Berniece Crockin Pilzer

by | May 3, 2013 | Obituaries

Portsmouth–Berniece Crockin Pilzer passed away Saturday, April 20, 2013 at the age of 97.

A native of Norfolk, she was the daughter of Ida Beskin Crockin and Jacob Crockin, who had served on the Norfolk City Council for 12 years until his death in 1924. The fourth born of six children, Mrs. Pilzer was the last survivor.

After her marriage in 1935 to her beloved husband, Syndey J. Pilzer, who passed away in 1980, Mrs. Pilzer moved to Portsmouth, became part of the family business, and became an active volunteer for many causes dear to her heart.

An inspired leader, fund raiser, and public speaker, she devoted considerable energy to Gomley Chesed Congregation, for which she chaired the centennial celebration of its founding. She served as a member of its board of directors and was honored by being named a lifetime member. She was also president of the Sisterhood, a creative writer and choreographer. She wrote, produced, and directed several successful min-musicals to the delight of the members of the congregation.

Mrs. Pilzer also found time to be active in the United Jewish Federation, chaired the Women’s Division of the United Jewish Appeal, was a life member of Hadassah, and supported other causes within the Jewish community to which she was devoted.

She was also a member of the UJFT Allocations Committee following the merging of the United Jewish Federation of Portsmouth with the United Jewish Federation of Norfolk and Virginia Beach in 1980.

An astute businesswoman, she became president of the family business, Pilzer’s Department Store, where she worked along with her husband from the time of their marriage until their retirement in 1975.

Retirement did not slow her down; she continued to be an active participant in the community. She was especially proud of the exercise program she developed and led for several years starting when she was 75 years of age.

Her proudest achievement was being a loving mother of her three children, Deanna Miller and husband Gordon, Emily Markiewicz and husband Ron; and a son, Jay Pilzer.

She was the cherished grandmother of Harrison Miller and wife Yuka, Evan Miller and wife Karen, Seth Frankel, of blessed memory, and Christina, Caitlin Rowe and husband Dave, Joshua Pilzer and wife Yukiko and Ethan Pilzer.

She felt blessed by her great grandchildren, Aliceanna Miller, Kasumi and Yosuke Oda, Abigail and Maile Frankel, Ellie Rowe and Albert Miller.

She enjoyed a loving relationship with her companion, Harry Kocen, of blessed memory, and was grateful for the welcoming support of his family.

Others within Mrs. Pilzer’s family are sister-in-law Lois Garner and husband Bernard, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and their families.

Mrs. Pilzer will be remembered for her gracious manner, her friendly smile, her generous heart, creative talent, sincere friendship, alert mind, impeccable style and the doer of good deeds. She will be missed and loved by all who knew her.

A funeral service was held at Gomley Chesed Congregation by Rabbi David Goldstein. Burial followed in Gomley Chesed Cemetery.

Contributions to the Bernice and Sydney J. Pilzer Endowment Fund of Gomley Chesed Congregation.