Adele Goodman Pickar passed peacefully on February 18th, 2023 at age 94 while in the Spring Lake Village Skilled Nursing Facility. Her mind was strong, but her body was ready to rest.
Adele was born on October 23rd, 1928 in Albany, New York to Etta and Harold Goodman. Adele was the oldest of three sisters with whom she shared a lifelong friendship.
Most of Adele’s early years were spent in the Albany area and she attended the Albany Academy for Girls. Adele graduated from Pembroke College, the coordinate women’s college to Brown University. While at Pembroke, Adele met Irving Pickar (who had graduated from Brown several years earlier). They married six months after Adele graduated. Adele and Irv lived in New York City, Utica and Pittsfield, MA before settling in Albany for 42 years, where they raised four sons: Joel, Jeff, Daniel, and Andy.
In 2000, Irv and Adele moved to Santa Rosa, CA where their son Daniel and his family lived. They were excited to be more involved with their grandchildren and to not shovel snow in their driveway. They lived in Oakmont Village, where they both enjoyed playing lawn bowling and meeting new people in their community. In 2006, Irv passed away. Adele continued to live in Oakmont until 2013 when she moved to Spring Lake Village, a continuing care community.
Adele had a rich capacity for connecting with people. She always loved getting to know people, supporting people through hardship and challenge, and seeing the best in people - it was part of who she was personally and professionally.
When her youngest son was in second grade, Adele yearned to further her education. Even though she had four young sons at home, she was dedicated to finding a program that would allow her to both take classes and be with her family. She attended State University of New York at Albany and earned her Masters in Social Work. She then worked at the Albany Home for Children, later renamed Parsons Child and Family Center, for over 20 years as a psychiatric social worker, where she worked with children with emotional and behavioral challenges. In particular, Adele was proud of her advocacy for family involvement in their child’s treatment, which wasn’t yet a common practice.
Beyond her professional role, Adele had a deep and caring interest in the people in her life. She formed meaningful and long-lasting relationships. Adele often asked intimate and important questions - and she remembered your answers! She had a particular skill for keeping in touch with friends from all parts of her life, even when physical distance separated them. She had many decades-long relationships. She maintained friendships with nine of her Pembroke College classmates who shared stories of family and activities through a round-robin letter writing that continued for 60 years.
Wherever Adele lived, her home was a gathering place for conversation and a drink or a meal. People flocked to her living room over and over again. Everyone remembers her baked yams with roasted marshmallows on top.
Adele was particularly proud of raising a family who has strong relationships with each other. She loved visiting her sons in their hometowns, cherished spending time with her grandchildren, and treasured memories of having her whole family together. Whenever a family member’s visit was coming to an end, she’d ask: “When will I see you next” or “Can you stay a little longer?”
Adele brought her ability to connect with people to her community as a leader and thoughtful advocate. At Spring Lake Village, she was one of the founders of Transitions, a discussion group about aging. She was proud to offer her community a sacred place to discuss difficult, often taboo topics. Adele also started and led a meditation group at Spring Lake Village. She created a sweet and caring community with the group’s members, and she was very proud of the group’s success. Adele loved to find thought-provoking quotes, teachings, or poems from her favorite teachers and writers. She shared these quotes and thought pieces for the meditation group to reflect upon and offered people an opportunity to share their thoughts. She led the meditation group as a “fellow traveler” rather than an expert; it was important to her that she was learning alongside the group. Adele was also a beloved member of the Misfits bocce team at Spring Lake Village and celebrated the team’s camaraderie, whether they won or lost.
Adele couldn’t go anywhere without running into several friends - walking around with her at Spring Lake Village made you feel like you were with a celebrity. You’d often wonder “How does she know all these people!?”
Jewish learning and community was important to Adele. In Albany, Adele was active at Congregation Beth Emeth where she had a special role working with people in the process of converting to Judaism, teaching them about raising children Jewish. Adele was also on the Board of the Congregation, and was proud to be one of the first women to serve on the Board.
Adele found her Santa Rosa Jewish community at Congregation Shomrei Torah. She enjoyed serving on the Adult Education Committee, bringing educational opportunities to the temple’s membership and being part of the meditation group. As part of her personal commitment to continued learning, Adele joined the adult B’nai Mitzvah and had her Bat Mitzvah at the age of 85!
Adele was a devoted member of her Jewish communities, sharing her traditions with friends at Spring Lake Village, participating in Torah Study and services at Shomrei Torah, and celebrating Jewish holidays with her family and friends.
Adele was a nature lover. She found joy and delight in the simplest of nature’s gifts - a butterfly, the fall leaves changing color, a flower blooming, She was famous for exclaiming “Oh, the colors!” or “Isn’t that something!?” when witnessing a beautiful scene. Adele especially loved the ocean. She had a special connection with Bodega Bay, where her favorite spots were Bodega Head and Duran Beach; and of course, she always had to get a cup of clam chowder at Spud Point no matter how long the line was. She cherished memories walking around Spring Lake tending to her garden, hiking in Armstrong Woods, exploring Martha’s Vineyard, visiting the yellow aspen trees in New Mexico, exploring Yosemite, walking the Fiscalini Ranch in Cambria, and climbing Bald Mountain.
Adele will be greatly missed. Those left to honor her memory include her sons Joel Pickar (Wendy Cohen), Jeff Pickar (Martha Kurland), Daniel Pickar (Miriam Wald), and Andy Pickar (Judy Levine); grandchildren Aaron (Rebecca Belway), Jacob, Nelle, Hannah, Leah, Josh, Abby, and Jamie, great-granddaughter Mara, and her many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions can be made to Congregation Shomrei Torah of Santa Rosa (www.cstsr.org) or a charity of your choice in memory of Adele Pickar
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