In Loving Memory Of My Mother
Ethel Lazarowitz Richer
11/2/1924 - 1/27/2016
Mom’s Eulogy by her children
Mom, Grammy, Great Grammy, Aunt Ethel, and Ethel are among the many names of Ethel Lazarowitz Richer. Whether you were blessed to be a part of her bloodlines, or fortunate enough to be her friend, to know her was to love her.
What can I say about my Mom? I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t an integral part of my life. She has been my teacher, my role model, my confidante, my mentor, my advisor, and my friend. She has also been my critic as well as my supporter.
My Mother meant the world to me. Her love, guidance, patience, and wisdom have provided me with all the tools for successful living…not just with words, but more important, through her example.
I grew up learning the importance of respecting my elders and spending quality time with my extended relatives. Mom always made sure that we spent time with both her side of the family as well as my Dad’s side. All of the relatives were important, and time with them was well spent. The bond she had with her sisters was incomparable, which meant that my cousins and I really had three Moms, and none of them were shy about giving us their advice.
Mom was what is called a balebustah. She was an organized and excellent homemaker, an outstanding shopper, an incredible cook, and a devoted wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend. She cooked a hot breakfast for my father, Alan, and me every morning. She said it was her pleasure. She was also an experienced bookkeeper who helped my Dad with his accounting business.
My earliest memories involve Mom driving senior citizens to all kinds of doctors’ appointments. Through her presidency of the Temple’s Sisterhood, working the Bingo, or her involvement with B’nai B’rith Women and later ORT, she demonstrated the importance of community service.
Mom and Dad took us on all their vacations. Mom worked hard and sacrificed to see that her children and grandchildren had opportunities that her circumstances had denied her. Mom took an interest and learned about all of the things that interested her children. She treated all of my friends as important. I remember how she would invite them to dinner and use her best china. We would eat in the dining room, and my friends would ask, “Who’s coming to dinner, Mrs. Richer?” Mom would reply, “You are.”
For the record, Mom was also tough. She never let Alan and me get away with anything. She always knew when we sneaked candy bars, even though we hid the wrappers in the middle of the trash can. If we were too sick to go to school, we had to stay in bed in our pajamas the entire day, and then only after a doctor verified our infirmities. We couldn’t have cake for dessert until after we first finished the fruit, and she always gave us two choices for dinner – take it or leave it. Yes, Mom was tough. She made us tow the line in more ways than I can enumerate. But somehow, Alan and I always rose to the occasion, and I believe it made us better people because of the high bar she set for us.
Mom has always been there to nurture, counsel, support, lean on, and be a source of unconditional love. To Mom, a stranger is merely a friend that she has not yet met. Most importantly, she maintained these friendships over all of the many years because she cared.
Mom taught me the value of honesty by always answering any question I had with the truth. She gave me opportunities to participate in sports, clubs, music lessons, and whatever other activities sparked my interest. I don’t ever remember going without, but Mom made sure that I understood the value of working for what I wanted. Because of her, I never believed that the world owed me a living. Mom encouraged me to always do my best, but she never demanded or expected me to be perfect. She was patient with all my moods and hormone changes through the years because she knew that they were often part of life. She taught me life skills…how to dress appropriately for the occasion, and she gave me plenty of practice in manners. She taught me how to cook, bake, reconcile a checkbook, and to never use a gift or cash a check until after I sent the thank you note. From her example, I learned the importance of being a good citizen and giving back to the community. Mom was kind to everyone around her and was always happy to help out when she was needed. I never saw her lose her temper about anything.
Mom was a little bit Gracie Allen and part Lucy, with a touch of Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a character who amused and brought joy to all. She was an avid reader and hard worker who was never afraid to roll up her sleeves and do whatever needed to be done. Mom was an optimist with a youthful exuberance. She was a sage with the wisdom of Solomon. She was elegant and graceful. But most of all, she was a source of great love.
She trusted and believed in me, and I was careful not to betray that sacred trust. There is only one thing that Mom didn’t teach me, and that is how to live the rest of my life without her. That will be my new challenge. It will be difficult, to say the least, but I am confident that her memory will still inspire me to achieve that goal.
Please click to listen to my mothers eulogy, given by RabbiGeoffrey Botnick of Miami FL.
Please click below to listen to a birthday wish from my mother.
I attended Arthur L Johnson High School in Clark NJ. Below, you will find a list of other members who have been inducted.