with her for over 70 years as they worked to make equality for all a reality. Separately they were models of strength, decency and kindness. Together they were, in Jon’s words, outstanding. 

Shirley is survived by her children Marcia, Alan and Diane, her grandson Noah Benjamin Reiss, her brother-in-law Harry Kanin, many nieces and nephews, other family members and friends.  

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Katie and Benny Taxen, sisters Marjorie (Jerome) Goldman and Lila Marcus, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Zachary and Ruth Slomovitz, Harold and Esther Driss, and Elsie Kanin, other family members, many dear friends, and her beloved collies. 

After earning her degree from the University of Wisconsin, Shirley worked as a medical technician.  

Shirley met Jon while on a double date with her then (emphasis on “then”) boyfriend. She decided Jon was the better match, and that was that. After they married, Shirley worked in Jon’s medical office until their three children arrived. Even then, however, she never lost her independence. As if to prove the point, she wore pants and jeans daily, pulling out a skirt or dress only for a special event (in the 1950s and 60s!). Jon often said she wore pants so often he never saw her legs. 

Shirley often regretted not having a paying job. The truth is, she worked harder than almost anyone. A civil rights activist from the get-go, Shirley marched with Father Groppi in support of the first open housing ordinance for the City of Milwaukee. She spearheaded the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner attended by President Kennedy. When presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was killed, she was looking for a storefront for his Milwaukee headquarters. Governor Doyle appointed Shirley to one of the state’s first Commissions on the Status of Women. Through it all, Jon was her biggest supporter. Her accomplishments were his joy. Even her unsuccessful run for the assembly, which left their garage filled with purple yard signs. 

Shirley never balanced her checkbook. That, however, did not diminish her financial generosity. When needed, she (with Jon) kept the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeastern Wisconsin afloat. While she served as its major fundraiser, many of the funds she “raised” were her and Jon’s own. A young candidate starting his political career? Shirley was there. A neighbor’s child accepted to a science camp? Pass the pen. When Shirley believed someone needed a little (or a lot of) help, she pulled out that checkbook. Relatives, friends, even acquaintances. If she could help, she did.                                     

Shirley and Jon paid for extended family members’ college and medical school, helped neighbors with their children’s education, funded artistic, charitable and political causes, and contributed to so many other groups they cannot be listed here. Without fanfare. Not to be named in a donor printout, but because it was the right thing to do. 

Shirley’s grandson, Noah Benjamin, brought special joy to her and Jon. 

Special thanks to Dr. V.K. Rao, Jon’s former colleague, who took phone calls, made house calls, and did Jon proud. To the faithful Barb O’Neill, the devoted Cunninghams, Eunice Walker, and those who visited Shirley in her later years. To her caregivers, including Jun, Trix, and Yoyee. And especially to the exquisite Marcia Ferguson, who began as Jon’s caregiver, then became Shirley’s, and is now family. Marcia did not leave her “sweet pea’s” side through and after the pandemic.  

Services were private. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. Memorial contributions to Donna Lexa Art Centers or the Democratic Party of Wisconsin appreciated. 

Howard Weintrob 

Howard Weintrob, age 69 of Milwaukee, died June 9, 2023 

Dear brother of Nanette (Richard) Evans. Further survived by other cousins, relatives and friends. 

Graveside services held June 12 at Anshai Lebowitz Cemetery, Milwaukee. Memorials to the Wisconsin Humane Society. Hazzan Jeremy Stein snd Blane Goodman Funeral Service assisted the family. Memorial gifts welcome to the Wisconsin Humane Society. 

Deanna Wollitzer 

Deanna Wollitzer (nee Waldman) died June 9, 2023 at the age of 81. 

Beloved wife of Siman H. Wollitzer. Loving mother of Rachel (Jeffrey Fenster) Wollitzer and Elan (Erika) Wollitzer. Cherished grandmother of Sophie Wollitzer, Sarah Fenster and Aaron Fenster. Dear sister of the late Lotta (Stuart) Brafman and Sam (the late Louise) Waldman. Further survived by other loving relatives and dear friends. 

A graveside funeral service was held June 11 at Spring Hill Cemetery, Milwaukee. Rabbi Benzion Twerski officiated.  Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 appreciated. 

Diana Wilets 

Diana Wilets (nee Paykel) died on May 18, 2023 at the age of 79.   

Beloved wife of the late Daniel. Cherished mother of John (Linda Teweles) Wilets and Mark Wilets.  Loving grandmother of Justin Wilets.  Dear sister of Al (Fifi) Paykel, Marsha (Milt) Kleinberg, Gordon Paykel and Bob Paykel. Further survived by other loving relatives and dear friends. 

Graveside service held on May 23, 2023 at Mound Zion Cemetery, Brookfield. Rabbi Steve Adams officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions made to Friendship Circle of Wisconsin or Hadassah appreciated. 

Jeremy Ethan Zelman 

Jeremy Ethan Zelman, Waukesha, died April 26, 2023, at age 30. 

Preceded in death by father Aaron Zelman, brother Erik Zelman, and grandparents Lenore and Irving Soderlund. Beloved son of Nancy (Ray Spitz) Zelman. Loving fiancé of Rachel Lynn. Further survived by many other cherished relatives and friends. 

Graveside services held April 30 at Second Home Cemetery, 3705 S. 43rd St., Milwaukee. Memorials to Marfan Foundation or Hillel Milwaukee.