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Rae (Lessure) Horwitz, 86, daughter of Morris and Yetta (Noskoff) Lessure, died peacefully on May 19, 2018, after a struggle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Rae attended Avondale Elementary School and Hughes High School, and she was consecrated, confirmed and married at the Wise Temple, all in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Following high school graduation Rae worked as a secretary for two years, and then she met and married Alfred, her husband of nearly 63 years. She raised three children, in Cincinnati and later in Westfield, New Jersey. The move to New Jersey was challenging, but Rae and Alfred were able to make a new home and enjoy frequent visits to New York City and the Jersey Shore. Relationships with her children and new friends, and her active engagement as a painter, knitter and support to all she met, helped Rae thrive in her new home.
Rae had a deep sense of social justice born out of her experience as a young girl raised in Depression-era immigrant poverty and reinforced by her later experiences
tutoring underprivileged children and fighting to preserve the racial integration in her own neighborhood. Attending college had not been an option for Rae following high school, but the Feminism and affluence of the 1970’s opened new pathways. Rae’s interest in helping others led her to become a social work student in her early 40’s, and by age 50 she had been awarded a BSW degree from Kean University and an MSW degree from Rutgers University. She then had a successful 20-year social work career as a medical social worker at Overlook Hospital and a pioneering geriatric social worker at Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey. Her commitment to justice and service deeply impacted each of her children’s life choices and serve as an important part of her legacy.
Rae’s funeral and burial were attended by family and friends in Westfield, New Jersey. Rabbi Marjorie Slome, with whose late mother (Marilyn) Rae had attended kindergarten, officiated. Rae was predeceased by her husband Alfred and her sister, Delores Dunsker. Rae is survived by her daughter Susan Horwitz and son-in-law Carl Bentsen of New York City, her son Joel Horwitz and daughter-in-law Ines Perez of Newark, New Jersey, her son Mark Horwitz and daughter-in-law Julia Moss of Florence, Massachusetts, her grandchildren Binh and Tay Bentsen, and Sarah, Eliza and Benjamin Moss-Horwitz, her sister-in-law Lois (Horwitz) Gartenberg of New York City, her nieces Julie Gartenberg of Madrid, Spain, and Cindy (Dunsker) Golger of Naperville, Illinois, and her nephew Rick Dunsker of New Haven, Connecticut.
Donations in Rae’s honor can be made to Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey at www.jfscentralnj.org, and condolences can be addressed to the family at www.higginsandbonner.com.