Irma Frankel, our sweet wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, at the age of 107. She lived a long, healthy, amazing life. Irma was born to Sarah and Josef Kamerling on April 2, 1907.
When she was 24, she met and married Abraham Frankel and, in 1935, after the family had expanded to include Gunter, born in 1932, and Lottie, born in 1934, they escaped from Nazi Germany with their children, leaving all their possessions, including their business, behind. The family moved to London, then New York and, finally, Houston, where they founded Southern Silk Store, which later became Southern Fabrics.
Irma met every challenge with courage and a quest for perfection. Her kindness and unfailing courtesy were spiced with a quick sense of humor. She made herself (unintentionally) an inspiration for every person who met her. She was loving and wise and cherished by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She had an open mind and a quick wit. The world changed many times throughout her life, but she always was up-to-date and in step with the times.
Irma never stopped being active and learning new things. She took classes well into her 90s (Dennis Huston, lecturer at the Women's Center, was a favorite), and she continued to participate in family celebrations until a few months prior to her death.She enjoyed doing water exercises three times a week at Jon West Physical Therapy,
where the staff was exceedingly kind and thoughtful to Irma and admiring of her stamina and determination.
Irma particularly enjoyed ballet, opera, classic movies, classical music (especially Chopin) and lunch at Ouisie's.
Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her special joy. She doted on them. When they visited, she would get up early to make "Great-Grandma's Pancakes"- a kind of German pancake very unique and special.
She lived in her own home until she died.
Irma is survived by son, Gunter Frankel, and his wife, Danielle; daughter, Lottie
Shapiro, and her husband, Sander; grandchildren, Bruce Frankel and his wife, Molly
Ann; Debra Orkin and her husband, Bob; Julie Shapiro Schechter and her husband,
Richard; Dr. Susan Shapiro Schmitz and her husband, Dr. Michael Schmitz; greatgrandchildren,
Jared Orkin, Max Frankel, Abby Frankel, Alyssa Schechter, Andrea
Schmitz, Monica Schechter and Drew Schmitz.
The family wishes to express its deep gratitude to Dr. Robert Jackson for his highly
skilled and devoted medical care, and to Jewel Hearn for her loving dedication to Irma's
Graveside services were held on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, at Emanu El Memorial Park.
Donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
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