Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Obituary: Hilda Barash

MADISON - Hilda Barash, age 88, died on Monday, Sept. 15, 2003, in Madison. She was preceded in death by her husband, Abraham Barash, the well known deaf Madison shoe repairman who died 16 years ago in 1987. Hilda was born in Russia on April 1, 1915. She became deaf in early childhood from a childhood illness in Russia. In 1923, at age 7, she immigrated to the United States from Russia with her mother and two sisters, joining her father who had arrived seven years earlier. She was educated in lip reading at Doty Elementary School and continued her studies at Central High School, where she completed the tenth grade. She did not graduate, but instead met and married the love of her life, Abe Barash, also a deaf childhood immigrant to the United States from Russia. They met in 1934, were married at the Workman's Circle in Madison in 1935, and continued their life together in Madison for the next 52 years, raising two children, Eva and Harvey. Hilda was known by all to be a sunny, shining, presence filled only with bountiful love for all people and things. She was an excellent lip reader and made her way in the hearing world in spite of her hearing loss with remarkable ease. Before her children were born and after they had grown and left home, she was the primary link to the hearing world for her husband, Abe, who did not lip read well and who used American sign language as his primary source of communication. He received his education at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan. Hilda learned and began to use sign after meeting Abe. She was a consummate cook and baker and prepared hundreds of large meals for family and friends through the years. She was known especially for her banana cream, lemon meringue, rhubarb, apple, cherry, and chocolate pies, pineapple upside-down cake, chocolate chip cookies, honey cake, poppy seed cake, cinnamon rolls, brownies, cheese blintzes, bread and much, much more. She was a fine seamstress and dress maker and in her early years made all of her own clothes, as well as clothing for her children and friends. She was the first deaf person in the state of Wisconsin to serve on jury duty, relying on a sign language interpreter to communicate the facts of the case and then deliberating with the other jury members regarding the verdict. She was a sweet, kind, loving and gracious human being and her family and friends will all miss her. She was a founding member of Beth Israel Center and a lifelong member of the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf, Madison Association of the Deaf, Happy 55 Club, and the Jewish Deaf Congress. She is survived by a daughter, Eve Dicker Eiseman (Bob), former head of the Interpreter Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; a son, Dr. Harvey Barash (Trudy), clinical associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; six grandchildren, Marcy Dicker Dropkin (David), Todd Dicker, Cantor David Barash (Susana), Dr. Jonathan Barash (Stacy), Dr. Joshua Barash (Devorah) and Daniel Barash (Mark); eight great-grandchildren, Ari, Abby, Tamar, Natan, Evelyn, Rafi, Abe and Eitan; her sister, Rebecca Nathenson; and her sister-in-law, Dr. Lucille Rosenberg (Jack). In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her father, Meyer Nathenson, who died in 1949; and her mother, Tillie Nathenson, who died in 1950. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003, at 1 p.m. at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, will Rabbi Kenneth Katz officiating. Memorials may be made to Beth Israel Center Abraham Barash Fund for Handicapped Services, 1406 Mound St., Madison, WI, 53711; the Abraham Barash Memorial Scholarship Fund, care of Cott Harrison, treasurer, The Wisconsin Association of the Deaf, 2332 E. Kensington Blvd., Shorewood, WI 53211; or Hospice, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI, 53711., Cress Funeral Service 3610 Speedway Road (608) 238-3434

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on September 16, 2003

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