Sharon Joy Lupcher Kasman took her last breath on March 14, 2021.
Sharon was the only child of Ruth Konigsberg and Joseph Lupcher.
Sharon married her Hebrew School classmate Rabbi Robert Kasman, and they had two children together: Emily Kasman (Yuri Shif) and Jason Kasman (Theresa Gaffney).
Sharon stayed close with her Aunt Irene Friedman (Jack) throughout her life. Her cousins, Susan Burger (Richard), Allan Friedman, Robert Friedman, Ilana Puglia (Mike), Jake Puglia and Andy Friedman (Amanda Cummins).
Sharon was loved as a sister by her husband’s family, sister Myra Rubinstein (Leo), brother Alex Kasman (Laura), and nieces Shana David-Massett (Tim), Gwen Mayhew (Heath), Ariel David (Anthony), and Amanda Kasman, and great-nephews and niece Orson, AJ, and Lilo.
She held friends as brothers and sisters more tightly than others strive to maintain relationships with their born siblings. Sharon Kautz, a playmate from the block, Lorraine Maury and Stuart Zander, two schoolmates, will always be her sisters and brother. Brandeis University friends were her extended family as well; Julie Kaplan-Shapiro and Michael Chefitz kept the whole gang in touch. In Schenectady, she made fast friends and started a weekly Mah Jongg game and her “Friendly’s” group.
After graduating from Brandeis, Sharon became a top-flight travel agent, booking business trips for expense account touting investment bankers through American Express, Thomas Cook, Forster Joyce. She earned perks like free travel. Her highlights were her trip on the Supersonic Concord and her honeymoon on the Riviera and Paris, business and first-class flights, five-star hotels and rental car, all complimentary.
Sharon invested her waking and sleeping thoughts to the members of every congregation where her husband served. She woke up nights worrying whether this person’s child was accepted to his chosen college, or whether that member had found a job yet. Her spirit drove the tiny congregation in Dalton, GA. Not satisfied with just having weekly services and teaching religious school, she opened a sisterhood shop, directed a summer day camp, and organized annual retreats. Later, in Charlotte, NC she taught Hebrew reading to first graders. At Agudat Achim in Schenectady, she worked tirelessly for the cookbook committee. Her lasting legacy will be as a driving force in revitalizing Temple Beth El in Troy.
She applied her organizational skills outside her work as Rebbetzin. Her most notable jobs have been Senior Citizen Event Planner at Charlotte Public Libraries, Site Coordinator for Catholic Charities, and as the Administrator for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Albany.
The last decade was borrowed time, for the doctors saw little hope of survival in their initial cancer diagnosis in 2010. Standard chemotherapy was grueling sometimes, and she continued even after developing an allergy to the standard pharmacology.
When she had exhausted every FDA-approved strategy fighting the disease, she was pursued as a candidate for Phase One studies at Harvard’s Cancer Centers, Beth Israel Deaconess, Dana Farber and Yale’s Smilow Clinic. Most cancer patients have damaged organs of some kind after eight or nine rounds of chemotherapy. So, the screeners at phase one studies asked her if she were ever fatigued.
“Can you give us an example?”
“On the mile walk from the hotel to the hospital, I sat down three times.”
“You walked here?”
Sharon never ever got her car a handicapped sticker.
The screeners at each phase one studies started with the question, “When did you stop working because of your treatments?” Sharon’s last day at her desk was February 25, 2021.
A measure of Sharon’s courage was her perseverance after the frightening consequences of the first phase one trial. One doctor compared her drug reaction to burns over a third of her body. She humbly denied the bravery in continuing to contribute her experiences to three more experiments. The doctors offered almost no promise of a personal cure, but Sharon knew her data could be a gift of life to others.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to Jewish National Fund and/or Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in support of research by Dr. Mary K. Buss and Dr. Gerburg Wulff.
Services will be held at 11:30am on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at the Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York
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