Our beloved, longtime member Ethel Wertman died peacefully at her home on June 10.
Ethel was born Aug. 6, 1932, in Battleford, Canada. She and her husband, Michael, had a very close and loving marriage for 49 years before his death in 2004, and they had two children, Karen Wertman and Lisa Crowe, and three grandchildren.
Ethel had a master’s degree in social work, was a registered nurse who specialized in marriage and family therapy, and had been a sex educator in private practice.
Ethel and Michael joined the New York Society for Ethical Culture in the mid 1960s and were active members. Daughters Karen and Lisa were students of Algernon Black, leader emeritus of the New York Society, and they are graduates of Ethical Culture Sunday School.
The family moved from New York to Chicago and to St. Louis before eventually settling in New Jersey. In each of their relocations, Ethel and Michael became active in the local Ethical Culture Society. Ethel was an Ethical Culture member for over 55 years.
In the mid 1980s, they joined the Bergen Society. Ethel enjoyed playing competitive tennis, preparing connoisseur meals, discovering good wine, telling a funny joke or story, traveling, and had a genuine interest in supporting and caring for others.
Ethel had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was cared for by her hospice nurse and daughters.
Ethel’s good friends, Society members Bea Gopoian and Jim Griffin, had visited Ethel just two weeks before her death and reported that she was comfortable.
“Ethel was alot of fun to be with,” Jim said. “She told hilarious jokes and stories and could be counted on when needed. She was intelligent and an extremely caring person who always wanted to make you feel at ease.”
“For four years, Barbara and I, along with Bea and Steve Gopoan, joined Ethel for her two weeks timeshare in Hilton Head, South Carolina,” he continued. “Our range of activities in this adult paradise ranged from playing tennis every morning, swimming in the ocean, dining in fine restaurants, tasting good wines, canoeing in the lagoon, bycling around the plantations, driving to and from New Jersey, and being very thankful for what we had.”
Jim pointed out that “Ethel’s Skills Auction meals were extraordinarily well prepared right to the littlest detail. My dear Barbara shared in Ethel’s love of fine dining.”
The family will not have a memorial service, but condolence cards are welcome. They may be sent to her daughters at Ethel’s former address:
Karen Wertman, Lisa Crowe & Family
250 Ridgedale Ave., Apt. F3
Florham Park, NJ 07932