Laura R.  Stern
MONROE, N.J. - Laura Robinson Stern died peacefully of natural causes on Sept. 3, 2019, when her family had completed their loving farewells. Laura Stern was born Tanya Laura Robinson on July 25, 1923, to (the late) Reuben and Sarah Robinson, Russian immigrants who met in this country. (Laura legally had her first and middle names switched in adolescence.) Sarah Greenberg emigrated to the Lower East Side in 1912 to marry her fiancé, and they had a daughter, Bertha, but the marriage didn't last, and Sarah moved to the Bronx to keep a boarding house for immigrant students. One of them, Reuben Robinson, emigrated to New York in 1914. He had been on his way to medical school in Moscow when the World War broke out. Not wanting to become cannon fodder for the Tsar, as he put it, he never got off the train; he used his tuition money make his way across the ocean. Within seven years he had learned English, become a citizen, received a degree in dentistry from Columbia University, and become enamored of Sarah's unparalleled homemaking skills and of young Bertha. Laura was born two years later, and in 1929, Laura's younger sister, Millicent, nicknamed Millah, was born. Reuben made an excellent living as a dentist and was especially compassionate towards his fellow immigrants. The family never wanted for comfort during the Depression and strove for education.
Laura was a very bright schoolgirl and started Hunter College at 16, majoring in English and teaching.
In 1941, on a bus trip to a leftist rally in Wisconsin, she met the love of her life, Irving Stern, himself a child of immigrants and a business student at Brooklyn College. They were married in 1943, Irv in uniform, Laura in a pink suit, right after Laura's graduation and a month before she turned 20. They had 73 years together. Laura did some teaching while Irv served overseas and earned her master's degree from Columbia. After Irv mustered out of the Army, they settled in Stuyvesant Town and had their family, Miriam and Daniel. In 1954, they used the GI bill to buy a modest house in Valley Stream, and, while Irv commuted to work and played tennis on weekends, Laura became the classic suburban housewife and stay-at-home mom, chatting with neighbors over the fence, growing flowers in the garden next to the patio, becoming active in the PTA, and supervising her children's homework, music lessons, play dates and Yiddish school.
In 1964, Laura decided to return to teaching full-time and they moved to a nicer house. Laura taught English for a short time at Plain- view-Old Bethpage High School and, for the last 11 years of her career, at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens. Irv and Laura's combined incomes enabled them to take wonderful vacations and save very well for retirement, which Laura gratefully took in 1977. The next year they bought a condominium in Delray Beach, Florida, and were able to spend the hot months north for many years in the Catskills near Miriam and her family, later also spending part of every fall in New Jersey near Danny and his family. In retirement Irv played a lot of tennis and Laura participated in a few condo activities. Her favorite activity was playing Senior Smarts; her team won the Florida state championship in 1995. They both volunteered at the Morikami Museum, became active in condo administration and went to many fine concerts.
Laura and Irv expected to spend the rest of their lives in Florida, but Laura's increasing frailness and Irv's increasing blindness compelled them to move to Monroe Village, New Jersey, near Danny, in 2010. They were well taken care of, but, inevitably, they both declined seriously. Irv died in 2017, a few weeks after his 97th birthday. Laura missed him terribly and entered her final decline shortly after her 96th birthday.
In addition to her parents and Irv, Laura was predeceased by both her sisters, Bertha Lieberman and Millah Ayoub and their husbands; her cousins, Victor and Alan Trasoff; Irv's three sisters and their husbands; and one nephew.
Her survivors include her daughter, Miriam Sharick, Miriam's husband, Bill, their children, Michael and Sara, Michael's wife Laura, and Michael and Laura's children, Benoit and Pascale, to whom their great-grandmother was GiGi; her son, Danny Stern, Danny's wife Jill, and their children, Abby and Marc; her cousin Victor's three children and their families; her niece, Nina Ayoub; her nephew, Nathaniel Lieberman, his wife Anne, and their children and grandchildren; Irv's nephews, Lenny Mann, Teddy Finkelstein, and Jeffrey Vinnik and their families, plus Lenny's brother and sister and their families. Danny was particularly devoted to handling all of both parents' financial and legal affairs, and Jill was devoted to her mother-in-law's comfort. The family also thanks the staff of Monroe Village and, at the end, of Hospice, for all their care and kindness.
Laura's ashes will be interred next to Irv's in a private family ceremony at the end of September.
In remembrance, the family suggests a donation to hospice, or Friends of Music of Stamford, P.O. Box 295. Stamford NY 12167.
Published on September 11, 2019


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