Springfield, MA — Ilene Sussman Hirschberg passed away January 4th 2022, leaving an empty space in all our hearts. Ilene was born on October 3, 1938, the second daughter of Sam and Sophie (Lippert) Sussman. Her early years in Brooklyn and Long Island were surrounded by family. There were the grandmas: Jenny Lippert and Pauline Sussman, the aunts and uncles: Mary Saunders, Eddie and Audrey Lippert, Ethel and Irving Wilenkin and of course her older sister Jane. Ilene attended Sewanhaka High School and went to Cooper Union, where she received her Undergraduate Certificate in Art. She married her sweetheart Henry Hirschberg and swiftly took a boat across the Atlantic Ocean to Chelmsford England in 1960. Their first child Tom was born and a year later the young family moved to Oslo Norway where their second child Ellen was born. Together Ilene and Henry raised the two children for 10 years before Ilene returned solo to the US. She moved with her two kids to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois where she received a Master degree in Art Education from the University of Illinois. She loved pottery and created a great body of art work as a student in the 1970’s. Needing to care for her family she moved back to Long Island near her parents. She settled in Woodmere NY, where she raised her two children while working as a commercial artist for Variety Magazine and later for Pergament creating their advertising circulars. Her last job before retirement was as an art therapist and activities coordinator at Hillside Hospital in Queens. Ilene was known for her gentle spirit, creative energy, sweet smile and great laugh. She loved her children and by extension her four grandchildren, Oriana, Asher, Ovidia and Emma. She had a great group of friends and was a true New Yorker. During the last 10 years of her life she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. With the support of family and friends she lived first in Virginia Beach, near her sister and brother-in-law Jane and husband Daniel, and then moved near her daughter Ellen and her husband Mark in Western Massachusetts. Tom, living in Norway, visited often and frequent video calls kept him part of Ilene’s daily life. Despite an illness that steals one’s memories and independence, Ilene never lost her special warmth and sweet voice. Her love for music grew and she could sing the lyrics of many great classics. She was inquisitive and full of knowledge, able to answer a slew of trivia questions on any topic. She retained her sense of humor and was always ready to share a laugh. She will always be loved and we wish we had had more years with her than we did.
Along with family already mentioned she leaves behind friends, Jules, Marcia, Priscila, Iris, Elaine, Diane, Wilma and Steve; and family, her cousin Linda and second cousins Ariel and Sarah, her brother-in-law Jack and his wife Phyllis, Tom’s partner, Janicki, her nieces and nephews, Bruce, Meryl, Jessica, Jeff, Paul, Julie, Brian, Wendy and Jon, grandnieces and nephews Candice, Tyler, Sophie, Jennifer, Sam, Olivia, Jake, Isabel, and Ethan. She was predeceased by her Brooklyn relatives mentioned above and her mother and father in-law Rose and Sid, sister-in-law Sally, nephew David, cousin Ian and her friends Barbara and Sylvia. Thank you to the staff at Linda Manor who helped us care for Ilene.
Donations may be given to Cooper Union Art School, https://cooper.edu/giving/give-online
A virtual service will be held January 9th at 1pm, zoom link to be sent to friends and family.
For further information, please visit ascherzimmerman.com.
Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on Jan. 10, 2022.