Lenore Golden Kessler passed away Nov. 23, 2020, at the age of 93 years old. She truly had a remarkable life and a fascinating journey with family and numerous lifelong friends.
Lenore was fortunate enough to have a wonderfully comfortable life growing up in the 1930s as the daughter of Dr. Martin and Idelle Golden. Dr. Golden was a much beloved and well-respected oral surgeon and, in fact, the first Jewish oral surgeon in Greater Cleveland, enjoying an exceptionally long career.
Lenore was close with her younger sister Janice. She completed her high school education at Cleveland Heights High School and was confirmed at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple as was her mother, Idelle, who was confirmed in 1919. She matriculated at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University), having transferred there after one year at Lake Erie College.
At the age of 40 years old, she enrolled at Georgia State University and earned a master’s degree in education while working full time. Lenore taught special education in the Atlanta schools for over 25 years, an accomplishment about which she was forever proud.
Lenore was fortunate to have been married to three wonderful men. Her first husband, George Schatel, was an accountant and Shaker Heights native, and they had three children: Brenda, Stephany and Michael. Lenore’s second husband was Dr. Frank Weitz, a Georgia Native, and a well-known pediatrician until his death from lung cancer. Her third husband, Edward Kessler, was a co-owner with his family of Atlanta-area department stores, “Kessler’s.” With Ed, she traveled the world until his death from renal cell carcinoma.
Lenore cherished her friendships and was very loyal to those she met along the way. In the third grade, she established a pen pal as part of a school project and stayed in touch with her overseas friend for over 70 years, eventually meeting her on a trip to London. The two of them shared important milestones of marriage, family and corresponded through World War II.
Lenore was exceptionally organized and a meticulous person throughout her life, filling over 50 scrapbooks with memorabilia from family and friends. She was an incessant letter writer and family historian, still maintaining the formality of a handwritten and timely note. Lenore was a voracious reader her entire life and an aficionado of classic movies from the 1930s and 1940s.
Lenore experienced and endured great sadness in her life, including the death of her daughter, Brenda, at the age of 33, the loss of three husbands and an untimely death of her only sibling and one nephew from a rare genetic disease. When Brenda passed away, Lenore shared in the upbringing of her grandson, Joshua, in Atlanta. She continued to be in touch with Joshua and now his family in the Atlanta area.
Lenore moved from Atlanta back to Cleveland 15 years ago. She renewed her Cleveland friendships and reinvigorated her lifelong devotion to Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, participating in many of the events there and providing generous support to programming. Lenore often recounted the century long friendship of her family to Fairmount Temple, including the fact her great-grandfather donated the lumber to build the 82nd Street building that had preceded the Beachwood location.
Lenore had many close friends but cherished, after returning to Cleveland, her relationship with her son-in-law Jonathan’s mother, Ruby Bass. Together they attended many wonderful school, social, sports and lifecycle events with their mutual grandchildren, Geoffrey and Jared, and later their families.
Lenore believed in a fairy godmother throughout her life. Some never knew that Lenore was in fact the fairy godmother, but she took great satisfaction in being just that.
In the last few months, Lenore met some unexpected new friends, those wonderful caregivers who spent countless hours helping her with her daily needs. Their work, under the careful guidance and direction of her daughter Stephany, allowed her to live out her life in her own home, surrounded by many wonderful memories.
Lenore is the loving mother of Stephany (Dr. Jonathan) Bass and Michael Schatel. She was the devoted grandmother of Joshua (Katherine Miller) Davis, Dr. Geoffrey (Dr. Rosara) Bass and Dr. Jared (Rachel) Bass; and great-grandmother of Shaylee Davis, Dylan Davis, Ezra Bass and the late Natalie Davis. Dear sister of the late Janice Reifman.
Private family services will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 29 at Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel. Webcasting of the service can be seen at bit.ly/largechapel.
Family requests no visitation.
Donations in Lenore’s memory can be made to the Lenore Golden Kessler Lifelong Learning Fund at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, the Lenore Golden Kessler Endowment for Highbrook Camp at the Cleveland Sight Center or the Ruby Bass Challenge Award at the Cleveland Jewish Federation.