Longtime Hastings resident Phyllis Frankel passed away on Wednesday, July 14, at age 87.
Phyllis was born in Brooklyn, to parents Sylvia (Schnall) and Bernard Sanders, and grew up in Peekskill and Mount Vernon. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Buffalo State Teachers College and a master’s degree in education from Hunter College. She was an elementary school teacher in Hawthorne before marrying Benjamin Frankel.
While raising three daughters, Phyllis was a community volunteer with the Hastings public schools, the League of Women Voters, the UJA/Federation annual appeals, and at her beloved second home, Temple Beth Shalom, where she served as the first female president of the synagogue.
As her daughters left the nest, Phyllis returned to Hunter College for a master’s degree in speech pathology, and enjoyed a fruitful third career as a speech pathologist at the Federation Employment & Guidance Services (FEGS) Treatment Center in the Bronx, where she worked with adults with mental disabilities. She was also a longtime member of the Literature Club of Hastings, a walking encyclopedia on American history, and a devoted participant in the Temple Beth Shalom Torah study class.
Phyllis was the matriarch of her immediate and extended family, beginning with stepping up as a substitute parent to her youngest sister, Fran. While their mother was working in the family’s stationery store in Mount Vernon, Fran remembers Phyllis attending her school open houses and being among the smiling faces at her glee club concerts. After Phyllis and Ben married, their home served as a gathering place for generations of family. She and Ben were proud to host Passover Seders, an annual family Hanukkah party, Yom Kippur Break Fasts, and countless Postrel Family Circle meetings.
Phyllis supported Ben throughout his long legal career at Kelly Drye. She dealt patiently, selflessly, and carefully with the stresses he brought home, enabling Ben’s real estate practice to thrive. She lost Ben just over a year ago, after celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary. Together, they enjoyed travelling, visiting their children and grandchildren, attending the symphony and opera, and many walks, often on the Aqueduct, in the Berkshires, and in later years up and down Euclid Avenue.
Phyllis is survived by her sisters, Laurel Sanders and Fran McKinley; her children, Faith (Howard) Levy, Rachel Frankel, and Eleanor/Elly Frankel (Tom Frank); and grandchildren Abraham (Jenna), Ethan, and Joseph (Anna Vivian) Levy; Emanuel and Jonah Anastos; and Jeremy and Sylvia Frank.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Temple Beth Shalom directed to the Rabbi’s Fund or to Planned Parenthood, either a local chapter or the national organization.
A private memorial service was held at Temple Beth Shalom on July 21.