Fern Press (nee Silverman), 87, was born Oct. 3, 1932, passed away peacefully at home on May 12, 2020, surrounded by all of the loving lives that she so carefully molded during her 87 years of “advising.”
Fern was born in Cleveland (an only child) in 1932 to Ukrainian immigrants Saul and Gustie Silverman, where she resided her entire life. She graduated from Glenville High School where she met the love of her life, Seymour Press. While Seymour was away at The Ohio State University, she pined for him continuously and forever scrambled to come up with the means to travel to Columbus to visit. Marriage quickly followed (1954), and not too long thereafter (1957-1960), the birth of four boisterous children – the center of her future universe.
Those child-rearing years were her life joys, spent imparting her unique wisdom and values, always teaching, nurturing and “providing” for her family while Seymour scraped together a living and sowed the seeds for his entrepreneurial efforts soon to come. Fern was chief cook, chauffeur and doctor, but was happy to delegate the needed childhood discipline to Seymour. “Just wait till Daddy comes home” was not an unusual refrain when quarrels and temper tantrums inevitably broke out. The priceless (and fun) family environment centered on the “Marnell” group of Mayfield Heights neighborhood families, always socializing, eating, sharing and learning from each other.
Once the kids left home, each with their own successful lives, Fern settled into a new, more relaxing routine made possible by Seymour’s business success (founder of Sovereign Industries, 1977), which was always supported by the company’s first “president” (Fern) in the background. Without having to now worry about economizing on fish sticks and meatloaf, Fern finally started taking some time for herself and, in addition to her ever-constant “advising” of her children’s maturing independent lives, she began enjoying shopping (always with discounts), trips to Florida, long walks on the beach, cooking (brisket was fantastic), socializing with her many friends, taking cruises and playing regular mahjong games.
In their later decades, Fern and Seymour became classic “snow birds,” traveling south with children, grandchildren and long-time friends to Siesta Key and other places in Florida. While there, they would entertain family and friends, walk for miles on the beach, and of course, meet, greet and chat with the many people with whom they would always find a common bond. When grandchildren appeared, Fern was, of course, the devoted babysitter in chief and savored her newfound opportunity to “advise” yet a new generation of young minds. And that ever-present motherly advice was no doubt a prime driving force for the generation of successful children and grandchildren that, sometimes reluctantly, listened (and occasionally followed) her loving “nudging”.
After Seymour’s untimely death in 2009, Fern lived independently (and dynamically) for a few years before spending her last year, with declining cognition, in the care of her devoted children - with amazing help from other dedicated caregivers at Helen’s Place (Stone Gardens at Menorah Park).
Her energy, love and never-ending dedication to family will be forever missed – but no doubt permanently ingrained in a new generation.
Beloved wife of the late Seymour; devoted mother of Jill (Bob) Shemory, Rick (Anita) Press of Portland, Ore., Ken (Tim Downing) Press and the late Karin (Michael) Israel; loving grandmother of Sarah Shemory (fiancée, Sam Zimmerman) and Adam Shemory, Rohan and Naya Press, and Lauren and Hallie Israel.
Her family also acknowledges the wonderful care given by her aides: Jackye, Joanne, Lola, Ebony, Bridgett, Muffin and Tenisha.
Private graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. May 15 at Mount Olive Cemetery (Forest City Hebrew section).
For a Zoom broadcast of the ceremony, visit bit.ly/2WwkXqZ. Dial-in participants can find their local number at bit.ly/3cx47O7. Once connected, they should enter the meeting, ID 865 2852 5357 and password, 949086.
Contributions to the Gathering Place or the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at bkbmc.com for the Press family.
Arrangements under the direction of Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, 800-448-2210.