Vera Winston Propp

Vera Winston Propp, died on January 6, 2011 at age 75 in Albany, New York. Daughter of the late Alice and the late Erwin Winston; wife of Richard Propp; mother of Elizabeth and Peter; mother-in-law of Suzanne; grandmother of Rose and Bennett; sister of Peter (Carol) Winston; sister-in-law of Lawrence (Mancia) Propp, and many other close relatives and devoted friends. Born in Beuthen, Germany on July 26, 1935, her family was saved from the Holocaust by an American act of kindness, and her life exemplified that spirit. The family joined Temple Israel in 1939 where she was confirmed in 1950. Educated at Clark Elementary School and Mary Institute in St. Louis, Vera received a scholarship to Radcliffe College (B.A. 1957) and completed a master’s degree in reading at the College of St. Rose. For 25 years she taught remedial reading in Albany, primarily at Philip Livingston Middle School. She retired from classroom teaching in 1991, but continued to be active in the community and in one of her proudest professional moments, became a professional author. The life story of a fellow congregant at her synagogue, B’nai Shalom, prompted a trip to Holland in 1993 to research a book about a young boy who was hidden by righteous Gentiles on their farm during World War II. Vera’s fictional account of these events was published commercially for young readers as “When the Soldiers Were Gone” (1999); it went on to win several awards and to be read by thousands of schoolchildren. In addition to working and raising her family, Vera undertook numerous projects in the service of her community. In 1995, she produced “All Babies Are Born Equal”, an educational pamphlet on children and reading, which was widely distributed to new mothers at hospitals locally and in other parts of the country. She helped develop and obtain grants for successful literacy program with Whitney Young Health Center in 1992 that is still “going strong” and is now affiliated with ROAR (Reach Out and Read). Vera was also active in the Albany Area Reading Council, the Russian Resettlement project of Jewish Family Services, was a founding member of B’nai Shalom Reform Congregation, and was a previous director of its religious school. For 16 years she was board secretary for Clowns on Rounds, the regional hospital humor therapy group. Despite her physical limitations of recent years, Vera still enjoyed her reading group, keeping up with her Peach House buddies from Radcliffe, and many happy occasions and everyday moments with her close-knit family, to whom she has always been, and will continue to be, a source of comfort and inspiration. A uniquely talented and motivated person, she will be deeply missed. The family extends heartfelt thanks to Drs. Michael Scher and Daniel Finn and staff for their compassionate care. Contributions to: Healthcare NOW, 1315 Spruce St., Philadelphia, Penn. 19107, Hunger Action Network of NYS, 275 State St. Albany, N.Y. 12210 or the Social Action Committee of B’nai Shalom Reform Congregation, 420 Whitehall Rd., Albany, N.Y. 12208 or to The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center 12 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis, Mo. 63146.