Obituaries for May 11, 2017

Ruth Gruenberg, sociology professor, dies at 94

Photo provided.

Ruth Gruenberg, a longtime sociology professor at Montgomery College-Rockville, died May 5 at 94. She had dementia.

Born Oct. 31, 1922 in Romania, Gruenberg came to the United States with her parents, Jews who fled the Russian civil war and pogroms, when she was a year old. A longtime resident of Chicago before moving to Washington, she received a master’s degree in education from the University of Chicago.  She married Robert Gruenberg, who became a noted correspondent for The Chicago Daily News, in 1942. They were married for 50 years and had two sons. He later died.

Gruenberg taught sociology for several years at Herzl Junior College before leaving to raise a family. The Gruenbergs moved to Washington in 1961, and some years later she resumed teaching sociology at Montgomery College.  She taught there for several decades and was noted for developing a course in advanced field work, placing students with social service agencies to give them practical experience and having them analyze their service. The program inspired many of her students to continue in social service.

In retirement, Gruenberg was active in the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, which had her give lectures on a variety of topics. She also was active in community events, book clubs at the Rock Creek Woods community and with Temple Sinai.

Survivors include her sons, Mark Gruenberg of Washington and Jeremy Gruenberg of Silver Spring; four nephews and nieces, Larry Schwartz of Bethesda, Lisa Zebovitz of Deerfield, Ill., Linda Gruenberg of Wilmette, Ill., and Myron Gruenberg of Northbrook, Ill.; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.  Contributions in her memory may be made to the Robert and Ruth Gruenberg Memorial Scholarship at Montgomery College-Rockville or to the charity of your choice. Arrangements by Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home.

Anita Lee Blum Cohen, teacher, dies at 69

Anita Lee Blum Cohen, of Potomac, died of cancer on May 1. She was 69 years old.

Photo provided.

She was born on July 7, 1947, and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. The only child of Sophie and Morris Blum, she graduated from Wingate High School in 1965 and Brooklyn College in 1969. After moving to Northern Virginia, she received a master’s degree in education from George Mason University. She was an early education specialist, teaching children from ages pre-kindergarten through second grade, primarily in the Arlington County school system. She also briefly ran her own business, a day care center, out of her home in Springfield.

She also was a talented seamstress and cook, a lover of music and movies and a grammar and spelling aficionado. She also devoted much of her free time to participating in fundraisers for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

She was a longtime member of Congregation Beth Sholom of Potomac.

In 1981, she was in a nighttime single-car accident at a shopping mall, during which her jaw and kneecap were broken. In the aftermath, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that eventually left her blind. She and her husband, Frank, moved to Maryland, and she worked for many years as an administrative assistant for Hillel of Greater Washington. She subsequently learned to read Braille and started a Low Vision Support Group at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. She also counseled people through a suicide hotline.

During her lifetime, she suffered from multiple forms of cancer, including thyroid cancer in her younger years, localized breast cancer, and, finally, uterine cancer that spread to her lungs.

She had two guide dogs over the past 18 years, Hyra and Valentina.

Survivors include her husband of 32 years, Franklyn Terry Cohen of Potomac; children Charles Andrew “Chuck” (Amy) Fox of Atlanta, Ga., and Michelle Erin Fox (Barton) Day of Damascus; and grandchildren Elianna Ruth Day, Sophia Rose Day, Sydney Bess Fox and Benjamin Stephen Fox.

Donations can be made in her memory to Guide Dogs for the Blind, P.O. Box 151200, San Rafael, CA 94915-1200.

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