Mae Kurtz Profile Photo

Mae Kurtz

November 16, 1924 — December 30, 2023

Mae Kurtz

MAE KURTZ (nee German), 99, died peacefully in hospice care while living on a memory unit following a lengthy decline due to vascular dementia.  Herbert Kurtz, her beloved husband of 60 years, predeceased her by six years. She leaves behind her children:  Marcy Goldshear (Joe), Michael Kurtz, and Vicki Kurtz (Ben Manley); grandchildren:  Jesse (Ashley), Robert, Alyssa (Danny), Miles (Wendy), and Rhys; and great-grandson:  Asher, who she sadly never met. Mae was devoted to her friends and immediate and extended family, as they were to her.  She was also known to be warm, caring, resolute, efficient, progressive, and cultured.  A first-generation American, Mae grew up speaking Yiddish on Marshall Street in Philadelphia, known fondly as “the Jewish Ghetto.”  At the time of her death, Mae was the oldest living cousin of the now 93-year-old Tomania Novack Minnie Family Circle, a family circle formed by her mother and nine siblings after emigrating to America from Rachev, Ukraine. When 16 and about to graduate from Girls’ High, Mae’s mother died after a prolonged illness.  As the only girl in a family of five siblings, Mae became the de facto mother of her five-year-old brother, Terry, the youngest of her four brothers, whom she considered her first-born.  Still, with characteristic tenacity, on full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, she managed to juggle her studies and care for Terry.  The greatest obstacle she recalled about that time was having to pass a swimming test, relying on sidestroke which did not require her to submerge her head, to get her diploma. Orphaned at age 21 when her father died suddenly, Mae worked full-time and refused to commit to Herbert until Terry was engaged to be married.  Thus, outside the norm for her generation, Mae married at the ripe age of 32 and bore children later than was typical.  Often older than the other mothers by a decade, Mae was sought out for her wise advice. Unable to study social work due to her father’s death, Mae always regretted not becoming a clinician.  But once her youngest was in middle school, Mae returned to the workforce and ably twinned her interests in women’s rights with her innate clinical skills.  In the early days of Roe v. Wade, she became a patient advocate and later a hotline counselor at CHOICE, counseling and educating women on pregnancy options and helping to guarantee reproductive freedom.  As a volunteer for the League of Women Voters, Mae dedicated her energies to defending democracy.  Later, she taught English to immigrants at the Abington Free Library. Mae will long be remembered for her life-long love affair with Herbert; the art-filled and architecturally-designed home that she and Herbert shared generously with friends and family on too-numerous-to-count festive occasions; her fully homecooked and tasty dinners served nightly at 6:30 PM, always with a side salad and dessert; her twice baked potatoes, Hershey’s chocolate cake, gravlax, minestrone soup, and savory noodle kugels; making the kitchen the central focus of the home; her inability to let anyone take even a three-hour car ride without sending them off with enough food for a week; her singing “You’re the End of the Rainbow” and “Oyfin Pripetchik” to her children and grandchildren before bed;  her avid reading and meticulous summaries and reviews of each book; her kindness and cheerful disposition (caregivers referred to her as “Mae Flower”); her lists; and her puns. Services and Interment are Private.  A gathering for family and friends will be held at Marcy and Joe Goldshear’s home on Wednesday January 3, 2024 from 3-6 PM. In her memory, the family requests contributions to the following charities:  Access Matters:  Transforming Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health, www.accessmatters.org; Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org; Compassion and Choices, www.compassionandchoices.org

Goldsteins’ Rosenberg’s Raphael-Sacks

www.goldsteinsfuneral.com

 

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