November 21, 2022 ~ 28 Heshvan 5783
Miriam Harriet Goldstein Goldman Godhelff died on Monday, November 21, 2022. She was born at midnight on September 17/18, 1923. Miriam always celebrated her birthday on the 18th, with all of her official documents showing that date until in the mid- 2000’s, when her birth certificate revealed the 17th.
She was the last remaining child of Henry Goldstein and (Hannah) Dorothy Zillman; her older sister, Riva Drutz, died in December 2019, and her younger brother, Irvin Goldstein, in November 2019.
Miriam’s grandparents, Sol Goldstein and Minnie Shapinsky, helped establish Congregation Adath Jeshurun on Brook and College Streets in the early 1900’s.
Miriam’s childhood, like her adulthood, was one of unconditional love and of family. She was also proud to have voted in every election.
She, like her siblings, was an advocate of early childhood development. She believed that each child was unique in their own right, how children were to always have fun and always be respected for the individuals that they are, not what society or what the goals of their parents demanded.
Miriam’s daughter remembers sitting with her mother on their back steps, enjoying a quiet summer evening during her turbulent teenage years. It was an unspoken time of a parent saying to a child, “No matter what you do, I will always love you and be there for you.”
And always laugh, especially over a goof that she did. That was a legacy passed on from her mother, to her, to her daughter.
Like her surprise 50th birthday party at a restaurant, she had never been to. The surprise was on her family as she was only 49 years old, and the reason she had never been to that restaurant was because they refused to serve Blacks. We then realized how many stores, restaurants, and amusement parks we just did not go to.
She was very proud that she voted and did vote every election. A few days before she went into the hospital, she was not feeling well and would not get out of her bed or eat. Honi told her that her ballot would not count if she died before election day. She immediately got out of bed, dressed, and ate. And every day afterwards asked about the election and who won.
A classic Southern Magnolia, she weathered all tragedies with grace and determination, be it the Great Depression, the 1937 Flood, World War II, and the loss of her son and two husbands.
Miriam was a graduate of the 1941 class at Atherton High School. In 1945 she graduated with a Home Economics major from the University of Louisville, where she helped founded the first Jewish sorority, that she then helped incorporate it into the national sorority Delta Phi Epsilon, Omicron Chapter.
In 1945, she married the “love of her life,” Sidney Goldman. When he died in 1955, she took over the store that he had founded a few years earlier, Okolona Department Store on Preston Highway. She managed the store alone until she married Jack Godhelff in 1958. They ran the store until it closed in 1982. She then worked with her son, Marvin, at his mail-order office supply business, Papyrus Place, and took it over after he died in 1999. Jack died in 2010.
Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember how any drawing given to “Grandma Mirky” was a work of art proudly displayed near school pictures and vacation memories. Her kitchen table was where you’d get a made-to-order meal and even some unsolicited advice, both served with a heaping helping of love. Miriam’s signature beaming smile in every photograph showed her pride for her family, friends and time spent together. Miriam loved to send birthday cards, was an avid reader, took many vacations and cruises over the years, and never, ever missed a hair or nail appointment.
Miriam is survived by her daughter, Honi Marleen Goldman, daughter in law, Pam Raidt, her grandchildren Mara White (Jeff), Robbyn McClain (Sam) and Sydney Goldman along with great-grandchildren, Ben, Sari and Grant White, Liliane McClain, Caroline and Ben Peters and by many nieces, nephews, and extended family.
Visitation will begin at 10:30 A.M. on Sunday, November 27, 2022, and will continue with the funeral service at 11:30 A.M. at Herman Meyer & Son, Inc., 1338 Ellison Avenue. Burial will be at Congregation Adath Jeshurun Cemetery between her two husbands. Shiva and evening visitation information is available by calling the funeral home at 502.458.9560.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made in Miriam’s name to NCJW’s Reproductive Rights Project (jewsforabortionaccess.org); Legal Aid (laslou.org), the Louisville Urban League (LUL.org) or the donor’s favorite charity.