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Official Obituary of

Sarah G. Chapman

April 16, 1929 ~ February 20, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old

Sarah Chapman Obituary

Niskayuna - Sarah Gewirtzman Chapman died at home on Tuesday February 20, 2024 at 94 years old.  She was the widow of Lewis H. Chapman.

Born April 16, 1929, in Albany, NY to Samuel and Fanny (Elson) Gewirtzman, Sarah attended Albany City Schools, and upon her high school graduation, she attended the College of St. Rose. Her immigrant parents insisted that she major in Business Administration, despite her desire to become a fashion designer, and so she obliged.

Sarah met her future husband, Lewis (Bob) Chapman at a Leap Year party when she was nineteen. Bob lived in Schenectady and used to borrow his uncle’s twelve-year-old car to take her out on dates for movies, dancing, and snacks at either the Latham Circle Inn, Herbert’s, Max and Henry’s or the Bleeker. They became engaged on her birthday in 1949, married June 25, 1950, and moved to Dean Street in Schenectady. Daughters Barbara and Janet were born in 1953 and 1956 respectively.  It was time for a larger home and so the Chapman family moved a few blocks away to Sumner Avenue.

As a one car family, Bob joined a carpool for daily commutes to the General Electric Company to enable Sarah to enjoy her “freedom!”  She and her dear friends, Sylvia Liebman and Molly Rubin always enjoyed shopping for groceries at Central Market (later to become the very first Price Chopper), A&P and the Family Fruit Garden.  Wednesdays were Double Stamp Day and they looked forward to collecting their Green Stamps for “free” household items.

Sarah was very active in various women’s group organizations such as B’Nai Brith, Council of Jewish Women’s “Great Decisions” group, Temple Sisterhood and Hadassah. She loved to discuss world affairs and she was an avid reader.  Maj Jongg was a great pastime, and she was always a most gracious host with freshly baked refreshments when the games were held at her home.

 In 1965, Sarah started to take courses on a part-time basis toward her M.S. Education. Her first teaching job was as an elementary substitute teacher in the Schenectady school system. The superintendent interviewing assured her that she would be a fine hire since she “probably wouldn’t be getting pregnant at her age.” She was 38 years old at the time. Sarah earned her M.S. Education in 1968 from The College of St. Rose.  She taught third, fourth and fifth graders at Lincoln School in Schenectady, NY for 22 years and retired at age 60.

The holiday tables were extended when Barbara and Janet were married and Sarah’s five grandchildren, Michelle, Elyse, Dan, Brian, and Shauna were born. Sarah and Bob very much enjoyed being grandparents to them all.

Upon retirement, Sarah didn’t leave academia but audited various classes at University at Albany and Union College with Bob. When Bob took ill, she continued courses of interest at Skidmore. Sarah was truly a lifelong learner.  Around 1990, she began to study for her Bat Mitzvah and proudly became a Bat Mitzvah the following year.

Once Bob passed away, Sarah started to educate herself on topics outside of her “comfort zone” and happily surprised the Dworkin family with her newly found liberal points of view. She sought out films and books about sex trafficking, transgender rights, reparations for Native Americans and African Americans, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s decisions on the Supreme Court, adoption for gay couples, free college education for prison inmates, the injustices of wrongful imprisonment, Palestine, and Islam.   On February 2, 2017, Sarah and Barbara wore matching t-shirts and participated in the Albany Women’s March together. She was so very proud to assist community leader, Steven Downs, display a large banner against Islamophobia on the sidelines of the March.

   

Sarah was also known for her quirky sense of humor. Once she was no longer able to drive her bright red car, she hired a lovely 75-year-old gentleman to drive her to doctor appointments. On one occasion when the nurse came into the waiting room to escort her into the physician’s office, the nurse loudly invited her to bring her “husband” with her. Rather than be embarrassed, Sarah turned the situation around and informed the nurse that her driver was not her “husband,” but rather her “boy toy.” 

Sarah’s grandchildren loved the fact that she adapted to modern communication technology and managed to keep in touch with each of them via cellphone, text, email, and FaceTime. Her subject line was always “Greetings from Buckingham” (her street name) and her sign off was always a goofy emoji with glasses, followed by an emoji sunflower and a heart.

Her grandchildren were very fond of her special “Grammy-isms,” some listed below:

“I’d rather see the shine on your face than on the floor.”

“No calories in crumbs.”

“Would you like ice cream from the freezer?”

“You are an upper.”

“I think that looks really smart on you.”

“Would you like some pizza, ice cream or a sandwich to hold you over before we have our Thanksgiving meal?”

“I think about you often so your ears must be burning.”

“Is that a one piece or a two piece?” (Referring to clothing).

“If they need a reference, tell them they can call me.”

“Is that your muscle? I was admiring it. Do you pump iron?”

“Can you help me with my cookies?”  (closing over 100 tabs on iPad).

“I don’t mean to “hock you a tchainik.” (Yiddish for “talk too much.”)

Sarah was preceded in death by her husband, Lewis Chapman, her sister Anne Leventhal, her brother Benjamin Gewirtzman, and her parents Fanny and Samuel Gewirtzman. Sarah leaves behind her children: Barbara (Paul) Dworkin and Janet (Mike) Goldman; grandchildren: Michelle Dworkin, Elyse Sara, Dan (Jess Spies) Goldman, Brian Goldman, Shauna Goldman, and great grandchildren: Violet and Leon Goldman and Ilona Dworkin.

Funeral services will be held on Friday February 23rd  at 11:00 AM at Congregation Gates of Heaven at 852 Ashmore Avenue, Schenectady, NY followed by burial at the temple cemetery on Watt Street. Directly following the burial, Shiva will be observed on Friday from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Dworkin home, 217 Colonial Avenue, Albany, NY. Shiva will be observed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings at the Dworkin home at 7:00 PM. All friends and family of the Chapman, Goldman and Dworkin families are welcome to the Dworkin home to offer their condolences at the designated times.

Our sincerest appreciation to Sarah’s very dedicated 24/7  aides, Sonia, Dropadie, Shanie, and Marla and Community Hospice. Contributions are most appreciated to either the Lewis Chapman Lifelong Learning Fund at Congregation Gates of Heaven, 852 Ashmore Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12309 or Safe Inc. of Schenectady, 1344 Albany Street, Schenectady, NY 12304 or to your favorite charity.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Sarah G. Chapman, please visit our floral store.

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