Obituary: Harriet Orentlicher

Obituary: Harriet Orentlicher

She owned a market, worked for Federation, and volunteered for Hadassah, literacy and the Hebrew Academy.

Harriet Cotton Orentlicher, age 93, of Johns Creek died Saturday, June 10, 2017.

Harriet was born in Birmingham, Ala., to Bessie and Jacob Cotton. As a young woman, while traveling for Hadassah as Southeast president, Harriet met her husband of 64 years, Abbot Orentlicher, of blessed memory, formally of Brockton, Mass. As ardent Zionists married in 1948, they liked to say they and Israel came alive the same year. Harriet and Abbot settled in Atlanta, owned and operated Gershon’s Market for over 30 years, and raised three children: George, Joan and Robert.

Harriet was the quintessential volunteer, particularly for Jewish causes. In addition to her full-time job, she found time to be the president of the Hebrew Academy PTA, hosted soldiers stationed in Atlanta for holiday dinners, traveled to Israel on a mission, volunteered at the Jewish Home and was an active member of Hadassah, to name a few. In the mid-1970s, when Harriet and Abbot sold their business, Harriet was recruited by the Jewish Federation and retired after many years of service. During retirement Harriet was able to fulfill her lifelong dream to support child literacy by recruiting and managing over 80 volunteers to tutor children in the public school system to help build their reading skills. She was honored by the Atlanta Jewish Coalition for Literacy as a Woman of Achievement in 2006 for this accomplishment. Harriet also volunteered her time with Compeer Atlanta, which pairs volunteers and individuals with various disabilities. Harriet was a joyful, extremely friendly and giving person all her life. She loved entertaining people with her jokes and clever poems. She treasured her family and all the nieces, nephews and cousins on her and Abbot’s side of the family as well as many good friends, particularly the Rubin and Young families. She will be missed by many. The family wishes to acknowledge the extraordinary care and love given to Harriet by the Cohen Home and the Weinstein Hospice staff.

Sign the online guestbook at In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Weinstein Hospice, the Cohen Home or a charity of your choice. Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, June 12, at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

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