Belle Likover Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Belle Likover

October 22, 1919 - July 29, 2017
Obituary

To view this service at 1 PM Sunday please navigate to www.bitly.com/largechapel ====================== August 2, 2017 Cleveland Plain Dealer Belle Likover, senior advocate, dies BRIAN ALBRECHT balbrecht@plaind.com Three years ago, Belle Likover, a longtime advocate for the elderly, was asked about her own mortality. '1'm very lucky to still be alive," the child of the Depression told a Plain Dealer reporter. "My time is limited. I accept the fact that one of these days I'm not going to wake up:' Likover, 97, died Saturday in her Shaker Heights...

To view this service at 1 PM Sunday please navigate to www.bitly.com/largechapel



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August 2, 2017 Cleveland Plain Dealer



Belle Likover, senior advocate, dies



BRIAN ALBRECHT



balbrecht@plaind.com



Three years ago, Belle Likover, a longtime advocate for the elderly, was asked about her own mortality.



'1'm very lucky to still be alive," the child of the Depression told a Plain Dealer reporter. "My time is limited. I accept the fact that one of these days I'm not going to wake up:'



Likover, 97, died Saturday in her Shaker Heights home.



The life of this self-de-scribed workaholic was filled with a passion and energy for helping other people, through efforts in a variety of social service agencies, resulting in numerous awards.



As her daughter Rachel Likover noted, "My mother had an unwavering commitment to ideas that would improve the lives of people in our country. Her tenacity, insight and consistency in the development of projects to meet those goals was inspirational to her colleagues and fellow advocates for change."



Helping others was a trait that Belle Likover once said she developed during the deprivation of Depression, when a steady stream of hungry people came to her family's door in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and were never turned away.



After graduating from Ohio State University, she came to Cleveland, where friends lived.



Her first husband, Joseph Tracht, was killed during World War II. Toe war widow with a 2-year-old daughter in 1946 married Edward Likover, a fellow OSU graduate who would later become president of the Cleveland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. They raised three more children. He died in 1992.



The couple were exposed to the anti-communist "Red Scare" fervor of the 1950s when he was fired from his job as a Cleveland Trade School teacher after invoking his constitutional right to free speech when summoned to appear before the Ohio Un-American Activities Commission.



Likover had been involved in an effort to establish day care for young children during and after the war, and once said that she "fell into social work -I never really planned it."



She became a group worker at the Jewish Com-munity Center and would serve the agency for 22 years, becoming its first development director, associate executive director and interim executive director before she "retired" in 1982.



She was just getting started She became an outspoken champion for the elderly as chair of such senior advocacy organizations as the Western Reserve Agency on Aging board of trustees, Council on Older Persons and the Ohio Advisory Council on Aging. She also was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1995 and 2005.



Her many awards included The Plain Dealer's Ohioan of the Year award in 2002, when her efforts against a state proposal to cut home health care for low-income seniors were noted. At that time, Jim Trakru1, chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, said, "Her passion shows through. Her voice is an important one.”



Her awards included the Max and Frieda Davis Tikkum Hallam Award from Temple Emanu El, the ACLU of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Han-nah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women.



Likover was the subject of a recent documentary, "Belle," which screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and the ACLU of Ohio also filmed her for an oral history project.



While advocating for seniors, she didn't overlook herself. She was an avid theater-goer and swam in water aerobics every week. She also once admitted to being a big fan of former TV host Jon Stewart, because "getting a laugh every day is very, very helpful:'



Her daughter Rachel re-marked, "I think my mother's energy flowed from her passion to make a difference in the world. She committed herself to an exercise regimen that energized her physically as well.



Belle Likover hosted a Passover Seder for 50 people each year, and was patron of the annual ACLU of Ohio Ed Likover Memorial lecture.



Likover is survived by children Terry Moen (Hans) of Madison, Wisconsin, Joseph Likover (Amy) of San Rafael, California, and Rachel (Scott de Wolski) of Springfield, Massachusetts; daughter-in-law Bobbi Likover; five grandchildren; sisters Madeleine Levinson and Pearl Rubenzik; and sister-in-law Lenore (Tracht) Levine. She was predeceased by her eldest son, Lewis.



