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Lenora Klein (“Mema,” née Sitomer), 99, passed away in Washington, DC, Monday, January 16, 2023 while family held her hands and told stories from her life.
Born 1923 in Springfield, MA, to Joseph and Pauline Sitomer, Lenora was raised in Yonkers, NY, with six siblings. Her brothers Milton and Morty served in WWII with Arnold Klein, who visited his friends’ family in Yonkers and was smitten with the dark-haired and smiling Lenora. A series of romantic letters followed.
Arnold and Lenora married in 1947 and raised their family in Rochester, NY. In their 53 years of marriage, they never went to bed angry. The family didn’t have much money for many years while Arnie built his business, Klein Steel, but Lenora never said a word of complaint and supported Arnie in his endeavors, just as she supported the dreams of all her children, their spouses, and grandchildren. Lenora fiercely defended her family and friends.
Those who were fortunate to know Lenora were graced by her warmth, dignity and kindness. She welcomed everyone into her home and wouldn’t let them leave without a nosh, perhaps some of her legendary chicken soup (a quartered sweet potato was the secret ingredient). Lenora was never happier than when serving others. She spent many hours volunteering with the Rotary Club, and one of her driving forces was helping the underdog. She also read to kindergartners at a Rochester city school for years as a “class grandmother.”
When dementia took its toll in 2014, Lenora moved from her home in Rochester to Forest Side Memory Care in Washington, DC. The family cannot express enough gratitude to Vivian and all of the caregivers there for providing love and support through even a pandemic and Lenora’s last days.
She was predeceased by husband Arnold Klein. She is survived by children, Joe Klein (Dale Klein), Pauline Klein-Locker (Roger Locker), Sally Wender (Mark Wender z”l), and Kenny Klein; seven grandchildren, Brian Wender, Emily Locker, Elissa Klein, Rebecca Chubak, Margot Locker, Ariel Klein, and Kevin Wender; and nine great grandchildren.
The funeral will be held at Temple B’rith Kodesh on SUNDAY January 22, at 12:30 PM in The Main Sanctuary. CLICK HERE for a map to Temple.
The family will sit Shiva at 1479 East Avenue on Sunday at 7 -9 PM and Monday at 2 – 5 PM and 7 – 9 PM. CLICK HERE for a map to Shiva.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Rochester Rotary Club (rochesterrotary.org/donate), where Lenora was an active member or Uncommon Schools Rochester Prep Charter School (rochesterprep.uncommonschools.org/donate) where she volunteered to help start the school.