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Esther “Essie” Germanow
Pittsford NY: Born on Valentine’s Day 1922 Essie passed away peacefully at home on September 4, 2021, a few months shy of her 100th Birthday.
She was predeceased by her loving husband, Irving, precious granddaughter, Tara Carder Germanow, parents Abe “Major” and Anna Cohen and siblings, Leonard Cohen and Sidney Cohen. She is survived by her children, Andy (Jacquie) Germanow, Sally Smith (Ray Meeks), and John (Ann) Germanow; Grandchildren, Abner Germanow (Patty Hastings), Lesley (Carl) Schmidt, Shanti Smith, Justin (Kathleen) Smith, Gabe Germanow (Sarah Horylev), Jesse Germanow (Erin Dick), Rick Beckerman, Evan (Chelsey) Beckerman and Sophie Beckerman; Great-grandchildren, Oscar & Morgan Germanow, Amana, Micah, Thea and Judah Smith, Isla Burgess, Amelia and Freya Schmidt and Penelope Beckerman. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, dear friends, and “adopted” Exchange Student- Tuomo (Taru) Rintamaki from Helsinki, Finland.
Essie grew up in the Park Ave neighborhood where she attended #23 School. In Sunday School she first met Irving, who would become the love of her life. As High School sweethearts they graduated from Monroe High in 1939. Essie spent two years at Cornell University and completed her BA at the University of Rochester (UR) in 1944. Irving went off to serve in the Navy in 1941. They exchanged numerous letters of endearment during his service and married in March 1944, when he was home on leave.
After the War they settled in Rochester and started their family. Essie embarked on a “career” of volunteerism and community service. She devoted her time to the Jewish Home of Rochester, Hadassah, Temple Beth El and the UR. Together with Irving, they dedicated many hours to the JCC of Greater Rochester and were ardent supporters of the arts and theater programs.
The Memorial Art Gallery, where Essie served on the Women’s Council, was a gallery docent, and worked on many shows and fundraisers, became a place she loved and where she met some of her dearest friends.
Essie was actively involved on committees selecting artwork for new additions to Strong Hospital and the Jewish Home of Rochester. She enjoyed gardening, took great pride in flower arranging and was an accomplished member of the Allen’s Creek Garden Club. Essie loved entertaining family and friends and for every occasion she created a distinctive centerpiece.
Essie enjoyed skiing with her family and playing golf and tennis. She and Irving were members of Irondequoit Country Club, where she was one of the top women golfers, and charter members of Holimont Ski Club where they spent winter weekends.
Essie and Irving loved to travel. A family highlight, and the source of stories told at every family gathering since, was a 6-week cross-country road trip in 1963 to California, visiting National Parks on the way. International travel included visiting family in Israel, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Finland, along with trips to France, Italy, Thailand, China, India, and Russia. At the age of 89, after Irving’s death, Essie traveled to New Zealand to visit her granddaughter Shanti and great granddaughter Isla. Following that, Essie’s “travels” were online with family and friends, including a family-wide Zoom Valentine’s Day celebration on her 99th Birthday.
Essie was a recipient of Lifespan’s Celebration of Aging- Second Half Hero Award and Jewish Senior Life’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Essie was independent and active until the last few years when her health declined. The family is especially grateful for the care and compassion of the many aides from Comfort Keepers’ who helped her remain at home. Essie’s energy, charm and love of life impacted many people near and far and we are forever blessed to have had her with us for nearly 100 years!
A Private Graveside Service was held at White Haven Memorial Park with a celebration of her life to be held in the future. You can view the service below.
For those wishing, in lieu of flowers, please consider donations in her memory to: Golisano Children’s Hospital, Memorial Art Gallery, Jewish Home of Rochester, JCC of Greater Rochester or UR Medicine Hospice.

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