Bella Doris Lucash Ostroff

Bella Ostroff 1/20/1917-5/25/2011

Family: Bella was the daughter of Dora (Wandler) and Abraham Lucash (formerly Lukatsky. She married Alexander Ostroff and had 2 children Elaine and Marilyn.

Bella was born in Philadelphia. Her parents had grown up in Kiev in the western Ukraine and immigrated to Philadelphia where Bella was born. Bella grew up in a secular household. Her father was a socialist and Bella proudly remembered walking with her father in protest marches during the 30's.

After marrying Al Ostroff, Bella had 2 children and was at first a stay at home mother. For Bella, family always came first. However, as Elaine and Marilyn grew, Bella found part time work as a tailor. Her talents became recognized and her work in the clothing design business expanded. She became known as the 'crouch doctor'. When a newly designed styler of woman's pants did not seem to fit comfortably along the inseam, the call went out to Bella. She worked for many major brands at the time such as Viillager, J.G. Hook, and Jones of New York and there were periods of time when she commuted from Philadelphia to the clothing mecca of New York for work.

Bella's priorities, however, were with her family. She wanted to support Al and her children and then her grandchildren. Elaine, her oldest daughter had married and had 3 children herself. In her early 60's, Bella retired and she and Al lived across the street from Elaine, her son-in-law Roger and their 3 children, Jeff, Deborah and Khalil. Bella and Al provided a refuge for them and for her other daughter Marilyn. As Bella and Al got older, they were never ones to criticize but would always be graciously accepting of their children's and grandchildren's behavior. They figured that children and grandchildren had to figure it out on their own.

In the early 1980's, Elaine and Roger moved their family to Chapel Hill for work opportunities and over 10 years later, Bella and Al, with strong encouragement from Elaine, moved to Durham so that Elaine could help care for them in their geriatric years.

But fate was not to be so kind. Only two years after Bella and Al moved, Elaine developed an incurable cancer and needed much care over the next nine months before she passed away. Instead of the daughter helping the aging mother, the mother cared for the daughter. Bella chipped in immediately, doing most of the cooking and never complaining or feeling sorry for herself. Later, when Roger remarried, Bella without hesitation accepted his new wife into the family.

Although Bella was never involved in the life of the synagogue, she always identified with being Jewish. She spoke Yiddish fluently and was active in the Jewish federation chaverim program.