August 05, 2014
August 05, 2014
Ava Dorfman having lived a long, active, and productive life passed away on August 5, 2014 following a rather precipitous decline in her health status over the last several months.
Mrs. Dorfman was born in pre-World War II Poland the youngest of two daughters raised by her mom and maternal grandparents following the untimely death of her father when she was a baby. She survived the holocaust after escaping from a concentration camp that claimed the lives of her entire immediate family and most of her extended family. After living in anonymity for the latter part of the War, she emigrated to the United States when the War concluded where she met her future husband, the late Dr. Milton Dorfman, in New York City where he was completing his post-graduate medical training having recently returned from serving as a medical officer in the Pacific theater. They were married in December of 1949. Milton and Ava Dorfman together with their two sons, Gary and Mitchell Dorfman, moved to Rome, NY in 1953 where the couple lived the remainder of their lives. Milton Dorfman pre-deceased Ava in 1988.
Mrs. Dorfman actively participated in many community activities and she tirelessly supported numerous charitable organizations in her adopted hometown of Rome, NY as well as Oneida County and the State of New York, as well. However, based on a pledge that she made to herself while in the concentration camp, her primary focus was related to improving the well-being of the elderly. She established, and was the founding leader of, the Senior Citizens Council of Rome, NY. She worked fearlessly to plan and secure the funding for the current Senior Citizens Center that is named for her. She served on numerous gerontology advisory bodies, committees, and task forces on the local, regional and national levels with the goal of improving the resources available to and the status of senior citizens. She pioneered the paradigm of bridging the generations by establishing programs in which senior citizens and young children could interact to the mutual benefit of one another.
She felt passionately that “one is only as old (or young) as one feels and acts.” She took pride in the fact that “her seniors” were vibrant, engaged, and vital – just as she was. Throughout her career working with and for senior citizens, she sought to ensure that seniors were not marginalized as being “past their prime” but instead were valued as important contributors to society and the community. These concepts while commonly accepted today, were novel when Mrs. Dorfman, among others, first pioneered this perspective. And until just prior to her death, this was the way Ava Dorfman lived her life; and that is how she will be remembered by the many who knew and loved her.
Mrs. Dorfman is survived by her two sons, Gary and Mitchell, her daughter-in-law Vicki, and her granddaughter, Leah Rebecca.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday at a time to be announced at Nunn and Harper Funeral Home., Inc., 418 N. George St., Rome. Interment will take place in Adas Israel Cemetery in Whitesboro. Friends may call at the funeral home on Wednesday from 4-7pm. The family requests that in lieu of flowers or other remembrances that donations are made in Mrs. Dorfman’s memory to the Milton and Ava Dorfman Memorial Fund of the Senior Citizens Council of Rome, NY, Inc. at 305 East Locust Street, Rome, NY, 13440.
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