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Obituaries & Memories

Beth Shalom members mourning significant losses can share photos, obituaries, and reflections about their deceased loved ones for an approximately 30-day period.

If you have something to add to this page, please contact the CBS office, info@bethshalomseattle.org.  

 

Ulla Rychter, z"l

Even in her later years Ursula (Ulla) Rychter of Shoreline, WA. who passed away December 3, 2022 at age 95 continued to be haunted by her immediate family’s miraculous escape from Germany when she was ten years old, while so many others in her extended family were slaughtered.  This was just days before the Nazi killers clanged shut the few remaining escape routes for Jews.  Many of her family and friends perished in the death camps.  Ironically, her father who was a prominent Bavarian attorney, a few years earlier won a court case against Adolf Hitler, when he successfully defended a well-known anti-Nazi politician in a libel suit.  But the court victory in a small Bavarian town carried safety risks for his family and himself, and they were forced to move.  They relocated to Hamburg.  While they became immediately involved with the Jewish community, rising hate threats served to convince them it was time to escape the expanding German cesspool. Her father applied for a visa to the US, but the quota on emigrants from Europe made escape to the US unattainable. 

It was during the horrors of Kristallnacht (the night of the broken crystal) November 9th, 1938, her family fled into hiding and was later able to escape finding sanctuary in Chile.  The young girl completed her education there and seeking to broaden her horizons came to the United States in 1948.  Fluent in Spanish, German, and English, she worked as a linguistic secretary in New York.  There she met and married John Friedmann, also a recent refugee from Germany.  The couple moved to Seattle in 1950 where Ursula continued to work as a translator/interpreter in her own business and as a volunteer for the Language Bank for many years, while raising their 3 children.  She continued her active volunteer community work in Scouting leadership, Hadassah presidencies, Synagogue board, Group Health Visiting Home Services and for the DSHS Food Stamp program.  She also partnered with her husband in building, remodeling, and administering several rental homes and apartments.  She instilled her love of nature into their children on many family hiking and camping trips while they were growing up.  After they had completed their college years and began their professional careers and married, Ursula decided it was time for her to launch a new career.  She signed up for nursing school and graduated at the top of her class at age 50, immediately finding work at the Caroline Kline Galland Nursing Home.  Here she used her nursing as well as her language skills, conversing in Spanish with the many Ladino speaking residents and German to the Austrian and German residents.  She was proud that the then CEO Joshua Gortler, described her often as “one of my finest nurses”.  Yet more challenges, passing an official interpreter’ exam in San Francisco, and work as interpreter in the Seattle and King County Court systems. 

She was very happy with her decision to become part of the Beth Shalom community.  She enjoyed the services, the members, and the rabbis. 

Ursula’s pride and joy were her 3 children, Peter Friedmann (Debbie), Danny Friedmann (Julie) and Judy Benami (David), and her 6 grandchildren Adi, Jessie, Tomer (Chelsea), Josh, Ben (Shiri) and Joey (Avery) and great granddaughters Ada and Lela.  She often said that raising her 3 children and being able to participate in raising several of her grandchildren was the happiest time of her life.  Even in their adult years, she took the greatest pleasure in figuring out many ways to make their lives easier and more enjoyable.  She loved all of them as well as their spouses and was loved and cherished by them all. 

Ursula was pre-deceased by her parents Kate and Willy Rosenbusch, her sister Beate, her brother Helli and her first husband John Friedmann and second husband Dalbert Rychter.  In her later years, Arthur McDonell became her loving companion. For many years, to her final days, George Lachman was of great support and comfort to Ulla. Jack Haleva was always willing to assist her. Ulla’s children will aways be grateful for their roles in her life. 

Bob Center, z"l

Our deepest sympathies to Pam Center and her children Judi Marshall, Mike Center and Ruth Davis on the passing of Pam’s husband, and their father, Robert Ephraim Center.  Robert (Bob) passed away on August 3, 2022 at age 86 from complications of mesothelioma.
 
Bob was born Robert Ephraim Centawer, on November 12, 1935, in Breslau, Germany, now known as Wroclaw, Poland. His parents had great insight, and despite being hauled in by the gestapo on more than one occasion, his father ensured they were able to emigrate just prior to WWII. Bob’s family members who were lucky enough to leave Germany went to South Africa, Chile, and Australia. Bob, his brother Stephan (Steve) and his parents left their home and the family’s large clothing business and arrived in Sydney, Australia at the end of 1938, changing their last name to Center. Bob’s father then moved the family to the small town of Orange in the countryside, hoping to avoid antisemitism. 

Bob excelled at school earning his B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics and his Ph.D. in Aeronautics from the University of Sydney. It was during this time that he met Pam, whom he married in June of 1959.

Bob’s professional career took off in 1963 when he and Pam left Australia for an opportunity for him to do scientific research for military applications at California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. The intent was never to stay in the United States, but sadly they never moved back to Australia. Judi was born in Pasadena in 1964 followed shortly by Mike in 1966. 

In 1967 Bob moved his family to Winchester, Massachusetts as he joined AVCO Everett Research Laboratory serving as chairman of the Atomic Physics Committee, directing laser programs and conducting research.  Ruth was born in Winchester in 1971. The family remained in Winchester until 1975 when Bob moved his family back across the country to Bellevue, Washington. Bob worked for Spectra Technology/MSNW from 1975 until 1991, eventually becoming the president of the company which specialized in technology development for the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. 

