A Philadelphia native, Ida Albert had been active as a volunteer in a variety of philanthropic organizations.
On Feb. 9, just three months shy of her 105th birthday, Philadelphia homemaker Ida Albert passed away at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life in North Wales, Pa.
A Philadelphia native, Albert had been active as a volunteer in a variety of philanthropic organizations. She was a life member of Hadassah and ORT, a Jewish educational organization where she was a thrift shop volunteer.
“Her hallmark was a welcoming personality, one foot kind of in the old world, the other foot landed firmly in the new world,” her son, Joel Albert, said. “A characteristic that distinguished her above all is a sense of humor and acceptance that life doesn’t always deal you the best hand. You can make do — and do very well — with less than the best hand.”
The daughter of Russian immigrant parents, she helped her family operate a candy store and newsstand tucked into the ground floor of one of the large department stores on Market Street. She was the youngest of five sisters, all of whom have predeceased her, and the first one born in the United States.
She later worked as a secretary and bookkeeper for the Albert Tire Company, where she met, fell in love with and married the late Howard Albert, who was a salesman there. They became friends and, after a dare from their circle of friends to get married, the two eloped.
“They went to Maryland — because Maryland did not have a waiting period to get married as Pennsylvania did — got married and came back to Philadelphia and announced to my mother’s parents that they got married,” Joel recalled. They were married 37 years.
She resided at the Abramson Center for 14 years and served on a number of resident administration committees, including the food service committee to craft the meals. She taught classes on the Yiddish language, which she learned at home as a child.
“When she taught the classes at Abramson,” Joel recalled, “she calls me one day and says, ‘I’m going to teach a class on the F-word.’ I said, ‘What? Mom, you can’t do that!’ And she said, ‘I’m going to teach them about fergessen,’ ” and she listed other Yiddish words beginning with “f.”
“And I said, ‘Why did you tell me that you were teaching the f-word?’ ” Joel continued. “She said, ‘Put a good headline on the story, the people would come.’ That’s an example of her sense of humor.”
She was also known at the center as a go-to resident for advice, wisdom and humor-filled conversation. She was also a bit of a rule-breaker.
“They have rules about not having a fridge in your room because they don’t want people having food in their room — she had a refrigerator,” Joel said.
He learned many life lessons from her.
“I think it was important to her that you don’t judge people so much,” he said. “That you be open and accepting and realize that sometimes things don’t go your way, and it was important not to dwell on that so much. She accepted that life will sometimes throw you lemons instead of lemonade.
“You take the good parts with the bad parts and you just plug on and move on.”
Her comfort at Abramson was enhanced by several personal aides who were devoted to and lovingly cared for her.
Ida Albert is survived by three children: Joel (Charlotte) of Potomac, Md., Pete (Janice) of Bryn Mawr, Pa., and Janet of Philadelphia. Also surviving are seven grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, a niece, nephew and many loving great-nieces and -nephews.
Contributions in her memory may be made to a charity of your choice or to the Abramson Center in North Wales.
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