Phyllis Blonder Freedman, “Grandma Phyllis,” age 87, of Atlanta passed away Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.
Survivors include her loving husband of 69 years, Jack I. Freedman; son and daughter-in-law Doug and Genie Freedman of Atlanta; daughter and son-in-law Dr. Ed and Robyn Spizman Gerson of Atlanta; grandchildren Jaime and Justin Spizman, Ali and Marc Garfinkel, Michelle and Jeff Gerson, Dr. Lee and Alicia Gerson, and Randi Gerson; great-grandchildren Dani and Bella Spizman, Jack Gerson, and Scott Gerson; her devoted sister-in-law, Lois Blonder; and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Pauline and Irving Blonder, and a brother, Gerald “Jerry” Blonder, of blessed memory.
A beloved and tireless community volunteer and well-known leader for causes throughout Atlanta, Phyllis Freedman was a remarkable woman filled with determination and dedication. She left a loving legacy with her devotion to making a difference, her love of her family, and her good-natured, kind ways. Her motto was “She tried,” yet her family emphatically concludes she succeeded on every front possible.
Her leadership was far-reaching as she mentored and touched everyone who knew her. She was chair of the Women’s Division of Federation, president of the Atlanta Chapter of the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee, and National Women’s Division chairwoman of the Council of Jewish Federations. She was president of Jewish Family & Career Services and co-chair of Israel Expo and was honored by B’nai B’rith when, as a couple, Phyllis and Jack received the Distinguished Service Award of B’nai B’rith and were honorees for Israel Bonds. That was the short list.
Her love of reading and Atlanta led her to become a tour gal and then work for Esther Levine’s Book Atlanta company, escorting well-known authors visiting Atlanta. Phyllis’ former Yankee spirit and her gracious Southern hospitality promoted Atlanta as the finest city on Earth.
Phyllis moved to Atlanta after she was fixed up with Jack (her Honey) on a blind date in 1946 orchestrated by Frieda Cohen (Jack’s sister) and her Aunt Florence Rachelson. She and her Honey married a year later. It was an orchestrated marriage like a symphony of two hearts and minds from the beginning as they tirelessly worked to impact the Atlanta Jewish community and endless causes from Atlanta to Israel.
Over the past three years, Phyllis has been a familiar face visiting her husband at the Jewish Home, hardly ever missing a day. Phyllis Freedman was an icon and a woman of valor and honor. She will be deeply and dearly missed. The family is grateful to her devoted caregiver, Rose Howell, and to Bettye Storne for her weekly sunshine.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the William Breman Jewish Home, Weinstein Hospice, the Marcus Jewish Community Center’s Blonder Family Department for Special Needs, or JF&CS.
Funeral services were held at Ahavath Achim Synagogue on Sunday, Jan. 3, with interment at Arlington Memorial Park. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, Atlanta, 770-451-4999.