Greta Kessler passed away in her Northampton, MA home on Friday March 25, 2022, surrounded by her beloved children. Greta was born ninety-five years ago in Newport, RI to Gertrude (Rosen) and Alexander Gluckman on October 10, 1926.
Throughout her life Greta made things with her hands. Her beautiful hands, shaped by the effort of creating, made things with paper, scissors, knife and ink; with fabric, thread, loom, and beads; with a shovel in her garden, and with a pot in her kitchen. And according to Greta, anything can be made into soup.
Greta studied at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1940’s. From 1946 to 1956 she was the sole woman jewelry designer at Coro in Providence, RI. She pursued artistic studies throughout her life. Always looking, learning, and teaching – she shared her interests and artistic skills with others, making friends of all ages. She curated art exhibits. She taught crafts and arts in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Israel. She specialized in working with seniors which inspired her studies in gerontology at the University of Bridgeport.
Much of her art was Judaica themed. As a young artist Greta was told there was no such thing as Jewish art. She made it her mission to prove that untrue. Many of Greta’s personal and commissioned art, and her designs of annual Jewish New Year cards were inspired by the Hebrew Bible, Jewish prayers, and her many visits to Israel.
She raised a close-knit family and inspired in them her love for the sea and the power of art. She loved to travel and explored the world through food and recipes. Greta made her homes and gardens beautiful, stylish, warm, and modern. They nourished both the spirit and the eye. She lived by these words: always keep moving, always keep doing, and always keep creating.
Her children Seth (z”l), Susan, Deena and Alex are guided by her teachings. She was preceded in death by her son Seth and husband Irving. Greta is also survived by her sister Sally; grandchildren Aaron, Samantha, Galit, Maayan, Gideon, Shir, Asher, Amir, Avi; her great-grandson Seth; her children’s’ partners Susie, Buki, Barry, Scott; many relatives, and many friends.
A graveside service was held Monday, March 28, 2022, in Beth Olam Cemetery, Middletown, RI.
Donations may be made in Greta’s memory to the Yiddish Book Center (www.yiddishbookcenter.org), Healing Across the Divides (www.healingdivides.org), or the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (www.arava.org).
An exhibition of Greta’s paper cuts and collages is at the Woodstar Cafe in Northampton, MA, 60 Masonic Street until May 8, 2022.
Arrangements are by the Chevra Kadisha Association of Newport County.
Source: O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home