Selma Slonimsky Berman


Selma Slonimsky Berman, a former longtime resident of Altoona, died peacefully Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, at Havenwood Retirement Center in Concord, N.H., with family members by her side. She was six months short of her 100th birthday.

Selma was born in Phila­delphia, the daughter of Leon and Pearl Slonimsky. For two years after high school, she enrolled in business associate courses at Temple University, followed by three years working for the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 1945, Selma married Altoona native Arnold Berman, who died in 1993. They raised four children: Stephen Berman of West Palm Beach, Fla., Joel Berman (husband of Mary Dwyer Berman) of Concord, N.H., Deborah Berman of Hartford, Maine, and Alan (husband of Debra Zegas Berman) of Brookfield, Conn.

Selma was an active member of Altoona’s Temple Beth Israel as well as Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women.

Selma’s biggest joy was her family. As she told more than 100 relatives at the 2017 Berman Family Reunion, “What makes me want to go on living is having such a caring family who’s always there for me.”

Selma was blessed with a long and loving life. She remained vigorous throughout her 90s, attending concerts and lectures, traveling to out-of-state family events and conscientiously completing her daily crossword puzzle. One of her passions was attending full dress rehearsals of the Boston Pops. Another was finding the perfect greeting card for each of her family members and friends, meticulously matching the card with the traits of its recipient. She remained in good health up to the last several weeks of her life. Never fearful of dying, she maintained an unshakable conviction that death will reunite her with her beloved husband, Arnold.

In addition to her four children, she is survived by grandchildren: Laura Berman of Frederick, Md., Jeremy Berman (husband of Laura Elizabeth) of Mount Pleasant, S.C., Julia Berman of Boston, Mass., Brett Berman (husband of Marcella) of Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Cory Berman of Pembroke, N.H. She is also survived by great-grandchildren: Caleb, Elin and Liv.

Selma was predeceased by her younger brother, Sol Slonimsky; and by a granddaughter, Alexa, who died in 2008.

The family extends deep gratitude to the entire staff of Havenwood Retirement Center for their loving and professional care, with a special shout-out to her aides, Audra, Kaylee and Jessica.

A meet and greet will be held at 1 p.m. Friday,

Oct. 11, 2019, at E. Merrill Smith Funeral Home Inc., 2309 Broad Ave., Altoona. A funeral service will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at the funeral home, Rabbi Audrey Korotkin of Temple Beth Israel, officiating. Interment will follow at Mount Sinai Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date at Haven­wood Retirement Center, 33 Christian Ave., Concord, N.H.

In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to honor Selma can send a donation to the National Council of Jewish Women by contacting Page Yarborough, Associate Director, Development, at 240-509-5506.