Blechman's Youth Center
3202 Washington Avenue, Newport News, VA
Newmarket Shopping Center, Newport News, VA
 1959  Anchor, p. 208  

Sadye Massell Blechman
  NEWPORT NEWS - Sadye Massell Blechman, age 104, died Thursday, April 19, 2007, at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md. A lifelong resident of Hampton Roads, Mrs. Blechman was born in Norfolk on September 22, 1902, to Fanny and Herman Massell and moved to Newport News at the age of four. She grew up attending Newport News schools, taking piano and elocution lessons, and helping in her father's store near 35th Street and Washington Avenue, selling shipyard workers their work gloves for ten cents. She attended Hood College in Frederick, Md. and Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va. and taught in the Hampton schools before marriage. She and her husband, Ben, owned Blechman's Youth Center, a well-known children's clothing store in its day, on Washington Avenue and 32nd Street, and later, Newmarket Shopping Center. Mrs. Blechman's grandfather, Rev. Abraham Benson Mirmelstein, came to the peninsula in 1893 and was instrumental in founding Adath Jeshurun Synagogue and Jewish life in the community. Mrs. Blechman was a lifelong member of Rodef Sholom Temple, National Council of Jewish Women, and Hadassah which supports hospitals and medical research in Israel. During World War II, Mrs. Blechman was active in the Red Cross Canteen Corps serving our soldiers going overseas from Newport News. She was well-known for her gracious home hospitality to our servicemen and their families and NACA personnel at Langley. Wherever she lived and traveled, even the retirement years in Florida, Newport News was always home. The first things Mrs. Blechman did in Florida were to establish a small library in their condo building, learn to play golf, go fishing, and join Hadassah. Her last years were spent in the warm retirement community of Chambrel in Williamsburg, close to her family in Newport News, and then at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington close to several grandchildren. Mrs. Blechman was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, caregiver, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. Her greatest pleasures were her family and friends. Her legacy is the gracious way she lived her life; her devotion to Judaism and family continuity; her care in her own appearance and health; her avid interest and curiosity in all that went on around her; her love of beauty and order in her surroundings; her love of books, flowers, butterflies, teddy bears, and chocolate; her ready smile, laughter, and quick wit; her sense of humor; her genuine caring and kindness towards others. She always said, 'If you don't have anything nice to say about a person, don't say anything.' Her biggest heartaches in life were the losses of dear ones who preceded her in death; her husband, Benjamin T. Blechman; her brother, Irving Massell; her little great-grandson, Benjamin Shalom Kruger; her daughter-in-law, Joan Gaye Blechman; and her dear son, Edward Massell Blechman. She is survived and will be greatly missed by her daughter, Sylvia Blechman Kruger; grandchildren: Larissa Faith Blechman and Mark Steinberg (Annandale); Andrew Massell Blechman (Coral Springs, Fla.); Rabbi Reuven and Elyse Kruger (Israel); David and Elizabeth Kruger (Silver Spring, Md.); Mark Kruger and Karen Richman (Oak Park, Il.); Edwin and Tami Kruger (Israel); and Martha Ann Kruger and Michael Haberman (Silver Spring, Md.). Also, 21 great-grandchildren living both in Israel and America. In Israel: Dalia and Ayalon, Adina, Asher, Yael, Yehudit, Hillel, Shulamit, Netta, Zahava and Aryeh. In America: David, Limor, Shira, Naomi, Shoshana, Joshua, Hannah Fay, Gerry, Ellie and Natan. She is remembered also by many loving cousins, nieces and nephews, especially Margo and Stanley Drucker and Barbara Smith; her extended family of caring Chambrel residents and staff; faithful, devoted caretakers in Williamsburg and later the devoted staff and caregivers at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington; and lifelong Newport News friends. Her Washington area grandchildren, David and Liz Kruger, Martha Kruger and Michael Haberman, Larissa Blechman and Mark Steinberg and their families were a loving and vital part of her end of life. Funeral services will be held 12 Noon Sunday at Rodef Sholom Temple by Rabbi Gilah Dror. Burial will follow in Rosenbaum Memorial Park. The family requests no flowers. For those who wish, memorial gifts may be made to Rodef Sholom Temple, National Council of Jewish Women, Hadassah, Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, or the International Rett Syndrome Association. Peninsula Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Published in the Daily Press on 4/21/2007.
Guest Book

I remember fondly the clothes that my mother purchased at Blechman's for me.  I also remember the saleswoman at Nachman's that set aside my accessories and would call my mother as we approached the second floor with my hats and handbags.  She also sold me Feltman Bros. outfits for my sons in the late seventies.

- Barbara Brewer ('69) of VA - 04/23/07
Thank you, Barbara

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