Services will be at Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, 1985 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, at 1 p.m. Sunday. The family will receive friends at home on Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., and Sunday after services until 8 p.m.



The family has suggested a donation to a charitable organization, the ACLU of Ohio (acluohio.org) or the National Council of Jewish Women (ncjw.org).



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BELLE LIKOVER, age 97, died peacefully at home surrounded by her family. Born in Pittsburgh on October 22, 1919 to Sarah and Jacob Weiner, she grew up in Beaver Falls, PA. She graduated from The Ohio State University and moved to Cleveland in 1945, where she later attended Case Western Reserve University and earned her MSSA. Belle was widowed when her first husband, Joseph Tracht, was killed in WWII. She married Edward Likover in 1946.



When she arrived in Cleveland, Belle had a key role in a movement to establish and maintain daycare for young children during and after the war. Belle and her husband Ed were subjected to the true witch hunt of Joe McCarthy and his brethren, shaping her lifelong commitment to civil liberties.



Belle began her 22 year career at the Jewish Community Center as a group worker, and ultimately became Associate Executive Director of the agency. She played a major role in planning for the construction of the Mandel JCC. She served two terms as Interim Executive Director before her retirement in 1982.



In her retirement and up until her death, she was a tireless advocate on behalf of the elderly. Over the years, she served as chair for many senior advocacy organizations, including the Western Reserve Agency on Aging Board of Trustees, Council on Older Persons, Coalition to Monitor Medicare Managed Care, and the Ohio Advisory Council on Aging. She was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1995 and 2005.



Some of the awards for Belles advocacy work include: Advocate of the Year from the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (1997), Distinguished Alumni of the Year CWRU MSASS (2000), Hannah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women (2000), Ohioan of the Year by The Plain Dealer (2002), Democracy in Action Award by the League of Women Voters (2005), Dr. Arnold L. Heller Memorial Award from Menorah Park Senior Living Center (2008), ACLU of Ohio Lifetime of Service Award (2009), and the Max and Frieda Davis Tikkun HaOlam Award from Temple Emanu El (2014). She was the subject of the documentary film, Belle, which premiered earlier this year at the Cleveland International Film Festival.



In 2016, in the wake of tragic shootings, Belle was inspired by President Obama's call for individual actions to unite the country rather than further divide it. She organized a community meeting which provided an informative and cordial dialog between residents and the Shaker Heights Police Department.



A lifelong lover of the arts, she was a regular theatergoer. She found delight in frequent Royalty card games with a group of dear friends. Belle practiced aquatic aerobics on a nearly daily basis until her death.



Belle hosted a Passover Seder for 50 people each year, and was the patron of the annual ACLU of Ohio Ed Likover Memorial Lecture; these events served as joyous reunions for extended family from across the country.



Belle is survived by children Terry Moen (Hans) of Madison, WI, Joseph Likover (Amy) of San Rafael, CA and Rachel (Scott de Wolski) of Springfield, MA. She was predeceased by her husband Ed, her eldest son, Lewis, and her sisters Florence Gubits and Zelda Polatsek. She is survived by her grandchildren: Joshua Likover, Jacob Likover, Kale Likover, Sean de Wolski (Amy) and Karen de Wolski; her daughter-in-law, Bobbi Likover; her sisters: Madeleine Levinson and Pearl Rubenzik; her sister-in-law: Lenore (Tracht) Levine; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends.



If you wish, the family suggests a donation to a charitable organization of your choice, or to the ACLU of Ohio (www.acluohio.org) or the National Council of Jewish Women (www.ncjw.org). Services will be held at BERKOWITZ-KUMIN-BOOKATZ MEMORIAL CHAPEL, 1985 S. TAYLOR RD., CLEVELAND HTS., on Sunday, August 6 at 1 p.m. The family will receive friends at home on SATURDAY FROM 5 TO 9 PM AND ON SUNDAY AFTER SERVICES UNTIL 8 PM.







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"Belle was a member in good standing of Theatrix, a play-reading group that has been around for about 35 years. She was a superb reader, an equally superb..." John C. Fazio (Fairlawn, OH)

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(nee Weiner), age 97, born Oct. 22, 1919 and passed away July 29, 2017. Beloved wife of Edward Likover (deceased); devoted mother of Terry (Hans)...

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