NORWICH – PORTLAND, OR: March 22, 1924-March 30, 2014. Sara Dembrow, a longtime resident of Norwich, Connecticut, passed away just a week after happily celebrating her 90th birthday with her sons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family, and friends in Portland, Oregon.
Sara was born in Philadelphia to Al and Edith Gunther, and was raised in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Lincoln High School, attended Brooklyn College, and worked as a secretary. Just after World War II, she met a returning vet, Cyril Dembrow, who won her heart and her hand in marriage, and took her to his home town of Norwich. Sara quickly sent down deep roots there. She gave birth to three sons and with Cyril became an integral part of the Jewish community. She eventually went back to work as a secretary. She worked for several years supporting the visiting nurses of the United Workers of Norwich (now part of United Community and Family Services, Inc.). This led to work in medical records at the state Uncas-On-Thames Hospital, where she eventually became director of medical records (and active in her union). Widowed after just twenty-five years of marriage, Sara was a very independent, organized, and self-sufficient lady, with a passion for her profession. Even after retirement, she worked part-time in medical records at a variety of locations, including Backus Hospital and Pfizer.
She was an avid reader of novels and newspapers. She loved eating out and going to movies with her friends. In her later years she developed a love of travel, sometimes with friends, other times visiting her sons and grandchildren around the globe, and attended Elder Hostels in various parts of the U.S. Never much interested in sports after the Dodgers left Brooklyn, she finally succumbed and became a fervent fan of women's basketball (the UConn women and the Connecticut Sun).
Most of all, though, Sara was deeply devoted to her faith. For more than sixty years she was an essential part of Brothers of Joseph Synagogue. Service defined her life, and she was an inspiration to many.
After much pleading and cajoling from her family, in 2011 she finally moved to Portland, where her son Michael is a college teacher and legislator. There, she developed new friends at the Rose Schnitzer Manor and delighted in weekly trips to the nail salon with her beloved granddaughter, Tatyana. Tatyana was beside her when she finally succumbed peacefully to complications from congestive heart disease.
Sara is survived by her younger sister, Beatrice, her two sons, David, of Beth Shemesh, Israel, and Senator Michael Dembrow, of Portland, Oregon, daughters-in law Shulamith and Kiki, grandchildren Nikolai and Tatyana, great-grandchildren Yamin and Zahni, and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, whose birthdays she always tried to remember. Her third son, Allen, of Norwich, died while still a young man.
Funeral services will be TODAY at 11:00 A.M. at Church and Allen Funeral Home, 136 Sachem Street in Norwich, followed by a graveside service at Brothers of Joseph Cemetery in Preston. Her family will be receiving visitors at 2 Slater Avenue for the next week. Please omit flowers. Donation may be made in Sara's honor to the Brothers of Joseph Synagogue or to the charity of one's choice
To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit www.churchandallen.com