By R.M. Grossblatt
Sunday, Jan. 24, at noon, I stood in the cold near the light patches of snow at Crest Lawn Memorial Park as Rabbi Karmi David Ingber spoke about my dear friend Fran Memberg a”h, who died after a long, valiant battle with a muscular disease.
Rabbi Ingber of The Kehilla, which Fran and her husband, Don, helped start, spoke about the many attributes Fran possessed. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, writer and mentor.
Several years ago, when I was struggling to sit down at the computer and write an article or essay, I needed that mentoring. When she saw something I wrote that she liked, she emailed me right away and said, “This might be your niche.”
She also emailed me addresses where to send my freelance work, readily sharing her contact information. With Fran’s encouragement, I kept writing.
Rabbi Ingber said that in researching her articles, Fran never looked for controversy. She always searched for the good. That made sense when one of the speakers said Fran wrote a column on simchas for the Atlanta Jewish Times. The speaker pointed out that Fran probably wrote about the simchas of many of the people attending her funeral.
Many family members spoke about Fran’s love of life: the importance she placed on writing thank-you notes; the recipes that she shared, like the chicken soup and beef stew that her sons now make and her famous challah that everyone enjoyed.
The most poignant speech was by Don, who told how he and Fran met over 40 years ago.
As each person spoke, the temperature rose, melting the patches of snow. It was almost as if Fran, my friend, my writing mentor, who had been full of life until her most recent illness, was smiling again. Maybe she was mentoring all of us to look for the good in life, including beautiful weather ahead with more simchas.
May her memory be for a blessing.