10/10/08 - NNHS Newsletter -
Rita Sarfan Block Spirn

Rita Shirley Sarfan Block Spirn
(15 Apr 1919 - 09 Oct 2008)

Newport News High School Class of January 1936

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   
We have another sad Memorial Edition of the NNHS Newsletter. 
 Rita Sarfan Block Spirn, Class of January 1936, mother of Barbara Block Goldstein ('60) of VA and    David Block ('64) of Washington, DC, passed away in Newport News on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at the age of 89.

From the Daily Press - 10/10/08:

             Rita Shirley Sarfan Block Spirn


NEWPORT NEWS - Rita Block Spirn, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and GiGi, passed away Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008, at age 89. She loved her life and all of the people in it.

A life-long resident of Newport News, she was born on April 15, 1919, and graduated third in her class from Newport News High School in January, 1936. She was voted prettiest girl in her class. She left nursing school in Pennsylvania to marry her sweetheart, Irving Block, in 1938. Widowed in 1956, she led a busy and independent life and raised her two children. She married Lt. Col. (ret.) Sidney Spirn in 1968, and he predeceased her.

Rita was also predeceased by her parents, Leon and Rose Mirmelstein Sarfan; a brother, Benson Sarfan; two sisters, Helen Soefer and Frances Garfinkel; and brothers-in-law, Robert 'Bob' Soefer and Jack Lichtenstein.




She is survived by her daughter, Barbara Goldstein and husband, Ralph; son, Dr. David Block and wife, Ellen; step-children, Stuart Spirn and Susan Spirn Zander; her sister, Edythe Lichtenstein; brother, Mayer Sarfan and his wife, Dorene; her brother-in-law, Seymour Garfinkel; eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and dozens of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and many special, giving and loving friends.

Rita was active, thoughtful, caring, and interested in life, right up to the hour of her death. She graduated from Christopher Newport University at age 50, where she continued to enroll in classes as a Life Long Learner. She learned to read Hebrew, and had her Bat-Mitzvah at age 73. She traveled extensively all over the world, and enjoyed attending local opera, theater and symphony productions. She loved her weekly bridge and mah jong games, and she read voraciously. She loved flowers, gardening, fresh produce, cooking, and eating. She always looked forward to tomorrow, and 'today' was always the best day ever.

Rita was active in her community. Over the years, she was a member of the Brandon Garden Club. She was president of the Brandeis University National Woman's Committee. She chaired the United Jewish Appeal in 1955. She was an officer of Jewish Federation, National Council of Jewish women, and Rodef Sholom Temple Sisterhood. She was president of the Newport News Chapter of Hadassah in the 60's, an officer for many years, and managed the 'Plant a Tree in Isreal' program for over 50 years.

She was enthusiastic about life and she was a great example for how to live. May her memory be for a blessing.

Services will be at noon Friday, Oct. 10, at Rodef Sholom Temple, 318 Whealton Road, Hampton, VA 23666, with burial to follow at the Hebrew Cemetery of Virginia Peninsula.

In lieu of flowers or cards, please make donations to the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula, Inc., 2700 Spring Road, Newport News, VA 23606, Rodef Sholom Temple or to the charity of your choice.

Peninsula Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.

Published in the Daily Press on 10/10/2008.

Guest Book


Friday, October 10, 2008

What a beautiful tribute to one of my favorite people.. you really touched on all that mattered to her...Iwill miss her forever.
Carole Ann
—Carole Rosenberg

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bobbi, I know you thought she would live forever!! She was as beautiful as you said and I know you will miss her greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
—Gina Drifmeyer, Williamsburg, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

To the dear family of Rita Spirn,

I was deeply saddened when I heard of Rita's passing yesterday. She was an inspiration to me on how to live and how to grow older gracefully.

I hope you find solace in the poem below. It was read at the funeral of my next door neighbor who lived to age 94. I wish Rita could have been with us a few more years.

Sincerely, Jan Frank

I Did Not Die

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.
I am not there. I did not die.

...Melinda Sue Pacho
—Jan Frank, Newport News, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

David, please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your mother.

David Spriggs NNHS 1964
—David Spriggs, Norfolk, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

David, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to lose your Mom. My prayers are with you.

Suzanne VanNoy Mink
—Suzanne Mink, Harrison, Ohio

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family during this time of your loss
From: Edythe's York-Hampton Long&Foster family.
—Pat Richardson, Yorktown, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

David, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I remember well all that you meant to our class of '64. Your mother surely did something right!

Jean Poole Burton
—Jean Burton

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dear Bobbie, Ralph and David and Family: We were so sorry to hear about your Mom. What a classy lady!!! Our thoughts are with you. Love, Kenny and Karen Olshansky
—Kenneth Olshansky, RICHMOND, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

David, The loss of your Mother is shared by your many friends. I have known Dorene and Mayer for years but never knew the connection to your mother. My deepest sympathy to you at this time.
—Linda L. Lane NNHS 1964, Williamsburg, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dear Edythe, So sorry for your loss. I know that you and Rita were very close but it was apparent at the funeral that she lived a wonderful life. Our thoughts are with you at this time.

Margie and Roger Smith
—Roger Smith, Yorktown, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dearest Cousins,

It is hard to believe that Aunt Rita is gone. I thought she would always be with us but her love of live and her spirit will indeed always be in my heart. I can hear her voice in my head. My love and sympathy to you all.


—Sybil Ansbacher, Neptune Beach, Florida

Friday, October 10, 2008

David, my deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. What a blessing to have had her with you for so long.
—Alice Fowler Edwards, Lanexa, Virginia

Friday, October 10, 2008

To Stuart:
Please accept my sincere sympathy. I am thinking of you and your family. I will say a prayer for you. Love, Karen Opheim Dutton
—Karen Dutton

Saturday, October 11, 2008

David, so sorry for the loss of your mother. My prayers are with you and your family. May the wonderful memories bring you peace.

Cookie Phillips Tyndall
—Margaret Tyndall, Yorktown, Virginia

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dear David,
Sorry to hear of your tremendous loss. You were privileged to have such an active and involved mother for such a long time, and it is comforting to know that she lived to see her family grow and establish itself. May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.

Pam Forman Aronson, Rehovot, Israel
—Pam Aronson, Rehovot, Israel


   Our sincerest sympathies are extended to Barbara and David and their families and friends.

   Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol


NNHS CLASS OF '65 WEB SITE: http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com

PERSONAL WEB SITE: http://www.angelfire.com/weird2/cluckmeat


Carol Buckley Harty
219 Four Ply Lane
Fayetteville, NC 29311-9305

Oseh Shalom

"Oseh Shalom" suggested by Diane Sandler Marcus ('69) of MD - 03/27/05
Thanks, Diane.

"Oseh Shalom" midi courtesy of http://www.alanabrams.com/jewish.htm - 03/27/05

Greg Olsen Painting courtesy of http://gregolsengallery.com – 02/10/05

Silver Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://www.wtv-zone.com/nevr2l82/bars3.html - 03/28/05

Gold Star of David clip art courtesy of http://www.wisegorilla.com/images/jewish/ - 12/26/05

Hadassah logo courtesy of http://www.hadassah.org.il/tfassim/internpatient.htm - 06/03/08

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