Zelda Sheketoff Gersten
Zelda Sheketoff Gersten, widow of Charles David Gersten, passed away on September 5th at her home in West Hartford. After graduating from Rollins College, Zelda returned to her Hartford roots and worked as a copywriter and later, a salesperson for a number of department stores until she met and married the love of her life, Charlie. Zelda and Charlie were married for 55 years, and raised a family of two boys and two girls. She recently celebrated her 86th birthday at the family’s annual ‘Zeldapalooza’ held in her honor.Zelda was the loving mother of Eliot and Kathy Borteck Gersten of West Hartford, Liz and Nagi Osta of Stamford, Sandra Blinn of Andover Mass, and Richard and Vicki Gersten of Washington DC, as well as grandma to Emily and her husband Josh Hagan, Stacey and Leanna Gersten, Robert and Darcy Osta, Jeffrey Osta and Lauren Osta, Jessica, Rebecca, and Michael Blinn, Nathan, Jonah, Gabriel, and David Gersten, and great grandmother to Alan Osta and Cooper Hagan. Zelda spent hours talking regularly with her older grandchildren and always inquiring confidentially, “How’s the love life? And life in the big city?” She promised their disclosures were secret and “legally protected” communication not to be shared with their parents or especially grandpa Charlie. Some of those secrets were kept…. Her younger grandsons enjoyed talking with her and filling her in on minute details of their friends and schools; Zelda always responded enthusiastically “I think that is just terrific” . Her shopping trips with her granddaughters were legendary, as were annual vacations with 20+ family members, and time spent watching fireworks from the deck in Narragansett. Her goal to avoid sunscreen at all cost was supported by the belief that she could never have enough sun.

Besides her almost daily need for Peppermint stick ice cream topped with hot fudge, Zelda enjoyed serving a number of Hartford’s community service organizations including Meals on Wheels, Hadassah, and many others. The National Council of Jewish Women’s local chapter honored her with the Hannah Solomon Award as Woman of the Year in 1976. In the 70’s, Zelda tenaciously advocated establishing child center centers at hospitals and corporations at a time when the idea was revolutionary. She also spent time researching and contributing to the presentation of the “Windows on Day Care” white paper on behalf of Governor Grasso for the Connecticut Legislature. Zelda served as a guardian ad litem for dozens of youths and helped to create an organization called “Children in Placement” as a part of the court appointed Child Special Advocates program to deal with the large number of children who had no one to care for them. Her tireless and dedicated work helped to ensure that countless women, families and children had someone in their corner looking out for their best interests in a time of need. The Rollins College Alumni Association honored her with a Service to Humanity award in 1999.

Her daughter Sandra predeceased her.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday September 9 at 3pm in the Sanctuary of the Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive in West Hartford with Rabbi David J. Small officiating. Interment will follow in the Emanuel Synagogue Cemetery, Wethersfield. The family will be receiving visitors over the weekend and sitting Shiva at Eliot & Kathy’s home at 40 Orchard Road following the interment at 7pm on Sunday. Memorial contributions in Zelda’s name may be made to Moving Matters! JDPP at 231 Pearl Street, Hartford, CT 06103, Ivy Mount School for Autism, 11614 Seven Locks Road, Rockville, MD 20854, Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford, 06117, and/or the Lower Fairfield County Food Bank, 461 Glenbrook Road, Stamford, CT 06906.

Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford. For further information, directions or to share memories of Zelda with her family, please visit online

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