April 25, 2019

It was "amazing" that in front of the house where her great-grandparents used to live, there are now memorial stones, Lydia Stux described movingly. The great-granddaughter of Sigmund and Martha Moises had come specially from the United States to participate in the installation of memorial plaques (Stolpersteine) for her ancestors at Aachener Strasse 412.
Artist Gunter Demnig personally installs every Stolperstein.
As Hitler rose in power, normal life was over for Stux`great-grandparents in Cologne. As Jews, they were humiliated and disenfranchised.
Sigmund Moises was born on September 25, 1859 in Stommeln. On September 6, 1900, he married Martha Oberlander from Mannheim who was born in 1880. In 1901 the couple's only child was born in Cologne, daughter Gertrude, called Trude. For over thirty years, Sigmund Moises headed the menswear business E. Oberländer & Cie at Glockengasse 20. In 1932 he retired. 
Music students from Irmgardis Gymnasium participated in the installation on Aachener Strasse.
Daughter Trude married Max Ichenhäuser, a physician, and the couple had two children. The family, Trude, Max and their daughters Renate and Erika, was able to emigrate to the United States in 1938 via England
Sigmund Moises died on 25 March 1942 in the Jewish hospital in Ehrenfeld. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Bocklemünd. His wife Martha was deported to the ghetto Theresienstadt on 19 September 1942. In mid-May 1944, the Nazis deported her to Auschwitz where she was murdered.
Sponsors of the Moises’ Stolpersteine are students of the Archbishop Irmgardis Gymnasium in Bayenthal. In religion class, the young people recently studied the relationship of the Catholic Church to National Socialism, especially the behavior of the then-Pope towards the Jews. When their teacher, Judith Föcker, suggested that they sponsor Stolpersteine, the students were immediately enthusiastic about the idea. "We think anti-semitism is an important issue. The Stolpersteine are a way to engage the younger generation with history.”
“Creativity also plays a role in the project,” Ms. Föcker said. “By examining the individual lives of a specific Jewish couple, the students can better understood what was done to these people.”
Sigmund and Martha Moises
Artist Gunter Demnig is founder of the Stolperstein project. At the installation, students presented what they had learned about the life story of the Moises family. Members of the school orchestra accompanied the small ceremony musically as the students sang Hebrew songs. At the end, all present laid flowers, candles and paper doves on the new memorial stones.
Lydia Stux did not know her great-grandparents but her mother had told her about them and about their house in Cologne. Now, by the act of laying the memorial stones, she has been able to share her family history.

February 7, 2019

Greta Stux Bayer

Greta Bayer, Allison Goldberg, Ted Stux,  Bill Shore, Erica Stux, Lydia Stux, Philip and Diana Shore in 2000

Jan 26, 2019

It is with great sadness that I cannot be here today to celebrate the life of our beloved aunt Greta. She lived an amazingly long life, both amazing for longevity and for her many accomplishments.

While small children we had little face-to-face time with Greta, but received birthday greetings, Hanukkah gifts and postcards with stamps from the many exotic locales she traveled to. Greta has said more than once that I get my love of traveling from her, which must be true, since I didn’t get that from either parent. In fact, I am writing these words from Meknes, Morocco.

As we got older, our contact with Greta increased with visits to California. Greta was straightforward and plain-spoken. Don’t let that beautiful, lilting Viennese accent fool you. She was a woman of strong opinions and firm convictions. I admit that as a young person in the 1970s, I sometimes chafed at her comments and attitudes. As Ted will attest, I changed my mind abruptly later in life, saying, “I may not agree or like what she has to say, but she is always right.” And she was.

I also want to remark on Greta's amazing generosity. If I came to California to attend Seder with my mother, Greta always found a bottle of wine for me to present to my hosts with her best wishes and a gift for mom. If I brought one of my boys to visit, she had a bag of toys at the ready for him. 

Both my boys were absolutely devoted for their great-aunt Greta and with good reason . . . . For example, Jeff once told her that he liked the feel of fur (this is typical for individuals with autism.... they have strong sensory likes and dislikes). Greta replied that she liked fur too, and followed this up with gifts of a fake fur throw, plush pillow and furry hats for both boys. All these items are treasured mementoes.

Greta lived an incredible and long life, and my sons and I will miss her greatly. 

