ForeverMissed
May 25, 1935 - May 25, 2020, In Memoriam 
With Love, David and Gordon, Sara and Polly, and 11 adoring Grandchildren

Bernice Stein, formerly Bernice Schnell, of Livingston, NJ, died on May 25, 2020 (her birthday) at the age of 85, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was born Bernice Braverman in Newark, NJ, daughter of Dora and Ben Braverman, and brother of Jules Braverman (all pre-deceased). Bernice was raised in Hillside, NJ and attended Hillside High School, Rutgers College (Phi Beta Kappa), and Rutgers Law School where she earned her JD degree. A child of Russian immigrants, Bernice cherished her parents, brother and her extended family, and she enjoyed many long summers and holidays in Philadelphia, PA with her aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Bernice married Richard Marvin Schnell in 1957, the love of her life, with whom she had two loving sons, David and Gordon. Bernice taught English at Bloomfield High School and Seton Hall University. She was a very popular teacher and beloved by her students. She also volunteered as an English teacher at Robert Treat High School in Newark, NJ where her passion for providing equal opportunity and civil rights motivated her to serve under-privileged students. In 1960, Bernice and Richard moved from an apartment in Bloomfield, NJ into a beautiful home in Livingston, NJ surrounded by friends and close family. They enjoyed a wonderful life together, raising their sons, socializing widely, traveling, and playing tennis and bridge. Bernice recognized the importance of higher education and encouraged this pursuit in her children. She enjoyed great literature, theater and performing arts with friends and family. 

Richard was the President of Century Carpet Co, a successful commercial carpet company based in NYC, founded by his father Charles Schnell. Unfortunately, Richard died of cancer in 1971 at the young age of 40, survived by Bernice and their children; as well as his mother Hannah (née Smelowitz/Samuels), father Charles Schnell, sister Georgene Harmelin (née Schnell) (all now deceased). Bernice successfully negotiated the sale of Century Carpet Co. on behalf of her family and her mother-in-law Hannah. Bernice then returned to enter Rutgers Law School, a bold move in an era when it was not common for a woman to start a new professional career while supporting two young children as a single mother. Bernice would explain that she returned to school to provide her children and herself the resources and educational opportunities that she so valued for them. In 1974, she graduated from Law School, and she found love again, marrying the Honorable Kenneth R. Stein who died in 2018. Bernice and Ken resided in Livingston, NJ and Roseland, NJ for many years, and they lived a long and happy life together. As a lawyer, Bernice worked first for the prominent NJ law firm Riker Danzig Scherer Debevoise, and then for Beneficial Corporation where she received numerous awards for excellence in her work until she retired in 1989.

In addition to her teaching and legal careers, Bernice was a competitive bridge player, avid theatre goer, book club enthusiast, world traveler, advanced puzzler, accomplished knitter, unabashed chocoholic, generous supporter of the arts, museums, veteran organizations, and various health charities, a fierce defender of human rights and a strong supporter of the underdog and underserved. She had a very large circle of friends from her early school days through her married life, and from many shared activities, interests and passions over the years. She treasured her friendships forged decades ago, yet she was always eager to make new friends as well. Bernice also committed much of her last twenty years to loving, cheering and supporting her children and grandchildren, the greatest loves of her life. Sharp as a tack right up until her illness, Bernice was quick witted, warm hearted, and trustworthy. As a devoted mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and loyal friend, she was always available when a loved one needed support or advice. Her brilliance, intuition and personal touch allowed her to navigate challenges with grace and authenticity. While she was diminutive of stature, she was as strong as they come. Her smile and sparkle lit up a room, and she always arrived impeccably dressed bringing a personal sense of fashion that was both bright and intimate. Yet, there was nothing that made her happier than to find the latest discounted designer item in a petite size. Whether on forays to the theater, out to the deli, or visiting local merchants, she was always fashionable. With her warmth and sense of humor, she received compliments daily on her style and grace. Her beloved local salon stylist of many years remarked that unbeknownst to Bernice, “we all said at the salon admiringly that when we grow up, we all want to be Bernice”. Bernice passes from us after a life well-lived and as an inspiration to so many. 

In addition to her sons David and Gordon Schnell, Bernice is survived by their wives Sara and Polly, four grandchildren with Richard Schnell (Wynter, Rayn, Quoya and Ryan); and through Ken Stein, three stepchildren Linda Stein-Truesdale, Debbie Stein Salinger, Richard (and Kristina) Stein and seven grandchildren (Sara, Evan, Rachel, Allison, Jamie, Matthew and Carolyn). She will be forever cherished by her family, friends and all who knew her. Bernice lived a wonderful, happy and fulfilled 85 years, and we are so fortunate to have loved her deeply. We will miss her dearly and may her memory be a blessing. 

