Obituary: Frances Lesser Buchalter

Obituary: Frances Lesser Buchalter

Frances Lesser Buchalter, 91, passed away on December 19th in Memphis, Tenn.

Frances Lesser Buchalter, devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, died Dec. 19, 2018, at her home in Memphis, Tenn. She was 91.

Fran was born in Memphis an only child of Hannah and Earle Lesser. After attending Lausanne Collegiate School, Snowden Middle School and Central High School, Fran studied at Memphis Southwestern (Rhodes College) and the University of Tennessee in Memphis and became a medical technician.

Fran’s first job was starting the medical laboratory at the B’nai B’rith Home for the Aged, now the Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab, so that it could be licensed as a hospital. This job began Fran’s long-term devotion to the elderly and the Home, where she later held multiple volunteer roles, culminating in her being elected president of the board, and in 1992, managing all aspects of the Home’s transition to its new facility in Cordova, Tenn.

Fran married the first love of her life, Jay Schwarz, in 1949. After Jay’s untimely death in 1960, she found love a second time, marrying Maurice Gene Buchalter in 1961. Together they blended five children into a loving, very active and highly organized household. Fran’s love for her family came first, followed by her commitment to making things better for others by doing additional volunteer work that included leadership roles with the National Council of Jewish Women, Temple Israel and the Runaway House for children in crisis, that she helped found. While Fran received many accolades and honors, she was particularly proud to have received a “Point of Light Award” from President George H.W. Bush in recognition of citizens working to aid their communities through volunteer work.

Fran’s loving legacy will live on through everyone who knew her, especially her surviving family, who include her five children: Carol Buchalter (Michael) Mittel of Atlanta; Earle (Patricia) Schwarz, Jan (John) Kiersky and Robert Schwarz of Memphis; and Ralph Buchalter (Kent Gibson) of South Orange, N.J., 13 grandchildren: Louis Mittel, Candace Mittel (Jeff) Kahn, Anna (Erez) Shabtay, Susan Schwarz, Linsey Knight, Warner (Lauren) Kochman, Emily (Kalman) Sweetwine, Laura (Jim) Maron, Jonathan Kiersky, Justin (Hillary) Kiersky, Isaac Buchalter, Hannah Buchalter and Abigail Buchalter; and seven great grandchildren. Fran was predeceased by grandson, Will Kiersky.

A memorial service was held Dec. 23 at Temple Israel in Memphis. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you remember Fran with a donation to the Memphis Jewish Home or to the charity of your choice.

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