As of press time, 316,000 people worldwide have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
In the United States, 90,263 people have died, and in Pennsylvania the figure stands at 4,505.
In our five-county region — Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware and Bucks counties — the death toll is 2,726.
These people deserve to be remembered as more than statistics.
Eve Rudin was 103 when she died on April 25 due to coronavirus. She was the first American-born member of her family.
She died two weeks after she tested positive for the disease. She had previously survived a broken shoulder and colon cancer.
“Whatever happened to her she would just bounce back,” daughter Marion Rudin Frank said. “The whole coronavirus thing was shocking to us.”
She worked alongside her husband, Bernard Rudin, at his business, pumping gas into oil trucks. They were married for 70 years.
Eve Rudin was a passionate liberal political activist.
“She went door-to-door against (Sen. Joseph) McCarthy and had a lot of influence on me. She was very much for women having an equal opportunity,” Frank said.
She lived in Florida for 50 years and moved back to Philadelphia when she was 96 to live at The Watermark at Logan Square.
“She made a really good life at Watermark,” Frank said. “She was really lovely to people and they loved her.”
Roy and Bobbie Gomer
Married couple Roy and Bobbie Gomer died of the coronavirus within a day of each other. She was 79 when she died on May 6, and he was 83 when he died a day later. They are survived by their children, Tod Gomer and Shawn Schurr.
Bobbie Gomer was a fixture of the Philadelphia bridge scene and achieved the distinction of Platinum Life Master. She taught at the Green Valley Country Club, Yorktown Bridge Club and several other clubs.
“She was very energetic and so full of life and so enthusiastic. She wanted everyone to love bridge the way she did,” said Susan Fishman, chair of Green Valley.
Hundreds of her students wrote to her family in lieu of attending shiva.
“Our house is inundated every single day with flowers, with food. I just had no idea the legacy she was going to leave behind in the bridge community,” her daughter said. “She took people from not knowing a thing about bridge and turned them into Life Masters.”
She remembers her mother as a dedicated parent and social butterfly. Her father, who worked in the automobile industry as a wholesaler, had a quieter personality but was also dedicated to his family.
“He was working all the time and providing a lovely childhood for us so we could play tennis and go to good schools,” she said.
Roy Gomer was passionate about his grandchildren and happily toted a diaper bag to help take care of them when they were young.
“He always supported. There was never judgment,” she said.
Arlene Horowitz of Wynnewood died of complications from COVID-19 on May 3. She was 78.
Horowitz harbored ambitions of joining the Peace Corps and becoming an anthropologist in her youth, but the physical limitations of Type 1 diabetes meant she needed to stay close to home.
Instead, she became an art educator in the Haverford School District and created the program Art Goes to School.
“She taught hundreds of 8-year-olds about Picasso and Degas,” Horowitz-Jackson said.
Horowitz also cultivated a lifelong love of animals.
“Throughout my childhood. there was always a stray dog home from the SPCA,” said Arlene’s daughter, Julie Horowitz-Jackson.
She loved throwing parties, whether it was for the High Holidays or a random Tuesday. She approached challenges, including her diabetes and other illnesses, with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.
“Right now the world is suffering, and somehow my mom made it through every single day. We can all learn from her,” Horowitz-Jackson said.
Gloria Allen Moskowitz
Ardmore resident Gloria Allen Moskowitz, died April 21 of the coronavirus. She was 88.
She was the former administrative coordinator of John Bartram High School Motivation Annex, where she was known for her dedication to underserved students.
“She did not stop ever until she got what she wanted. She just was an unstoppable force of good,” said her daughter, Susan Goldman.
Goldman recalled her mother throwing out her students’ disciplinary records from her kitchen table so they would have a clean slate for the next school year. She confiscated knives, guns and drugs and was on the phone with students and parents nightly from 6 to 11 p.m. Ninety-nine percent of the students at her school went on to attend college.
After the death of her husband, Jerome W. Moskowitz, in 2000, she started a company that provided upscale apartment rentals in Italy and France.
She will be remembered for her generosity, in addition to her entrepreneurial spirit.
“She had an unending well of service to others. If you called her up she had time for you no matter when it was, no matter how long it took,” Goldman said.
Melva Klebanoff of Langhorne died of coronavirus on May 12, a month shy of her 96th birthday.
She graduated from William Penn High School and Temple University’s Tyler School of Art.
She also served as a volunteer in the Navy during World War II as part of Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, better known as the WAVES.
A talented artist whose true love was painting, Melva Klebanoff taught art at Samuel K. Faust Elementary in the Bensalem School District for more than 25 years. She valued education and made sure to expose her children to culture.
“We always went to concerts and art museums. Even when I was older, we would meet at the art museum and I’d ask her all about the paintings,” daughter Abbe Klebanoff said.
Melva Klebanoff’s daughters remember her as a proud Democrat and a staunch defender of Israel. They recalled their father, David Klebanoff, staying home to watch them while their mother marched in Washington, D.C., in 1963 with Martin Luther King Jr.
“Mom had a heart of gold. She was always there for her friends and she was a good listener,” daughter Daphne Klebanoff said.
This article is part of a Jewish Exponent series to honor the victims of a virus that now threatens to overwhelm their memory. If you know someone with strong ties to the Philadelphia-area Jewish community who has lost their battle with COVID-19, send information to Managing Editor Andy Gotlieb at [email protected] for possible inclusion in the series.
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