Elaine Shulman Hirsch, 79, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loved ones Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, from complications associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Elaine was born Dec. 8, 1938, at Beth El Hospital in Newark, N.J., to parents Nat and Lillian Shulman (both of blessed memory) and grew up in Charleston, S.C., where her father served as director of the Charleston Jewish Community Center and where Elaine would, at one point, work alongside him as director of the JCC’s summer day camp, Camp Baker. Elaine graduated from Charleston’s Rivers High School and from the College of Charleston, where she earned her bachelor of science in 1960.
Her first job out of college took her to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a computer programmer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and where she met her future husband, Paul Hirsch, at a DCJCC singles Chanukah party. She and Paul married in May 1961 and settled in Silver Spring, Md., where their two eldest children were born. In 1968 the family moved to Athens, where, two years later, Elaine gave birth to twins.
In 1974 the family moved to East Cobb, and, soon after, Elaine returned to the workforce, with jobs as a school library assistant and later as a computer programmer with Cox Communications. But the job she held the longest, until her retirement, was with the IRS as “one of the good guys,” working in the division of customer services. This position gave her the opportunity to travel — taking her on a number of overseas assignments, instructing service and civilian personnel on military bases in Japan, Greece, Turkey and Bahrain. She enjoyed additional travel experiences with Paul, taking part in Road Scholar programs, visiting Israel and multiple countries in Europe and South America.
Elaine was a lifetime member of Hadassah and was active with the League of Women Voters. She was a member of The Temple for over 40 years, forging lifelong friendships through the synagogue’s chavurah program, becoming an adult bat mitzvah at age 68, and participating in trips and activities with The Temple Sages. Elaine was an avid reader, loved PBS mystery programs, and was a member of a book club and a mah-jongg group. While she never returned there to live, Charleston remained her “soul home,” and she spent many happy days there, visiting her parents and friends and teaching her children to ride the waves off Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island.
Survivors include husband Paul Hirsch; daughters Mira Hirsch (Keith Yaeger), Abby Reish (Greg) and Deva Hirsch (Stuart Peskin); son Joe Hirsch (Andrea); grandchildren Sophie Yaeger, Nate Yaeger, Isabella Reish, Charlie Peskin, Sydney Peskin, Eden Hirsch and Sabra Hirsch; and brothers Sandy Shulman (Sandra) and David Shulman. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hadassah, the College of Charleston, The Temple or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Funeral services were held Friday, Jan. 5, at H.M. Patterson & Son’s Arlington Chapel and graveside at Arlington Memorial Park with Rabbi Peter Berg officiating.