Jeanette Goldstein (Glazer)

Obituary of Jeanette Goldstein (Glazer)

Jeanette Goldstein, an energetic mother of eight who traveled around the world more than 50 times and graduated from Syracuse University Law School at the age of 83, passed away on Friday, August 18th at her home in Pittsford, NY. She was 96.

Mrs. Goldstein was called the "Wonder Mother" by her children because of the wonderful example she set, and the inspirational life she led. She strove to do the best she could for her husband and family, never took no for an answer, and was relentless in achieving her dreams. 

Long before the age of helicopter parenting and doing too much for one's children, Mrs. Goldstein let her kids fly on their own. She strongly believed that parents do their children a disservice when they do too much for them. She never helped her children do their homework. She felt they needed to learn how to do it themselves. 

Mrs. Goldstein taught her kids how to work by putting them to work washing the dishes, doing the laundry, cutting the grass, weeding the garden, and cooking the family dinner every night except Sunday (her turn). She let her kids be decision makers. They decided what to make for dinner and cooked it themselves.

Today, all of Mrs. Goldstein's eight children have graduated from leading Universities and have thrived in their careers. Two are physicians, one is a lawyer, two are successful businessman, one is a highly respected teacher, one is an author of many children's books, and one holds an MBA with a successful career. 

Mrs. Goldstein was born Jane Lillian Glazer on December 29, 1920 in Utica NY. 

She was the second of seven children. Her father, Abraham Glazer, owned a jewelry store and moved his family to Rochester when she was a child. Mrs. Goldstein was very quiet, but very bright in school. She was the number one student at the Martin B. Anderson School No. 1 elementary school in Rochester. 

In 1938, when many young women focused on getting married and raising a family, Mrs. Goldstein studied to be a teacher at what is now the State University of New York College at Brockport. She received a Bachelor of Education degree in 1943, the only one of her four sisters to graduate from college. 

Mrs. Goldstein met her future husband, David Garson Goldstein, founder of Elgeet Optical and later Navitar, Inc. at a dance at the old Jewish Community Center. She was impressed by the University of Rochester optical engineering graduate's dream of starting his own company. And he did. The couple married on June 18, 1944. 

In the mid-1950s, Mrs. Goldstein started accompanying her husband on many overseas business trips to Japan. This was when very few people flew, and trips overseas were extremely rare. During her exotic travels, Mrs. Goldstein never let language get in the way of adventure. Even while traveling to the Orient when few people spoke English, Mrs. Goldstein managed to reach remote china, linen and pearl factories and shop for her family. She would ask a Japanese friend to write down the address where she wanted to go and the address of the hotel where she was staying, and off she went. 

It was in Japan in 1958, while reading a contract Olympus drew up for her husband's company Elgeet to be the exclusive importer of their microscopes in the U.S. that Mrs. Goldstein discovered her passion for law. 'I took one look at the contract and ripped it up,' Mrs. Goldstein said. The contract from Olympus said that the deal was null and void if there was an earthquake or other natural disaster, which were common in Japan. 

Mrs. Goldstein pulled out a pen and got to work. 'I rewrote the contract to make sure there was no way out for Olympus," she said. 

From the moment she drew up her first contract, Mrs. Goldstein set her sights on a career in law. There were not many female lawyers in the 1950s, but that didn't temper her aspirations. 

When Mrs. Goldstein's youngest child Jeremy started school in 1968, she was ready to go and accomplish step one. 'Get out of the house.' 

But Mrs. Goldstein's husband felt the commute from their Rochester home to the nearest law school (Syracuse) was too far. So Mrs. Goldstein took a job as a social worker for the Monroe County Department of Social Services and worked there for the next 20 years. In 1991, Goldstein received her Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) and Certified Social Worker (CSW) degree from Syracuse University. 

She was 70 years old.

With her husband's death in 1996 came grief, loneliness, and … possibilities. Suddenly, commuting to Syracuse didn't seem impossible. Now going to law school for three years was doable. So what was holding her back?

At the age of 80, Mrs. Goldstein enrolled in Syracuse University College of Law. She lived on campus and took a full course load. 

Of 280 initial students in Mrs. Goldstein's Syracuse law class, 231 received their Juris Doctor degree in May 2004. Mrs. Goldstein was 83 years old and she was one of them. And when her name was called at commencement and she proudly walked across the stage to receive her diploma, every professor on stage, every student below, and everyone in the Syracuse OnCenter auditorium stood up and applauded her.

It is a moment that Mrs. Goldstein's children will never forget. They and about a crowd of 100 relatives celebrated the fulfillment of her dream by proudly wearing bright orange t-shirts proclaiming "It's Never Too Late."

Mrs. Goldstein's experiences inspired her son Jeremy to write a book: "Grandma Goes to Law School: Why It's Never too Late to Live Your Dreams."

Mrs. Goldstein lived a very full and exciting life. She stayed at the best hotels in the world with her husband, including The Peninsula Hong Kong and the Treetops Hotel overlooking the elephants and wildlife in Abedare National Park in Kenya. The Treetops is where Princess Elizabeth stayed with Prince Philip in 1952 when she learned that her father, King George VI, had died and she was now Queen of England. 

Mrs. Goldstein's passions were law, shopping, and chocolate. She loved chocolate. And she was years ahead of her time in understanding the benefits of chocolate to one's health.

Mrs. Goldstein always kept the big picture of life in mind and never sweated the details. 

Mrs. Goldstein is survived by her eight children and their spouses: Dr. Alben Goldstein, Ann Goldberg Goldstein, Ferne and Edward Kalish, Dr. Stafford Goldstein and Dr. Debra Weinstein, Erin and Benson Goldstein, Darice and Rick Bailer, Marjorie and Julian Goldstein, Jackie and Dr. Ken Blank, Lisette and Jeremy Goldstein, 24 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother Dr. Jerome Glazer and sister Marcia Shapiro.

Her sisters Rosalind Klein, Evelyn Krovetz, and Dorothea Chazen and her brother Malcolm Glazer predeceased her. 

Mrs. Goldstein did things on her own time. After suffering her first major stroke in 2014, doctors told her children that she would never be able to use her right arm or hand again, and that death was near. 

"You don't know my mother," Julian Goldstein thought. She regained use of her right side and lived two more years. Whenever she was near death, she rallied. 

"My mother did things on her own time," said her son Julian. "Even God couldn't tell her when her time was up. She wasn't listening."

The funeral ceremony will be held at Temple Beth El, 139 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY 14610 at 11:00AM Tuesday morning August 22nd.

Please make all donations in her honor to The Jewish Home, 2021 S Winton Rd., Rochester, NY 14618 or Temple Beth El, 139 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY 14610.