A memorial service will take place in New Jersey later this summer. In lieu of flowers, if you are so inclined, contributions in honor of Bernice’s memory can be made to Rutgers College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship Fund or to any charity of your choice.

Please feel free to leave a note or share a story (vignettes, anecdotes, and tales are all welcome) of Bernice in the Tribute section below. 




Posted by Kate Gun on June 12, 2020
(Posted for Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum by his daughter Kate)

I am Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum. My wife Meryl and I first met Bernice in 1993, shortly after my daughter Polly had begun dating Bernice's son Gordon. Two years later, Bernice and her husband Ken, and Meryl and I became Machatunim (relatives by marriage). For 25 years we shared so many wonderful family celebrations Four highlights were the day Polly and Gordon were married and the births of their three children: Richard Wynter (named after Bernice's first husband), Pauley Rayn (named after my mother, Pauline), and Dory Quoya (named after Bernice's mother, Dora Braverman).

Bernice was a remarkable and fiercely independent woman. I have personally known this to be so and have read the tributes about Bernice that beautifully capture the strength and self-reliance she possessed throughout her life during happy times and in times of deep sorrow. My tribute to Bernice is of a slightly different nature.

In late August 2019, Bernice so unexpectedly took ill. Her beloved sons, David and Gordon, did all they could to help her regain her independence. But by early October, she was too frail and vulnerable to be on her own any more.

To keep her away from a facility and close to loved ones, Gordon and Polly took Bernice into their home in Pound Ridge, NY and that is where she remained for eight months, until her death. Never have I seen a family so tirelessly devoted and attentive to providing gentle care and concern for their Mother, Mother-in-law and Grandmother. She was safe, loved and comfortable there.

Through the cold dark winter, Bernice endured complex treatments with a familiar resilience we have long admired. Even as the illness became too big for her to fight anymore, Bernice not once ever lost her dignity or grace, her beauty and tenderness, the sparkle in her delicate green eyes, her ability to give love and to receive it, and to make people laugh and laugh herself. 

Her friends and family came to spend precious time with her. David, his wife Sarah and their son Ryan Benjamin (named after Bernice’s father, Benjamin Braverman) made trips from the West Coast to be with her and take her on special outings. 

She faded gently, lovingly and peacefully into that good night with Gordon's family beside her and David's family virtually beside her in California. We had a very small virtual ceremony for Bernice's sons and their families and two caregivers (Shelly and Dalva who were so lovingly intertwined in the caring process). Together we honored Bernice and blessed her for the amazing woman she was and for the incredible legacy she leaves behind.

May her memory be a blessing.

(Posted for Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum by his daughter Kate)
Posted by Barbara Hauser on June 3, 2020
Hi everybody. Just wanted you to know that each picture in the gallery has a caption which makes it come alive. Just tap on picture. Also there is a great video in the video section
Posted by Judy Savage on May 31, 2020
I was so saddened to see that Bernice passed away. I have so many fond memories of her, going back to Sun Valley in the 1960s.  She was a great friend to my mom Barbara Feldstein for all these many years, and they stayed in touch until she died a year ago. She was an amazing woman who seemed to balance her career, family, and social life with ease.  This is such a difficult time to lose her -- sending warm thoughts and sympathy to your family.
Posted by Barbara Hauser on May 29, 2020
Bernice and I had a very special relationship for which I will always be grateful. We met when our husbands were in Indian guides with two of our sons around 1967. A very private woman, I was able to earn her trust, even though anytime she shared anything it was prefaced with “please don’t tell anyone”

I have been asked to share a few memories as recently I wrote and shared a bunch with Bernice and her family.  In the last week of her life I was able to read some to her on the phone ,courtesy of Polly Schnell.

Two especially convey aspects of her personality. My husband ,Carl , died suddenly in September 1995 leaving me in shock. Bernice spoke to me every morning for a month helping me to get my day started before I was able to return to work. How incredibly kind. A few months later we went to a broadway show on a frigid day. I said to her that Carl would have dropped me at the theater. Her response “ the slave is dead”, in jest but showing her matter of fact demeanor.

