Obituaries


Marjorie (Leichner) Rafal
Marjorie Leichner Rafal of West Hartford died on Thursday, October 8, 2009, at age 93, after a short illness. She was born and raised in Hartford, the daughter of Dr. William Leichner and Lilyan Tillis Leichner. She attended Hartford schools and graduated from Hartford Public High School. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1938 with a B.A. in English composition, and her articles, poems, and stories appeared in several publications. She completed post-graduate work at St. Joseph College in West Hartford, after which she taught at Bulkeley High School in Hartford.

In 1941, she married Dr. Sidney Rafal, who served as a dental surgeon with the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. While he was overseas, Marjorie worked with several volunteer organizations, including one that located displaced European relatives and reunited them with their families. Marjorie and Sidney, who died in 1990, lived for many years in the house they built in West Hartford.

Marjorie was a life-long member of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, where she was president of the Sisterhood four times, president of the Ladies Deborah Society twice, member of the Board of Trustees for 12 years, and chairman of the Temple Library Board for 23 years. In 2001 Beth Israel published her book The Way We Were: 1843-2001", an irreverent history of the temple and its environs. In 2008, the Archive Room at Beth Israel was named in her honor. In 1999 she was named as a Woman of Valor by the Hartford Jewish Federation.

She also published many articles, poems and was a renowned constructor of crossword puzzles. Her puzzles appeared in childrens magazines, the Wellesley Magazine, the Jewish Ledger, Hartford Magazine and many local and national publications.

She is survived by her daughter Jane Rafal Wilson, and her husband Ralph, of Scottsville, VA.; her son John William Rafal, and his wife Dyanne Moniz Rafal, of Old Lyme; and daughter Marianna Rafal Steriadis, of Holiday, FL. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Matthew Rafal and his wife Diane, Alysia Rafal Poe and her husband Michael, Melina Tickner and her husband Keith, Thomas Steriadis, Rafael Wilson, and Gabrielle Wilson, and one great-grandson, Brian Wilson. She is also survived by her sister, Carol Dunn of Avon, as well as nephews, nieces, and cousins.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, October 12, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary of Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford with Rabbi Stephen Fuchs and Cantor Pamela Siskin officiating. Interment will follow at Beth Israel Cemetery in Hartford. Family and friends will be received immediately afterwards at Congregation Beth Israel. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Rafal Scholarship Fund, c/o the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, 10 Columbus Boulevard, 8th Floor, Hartford, CT 06105. Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford. For further information, directions, or to sign the guestbook for Marjorie, please visit online at: www.weinsteinmortuary.com.



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