December 30, 2018

Erica Stux Nov 25,1929 - Dec 22, 2018

Dec 26, 2018

Thank you for coming today, to be with us and remember our mother, Erica Stux.

My Ordinary Life (from WORKING WHERE POEMS ARE LURKING by Erica Stux)

My life has not seen violent action.
Such a lack brought satisfaction.

No events that brought me glory,
Just the usual daily story.

Carrying out each usual task,
repetition’s all I ask.

So it is quite evident
My life’s never turbulent.

Sounds so boring, you might say. But I like it just that way.

While you knew Erica during THE AKRON YEARS, the 40 years in which she raised three children here, was active in philanthropy, PTA, Hadassah and Naamat, Audubon Society and many other clubs and organizations, there is both a prequel and 3rd chapter in her life that I would like to share.

Fun fact: Because we three kids are far apart in age, mom has the distinction of 25 continuous years of having a kid in Akron Public School. That’s a lot of PTA meetings.

Erica was born in Cologne, Germany, the second daughter of a physician and art historian. The family had an English teenage au pair to teach the girls English. As the noose of Nazism tightened, it was the Catholic parish of this au pair which sponsored the family and enabled them to leave Germany. Upon leaving Germany, Mom never uttered another word of German, although she understood it well. She spoke Ohioan...like a native.

Fun fact: In addition to German and English, my mother also knew French and Russian and did some scientific translation work early in her career.

The family made their way from Germany to England to Ohio, eventually settling in Cincinnati where my grandfather opened his medical practice. He died two years later, leaving my grandmother with two young girls. Our grandmother’s response was to expedite their education, so my mother graduated high school at 15 and earned her master’s degree in Chemistry at 21.
After University, mom met another German-speaking refugee scientist. They were married in 1955 and came to Akron in 1959 when my dad, Paul, took a job with PPG Industries.

After my father died in 1984, mom met another European refugee scientist. Bill Shore was a Czech survivor of Auschwitz from Cleveland. They dated on and off, and when Bill retired and moved to Los Angeles, mom declared that she had no interest in marrying again and stayed in Akron. Imagine our surprise when she announced to all three of us two years later, “I am getting married to Bill, moving to LA and selling the house. You kids come and get your stuff.” They were like newlyweds until Bill’s death in 2011.

Fun fact: Bill and Erica entered the California senior olympics as a doubles table tennis team.

So you see that a major theme in Erica’s life is dislocation and dramatic reversals of fortune. Yet, we never heard her complain or lament. She did not ever talk about the past.

Another major theme is, to use a cliche, marching to her own drumbeat. Mom was, first and foremost, a pragmatist and a scientist, with a special interest in biology, nature, ecology and conservation. She enjoyed related, other “left brain” activities: light verse, writing and performing music, history, crossword puzzles and playing bridge.

Mom’s hobbies and passions were wholesome, if not, unabashedly nerdy. I submit as examples, accordion playing (which she started in the 1930s and was still playing in a klezmer band until a few years ago) and bird-watching. Her life list of birds began when she was 15. When I was little, the Audubon Society outings were agonizing to me. Mom was by decades the youngest Audubon member, but, as in all things, she didn’t care a whit. In adulthood, as I traveled, I thought, “I wish mom were here. I bet she doesn’t have blue-footed booby on her life list.” Occasionally, I would describe to her a bird I had seen but didn’t recognize, and she would reply something like, “that’s a juvenile rosy-breasted nuthatch in its winter plumage!” Of course.

There were many things that didn’t concern mom. Both strange and somewhat laudable, she had no interest in consumerism, haute cuisine, fashion, popular culture, TV, politics, sports, political correctness, technology beyond the typewriter and the microwave, religion, metaphor, symbolism or word play. She felt strongly enough to rail against things she “just couldn’t stand.” That’s also an odd list, including car commercials, spoiled children, overt displays of piety or religiosity, bralessness, smoking and dishwashers. However passionately she might have felt about any of those things, I never heard her say an unkind thing about another person!

Bill Shore once said to me, “I dated better cooks, better dressers, better housekeepers, but intellectually there was no one equal to your mother.” That about says it all.

Last August, I had a very successful visit with mom. She could no longer hear much, and refused to wear her hearing aids, so conversation was difficult, if not impossible. We spent much of the time in silence, which is Mom’s natural state, but is generally torturous for me. I gave myself over to a wonderful, zenlike, quiet state, where we just sat together or drove together . . . just being there.

