Rachel Capelouto passed away July 28, 2019, in Atlanta. She was 92. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of many years, Isaac Capelouto, an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Aircraft. Soon after marriage, his job took them for several years to St. Louis, Mo., after which the couple moved back to their hometown of Atlanta.
A very strong, independent woman, Rachel remained in her Atlanta home after Isaac died in 1990. The same street, Arborvista Drive, had once been home to their dear friends Lucy and Albert Maslia, Corrine and Morris Rousso, Jeanette and Jimmy Arogeti, Betty and Burt Handmacher, Sukie and Hymie Shemaria, and Doris and Ralph Benator. Their children passed easily from house to house, and Rachel was called “Aunt Rachel” by them all.
Rachel was born Dec. 30, 1926, in Atlanta, to Beatrice and David Mezrah, Sephardic immigrants from Turkey who made Atlanta their home. Beatrice and David lived in a Pryor Street duplex, with “the Franco girls,” including her lifelong friend, Sue Franco Woznica, who lived upstairs. David ran a small grocery store, walking to work every day, rain or shine. Beatrice sometimes helped at the store and raised Rachel and her younger brother, Jack Mezrah of Carrollton, Ga., who recently passed away. The family later moved to the Morningside neighborhood near the old Or VeShalom synagogue.
The Or VeShalom (Light and Peace) synagogue was a big part of Rachel’s life. She loved the Sephardic services, the people, the songs, the rabbis, the food, the Bazaar, the holidays, the traditions—everything. She attended services whenever she could, and never missed a yahrzeit service or forgot to light a candle on the anniversaries of the deaths of her husband, parents, and other loved ones.
Rachel was an excellent cook of delicious Sephardic dishes. She could cook them all and was eager to share; she didn’t have to twist anyone’s arms to eat her food. She often attended the Tuesday bureka-making sessions at the OVS and passed on her knowledge to the next generation of Sephardic cooks. She regularly visited with and brought food for elders in the community or others in need, or those who were ill or had lost loved ones.
After her mother was lost to cancer, she became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society. After attending Girls High in Atlanta, Rachel studied to be a secretary and worked for several years before becoming a full-time homemaker and raising her family: three children, daughters Corinne (Larry) Capelouto of Montgomery, Ala., and Sharon (Kenny) Sonenshine of Atlanta, and son Gary (Susanna) Capelouto of Atlanta; and her many adored grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom called her “Nanny.” Rachel will be missed by her family and her many cousins and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Or VeShalom Isaac Capelouto Educational Fund or the Alzheimer’s Association. Services were held July 30 at Greenwood Cemetery. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.