Freda Aron

Freda Aron, who enlivened the lives of all those around her for 97 years, died peacefully in the arms of her son, Stan, on Feb. 13 at Barton Senior Residence in Zion, Ill.
    Private graveside services were to be held today at Jewish Oakridge Cemetery, 4301 W. Roosevelt Road, Hillside, Ill.
    Freda was born in Oct. 23, 1915, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of Sam and Dora Umansky. When she was 21 she moved to Chicago to attend nursing school. She met and married Richard Aron, settled in Skokie, Ill., had a family of two sons and three daughters, and built a life brimming with love, generosity and vitality. If there was an adventure to be had, Freda was up for it. She kayaked for the first time at the age of 95, becoming the oldest person in Sitka to do so, and she loved every minute of it.
    To experience Freda was to truly experience what was best about life.
    In the Book of Proverbs, a woman of valor is a woman whose price is far above rubies. The text reads: “She stretches out her hand to the poor and she reaches out to help the needy.” Freda called herself non-religious, but her actions fit the definition of a truly religious Jew.
    Her husband died in 1989 and Freda moved to Blanding, Utah, as a VISTA volunteer, at the age of 75. Using her many years of experience nursing in hospitals and healthcare centers, she practiced nursing on a Navajo reservation, while turning down many marriage proposals from the local populace.
    She came to Sitka in 2001 to volunteer at  the Sitkans Against Family Violence shelter. As the Book of Proverbs teaches, “Strength and dignity were her clothing.” Freda gave strength and dignity to battered women and children and offered clothing, counsel, medical advice and care to the communities of both places that she loved so well.
    In Sitka, she also volunteered as a park ranger and goodwill ambassador, and delighted visitors with stories of the city and of her past. Freda had a regular Thursday morning radio program on KCAW called “Frankie and Freda,” highlighting the music of one of the other great loves of her life, Frank Sinatra. She left Sitka for a time but missed it and came back for a few more radio shows, community events – she especially loved ones with dancing – and a big 96th birthday bash that packed the Larkspur restaurant. She moved back to Illinois in January 2012.
    Freda’s other true passions were writing and politics; and let us not forget her enduring love of chocolate. Over the years she wrote regularly for The Bugle in Niles, Ill., The Lerner Papers in Skokie, The Chicago Tribune, The Sitka Daily Sentinel and various Utah papers. She was also the editor of SHE, a local newspaper written exclusively for women, in the early 1970s, and from the 1950s until recently Freda wrote articles about her very liberal political views, which she was happy to share with one and all.
    “Our Mom took care of us, nurtured us, loved us and inspired each one of us to feel good about ourselves,” her children wrote. “She gave of herself as a nurse to hospitals, healthcare centers and to any friend who needed a hand. She never turned anyone down who needed help, no matter what time of day.
    “She made it her mission in life to give all she had to help others.”
    Freda had many, many friends; she was constantly in touch with them, making each of them feel special. “Any friend of our Mom felt comfortable to come to her for help or assistance,” her children wrote. “She never said ‘no,’ she always said ‘yes!’”
    Freda loved being around young people, especially the enthusiastic staff at Barton Senior Residence where she spent her last years.
    “We thank Pat and her wonderful staff for the loving care, which they gave to our Mother during her time at Barton. Bless you all!” her family said.
    “Those of us who are lucky enough to have experienced the experience of Freda, will always be grateful for having known her,” family said. “We will keep her spirit alive by remembering and re-telling Freda’s stories. Mom, we all loved you ... thanks for the ride.”
    Freda was the beloved wife of the late Dr. Richard F. Aron and dear mother of Stan, Len, Cara and Linda. She loved her daughters-in-law, Brenda and Liz, as if they were her own daughters. She was the proud grandmother of Cade (Bari), Victoria, Marisa and Shauna. Her grandchildren were the joy of her life and she adored them. She also is survived by her cherished and loving sister Millicent.
    She was the devoted daughter of Sam and Dora Umansky and a loving sister to Esther, all of whom preceded her in death.
    In lieu of flowers and condolence food, the family appreciates donations in her memory, to the charitable organization of your choice.

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