Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Obituary: Sara Sweet Shapiro - Class of 1931

MADISON - Sara Sweet Shapiro passed away peacefully Sunday night, March 18, 2001, surrounded by her loving immediate family, at the Don and Marilyn Anderson HospiceCare Center in Fitchburg after a courageous seven-year battle with cancer. She was 88 years old. Sara, who lived at Coventry Village Retirement Apartments, was born April 13, 1912. She was the third of six children born to Morris and Helen Sweet. The family lived in Madison's Greenbush neighborhood, where Morris operated a blacksmith shop. Sara attended Longfellow grade school and graduated from Madison Central High School in 1931. She was working as a clerk at Bloom's Grocery when she was introduced by relatives to Sam Shapiro, a native of Chicago, who had come to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin. After a two-year romance, Sara and Sam were married on June 25, 1933, and they enjoyed 55 years together until Sam's death in 1989. Sara lived an active life. She loved to play softball with the boys when she was young, and she was a league bowler up to her later years. She was an avid and skilled Mah-Jongg player. In 1950, Sara, Sam, and Sam's brother Louis and his wife Florence purchased the Sweet's Food Shop grocery store at the corner of Main and Broom streets, and the two families operated this landmark grocery store for 25 years. It was one of Madison's first self-service grocery stores and also featured home delivery service. Sam and Sara were charter members of Beth Israel Center, and she was active in the sisterhood and served on a host of synagogue committees. Up until the past year, she continued to work in the Beth Israel kitchen helping to cater dozens of bar mitzvahs, weddings and anniversary parties, something that she had loved to do for more than 40 years. Her chopped liver, strudel, taglach and mandel bread were out of this world. Sara held a variety of part-time jobs during her middle and late years. She worked at J.C. Penney, Gimbel's candy department, and she volunteered at Meriter Hospital and the Westside Coalition. Up to late last year, Sara had enjoyed serving as a consultant for the books that were being written about the old days in Greenbush ... the Mothers of Greenbush and the Grandmothers of Greenbush. She was a gold mine of knowledge ... she knew everyone, she knew their families, where they lived and what they did. Sara is survived by her two children: her son, Marshall (Susan) Shapiro, Madison, and their two daughters, Ragen and Lauren; and her daughter, Naomi Cissy Shapiro (Ray Spitz), Clam Lake, Wisconsin, and her two daughters, Andrea and Eden Epstein. She is also survived by a sister, Lena, Milwaukee; two sisters-in-law, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded n death by her parents; and her four brothers, Harry, Sam, Nathan and Mike. The Shapiro family would like to thank the HospiceCare Center staff, and other friends and volunteers for their loving care in her final days, especially Judy Sokolow, Sheila Buss and Sue Laughrin. Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning, March 21, 2001, at 11:00 a.m. at FITCH LAWRENCE SANFILLIPPO CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 6021 University Ave., with the Rabbi Kenneth Katz officiating. Burial will be in the family plot in Forest Hill Cemetery immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Sara's name be made to Beth Israel Center, Westside Coalition and HospiceCare.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 20, 2001; submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968)

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