Saturday, April 29, 2006

Obituary: Rebecca Nathenson - Class of 1930

MADISON/ MILWAUKEE - Rebecca Nathenson, age 92, died Thursday, April 27, 2006, in Milwaukee. Rebecca was born in Russia on July 10, 1913. In 1923, at age 10, she immigrated to the United States with her mother and two sisters, joining her father who had arrived seven years earlier. She was educated at Doty Elementary School and continued her studies at Central High School, where she graduated with high honors in 1930 and was Salutatorian of her class. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1934 with a degree in Social Work. She later received a master's degree in Russian from Middlebury College in Vermont and completed all required course work for a Ph.D. in Russian at New York University, electing not to submit her thesis for the formal degree. For most of her life, she worked as a Social Worker, first in Eau Claire for several years, and then with the New York City School System until she retired nearly 35 years later. She was a brilliant conversationalist with a vast intellect, especially in literature and history. She had fervent views regarding political ideology, the rights of minorities and the place of women in history. She participated in early civil rights marches on Washington and in the South. She was well traveled, having made trips to England, Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Israel, India, Africa and South America. She moved to Milwaukee in 2001, where she spent the last five years of her life near family, in particular her niece, Eve Dicker Eiseman. She will be greatly missed by her friends and family. She was preceded in death by her parents, Tilly and Meyer Nathenson; and by her sisters, Rose Rabinovitz and Hilda Barash. She is survived by her nieces, Eve Dicker Eiseman and Miriam Rabinovitz; her nephew, Harvey Barash, as well as many great nieces, great nephews and their children. She penned her own epitaph, "I came to know the word, and it burns deep within me." Funeral services will be held on Sunday, April 30, 2006, at 11 a.m. at FOREST HILL CEMETERY with Rabbi Kenneth Katz officiating. Memorials may be made to Beth Israel Center Abraham Barash Fund for Handicapped Services, 1406 Mound St., Madison, WI 53711, or to Vitas Hospice Foundation, 2675 N. Mayfair Road, Suite No. 500, Milwaukee, WI, 53226. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 3610 Speedway Road (608) 238-3434

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 29, 2006

Note: Rebecca Nathenson was on of the students featured in a 1928 Tychoberahn feature about Madison Central High School's diverse student body. You may read about "Versatile Central" and view a group photograph that includes Nathenson by clicking HERE.

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