Rhoda Himmel Mazur

by | Dec 6, 2013 | Obituaries

NEWPORT NEWS—Rhoda Himmel Mazur passed away peacefully early Tuesday morning, Nov. 26, 2013, surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

Rhoda Mazur was born on July 4, 1929, in Brooklyn, N. Y., to Morris and Geitl (“Gussie”) Himmel, the third of four daughters.

She was educated (with David Daniel Kaminsky, a.k.a. “Danny Kaye,” only slightly her senior) at Thomas Jefferson High School—where she won great acclaim for her singing—and Brooklyn College, where she majored in English and won awards for her writing.

She married Marvin Irwin Mazur in 1952, and lived with him in New York City, Boston, Lewiston, Maine, and Alexandria, Virginia, before moving to Newport News, Virginia, in 1957.

While raising four children, Rhoda became active in the local and national Jewish community, chairing the Rodef Sholom Temple social action committee, endowment committee, and Sisterhood, as well as the Newport News chapter of Hadassah, and serving as president of the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula; representative to the national Council of Jewish Federations; and member of the regional board of directors for the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

She was also an active advocate for social justice, and was appointed to serve on the Newport News Social Services Advisory Board, Newport News Task Force on Emergency Housing, and the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. She also served on the advisory boards of Friends of the Homeless, Inc., the Peninsula Peace Education Center, the Associated Marine Institute, and the National Conference of Christians and Jews chapter for the Virginia region. Rhoda was recognized for her work by the Jewish Federation of Newport News (“Young Leadership Award,” 1968), the National Conference of Christians and Jews (“Brotherhood Award,” 1984), and the Anti-Defamation League (“Leadership Award,” 1997).

For pleasure, Rhoda was a notorious puzzler (from crossword to jigsaw), film aficionado, and world traveler. She also enjoyed partisan politics, taking much pride from her friendships with various elected officials and candidates. She idolized President Kennedy, danced with Marvin at the Carter White House, and maintained a portrait of President Obama in her living room.

Rhoda is preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Marvin Irwin Mazur, and sister Lillian Weintraub, and survived by her sisters Shirley Gitomer and Renee Yarmoff; children Jody Risa Mazur (and David Banyai) of Norfolk, Amy Catha Mazur (and Michael Feldstein) of Newton, Mass., Leslie Robin Needham (and Joseph Randy Needham) of Newport News, and Eric Michael Mazur (and Claudia Anne Mazur) of Norfolk; and grandchildren Gabriel Feldstein, Jesse Feldstein, Emma Kate Needham, Dana Rae Needham, Mia Rose Mazur, and Elias Amiel Mazur.

Funeral services were conducted by Rabbi Gilah Dror at Rodef Sholom Temple in Hampton. Burial followed in the Jewish Cemetery of the Virginia Peninsula. Peninsula Funeral Home. Contributions to the Mazur Educational Fund at UJCVP, 2700 Spring Road, Newport News, Virginia, 23606.