My sister-in-law said it is now time to move ahead with the happy memories.
I am trying but it is no easy task. Rest In peace my dear friend
Posted by Sheila Lipkin on May 28, 2020
Bernice was a beautiful young girl, of 18 years, when I first met her at Camp Tagola, Sackett Lake, New York. We were both camp counselors, sharing the same bunk. How lucky I was to develop a life-long friendship with her. Although she lived in New Jersey and I lived in a Queens, New York, we made an effort to keep up our treasured friendship. Bernice was interesting, intelligent and fun to be with.
Her marriage to Dick was a beautiful, much too short, romance. After she lost Dick, she made quite a life-changing decision. She was going to go to law school. She was such a strong determined woman and succeeded as a wife, mother, grandmother and attorney, and whatever else she put her mind to. Her two beloved sons were always a joy to her. They are both very fine gentlemen who she was always so proud of.  
My memories of the times we were together include meeting in Manhattan, seeing a Broadway show, shopping and always enjoying the day. As the years passed and life took us in different directions, it was such a treat to be able to spend two hours every year (for the past six or seven years) together in Cape Cod. In those two hours we caught up on our lives and families. We always left each other knowing how treasured our friendship was.
It is with the saddest heart that I say goodbye to my dear friend. To her wonderful sons and their wives and children, just remember the beautiful and good woman your Mom was. She will be truly missed but will always bring a smile to my heart.
Sheila Lipkin

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Kate Gun on June 12, 2020
(Posted for Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum by his daughter Kate)

I am Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum. My wife Meryl and I first met Bernice in 1993, shortly after my daughter Polly had begun dating Bernice's son Gordon. Two years later, Bernice and her husband Ken, and Meryl and I became Machatunim (relatives by marriage). For 25 years we shared so many wonderful family celebrations Four highlights were the day Polly and Gordon were married and the births of their three children: Richard Wynter (named after Bernice's first husband), Pauley Rayn (named after my mother, Pauline), and Dory Quoya (named after Bernice's mother, Dora Braverman).

Bernice was a remarkable and fiercely independent woman. I have personally known this to be so and have read the tributes about Bernice that beautifully capture the strength and self-reliance she possessed throughout her life during happy times and in times of deep sorrow. My tribute to Bernice is of a slightly different nature.

In late August 2019, Bernice so unexpectedly took ill. Her beloved sons, David and Gordon, did all they could to help her regain her independence. But by early October, she was too frail and vulnerable to be on her own any more.

To keep her away from a facility and close to loved ones, Gordon and Polly took Bernice into their home in Pound Ridge, NY and that is where she remained for eight months, until her death. Never have I seen a family so tirelessly devoted and attentive to providing gentle care and concern for their Mother, Mother-in-law and Grandmother. She was safe, loved and comfortable there.

Through the cold dark winter, Bernice endured complex treatments with a familiar resilience we have long admired. Even as the illness became too big for her to fight anymore, Bernice not once ever lost her dignity or grace, her beauty and tenderness, the sparkle in her delicate green eyes, her ability to give love and to receive it, and to make people laugh and laugh herself. 

Her friends and family came to spend precious time with her. David, his wife Sarah and their son Ryan Benjamin (named after Bernice’s father, Benjamin Braverman) made trips from the West Coast to be with her and take her on special outings. 

She faded gently, lovingly and peacefully into that good night with Gordon's family beside her and David's family virtually beside her in California. We had a very small virtual ceremony for Bernice's sons and their families and two caregivers (Shelly and Dalva who were so lovingly intertwined in the caring process). Together we honored Bernice and blessed her for the amazing woman she was and for the incredible legacy she leaves behind.

May her memory be a blessing.

