Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 13, 2013

Theodora Alpert

WELCH — Theodora Alpert, “Teddy” to her friends, passed away at Princeton Community Hospital on February 7, 2013 at 91.

She will be remembered as a person with flair for dressing, great mechanical skill with her hands (applied to cooking and crocheting), and above all, as a kind person.

She was born at Rockaway Beach Hospital, not far from Arverne, where she grew up, in Long Island, Queens (with Queens’ being one of the five boroughs of New York). Born on March 30, 1921, she was proud of her age. She was the daughter of Morris and Helen (Doischen) Lazarowitz, both of whom have preceded her in death, as has her brother, Dr. Robert Lawrence of Coconut Creek, Florida.

She is survived by her daughter, Helen, with whom she made her home. Other survivors include nephew, Harvey Lawrence of Coconut Creek, Florida as well as the following cousins: Murray (and Rose) Doyschen of Arizona, Abe (and Rose) Saphier of Maine, Avrum (and Marlene) Leaf of New York, Lester (and Regina) Leaf of New York.

There also are two sisters of her late sister-in-law Norma; they are Maralyn Chaliff and Ida Wallach of New York.

She became the owner of the once familiar Welch business King Drug Store in 1973, after the death of her aunt, Lillian Taxey, but when her husband Seldon became ill in 1975, and later passed away that year, she sold the business.

Teddy and Seldon were an ideal couple, and he came into her life four months after the death of her mother when she was 17. They married in 1941, moving to Welch in 1947, because Mrs. Taxey’s husband opened two drugstores in southern West Virginia and were eager for the assistance of this young married couple. Seldon’s mother, Harriett, made her home with the Alperts, beginning in 1965, and Teddy was very close with her mother-in-law, who died in 1978.

Teddy worked in Welch at King Drug as the bookkeeper, and in the 1950’s also went twice a week to her family’s drugstore in Mullens for administrative duties.

Working with figures was her forte, having inherited this skill from her father, Morris, who operated a laundry. She was valedictorian of her eighth grade class at P.S. 42 in New York. She graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1938. She attended City College of New York, for only one year, due to the death of her mother.

At the age of 22, she was written up in the “Brooklyn Eagle” newspaper, when she became a woman mechanic at the Navy Yards, breaking a tradition of men only in this vocation. She remembered this position fondly her entire life.

She spent 12 years as controller, doing bookkeeping for the Council of the Southern Mountains, where she worked with Portia Watkins, after she sold King Drug. She retired in 1988.

She enjoyed her annual family vacation, visiting friends such as the Thomas and Mills families of Georgia, and attending concerts of popular vocalists. She especially enjoyed Sergia Franchi’s singing, hearing him in the northeast at locations such as Atlantic City, where she traveled with her daughter. In the 1990’s, Lawrence Welk’s son opened a theatre in Branson, Missouri, where Teddy and Helen saw the Lennon Sisters, whom Teddy was very fond of. She met them several times after concerts. She also enjoyed dancing shows on television.

She proudly was a 25-year member plus of the McDowell County Woman’s Club and was a member of the Eastern Star (until the local chapter disbanded). She played cards with several informal groups in the community. She loved to knit and crochet, joining a club that met at the local library.

She remained in good health until recently, and in fact, many of her childhood friends have attained an advanced age, including Betty Shear of New York, with whom she became friends as a teenager. She also received frequent phone calls from Helen’s childhood friend, Debbie Leder.

There will be a visitation at the Douglas Mortuary in Welch on Wednesday, February 13, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The burial will be on Friday, not Thursday, which is Valentine’s Day.

The burial will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Monte Vista Park Cemetery, with Rabbi Stanley Funston officiating. Those who wish to attend are asked to meet at the cemetery.

The Douglas Mortuary of Welch is in charge of the arrangements.

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