Ida Kaplan Wadler passed away peacefully on July 19, 2015, three months shy of her 100th birthday, surrounded by three generations of her loving family.
Ida was born on October 22, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York to parents Robert and Minnie Kaplan. Ida excelled as a Hebrew student from a very early age. She graduated from the Miachzike Talmud Torah where she was awarded a medal for outstanding student in her class. It was when she continued on to Hebrew high school that she knew she was destined to become a Hebrew teacher.
During a summer in the Catskills, Ida fell in love with the man who would become her soul mate. Irving Wadler, a violinist, had family in Wharton, Texas who alerted the young couple to an opportunity with the nearby Houston Symphony. In 1937, Ida and Irving were married and moved to Houston where over the next seven decades they would become fixtures in Houston's arts and Jewish communities.
Ida enjoyed a rich, multi-faceted life, but her true passions were family, Judaism, love of the arts and Democratic politics. With Irving, a rising star in the Houston Symphony, she spent countless hours enjoying concerts and often traveling the world as part of the symphony family. For years, Ida's home was a salon for music, art and good cheer. She and Irving welcomed visiting musicians and hosted long evenings of chamber music among friends.
Above all else, family was at the center of Ida's life. There was no more devoted grandmother and great-grandmother. She attended all her grandchildren's activities - from their earliest elementary school years through their college graduations and weddings. She adored her 17 great-grandchildren and they loved coming to visit their "Ida."
Just last month, her eldest great-grandchild had his bar mitzvah. Although she could not travel to New Jersey to be there in person, she learned his Torah portion and read it that very same morning during Shabbat services at Seven Acres where she lived.
Ida touched the lives of countless Hebrew students during her many years of teaching at Temple Emanu El, Congregation Brith Shalom, Congregation Beth Yeshurun and the Jewish Community Center. Her former students would often come to her to express their gratitude for how much they learned from her and to introduce her to their own children and grandchildren. Over the years, she also taught adult Hebrew classes and became close friends with many of her adult students.
Ida was an active member of Hadassah where she served as her chapter president and represented the region at several national conventions. She loved politics, worked tirelessly for the Democratic Party, and took important roles in Bellaire civic organizations, especially the founding of Russ Pittman Park.
Ida is survived by her loving children, Bobbie Newman, Marian Strug and David and DeDe Wadler, her cherished grandchildren, Stephen Newman, Douglas and Marcy Newman, Paul and Leslie Strug, Mark and Polina Strug, Michael and Lisa Strug, Melissa and David Bloome, Lindsay and Jon Hyman, Elizabeth and Steve Bentley and Jarrett Wadler as well as 17 adoring great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews who loved her as the matriarch of the family. She was pre-deceased by her loving husband, Irving Wadler and her sons-in-law Dr. Byron Strug and Arthur Newman.
Ida lived a blessed and joyful life, which she never took for granted and acknowledged daily in her favorite Hebrew passage from Psalm 118, "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm, at Congregation Beth Yeshurun, 4525 Beechnut, Houston, Texas 77096 with Rabbi Steven Morgan officiating Private buial will be held at Emanu El Memorial Park. Donations may be made to a Jewish charity of one's choice or to The Houston Symphony.
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