Florence Bressler Was Avid Cook, Calligrapher

Florence Bressler, 83, of Edgartown died peacefully on Friday, Jan. 30, at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital. In the Jewish tradition, it is an honor to die on the Sabbath. Florence was born in Paterson, N.J., and lived in Fair Lawn, N.J., until early 2001 when she moved to Edgartown to be closer to her daughter, Karen Bressler, and Karen's family.

Florence and her late husband, Dr. Leon Bressler, were childhood sweethearts. Together they had an active social life with a close-knit group of friends called the Crescents Club. Apart from the war years, the members of the club met every Tuesday night, not to play cards or do any specific activity, but to tell jokes and simply enjoy each other's company.

Several members, including Florence and Leon, helped found Temple Israel of Ridgewood, N.J. It was during this time in the early 1960s that they first visited Martha's Vineyard. This was one of the many trips Florence and Leon took through the years, traveling to many parts the world.

Florence volunteered at both Barnert Memorial Hospital in New Jersey and Martha's Vineyard Hospital. She enjoyed meeting and working with the community. Florence was known for her beautiful handwriting. She was often asked to address wedding invitations and was the official calligrapher of the Temple Israel memorial certificates.

Florence was an avid cook and proud homemaker. She held the Jewish traditions high. Her Passover sponge cake, the likes of which no one could duplicate, has a reputation that reaches across the ocean. She shared her recipe with her grandson Tyler of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, who enjoyed helping Grammy bake these wonderful cakes. Tyler plans to pass these skills on to the next generation. Florence also helped her granddaughter Lorianne develop her Jewish identity, culminating in Florence's attendance at Lorianne's Bat Mitzvah in Holland.

Bridge and Mah Jong were Florence's passions. Having played both games most of her life, Florence brought her love of Mah Jong to Martha's Vineyard. She helped set up a group of local players whom she coached in the finer arts of the game. Her grandson, Zachary, developed a taste for Mah Jong and loved playing with Grammy. When Florence moved to Windemere assisted living, she became an active participant in many of the activities organized there, including bridge and Bingo. Florence was more contented with her life during those last months at Windemere than she had been since the death of her husband in 1976. Florence had her wonderful Dr. Kline, who took excellent care of her and was able to understand Florence's unique sense of humor: that dry drollness laced with a tinge of sarcastic wit that was surprisingly funny.

Another of Florence's joys was reading poetry written by her granddaughter Samantha. She collected and saved the cards and drawings made by her.

Florence is survived by her daughters, Janet Bressler and Karen Bressler. Janet and her husband, Dr. Leo van Gelder and their two children, Lorianne and Tyler, live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Karen Bressler, her husband Steve Rabin and their children Samantha and Zachary, live in Edgartown. The funeral was held in New Jersey.

A memorial took place at Windemere on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Donations may be made in Florence's memory to Windemere Rehabilitation Center.