Lietzie Belford
Lietzie Belford
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Lietzie Hawkinson Belford passed away peacefully on June 14, 2018 after facing glioblastoma multiforme IV for six months and one day. She was born May 17, 1948, to Eugene and Anne Hawkinson, may their memories be a blessing, and always took pride in the fact that she was just a few days younger than the founding of the state of Israel. Her stepmother Mary, may her memory be a blessing, was also a cherished part of Lietzie's life. She was the oldest of four, and her younger brothers George (may his memory be a blessing), Chip (Suzanne), and Tom (Lisa) spent much time getting her into much trouble. Lietzie loved them, their spouses, and her nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews on both sides of the family: George, Nicole, Ethan, Henry, Kate; Tom, Beth, Josh; Colin; Karen; Billy; Betsy, Patrick, Luke; Sarah, Jeremy, Ethan, Isabel; Jessica, Danny, Dylan, Maxwell, Blake; Ryan, Valarie, Vada; Seth, Alissa, Ben, Caroline,and Charlie.

Lietzie used to say that the best thing she ever did was divorce her husband Bill Belford, while the second best thing she did was marry him, because that marriage led to her cherished children Annie and David Belford, and eventually her three grandchildren who were her pride and joy, Lev, Eiden, and Ahava Belford Vernon. She also adored her grandchildren's father, Rabbi Ari Vernon. Lietzie maintained a close co-parenting relationship with Bill and his wife Vicki, as well as Bill's family, Miki (Mike) Bloom, and Sam (Gayle) Belford. Before she passed she asked Vicki, whom she called her co-mom, to take care of her children.

Although a native Texan, Lietzie was raised in Davenport, Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1969. However, she returned to Texas as soon as she could and stayed for decades, falling in love with El Paso, the desert, and its sunrises. She became active in Temple Mt. Sinai, El Paso's needlepoint community, Girl Scouts, and eventually became a beloved geography teacher for middle and high school students. After retiring she moved to Houston to be closer to her grandchildren, and it was there that mah jong became another passion. Her family, however, was always her first priority, and she became part of the community of West Houston's Temple Sinai, where she was so proud to see her daughter as the rabbi and to see her grandchildren embracing Judaism.

She nurtured many deep friendships throughout her life, and was lovingly supported by friends and family from near and far during these last months. Lietzie loved deeply and without judgment her entire life, which is a gift that those of us who received it can never fully pay back. She will be missed and she will ever be loved.

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