Rita Nirenberg, 89, died on Saturday, August 7, 2021, at her home in Livingston, NJ. She had recently moved from Fitzwilliam, NH where she lived for close to thirty years. Previously she was a longtime resident of North Woodmere, NY.
Born to Sarah and Jack Brayman on August 1, 1932, Rita was raised in Brooklyn, NY with her older sister and younger brother. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1953. She often recounted a story of how women were viewed at that time: a college professor refused to write her a letter of recommendation for graduate school because he predicted that she would marry and never work. She went anyway.
Strong-willed and intellectually driven, Rita married Morris the following year, had three children, and continued her education, earning a master’s degree in counseling psychology from New York University. She worked for most of her adult life. She taught elementary school in Queens and at the Brandeis School on Long Island (fourth-graders were her favorite), and started her own business, Cat’s Cradle Ltd., selling wall hangings and hammocks that she made. She also worked as an interior designer and managed Cert Instrument and Rasi NH, Morris’s engineering and manufacturing businesses.
In 1973, she and Morris purchased a second home on Laurel Lake in Fitzwilliam, NH. They made it their full-time residence in 1992. She was fond of her adopted home state, and frequently spoke of how things were better in New Hampshire. An incredible host, Rita loved inviting family and friends to stay at her home and enjoy the lake, the two acres of blueberry bushes, her cooking, and her lively company.
She was active in her retirement. She was a founding member of the Fitzwilliam Town Library Book Club and served many years as a library trustee. She was a museum docent for the Fitzwilliam Historical Society. She and Morris loved live theater and were season subscribers to both the Peterborough Players and the Roundabout Theatre in New York City.
Rita was married to Morris for 61 years until his death in 2015. She regarded herself as lucky for having a partner who supported all of her endeavors. Rita’s family was the core of her life, and she was close with her siblings, her children, her grandchildren, and her nieces and nephews. She kept in close touch with them through frequent phone calls, and she served as the center, connecting them all. Her advice was sought by many and freely given; she had strong opinions and was unafraid to share them. She was a warm, genuine person with whom many people felt a strong connection.
She is survived by her children: Lisa Walzer and her husband Bill Hanft, David Nirenberg and his wife Elaine Kirsch; her grandchildren: Lauren (Andrew), Arielle, Danielle (Brandon), Hunter, Paul, Pixie, Eric, Erin (Ben), Laura, and Ben; her great-grandchildren, Zoë, Max, Audrey, Owen, Caroline, and Lenya; and her brother Yechiel Brayman and his wife Malka. In addition, she leaves nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. She was predeceased by her husband Morris, their daughter Nina Davids, and her sister Pearl Bosworth.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday, August 10 at 1PM at Congregation Ahavas Achim, 84 Hastings Avenue, Keene, NH, 03431. Burial will follow at the graveside at Monadnock View Cemetery, Park Ave, Keene, NH, 03431. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Rita Nirenberg to: Congregation Ahavas Achim, www.keenesynagogue.org. Shiva will be held at her daughter’s house in Livingston, NJ on Wednesday evening and at her son’s house in White Plains, NY on Thursday evening.