I would like to close with another of mom’s poems.

A Wish

The headboard lamp projects
my magnified image, covering
the closet door.
If only my life would cast
such a magnificent shadow
once I’m gone.

Thank you to everyone for coming out today. For those of you that I haven't met, I'm Ted, Erica's son.  

If I had to describe my mother in one word, it would be "interesting." If you were introduced to her, or sat next to her at dinner or spent time with her she probably wouldn't engage in too much conversation, but behind that quiet reserved exterior is someone with many passions, hobbies and interests--and these are interests that she has had for as long as I can remember which is about fifty years. She never really quit anything and if anything, pursued them more vigorously.
In no particular order, she was a scientist, a musician, an author, an avid bird-watcher, a bridge player, a poet, a ping pong player, a playwright and longtime member of many organizations from Pioneer Women to Mensa and others. When I say she was a musician she wasn't just a member of the University of Cincinnati marching band many years ago (which she was) but played in a number of klezmer bands that preformed at temples, JCC's and assisted living facilities. She played French horn, accordion, piano and recorder. She wrote music and she wrote lyrics and sometimes hired people to perform and record her songs. Did you know that about ten years ago, she wrote a country music song that ended up on the country charts? True story.  Who can forget "The Cost of Lovin"?(with no “g”)
Only a few years ago she wrote one of her plays and a local theater put it on.  
Then there's the writing. She was a technical writer for PPG for many years which allowed her to use her Masters degree in chemistry and her writing ability. In addition to countless short stories that she wrote for herself and sometimes to be published in local or national magazines, she wrote at least 10-12 books. They weren't all the same type either.  Here are some examples:

Landlady which was fiction although based on her experiences owning a 3 flat in Akron.

Eight Who Made A difference: Pioneer Women in the Arts, non-fiction

Sequins & Sorrows, fiction about a stripper 

Enrico Fermi: Trailblazer in Nuclear Physicsobviously non-fiction

The Wonder of Wings, science

Reflections on Abraham Lincoln and other Poems

The Achievers: Great Women in the Biological Sciences

Incredible Insects

Naturally Inspired:  Poems of the Great Outdoors

Expressions of Nature, husband Bill photos (birds, insects, close ups of wild animals, vistas, landscapes…  In the landscapes you could see a teeny, tiny Erica Stux somewhere in the photo (like Where’s Waldo) with her poems added to every picture
Permutations of the Humble Coffee Been: Poems of Daily Tasks & Diversions, written this past year
After I wrote a few notes to say today, I decided to Google my mom, and there were 17 books there, some listed on Amazon, and I realized that in addition to researching and writing these things, there were photographs and illustrations to assemble, proofing to be done and publishing and sometimes selling… It’s very impressive.
When I told someone in her writing group the news, she sent out an email to the other members and added, "Erica was not only a loyal and long time most productive member of Chatsworth Writers Group, she was also an active member of my Saturday morning critique group for the last ten years and rarely missed a meeting. She was a woman of few words, but always showed up with a new poem or another book she had just published or an invitation to a play she was having performed. I will miss her greatly."
Another person added: “Just today, two of her poems were read at our poetry workshop. She was always a gentle lady, far more illuminating than her diminutive stature would suggest."
As some of you may know Erica spent her first nine years in Germany in the 1930's, and shortly after Kristallnacht her family was able to emigrate. Her father died in 1941 leaving a wife and two daughters aged 12 and 14. It was decided that the girls needed to graduate as soon as possible so our mother took two different levels of English at once and did correspondence courses in Biology and graduated at 15. Some time after her bachelor’s in chemistry, she got her master’s degree as well. That takes a lot. To be a refugee and then to excel academically right from the getgo. In fact, she met her second husband at her Mensa group. 
I could tell you a few other tidbits like her playing ping pong in the senior olympics, or being a contestant on a couple games shows or that she picked up and moved to California and remarried at age 70, but I'll leave it at this:
My mom was not interested in vacations, or restaurants or shopping or material goods in general, but she had many other things that she loved.  If I had to sum it up in one phrase it would be,  “She lived the way that she wanted to live.” 
She was an amazing woman in many ways and we will miss her.