|Birth: ||Jan. 4, 1918|
|Death: ||Apr. 9, 1997|
New Jersey, USA
Florence (Goldberger) Savitch was the mother of popular NBC News anchorwoman Jessica Savitch. The daughter of Hungarian and Italian immigrants, she was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 4, 1918. She spent her childhood there and it was her home throughout her adolescence.
Florence's father was Edward Goldberger, born in Hungary on March 24, 1887. Her mother, Aldamura "Mamie" Spadoni, was born November 18, 1890 in Italy.
Eddie and Mamie met in 1907 and later married in 1909. The Goldbergers were the parents three children. Albert Goldberger (August 13, 1910-March 17, 1963)was the couple's first child. Bernard Spadoni (March 13, 1913-May 31, 2005)was their second child. He would later use his mother's maiden name because he didn't want the Spadoni family name to die out. Florence was the youngest.
As a young woman, Florence embarked on her life's calling to help others. She entered the nursing profession. A family friend says she received her nurse's training at a Philadelphia hospital and then joined the Navy during World War II. She would attain the status of lieutenant during her Naval career. It was during this time she was assigned to care for a young seaman by the name of David "Buddy" Savitch.
The two fell in love and when Buddy was discharged from the military after 15 months of service, he and Florence married on September 6, 1945 in Riverside, California.
Florence was raised Roman Catholic while her husband was Jewish. Because of the deep love she felt for Buddy, Florence allowed his religious beliefs eclipse her own and she followed Jewish customs. For most of the rest of her life, many friends and some family members were unaware that Florence wasn't Jewish herself.
Buddy Savitch was ill for much of his life. Suffering from a kidney ailment, doctors had long thought he wouldn't live a long life. After they were married, Florence gave up her nursing career. She would give special attention to Buddy's diet in order to keep him well. Florence would have little life beyond the home and her family.
On February 1, 1947, Buddy and Florence celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter, they named Jessica Beth. By the time this child reached the age of 30, Jessica Savitch was famous in the world of television news.
The couple's second child, also a daughter, arrived prematurely on December 12, 1948. The Savitch's named her Stephanie. Due to her early birth, Stephanie wasn't well and Florence nursed her around the clock. Later in life, Stephanie would earn a degree in education and work for a time as a teacher. Stephanie married and had two sons. She and her husband subsequently divorced. Following Florence's death, Stephanie moved to West Virginia and became the founder of the West Virginia Family Grief Center. Later, she opened her own private practice.
The last child born to Buddy and Florence was daughter Lori. Her arrival came April 26, 1956. Lori would later follow in big sister Jessica's footsteps by becoming a news reporter and anchor in several local television markets. Lori married young and divorced. She eventually met a molecular biologist at West Virginia University. They married and settled in Morgantown, West Virginia. The couple later adopted a baby girl. Life following television found Lori Savitch owning her own production company.
After they married, Buddy and Florence Savitch settled in the picturesque, Norman Rockwell-like town of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania near Buddy's parents. It was there they were raising their family. Buddy operated a clothing store owned by his parents. Florence was the typical housewife of the era. Always warm and friendly, she was well-known for her delicious made-from-scratch baked goods. She was a meticulous housekeeper and the family's home was always in perfect order. She spent weekends and summers driving her children to various recreational events. By all accounts the Savitch family led an all-American lifestyle.
But life for the Savitch family was destined for drastic change. In 1959, Buddy Savitch's health went into a downward spiral. He died the day after Mother's Day, on Monday, May 11th that year. Florence was heartbroken. Now at the age of 41, she was a widow. Facing life without her beloved Buddy and raising her three daughters alone, Florence started to consider moving to New Jersey to be near her own parents. In late 1960, a year-and-a-half after her husband's death, she packed up her children and moved with them to the seaside community of Margate, New Jersey, just a few short miles from Atlantic City. She purchased a bungalow-style house on Essex Avenue in Margate. It would be her home for nearly 40 years to come.
Left with little money after Buddy's death and needing to support her family, Florence returned to the nursing profession. Over the years, she worked as a registered nurse at Atlantic City Hospital, Shore Memorial Hospital, and Children's Seashore House. She later prepared students entering the medical field by teaching at Atlantic County Vocational School. She taught at ACVS for the last ten years of her nursing career and retired in 1986.
Five years after the loss of her husband, Florence once again faced a personal tragedy. Her father, Edward Goldberger commited suicide on August 1, 1964. That afternoon, he walked into the family's garage, closed the door, and started his car's engine. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 76. He and Mamie had been married about 55 years. Following Edward's death, Mamie Goldberger went to live with Florence in Margate.
Florence marked her 65th birthday at the start of 1983. It was at this stage of her life she faced the ultimate tragedy--the loss of one of her children. Like her father, Jessica Savitch met a premature death. She died on the evening of October 23, 1983. At the age of 36, the beautiful, blonde anchorwoman was killed when the car in which she was a passenger plunged into the Delaware Canal in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Florence would receive the terrible news early the next morning when police arrived at her little house on Essex Avenue.
Less than two years after her daughter Jessica's untimely death, Florence once more grieved the loss of a loved one. In June 1985 her mother Mamie died in Margate. Mamie had made her home with Florence since her husband's suicide in the 1960's. Mamie Goldberger was 94.
Florence had certainly faced many hardships in her life--the suicide of her father, the tragic death of her young husband, the tragedy of losing a child, working to support her family. By the time Florence had reached her early 70's, she was in the early stages of dementia. Over the course of the next eight years, the disease would increasingly engulf her memories in shadows. It also robbed her speech and mobility.
During the last 4 years of her life, Florence was completely incapacitated. One of her daughters says Florence remained as sweet and dear throughout her illness as she had been all her life.
Florence's remaining years were spent at the Linwood Convalescent Center in Linwood, New Jersey. She died there Wednesday, April 9, 1997 at the age of 79. She was survived by her daughters, Stephanie and Lori; her grandsons, David Newman and Michael Newman (Stephanie's sons); and her brother, Bernard Spadoni.
Jeffries and Keates Funeral Home in Northfield, New Jersey handled Florence's arrangements. There was no funeral. She was cremated at Seaside Crematory, her ashes later given to her daughters.
David Savitch (1925 - 1959)*
Jessica Savitch (1947 - 1983)*
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Marguerite Wheeler
Record added: May 14, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26805011