Obituaries, October 2023 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Obituaries, October 2023

Helen Mautner

Helen T. Mautner (née Goldberg) was born in Milwaukee on July 4, 1930, and died Sept. 3 at age 93.

A 1948 graduate of Whitefish Bay High School, she spent two years at the University of Iowa before transferring to UW-Madison where she earned a BS in social work in 1952.

She married Norman W. Mautner on Dec. 28, 1952.

At Madison, Helen joined a student drama group which ignited a lifelong passion for the theater. In her senior year, she was offered her own show on WHAD (Wisconsin Public Radio), and the idea of a career in broadcasting began to take shape.

Helen’s brother, Stanley, had changed his name from Goldberg to Gilbert during World War II. So when Helen was encouraged to choose a professional name, Gilbert made the most sense.

One of Helen’s first broadcasting jobs after graduation was hosting a TV show for kids called “The Heinemann’s Birthday Party,” on WTMJ Channel 4. She went on to do voice-over and on-camera work, in Milwaukee and Chicago, for roughly 40 years. Her clients included Boston Store, Kohl’s Food Stores, Gimbels, Marshall Field’s, Manpower, Porters of Racine, Provimi Veal, The Milwaukee Journal, Blue Cross and many others. She was particularly adept at character voices and was able to mimic just about anyone, from Joan Rivers to Julia Child.

Helen was a passionate researcher and eager learner, a collector of people and their stories. One day she was asked to write a monthly magazine column profiling interesting locals…which led to her producing and presenting seven-minute “Milwaukee Profiles” on the local CNN radio affiliate.

She loved the five-year assignment she had at Channel 12, where she researched, wrote, reported and produced a show called “It’s a Good Deal” for the nationwide magazine-format show “PM Magazine.” She also produced and presented “Smart Money Tips” for the CNN affiliate WGNW.

“There were so few women in broadcasting at the time,” she remembered recently, “that with relatively little experience I was imminently employable. I loved it, loved it, loved it. The truth is I would have happily done it even if I weren’t being paid.”

But above all, Helen valued her role as a wife and mother and the rich and wonderful life she and Norman created for their three kids. She’ll be remembered as loving, generous, creative, energetic, funny, talented and smart…someone who always stepped up…with great joie de vivre.

In addition to the late Norman Mautner, Helen is preceded in death by her sons, William Mautner and Michael Mautner; parents, Harry and Mary (nee Pollack) Goldberg; and her brother, Stanley Gilbert. She is survived by her daughter, Julie Mautner of Milwaukee and St. Remy de Provence, France as well as seven nieces and nephews: Susan, Linda and David Gilbert; Laura Mautner Emanuelson and Lynn Mautner; Steve Miller and Meg Miller Berg.

A graveside funeral service was held Friday, Sept. 8 at Mound Zion Cemetery, Brookfield. A shiva luncheon followed at Congregation Shalom, 7630 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Fox Point. Rabbi Ronald Shapiro officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the William S. Mautner Memorial Endowment Fund through Jewish Family Services are appreciated.

Henry Rynsk

Henry Rynski died at 93-years-old, peacefully surrounded by family on Aug. 26, 2023, in New Orleans.

Born in Sosnowiec, Poland on May 29, 1930. After surviving the Holocaust, he immigrated to the United States in 1950. Beloved husband of the late Cecelia Rynski (nee Solochek). Survived by his daughters Darlene (Byron) Arbeit and Robin (David) Mintz and his sister Helen Zelinger. Proud grandfather of Erin (Asher) Friend, Meredith (James) Petrone, Julia (Stephen) Jacobson, Amanda (Gabriel) Ben-Jacob, Jordan Mintz, Joshua Mintz, and Jenna Mintz and 9 great-grandchildren: Ari, Eli and Ezra Friend; Jonah, Tess and Charlie Petrone; and Liam, Jack and Ellie Jacobson. Further survived by nieces, nephews and other loving relatives and dear friends.

A graveside funeral was held on Aug. 31 at Agudas Achim Cemetery, Cudahy. Rabbi Taylor Poslosky officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. In lieu of flowers please consider donations in memory of Henry to Congregation Gates of Prayer, 4000 W. Esplanade Avenue, Metairie, Louisiana 70002.

Neil Shafer

Neil Shafer, Fox Point, died August 25, 2023, at the age of 90.