In February of 1991 Bob began his last professional position as the Executive Director of Washington Technology Centers at the University of Washington. There he led the University-industry collaborative research program, designed to foster private and federal investment for commercially promising research and technology development. During his lengthy career he had over 40 papers published in journals on physics, optics and lasers.

Bob was a devoted husband, loving father and doting grandfather and enjoyed 63 years of marriage to Pam. Bob and Pam shared a deep love of traveling and classical music. They traveled to countless countries relishing the experiences of seeing new cultures and visiting art museums. Bob kept physically active, hiking, biking, skiing and working out regularly at the gym with the same discipline and determination he approached everything else in life.

Even as his health diminished, he insisted on going on a walk once or twice a day to try and keep his strength up. He loved eating burnt toast for breakfast, cookies with afternoon coffee, and sucking on a good piece of dark chocolate at night.

Bob left his family a wonderful legacy of love and a rich family history. He touched the lives of many friends and colleagues. Most importantly he was deeply loved by his wife, children and grandchildren. Bob will be mourned and greatly missed by Pam, Judi (Elijah and Parthenia), Mike, Ruth (Cameron and Alisha) and his extended family in Australia and Israel. His memory, and the memories he created with his family, will always be a blessing.
 
If you wish to make a contribution in Bob’s memory, the family encourages you to support Jewish Family Service of Seattle.

Edith Horn, z"l

On July 12, Beth Shalom lost one of our founding members, Edith Horn, z”l. 

Edith Horn was born in Cologne, Germany on February 26th, 1926. Following Kristallnacht and her father’s temporary imprisonment in the Dachau concentration camp, Edith’s parents sent her away to Holland to a home for children with tuberculosis and other diseases. Edith was the only Jew and the only German speaker in the home. Four months later, Edith was sent alone to wait on a pier for her family, who had managed to secure passage out of Germany. They met her in Amsterdam, and the family made their way to Cuba. They were on the last boat before the MS St. Louis, which was denied permission to land and forced to return to Europe, leading to the eventual murder of 254 of its passengers during the Holocaust. 

The family stayed in Cuba for six months before receiving visas to come to the United States. Eventually, they settled in Seattle. At the age of 25, Edith married Werner Horn. Werner had also fled Germany after Kristallnacht, and had come to the United States via Ecuador. They remained married for 51 years, until his death in 2003.  
Edith was a member of Beth Shalom’s first board of directors. She was in good company.  Norm Rosenzweig was the president of the Board of Directors back then. Other board members included Edward Stern, z”l, Jerry Becker, z”l, and Walter Isaac z”l. . Edith was one of four women on the 1969 board. Our current member, Barbara Grashin, was the board secretary.   

Edith took pride in her leadership roles at Beth Shalom. She was active with the Beth Shalom Sisterhood, and was president of the Sisterhood in for four years in the 1970s.

Following a successful Dinner and Bazaar in 1971, Jerry Becker wrote that: 

 “the success of the dinner is best measured again by the involvement of our members. The “Ruach”, the spirit of Beth Shalom was clearly the byword of the day.  Work started at 8:30 in the morning and didn’t end until 9:30 Sunday night.  They (we) were very tired, but happy.  Some of the people I saw go into the kitchen at noon and work in about two square feet of space and not come out until 8 o’clock.  One of them dipped her hand in the pickle barrel so many times her hand turned green. 
... I must give credit to the three women who organized everything and “schlepped” far and above the call to duty.  On behalf of the congregation, special thanks go to the co-chairmen, Mrs. George (Barbara) Grashin, Mrs. Werner (Edith) Horn, and Mrs. Jerome (Dorothy) Becker. 
When I said “thank you” to one of the women that had been working, she said “Don’t thank me, thank us”. That typifies the feeling of most of the people I talked to.  It is a great feeling to be a member of the Beth Shalom family.” 

In every generation since Beth Shalom’s founding, Edith Horn played a major role in keeping Beth Shalom’s Ruach alive. 

  • Edith and her committee were responsible for refurbishing our new building in the early 1970s.  The list of necessary equipment included ritual items such as an Ark, Ner Tamid, Torah Mantle and Breastplate.  Office equipment was also needed, and the wish list included: a typewriter, mimeograph machine, ditto machine, and an addressograph machine!  
  • In December 1970, she was one of several women who grated 70 lbs of potatoes by hand for the Latke Party. 
  • Edith helped establish the Beth Shalom Mitzvah Corps and lead the Mitzvah Corps for 13 years.  And Edith made countless meals for members in need in our community.

 

  • Over the course of five decades, Edith made thousands of hamantaschen for Purim, and countless other baked goods. 
  • Edith helped register children for our Religious School.  
  • She helped recruit volunteers for our many fundraisers. 
  • Edith served on many, many committees at CBS at one time or another. 

Edith exemplified the “can-do” spirit that built Beth Shalom and made it the extraordinary community that it is today.  
Edith was preceded in death by her husband Werner Horn and their daughter, Miriam. She is survived by two sons, Ben and Joel Horn.  

Fri, December 9 2022 15 Kislev 5783