Bess Milgram Hoberman Walk Dies at 107

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In 1911, William Howard Taft was president.

The New York Public Library was dedicated.

Ginger Rogers was born.


And on January 29, so too was Bess Milgram Hoberman Walk.

The latter died on June 24. She was 107.

“She was a special lady,” said her son, Maury Hoberman. “She was very modern, always ahead of her time.”

Bess Milgram Hoberman Walk | Photo provided

Her father, Mayer Milgram, owned what was then Milgram Theaters, where she — an accomplished pianist and organist — would play the organ to accompany the silent movies playing on screen.

Her brothers also were involved in the movie business; one owned the now-defunct Fox Theater on Market Street.

She would drive into Center City every day, Hoberman said, noting this was before there were streetlights at every corner. Instead, there were policemen controlling the intersections, and they all knew Walk, whom they called Betty.

“They’d say, ‘Hi Betty, good to see you,’” Hoberman said.

“She just was a wonderful lady for a full 107 years, she was a wonderful lady,” he reflected. “She loved her sister and her brothers. She was part of a really wonderful family.”

A Philadelphia native with three brothers and a sister, Walk met Al Hoberman in 1932. The young couple moved to West Chester in 1935. In 1948, she and her husband opened a women’s shop, Hoberman’s, which they ran until 1972, supplying an untold number of brides their wedding dresses. She was married to Hoberman for 49 years, and later was married to Arthur Walk for 17 years.

Running a women’s store was a seemingly good fit, as her son noted she was always impeccably dressed herself. She wore high heels until she was in her 90s and never had a hair out of place.

“She was hard to keep up with,” Hoberman laughed. “When we used to go out with her, she was always two steps ahead of us.”

In West Chester, she volunteered at the Chester County Hospital and became involved in Hadassah and Kesher Israel Congregation, where she was an active member.

Her interests included games of many sorts. You could find her playing bridge on Tuesdays and canasta on Thursdays.

She picked up an avid enthusiasm for golf in the 1940s and played for many years, even after she moved to Florida following her retirement from the dress shop. She made her first hole-in-one when she was 86.

To her kids, she was a pillar of positivity.

“She was the most amazing person,” Hoberman said. From her, he learned to be positive and look on the bright side of things. “There is always a good side to everything. She never complained about anything. I can’t ever remember her complaining. She was just a great role model.”

She is survived by her son Maury Hoberman (Joyce), her daughter Nancy Kauffman (Bob), her grandchildren Susan Kauffman, Robin Kauffman (Bruce Saran) Ruth Ann Weiss (Barry Wasserman), Jerry Hoberman (Theresa) and Craig Hoberman (Debbie) and nine great-grandchildren.

Donations in her memory may be sent to Kesher Israel Congregation or the charity of the donor’s choice.

mstern@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0740

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