(Posted for Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum by his daughter Kate)
Posted by Barbara Hauser on June 3, 2020
Hi everybody. Just wanted you to know that each picture in the gallery has a caption which makes it come alive. Just tap on picture. Also there is a great video in the video section
Posted by Judy Savage on May 31, 2020
I was so saddened to see that Bernice passed away. I have so many fond memories of her, going back to Sun Valley in the 1960s.  She was a great friend to my mom Barbara Feldstein for all these many years, and they stayed in touch until she died a year ago. She was an amazing woman who seemed to balance her career, family, and social life with ease.  This is such a difficult time to lose her -- sending warm thoughts and sympathy to your family.
her Life
Bernice Stein, formerly Bernice Schnell, of Livingston, NJ, died on May 25, 2020 (her birthday) at the age of 85, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was born Bernice Braverman in Newark, NJ, daughter of Dora and Ben Braverman, and brother of Jules Braverman (all pre-deceased). Bernice was raised in Hillside, NJ and attended Hillside High School, Rutgers College (Phi Beta Kappa), and Rutgers Law School where she earned her JD degree. A child of Russian immigrants, Bernice cherished her parents, brother and her extended family, and she enjoyed many long summers and holidays in Philadelphia, PA with her aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Bernice married Richard Marvin Schnell in 1957, the love of her life, with whom she had two loving sons, David and Gordon. Bernice taught English at Bloomfield High School and Seton Hall University. She was a very popular teacher and beloved by her students. She also volunteered as an English teacher at Robert Treat High School in Newark, NJ where her passion for providing equal opportunity and civil rights motivated her to serve under-privileged students. In 1960, Bernice and Richard moved from an apartment in Bloomfield, NJ into a beautiful home in Livingston, NJ surrounded by friends and close family. They enjoyed a wonderful life together, raising their sons, socializing widely, traveling, and playing tennis and bridge. Bernice recognized the importance of higher education and encouraged this pursuit in her children. She enjoyed great literature, theater and performing arts with friends and family. 

Richard was the President of Century Carpet Co, a successful commercial carpet company based in NYC, founded by his father Charles Schnell. Unfortunately, Richard died of cancer in 1971 at the young age of 40, survived by Bernice and their children; as well as his mother Hannah (née Smelowitz/Samuels), father Charles Schnell, sister Georgene Harmelin (née Schnell) (all now deceased). Bernice successfully negotiated the sale of Century Carpet Co. on behalf of her family and her mother-in-law Hannah. Bernice then returned to enter Rutgers Law School, a bold move in an era when it was not common for a woman to start a new professional career while supporting two young children as a single mother. Bernice would explain that she returned to school to provide her children and herself the resources and educational opportunities that she so valued for them. In 1974, she graduated from Law School, and she found love again, marrying the Honorable Kenneth R. Stein who died in 2018. Bernice and Ken resided in Livingston, NJ and Roseland, NJ for many years, and they lived a long and happy life together. As a lawyer, Bernice worked first for the prominent NJ law firm Riker Danzig Scherer Debevoise, and then for Beneficial Corporation where she received numerous awards for excellence in her work until she retired in 1989. 

In addition to her teaching and legal careers, Bernice was a competitive bridge player, avid theatre goer, book club enthusiast, world traveler, bargain hunter, advanced puzzler, accomplished knitter, unabashed chocoholic, generous supporter of the arts, museums, veteran organizations, and various health charities, a fierce defender of human rights and a strong supporter of the underdog and underserved. She had a very large circle of friends from her early school days through her married life, and from many shared activities, interests and passions over the years. She treasured her friendships forged decades ago, yet she was always eager to make new friends as well. Bernice also committed much of her last twenty years to loving, cheering and supporting her children and grandchildren, the greatest loves of her life. Sharp as a tack right up until her illness, Bernice was quick witted, warm hearted, and trustworthy. As a devoted mother, aunt, grandmother and loyal friend, she was always available when a loved one needed support or advice. Her brilliance, intuition and personal touch allowed her to navigate challenges with grace and authenticity. While she was diminutive of stature, her smile and sparkle lit up a room, and she always arrived impeccably dressed bringing a personal sense of fashion that was both bright and intimate. Yet, there was nothing that made her happier than to find the latest discounted designer item in a petite size. Whether on forays to the theater, out to the deli, or visiting local merchants, she was always fashionable, and with her warmth and sense of humor, she received compliments daily on her style and grace. Her beloved local salon stylist of many years remarked that unbeknownst to Bernice, “we all said at the salon admiringly that when we grow up, we all want to be Bernice”. Bernice passes from us after a life well-lived and as an inspiration to so many. 

In addition to her sons David and Gordon Schnell, Bernice is survived by their wives Sara and Polly, four grandchildren with Richard Schnell (Wynter, Rayn, Quoya and Ryan); and through Ken Stein, three stepchildren Linda Stein-Truesdale, Debbie Stein Salinger, Richard Stein and seven grandchildren (Sarah, Evan, Rachel, Allison, Jamie, Matthew and Carolyn). She will be forever cherished by her family, friends and all who knew her. Bernice lived a wonderful, happy and fulfilled 85 years, and we are so fortunate to have loved her deeply. We will miss her dearly and may her memory be a blessing. 

A memorial service will take place in New Jersey later this summer. In lieu of flowers, if you are so inclined, contributions in honor of Bernice’s memory can be made to Rutgers College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship Fund or to any charity of your choice.



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