Born in Chicago April 24, 1933, Neil graduated from Roosevelt High School in Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

A member of The Shul Bayside, he was an author and researcher, with a great interest in music, bridge and chess. Neil was a musician, a music teacher who played for four years in the Air Force symphony in Washington, D.C. He was also a numismatist earning a place in the ANA, IBNS and SPMC Hall of Fame.

Survived by dear wife of 59 years, Edith Shafer; sons Joel (Tziporah) Altman-Shafer, Dan (Claire) Shafer; daughter Debbie (Mike) Jackson. Also survived by 11 loving grandchildren: Shoshanah (Geffen) Moser, Yonatan and Golan Altman-Shafer, Sam and Katie Shafer, Rachel (Chance) Feller, Eli, Aleia and Amya Jackson, and the late Alex Nortman. Great-grandchildren Zoey and Everett Feller.
Dear brother of Phil (Sara) Shafer and the late Morton Shafer. Further survived by four nephews, other loving relatives and dear friends.

Burial was Aug. 25, 2023, with assistance from Rabbi Avremi Schapiro and Goodman-Bensman Funeral Home. Send memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association or charity of your choice.

Bernice Spivek

Bernice Spivek (nee Sands) lived to be 106-years-old; her life ending on Sept. 9, 2023.

She is survived by her daughter, Judy (Steven) Baruch; her son, Paul Spivek; her granddaughter, Laura (Charlie) Baruch Sherman; her grandson, David (Helen) Baruch; her nine great-grandchildren, Michael, Gabriel, Asher, Malka, Amelia, Sara, Chaim Dovid, Mordechai, and Binyomin; nephews; nieces; and cousins. Preceded in death by her beloved husband of 44 years, Solly A. Spivek; her parents, Mildred and Max Sands; her brothers, Charles Sands and Morris Sands; and a lifetime of friends and relatives.

Born in Chicago, in 1917, she wrote in her 2003 memoir that “My childhood and teen years were not fun and games, but I always felt secure in and loved by my family… though my family was thrifty with praise, my husband spent forty-four years making me feel special.” She married Solly in 1942 and shortly thereafter watched her husband, both brothers, and brothers-in-law all fulfill their military obligations in World War II. She wrote, “It was miraculous that all our loved ones returned safely,” including her son, Paul, returning from the Vietnam War.

She wrote, “Spending a lifetime with Solly taught me how to be brave and strong,” and in the 1960s, she took employment at the University of Chicago for 15 years as the administrative assistant for a prolific psychology researcher, Professor Bernice Neugarten. Dr. Neugarten heavily relied on Bernice’s oversight to carry out a research program that eventually led her to a Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in Psychology. In 1979, Bernice and her husband moved to Milwaukee to “join the Baruchs and watch our grandchildren grow,” and [she] was “delighted when my son, Paul, decided to relocate to Milwaukee as well.”

During retirement, Bernice volunteered for several organizations including the Ovation Jewish Home, Jewish Family Services, and Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun. She enjoyed countless hours cataloguing archival material at the Milwaukee Jewish Historical Society.

Bernice will be remembered as an independent, feisty, always curious, and loving woman; consummate friend; and wonderful conversationalist wielding a sharp, wry sense of humor; was easy to laugh; uncontested and revered matriarch of the family; and beloved source of inspiration and strength. She concluded her memoir, writing “I have been a fortunate woman. Solly and I were married for 44 years. Every day of those years he told me he loved me and made me feel special. My children Judy, Paul, Steven, Laura, and David express their love for me in every way and I approach the future secure in that love.”

A funeral service was held at Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home on Sept. 11. Rabbi Steve Adams officiated. Interment followed at Westlawn Cemetery, Norridge, Illinois. Memorials to the charity of your choice appreciated.

Yale Tolwin

Yale Tolwin died on Sept. 5, 2023, at the age of 97.

Dear husband of the late Shirley Tolwin. Devoted father of Rabbi Alon (Leah Gella) Tolwin, Dr. Michael (Marilee) Tolwin, the late Nachum (Chaya Tolwin-Papermaster) Tolwin, Shira (the late Michoel) Pomeranz and Simcha (Shaindy) Tolwin. Adoring grandfather of many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Caring brother of Sylvia Gross.

A graveside service was held Sept. 7 at Agudas Achim Cemetery, Cudahy. Rabbi Wesley Kalmar officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Aish Detroit, Detroit Chesed Project, Hatzalah of Michigan or Bikur Cholim of Detroit appreciated.