Yardley, PA - Formerly of Monticello, NY
Sylvia Silverstein, a long-time Monticello resident passed away on Friday, March 6, 2020, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Langhorne, PA. She was 84. The daughter of the late Abraham William and Mary Greenberg Gertsman, Sylvia was born on March 2, 1936, in Brooklyn, NY. Her parents left successful lives in Phoenix, Arizona, because of the presence of the Klu Klux Klan, evidenced by cross burnings on some of their neighbors’ lawns. Soon after returning to Brooklyn, Sylvia’s parents moved to Mountaindale, New York, where Sylvia spent her childhood. While her father grew his law practice, and her mother worked as a bookkeeper, Sylvia grew up on the family’s chicken farm. She was responsible for “candling” the eggs, and she talked about how the chickens would peck at her.
At the age of four, Sylvia kept following her beloved older brother, Al, to school, and she was allowed to enter first grade. Extremely bright, Sylvia subsequently skipped a grade in elementary school and graduated high school at age fourteen. In high school, Sylvia was a cheerleader, debater, and the president of her class. She continued her education at Albany State Teacher’s College (now SUNY Albany), although her real dream was to become a lawyer. However, her parents told her that they only had the resources to send one child to law school, and it would be her brother. Sylvia dropped out of Albany State, moved to Brooklyn, and lived with her brother. She worked as a secretary for Bigalow Carpet Company in Manhattan while going to night classes at Brooklyn College. Sylvia completed her course work at Brooklyn College, but they wouldn’t let her graduate unless she came at night to take a gym class. Sylvia protested that requirement, left the school, and did not graduate.
When Sylvia was seventeen, she met her future husband, Carl, at a party thrown by Carl’s sister, who was dating Sylvia’s brother at the time. While Marion and Al’s relationship didn’t work out, Sylvia married Carl in 1954, when she was 18 years old. The couple resided in Brooklyn, where their first child, Karen, was born in 1957. The young family then moved to Monticello, New York, where Carl established his career as an attorney. In 1960, their daughter, Beth, was born.
Sylvia was an amazing at-home mother who eventually also became a part-time legal secretary for Carl’s law firm, Cohen and Silverstein. She worked in the evenings at home and became very knowledgeable about the law. Later in her life, Sylvia worked for a Monticello public relations firm run by Ed and Selma Field. Sylvia was an avid Canasta and Mah Jongg player and an accomplished pianist. She completed the New York Times crossword puzzles and was a voracious reader. Sylvia was originally a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, who was forced to switch allegiances to the New York Yankees and Mets after the Dodgers left for Los Angeles. She followed the Jets and Giants and was a big Serena Williams fan. Sylvia had many dogs throughout her life, but she particularly loved Rascal, her Australian Shepherd. Carl, Sylvia, and Rascal enjoyed 15 vacations by car, exploring the National Parks throughout the United States. In her later years, Sylvia was a regular at the Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Sussex, New Jersey, where two baby goats were named for Sylvia and Carl.
When her husband Carl, her life-partner of 64 years, died at age 90 on January 4, 2019, Sylvia moved to her daughter Karen’s home in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Sylvia’s survivors include her daughters, Karen Lurie-Bedrick, and Beth Schumann (Larry) of Dunn Loring, Virginia. Sylvia will be missed by her grandchildren, Alyson (Justin) Hersker, Matthew Lurie (Jini), Rebecca Schumann (Chris Cervantes), and Kiki Schumann, as well as her four-month great-granddaughter, Rowan (Hersker). Sylvia was lucky to enjoy her relationship with all of Karen’s step-children, Stephanie Bedrick (Ryan Long), Melissa Bedrick (Chris Boite), Emily Geary (Mike), and Scott Bedrick (Emily Blumen). Sylvia enjoyed knowing Stephanie’s daughter, Clara, and Emily’s daughters, Elise, and Julia. Sylvia is also survived by her sister-in-law, Harriet Gerstman, and her nieces and nephews, Gary, Peter (Rene), Nancy (John), Ira Hilf (Kathy), and Esther Revivo (Shimon) who resides in Israel.
Sylvia was predeceased by her beloved brother, Alfred Gerstman, her loving sister, Ethel Hilf, and her wonderful son-in-law, Donald Bedrick, whom she loved even though he was a Boston Red Sox fan.
A funeral service will take place on Monday, March 9, 2020, at 11:30 AM at the Joseph N. Garlick Funeral Home, 388 Broadway, Monticello, NY 12701. Burial will immediately follow at the Sullivan County Veteran’s Cemetery, 180 Sunset Lake Road, Liberty, NY.
Instead of donations, please give your moms, children, and family members an extra big hug in honor of Sylvia.
Funeral arrangements are honorably entrusted to the Joseph N. Garlick Funeral Home - Monticello; 845-794-7474 or www.josephngarlickfuneralhome.com.