Edith Renate Shapiro
Edith Renate Shapiro, 93, of Wayne, and formerly of New York and Germany, died Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 (Hebrew Shevat 27 5779) at Brookdale Independent Living in Wayne.
Memorial services will be held Monday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at Brookdale Independent Living in Wayne.
Bressler – Munderloh – Smith Funeral Home of Wakefield is in charge of the arrangements.
Donations in memory of Edith Shapiro can be made to The International Rescue Committee IRC.org
Edith Renate Shapiro was born Dec. 19, 1925, the daughter of Karl and Margaret (Kunstler) Rosenbaum in Munich, Germany. Her mother, devoted stepfather, Nathan Ullman, and sister arrived in the United States, fleeing Nazi Germany, on July 18, 1938. Edith attended Hunter College in New York City earning a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Chemistry. She worked as a biochemistry technician in cancer and photosynthesis research at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research and IBM, respectively. While working full-time and raising a family she also founded and joined community organizations that paved the way for affordable housing where racial discrimination was not tolerated. As Edith aged she became hard of hearing, which became a barrier to socializing and social activism. Edith then led a chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America where she worked to develop awareness of the needs of people who are hard of hearing or deaf. In her later years, she developed her artistic side and wrote a memoir and created many pieces of pottery and jewelry.
Edith moved to Wayne to be near family in 2017. When people asked about her experiences as a girl in Nazi Germany, she articulately described her life to local audiences and helped people see how she transformed her experience as a Jewish child who experienced hatred and persecution, into advocating for justice for those who are discriminated against. Edith married Bernard Shapiro on May 9, 1948 in New York, N.Y. To this union, two children were born; Charles and Cindy. In 1986 she married Lenny Harris who died in the fall of 2016. Edith moved to Wayne in 2017.
Survivors include her loving children, Charles Shapiro and daughter-in-law Joan Sudmann Shapiro of Wayne, and Cindy Shapiro (Doug Gibson) of Thompsonville, Mich.; stepsons, Jeff Harris (Flora) of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Mark Harris of Rocky Hill, Conn; grandchildren Eric Shapiro, Nate (Carly) Shapiro; step grandchildren Michael Harris, Cody Harris and Trevor Harris, nieces and nephews Andy, Rick, Susan, Jill, Barry, Debbie and Lisa; brother and sisters-in-law, Marvin and Charlotte and Arnold and Arlene.
She was preceded in death by husbands, Bernard L. Shapiro and Lenny Harris; sister, Margaret Ganz and brother-in-law, Ernie Ganz; nephew Leonard Ganz; and dear sisters of her heart, Jean Saz, Sylvia Sharpe, and Sylvia Zeitlin.