Mildred Kurlanchick Gertner was born in Brooklyn, NY on October 12, 1930 to Morris and Rae (Sackin) Kurlanchick. She passed away peacefully Sunday, January 27, 2019. Millie had recently moved back to Houston to be close to her children and grandchildren after 29 glorious years in Boca Raton, Florida. As she repeatedly said “I’m HAPPY!”, we were thrilled to have her close.
Millie was the last of her five siblings and was preceded in death by her parents, brothers William (Wally), Jack, and Sidney, as well as her precious sister, Shirley Kaye Stern. Following the death of her mother when Millie was only 6 years old, Shirley became (and remained) her second mother, sister and best friend. Mildred chose to be buried at Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus, NJ with her family.
Millie was an amazing artist, doing the Yearbook Cover for Washington Irving High School, being selected to go to Egypt to sketch recently uncovered pyramids and being granted a full scholarship to college, both of which she turned down to marry our father, Gilbert Gertner, and start a family in New Jersey. The two built a successful life, moving to Houston in 1964, travelling the world and sharing their good fortune through tzedakah/charity. Mildred was honored in Houston as the “Woman of the Year” by ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training), having also been President of her chapter in New Jersey and on their regional board. She also served as Chair of the Judaica Museum of Congregation Beth Yeshurun during its beginnings, was Chair of the Pacesetter division of the United Jewish Campaign, continued her mother’s legacy by being a Life Member of Hadassah, and actively supported Israel through JNF (Jewish National Fund). When traveling with her beloved sister Shirley in Israel to Petach Tikvah, children were delighted to meet “Our Mildred Gertner”, knowing her name from the Early Childhood Development Center and parks Mildred and Gilbert sponsored in Yoseftal/Petach Tikvah.
Mildred’s career as an interior designer, successful business owner (American Furniture Rental in Houston) and investor, demonstrated her keen savvy and intelligence. But her greatest joy and devotion was saved for her family. No one could have ever wished for a more loving and generous mother, aunt, or grandparent, and her kind heart and loving ways will be missed by all who knew her.
Mildred is survived by her devoted family, her daughter, Dr. Caren Gertner Fritts and husband, Gene; her son, Edward Gertner; her grandchildren, Melissa and Andrew Fritts, Mason, Reagan, Preston, and Sam Gertner, and her loving nieces, nephews, cousins, their families, and friends, who were like family to her. We would like to give our deep gratitude to Zella Harris, who (though for too short a time) was a friend who helped make her transition to Houston an effortless and joyful one.
Funeral service will be held Thursday, January 31, 2019, at the Cedar Park and Beth El Cemetery in Paramus, New Jersey.
If so inspired, the family requests that donations in Mildred’s honor be made to JNF, ORT, or the charity of your choice.