Mrs. Bernice Sommerstein, née Bernice E. Sachar, of Lynn, passed away at 95 years of age on Nov. 13, in Teaneck, New Jersey, at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Wendy and Paul Levites.
“Sach,” as she was known before marriage, graduated Lynn English High School in 1942, and, subsequently, Academie Moderne in Boston, where she learned the finer points of modeling and etiquette.
During World War II, Mrs. Sommerstein and her lifetime best friend, the late Ann Hymanson Nussbaum, served as Rosie-the-Riviters, joining the ranks of American women participating in the war effort by welding, riveting, and otherwise building ships and aircraft. The two were stationed in Long Beach, California.
Back in Lynn after the war, Mrs. Sommerstein married the late Red Sommerstein; they had six children.
In her late 50s, Mrs. Sommerstein accrued computer skills and entered the corporate paying workforce for the first time. Her last and favorite position was Associate Director of Activities at the Jewish Rehabilitation Center in Salem. Her creative side blossomed. The sight of Mrs. Sommerstein hauling wheelchair-bound residents into the JRC bus and driving them to blueberry-picking outings, butterfly conservatories, ice-cream-parlors, Red-Sox games, and the zoo, became a weekly happening. She hired entertainers, organized Purim parties, Chanukah parties and Pesach Seders; and she initiated the first of what became the annual JRC float in the Fourth of July parade through Swampscott (always featuring a relative as the Statue of Liberty).
Mrs. Bernice E. Sommerstein leaves behind six children and their spouses: Andrea and Kalman Eller of Israel; Robin Sommerstein and Lee Henley of Los Angeles; Ivy and Dr. Fred Kushner of New Orleans; Wendy and Paul Levites of Teaneck; Arthur and Ann Sommerstein of Marblehead; and John Sommerstein and Lauren Mayhew of Gloucester. She also leaves her grandchildren Adam, Jared, Mia, Sara, and Sophie, and three great-grandchildren.
Known for her humility and patience, she occupies permanent residency in the hearts of her family.
Arrangements were handled by Stanetsky-Hymanson Memorial Chapel, Salem. For more information or to register in the online guestbook, visit stanetskyhymansonsalem.com.