Ruth Rachel Goldstein (nee Feinberg) passed away in Houston, Texas on December 1, 2018, less than 2 days after her 95th birthday. She was born on November 29, 1923, in Passaic, New Jersey to Joseph and Celia Feinberg, who had immigrated to the United States in 1921 from Minsk Gubernia, Russia. Ruth was the second of five siblings and the first to be born in the U.S.
After graduating from Passaic High School, Ruth begged her parents for permission to join the Navy. They acquiesced and she became a Yeoman serving at several Navy air stations from 1944 to 1948. In 1947, while stationed in Memphis, Tennessee, she met Joe Danens, a Navy airman, and they fell in love and were married in 1948. In 1949, Joe was transferred to Port Lyautey in French Morocco, and Ruth became a civil employee of the Navy serving as secretary to the commanding officer in Port Lyautey. At that time the U.S was in the early stages of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and Joe was assigned to squadron VP-26 charged with gathering intelligence along the Soviet-occupied Latvian coast. On April 8, 1950, Joe’s PB4Y-2 Privateer took off from Wiesbaden, West Germany and was shot down by Soviet LA-11 fighter aircraft over either international waters in the eastern Baltic Sea or over the territorial waters of Latvia, an issue of contention between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. All the crew were presumed to have perished. No remains were ever found. There were reports from time to time that some members of the crew had survived and were being held in prison camps in the Soviet Union, and Ruth’s parents even received a communique from the Red Cross to that effect in 1955. However, those reports were never confirmed even after decades of searching by the Navy, the CIA and the State Department
After Joe’s presumed death, Ruth continued working as a civil employee of the Navy in Port Lyautey. In 1952 Ruth met Robert Miney, a chief petty officer in Naval aviation. Ruth and Bob were married at the American Legation in Tangier. Bob was subsequently transferred to Fort Dix, New Jersey, where their only child, Gail Miney, was born. Tragically Bob was killed in an aircraft accident. His military transport plane vanished off the coast of England in October, 1956, and neither the plane nor any of the crew or passengers was ever found.
In 1957, at the age of 34, Ruth bundled up her 18-month old daughter and boarded a train for Hollywood, Florida, to get a fresh start. There she met Sam Goldstein and they were married in 1959. Their son, Harlan Goldstein, was born in 1961. The marriage did not work out, and Ruth and Sam were divorced later that year. Ruth never re-married.
Struggling as a single parent to raise two young children, Ruth got her real estate license and became a real estate agent. After 23 years as a successful real estate agent and later as a broker in Hollywood, Florida, Ruth decided in 1983 to launch a new career in Europe. She spent six years in Portugal, one in Majorca and Paris and eight on the island of Mykonos in Greece selling and managing resort properties. She returned to the U.S. to retire in 1998, and lived in several retirement and assisted living communities in Houston, Texas.
Ruth was proud of her military service, not just because she was one of the early women to have served, but just proud to have been a part of her country’s military during World War II. She loved her country. In Europe, she was remembered for having positively influenced younger employees from over twenty countries, teaching them, training them, and all would agree “mothering” them. She was a force to reckoned with, well loved and respected by her peers. In her twilight years in Houston, she came to adore her informally adopted grandkids and great grandkids, to whom she was known as Grannie Ruthie. She stayed very engaged and connected to her family through Facebook. She was a voracious reader and an outstanding cook. She loved language, food and laughter. Had she been granted a slightly longer lease on life, she no doubt would have taken advantage of every technological advance to stay connected to her family and engaged with the world around her, and she will be sorely missed.
Ruth is survived by her children, Gail Miney and her husband, Herbert Yates, of Houston; and Harlan Goldstein and his wife Helen Pong of Pattaya, Thailand; and by one brother, Robert Feinberg and his wife Peggy Sapphire of Craftsbury, Vermont; and by numerous nieces and nephews.
Our family wishes to express our deep gratitude for the care mom received from Hospice Plus and Fairbanks Court Assisted Living.
A graveside service with military honors will be held Monday, December 10, 2018, at 11:00 am at Glenwood Cemetery located at 2525 Washington Avenue in Houston, Cantor Vadim Tunitsky presiding assisted by Chaplain Charles Flanagan. There will be a reception immediately following at the Village of Tanglewood, 1600 Augusta Drive in Houston.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) or Jewish Family Services Music and Spirit program (www.jfshouston.org).