In Loving Memory Of My Mother
Ethel Lazarowitz Richer
11/2/1924 - 1/27/2016
Mom’s Eulogy by her children
Mom, Grammy, Great Grammy, Aunt Ethel, and Ethel are among the many names of Ethel Lazarowitz Richer. Whether you were blessed to be a part of her bloodlines, or fortunate enough to be her friend, to know her was to love her.
What can I say about my Mom? I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t an integral part of my life. She has been my teacher, my role model, my confidante, my mentor, my advisor, and my friend. She has also been my critic as well as my supporter.
My Mother meant the world to me. Her love, guidance, patience, and wisdom have provided me with all the tools for successful living…not just with words, but more important, through her example.
I grew up learning the importance of respecting my elders and spending quality time with my extended relatives. Mom always made sure that we spent time with both her side of the family as well as my Dad’s side. All of the relatives were important, and time with them was well spent. The bond she had with her sisters was incomparable, which meant that my cousins and I really had three Moms, and none of them were shy about giving us their advice.
Mom was what is called a balebustah. She was an organized and excellent homemaker, an outstanding shopper, an incredible cook, and a devoted wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend. She cooked a hot breakfast for my father, Alan, and me every morning. She said it was her pleasure. She was also an experienced bookkeeper who helped my Dad with his accounting business.
My earliest memories involve Mom driving senior citizens to all kinds of doctors’ appointments. Through her presidency of the Temple’s Sisterhood, working the Bingo, or her involvement with B’nai B’rith Women and later ORT, she demonstrated the importance of community service.
Mom and Dad took us on all their vacations. Mom worked hard and sacrificed to see that her children and grandchildren had opportunities that her circumstances had denied her. Mom took an interest and learned about all of the things that interested her children. She treated all of my friends as important. I remember how she would invite them to dinner and use her best china. We would eat in the dining room, and my friends would ask, “Who’s coming to dinner, Mrs. Richer?” Mom would reply, “You are.”
For the record, Mom was also tough. She never let Alan and me get away with anything. She always knew when we sneaked candy bars, even though we hid the wrappers in the middle of the trash can. If we were too sick to go to school, we had to stay in bed in our pajamas the entire day, and then only after a doctor verified our infirmities. We couldn’t have cake for dessert until after we first finished the fruit, and she always gave us two choices for dinner – take it or leave it. Yes, Mom was tough. She made us tow the line in more ways than I can enumerate. But somehow, Alan and I always rose to the occasion, and I believe it made us better people because of the high bar she set for us.
Mom has always been there to nurture, counsel, support, lean on, and be a source of unconditional love. To Mom, a stranger is merely a friend that she has not yet met. Most importantly, she maintained these friendships over all of the many years because she cared.
Mom taught me the value of honesty by always answering any question I had with the truth. She gave me opportunities to participate in sports, clubs, music lessons, and whatever other activities sparked my interest. I don’t ever remember going without, but Mom made sure that I understood the value of working for what I wanted. Because of her, I never believed that the world owed me a living. Mom encouraged me to always do my best, but she never demanded or expected me to be perfect. She was patient with all my moods and hormone changes through the years because she knew that they were often part of life. She taught me life skills…how to dress appropriately for the occasion, and she gave me plenty of practice in manners. She taught me how to cook, bake, reconcile a checkbook, and to never use a gift or cash a check until after I sent the thank you note. From her example, I learned the importance of being a good citizen and giving back to the community. Mom was kind to everyone around her and was always happy to help out when she was needed. I never saw her lose her temper about anything.
Mom was a little bit Gracie Allen and part Lucy, with a touch of Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a character who amused and brought joy to all. She was an avid reader and hard worker who was never afraid to roll up her sleeves and do whatever needed to be done. Mom was an optimist with a youthful exuberance. She was a sage with the wisdom of Solomon. She was elegant and graceful. But most of all, she was a source of great love.
She trusted and believed in me, and I was careful not to betray that sacred trust. There is only one thing that Mom didn’t teach me, and that is how to live the rest of my life without her. That will be my new challenge. It will be difficult, to say the least, but I am confident that her memory will still inspire me to achieve that goal.
Please click below to listen to my mothers eulogy given by Rabbi Geoffrey Botnick of Miami FL.
Please click below to listen to a birthday wish from my mother.
Here are the 84 Reasons Why I Love My Mother So Much
From A Letter I Sent Her On Her 84th Birthday!
1) I love that when we speak on the phone, you always end the conversation by telling me that you love me.
2) I love that you set an example of respect for the elderly by driving them to their medical appointments.
3) I love that you always fussed over my friends through such acts as having them over for dinner parties.
