Sara Raskas Myers, past president of Shaare Zedek, dies at 77

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Sara Raska Myers, a past president of Shaare Zedek Synagogue (now Kol Rinah), where she held numerous leadership positions for over 50 years, died Thursday, Aug. 2, at the age of 77. Mrs. Myers had battled Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.

Marshall Myers, Mrs. Myers’ husband of almost 57 years, said, “She fought the terrible disease of dementia for the past seven years. Due to her intelligence, organization and strong will, she was able to overcome many of the symptoms for a long time, until it overcame her.”

He added, “Sara was a dynamic and effective leader and a wonderful wife and companion. I will miss her terribly for the rest of my life.” Those qualities of intelligence, organization and strong will were apparent to all of the family members and many friends and associates of Mrs. Myers throughout her life.

Sara Myers was born June 1, 1941, in St. Louis, the daughter of Abe E. and Ethel “Pat” Goldstein Raskas. She was a proud 1958 graduate of Soldan High School, and was very active in her class reunion committee, and created an ongoing group of her classmates that continued to meet socially for several years afterwards.

She was a graduate of Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in education. She was paid for one day of substitute teaching when the regular teacher had the day off. She then became a full-time homemaker, mother and volunteer, for which her family was deeply grateful.

Mrs. Myers was an active member of Women’s American ORT—now ORT America — which coordinates all ORT operations in the United States. It is the largest nongovernmental global education and training organization in the world, with activities in over 100 countries, serving 300,000 students, including Israel, where 100,000 ORT students attend 145 schools and training centers.

Mrs. Myers’ leadership positions with ORT included local chapter president, St. Louis Council president, national chair of Retail Enterprises, Midwest District president and national board member. She took part in an international delegation visiting several countries with existing and potential ORT schools.

She was passionate about ORT and was always happy to share her insights on the importance of its work. Her description of ORT’s activities and importance attracted many local members of the local chapter.

She was active for more than a half-century with Shaare Zedek in University City. Her positions included president, vice president, chair of halls and catering, and eight years as its professional executive director.

Mrs. Myer was also active as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout troop leader. She was a volunteer at the Solomon Schechter Day School, serving lunch regularly when each of the grandchildren attended.

Among her favorite hobbies were golf, tennis, bridge, reading and travel. She was extremely devoted to family, and taught all of her kids and grandkids to cook, stay organized and be leaders.

She hosted family gatherings for both Jewish and secular holidays for 50 years. Marshall Myers told the Jewish Light, “Sara loved to feed and entertain people and hosted parties for others in our home many times over the years. She was a devoted wife and mother who planned annual vacations for the family and prepared weekly Shabbat dinners.”

Survivors, in addition to her husband, include: a son, Edward Myers (Marla); a daughter,  Anne Myers, and four grandchildren. Another daughter, Stephanie Myers Seleman (Marc), died in 1996.

Funeral services were held at Kol Rinah, with Rabbi Noah Arnow of Kol Rinah officiating with participation by Rabbi Carnie Rose of B’nai Amoona. 

Contributions in her memory may be made to Kol Rinah or the Alzheimer’s Association.