Rachel Helen Lesser Denison Koltun

by | Feb 5, 2021 | Obituaries

Norfolk—Rachel Helen Lesser Denison Koltun, 87, passed away on Friday, January 22, 2021 in her home, where she had lived for 62 years.

Helen was born in Suffolk, Va. to the late Madeline Snyder Lesser and Simon Lesser. They moved to Norfolk when Helen was 16 years old, where she graduated from Maury High School. Helen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work from Beaver College (now Arcadia University) in Philadelphia, Pa. and a master’s equivalency in English from Old Dominion University. She was a long-term substitute teacher for the Norfolk Public School System and in the on-call program for Virginia National Bank. A member of the Virginia Symphony League, Helen ran the boutique for more than 20 years, as well as its annual Spring luncheon.

She also volunteered for Ohef Sholom Temple’s Sisterhood and wherever her children were involved.

With her late husband, Dave Koltun, she traveled extensively both throughout the U.S. and abroad. Helen always seized on an opportunity to celebrate with a party or by hosting friends and family at her home. She kept her family supplied with her signature cookies.

Helen never left any doubt that the most important people in her life were her children, grandchildren, cherished friends—many she maintained since she was 13 years old—as well as her extended family.

Helen’s strong will and determination to live were an inspiration to us all over the past 12 years as she defied the medical odds, making it possible for her to continue attending the symphony and her synagogue, visit with friends, and participate in milestones in the lives of her children and grandchildren.

Left to cherish her memory are her children, Terri (Steve) Budman and Karl (Lisa) Denison; her step-son, Scott (Audrey) Koltun; her grandchildren, Madeline and Deni Budman, Jacob, Sam, and Zara Denison, and Erik and Rebecca Koltun; and many dear cousins, friends, and caregivers.

Due to COVID-19, a private graveside service took place at Forest Lawn Cemetery. It was officiated by Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg and Cantor Jennifer Rueben. It may be viewed H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Facebook page. Online condolences may be offered to the family at hdoliver.com.

Donations in Helen’s memory are requested to Ohef Sholom Temple and Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care.

Helen would say, “I love hard.” We all loved her back and will miss her forever.