July 28, 1924 ~ December 17, 2011
Rita Hirsch, short of stature, big of heart, and strong of will, passed away at her home in Norwalk after a long and courageous battle with cancer, December 17, 2011. She was born at home on July 28, 1924 in Berlin, Germany to William and Elsa Morgenstern Hirsch and was pre-deceased by her sister Vera Hirsch. Her father had the foresight to flee with his family from Germany on September 19, 1938, boarding a ship to Panama where the family expected to spend 2 weeks on their way to the United States. Instead, the Hirsch family spent the next 2 years living in Panama. Rita was 14 years old when she set foot on Panamanian soil and 16 when she arrived in New York City.
Her schooling disrupted in Germany, Rita never completed her formal education but that did not stop her from becoming incredibly well read and gifted at many things. She became fluent in English with no trace of her foreign born accent and a fiercely proud American citizen. By 1947 Rita was living in Norwalk, and befriended the Schnable/Langer clan and they her. For the next 64 years, she was an integral part of Claire and Mel Langer’s immediate and extended family. She kept in close touch with her beloved cousin Harry Hurst and his family from Great Britain.
Rita held several jobs as a purchasing agent for manufacturing concerns including the Hat Corporation of America where she worked for 18 years. She retired from RF Technologies in 1994 and was able to indulge in one of her life’s great pleasures – world travel. Her apartment is filled with more than 40 thick picture albums of the many countries she visited throughout the globe. Besides travel, Rita enjoyed playing mahjong and Rummykub (especially with Lee Sheridan), doing crossword puzzles and telling jokes – including the “dirty” kind. Her family and friends have been blessed with the results of Rita’s considerable knitting skills: Afghans, baby blankets, clothes and sweaters are on display or tucked away for future generations in their many homes.
Among her many activities, she volunteered in the library and mentored an elementary school girl at Wolfpit School. Rita – the energizer bunny – will be sorely missed by Sharon Langer, husband Matthew Horowitz, Robert and Shelley Langer, Herbert and Fay Langer, Harry and Carol Hurst and the Langer, Horowitz and Hurst kin: Shelly, Richard, Gavin, Zach, & Jackson; Jessica; Dan, Sandy, Cheyanne, Orion, & Jasper; Joshua, Jess & Noah; Jenny & Eduardo; Abby & Ben; David; Adam, Leah, Josh & Ben; Mark, Ellie, Tzvi, Zahava, Yossi, & Shimon.
In addition, she will be fondly remembered by all those Schnable cousins, including Hali and Gerry Keeler, as well as her mahjong buddies, her caregiver Gloria Rodriguez, and Claire Langer’s caregivers Clova Grant, Lee Sheridan and Coralyn Ford. Sharon, Rob, Herb and Harry wish to thank Gloria for her devoted care during these last few months of Rita’s life. They are also grateful to The Connecticut Hospice staff (in particular Judy Brown, RN), Michele Alexander and Maxine Vigneault of Geriatric Care Management, LLC, Dr. Andrea Ruskin, and Rabbi Ron Fish of Congregation Beth El for their support of Rita and our families.
Services will be held at 11:00 AM on December 18, 2011 at the Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT. Burial will follow in the Independent Hebrew Society Cemetery, 143 Richards Avenue, Norwalk. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Rita’s memory to The Connecticut Hospice http://www.hospice.com, the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org, or a charity of one’s choice.