4) I love all the special dishes you exposed me to and still make for me.
5) I love how you got involved in the community by being the 3rd President of Temple Beth O’r Sisterhoods and serving as Country Committee Woman.
6) I love how you always remain true to your friends.
7) I love how you have always been there when it matters through celebrations of family events or medical emergencies.
8) I love how you taught me the importance of family.
9) I love your charisma.
10) I love how you always find a way to relate to people.
11) I love how you always took an interest in my interests.
12) I love how you stood behind my father in good and bad times.
13) I love how you and Dad shared your love of Broadway with me.
14) I love how you and Dad shared your love of music with me.
15) I love that way you used to serenade me while you played the piano.
16) I love your sparkling eyes and matching personality.
17) I love how you always took me on vacation with you.
18) I love how you relate to my daughter.
19) I love the way you rationalize, such as “I don’t remember not being here.”
20) I love the way you dropped William and me off at the Holiday Inn to go swimming and we called it our private swim club.
21) I love how you always made me care packages when I was in college and law school.
22) I love that you often visited me when I was away at school or living in Houston.
23) I love listening to all the great stories of your childhood.
24) I love how you are always optimistic even though you lost your father at a much too early age.
25) I love your assertiveness such as when during a severe snow storm you ran a car off the road because he had a Syracuse sticker on his back window and asked him to drive William and me back to Syracuse.
26) I love the pride you always display in me.
27) I love that even though we sometimes get angry with each other, we know that we always love each other.
28) I love your street smarts.
29) I love the way you play Jewish geography and always find a common person that you and a stranger have in common.
30) I love how growing up we could never get anything past the “Eagle Eye Detective Agency.”
31) I love the poise you display in your public speaking.
32) I love that you never exposed me to second-hand smoke.
33) I love all your accomplishments despite the fact that your were deprived of an opportunity to attend college.
34) I love all your energy and your busy social schedule.
35) I love how you radiate when you are with Mark.
36) I love your aggressiveness such as when you would cut to the front of a line at Radio City to get tickets.
37) I love the relationship you had with your sisters and Simon.
38) I love how you always took care of the less fortunate and friends in need such as Ellen Grossman.
39) I love observing the way others respect you.
40) I love how you love my wife, Jessica’s, family.
41) I love how you and Dad always provided for me.
42) I love how you share special sentimental possessions with me.
43) I love that you always try to come for a visit.
44) I love how you told me you knew your gallbladder surgery was going to be successful because they took you in to the operating room at the same time as they did when you gave birth to me.
45) I love the stories you tell about me such as the time I forgot my suitcase when we visited Jean-Ellen in college.
46) I love your elephant-like memory.
47) I love how you exposed me to antiques.
48) I love how you used to jump the waves with me down the shore.
49) I love how you and I used to ride a bicycle built for two at Atlantic City.
50) I love how you always refer to me as “your baby.
51) I love how you always call me Harvey or Mark.
52) I love listening to your sing and your knowledge of my favorite songs.
53) I love the vacations we shared with Aunt Laura and her family.
54) I love your generosity.
55) I love knowing that you have always been there for me.
56) I love how you always call me on February 25th to remind me that it’s the anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah.
57) I love the way you and Mark act like teenagers in love.
58) I love that you taught me values through the way you live your life.
59) I love your thirst for life.
60) I love your vitality.
61) I love how everyone believes you are much younger than your actual age.
62) I love the stories you tell me about your grandfather.
63) I love all the movies that we saw together and your love for the movies.
64) I love our special visits to such places as Ellis Island.
65) I love how you took me to New York City to see a medical specialist so that I would receive the best care..
66) I love how you pulled me out of school so we could lunch together.
67) I love how if I maintained good grades, you’d let me periodically cut school.
68) I love how you took care of Dad’s relatives even though you had good reason not to be so generous.
69) I love how you take care of yourself like going to the beauty parlor.
70) I love that you sacrificed for your family to provide us with opportunities of which you were denied.
71) I love the way you speak your mind.
72) I love your style, elegance and grace.
73) I love your love of reading.
74) I love all the letters you wrote me when I was in Wales and in college.
75) I love our frequent phone calls.
76) I love how you are always true to yourself and never put on airs.
77) I love how you encourage me to be the best I can be,
78) I love how you react when Jessica tells you, “I did the best I could with what I had to work with.”
79) I love all of the charity work you always do and your involvement with meaningful organizations such as Ort.
80) I love all the weekend trips we made to visit Aunt Shirley and Tunta.
81) I love your laugh.
82) I love your smile.
83) I love hugging you.
84) Most of all, I love how you love me and always have.
Happy Birthday with All my Love Now and Forever,