|Birth: ||Mar. 14, 1916|
|Death: ||Sep. 17, 2009|
Bessie Buchalter Frohman, 93, of Birmingham, Ala., formerly of Laurel, died Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, in Birmingham, Ala.
Graveside services were conducted Monday, Sept. 21, at 1 p.m. with interment at Lake Park Cemetery in Laurel with Memory Chapel Funeral Home in charge of local arrangements.
Born March 24, 1916, in Sicily Island, La., to Jennie and Louis Buchalter, a Jewish businessman and renowned custom tailor, Bessie Rachel Buchalter was one of five siblings. A Hattiesburg native until her marriage August 27, 1934, in New Orleans, La., to Arthur Harold Frohman Sr. of Chicago, Ill., she and her new husband moved to Laurel in 1936, when he founded Arthur's Store for Men.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Frohman and their growing family were members of a group of prominent Jewish families in Laurel, including those of Harry Mark, Dave Marcus, Harry Fine and Harold Matison. These progressive entrepreneurs played a significant role in the economic development of Laurel during the first half of the 20th Century. The Frohmans were the last survivors of that phase in the history of Laurel's Jewish community. Both took pride that his business has survived for 73 years and that the tradition of service to the Pine Belt continues today in the same location in the Historic Central Business District by their eldest surviving son.
Mrs. Frohman was an active member of Temple Israel in Birmingham, Ala. Previously, she was a member of the Sisterhood of Kenesseth Israel Synagogue in Laurel during its years of service to the Jewish community, as well as that of the B'nai Israel Congregation of Hattiesburg until 1993.
A member of Park Place Garden Club since 1963, she served as president for the 1989-1991 term. She was also an officer of the Council of Garden Clubs of Laurel and Jones County and served a number of years as the co-chairman of the Annual Garden Club Flower Show at the South Mississippi Fair, a popular exhibit at that time for visitors to the Horticulture Division.
She and Arthur were longtime members and supporters of the Laurel Country Club, where their children participated in programs and activities. They held membership at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art as well. She is also still fondly remembered as the Sorority Mother of daughter Roslyn's high school sorority, Tri Zelta, at Laurel High School.
Mrs. Frohman took greatest pleasure in her college education. Although worried that she was too old to start work on a college degree and that she possibly couldn't compete with young minds, at the age of 60 in 1976, she decided to defer the dream no longer. On the day that the last of her children left for college, she enrolled in two courses at the Baptist seminary in Laurel as a test. Initial success in those courses emboldened her to pursue a two-year degree at Jones Community College.
Next, she enrolled and began work on a bachelor's degree in accounting and computer programming at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was a senior with a 3.49 GPA, when family medical issues forced her to withdraw with only a few additional courses required for graduation. A 1988 interview with her in the Hattiesburg American noted that USM records reflect that she was one of 49 students older than 55 years of age who took courses for credit during the early years of that era when non-traditional students began to enter colleges for the first time. According to the reporter, she was among the first at USM, certainly in accounting and the exotic new computer programming major.
Mrs. Frohman was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Harold Frohman Sr.; her children, Arthur Harold Frohman Jr., Roslyn Frohman Battelstein, and Robert Leonard Frohman; parents, Jennie and Louis Buchalter; stepmother, Florence Sizeler Buchalter; brother, PFC. Oscar Buchalter; and sister, Irene Buchalter Benham.
She is survived by her children, Henry Harold Frohman and wife Paulette Boone Frohman, of Laurel; Irene Frohman Cruden and husband Walter Cruden, of Houston, Texas; Lawrence Steele Frohman and wife Young Sun Hong Frohman of Long Island, New York; grandchildren, David Battelstein and wife Jessica, Philip Battelstein and wife, Nancy Battelstein Bostic and husband Steve, and Mark Kopolman and wife Niki. She has six great grandchildren.
Mrs. Frohman is also survived by twin brothers, Maurice Buchalter and wife Fran of Memphis, Tenn.; and Aubrey Buchalter and wife Barbara of Birmingham, Ala.; her beloved nieces and nephews, Kathie, Scott, Bill, Robert, Jennie, Carol, Ralph, Jan, Bert, Barbara, and Steve; and a host of grand nieces and nephews.
The Buchalter-Frohman Family received friends Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, from 5-7 p.m. at Ridouts Valley Chapel in Birmingham with a service officiated by her Rabbi.
Nephew Steve Frohman of Arizona officiated at the graveside service. Eldest son, H. Harold Frohman, read "A Memory of a Mother" from his father's Union Prayer Book, a family heirloom from Kenesseth Israel, where Arthur H. Frohman Sr. served numerous terms as president. He also gave a loving tribute to his sister, Irene ("Butzie") Frohman Cruden, for 15 years as the devoted caregiver to their parents.
Members of Mrs. Frohman's beloved Park Place Garden Club hosted a private reception for family and out-of-town friends at Arthur's Store for Men following the services.
To sign or view the family guestbook, visit www.leadercall.com
Friends who wish to do so may make memorial contributions to a charitable organization of the donor's choice.
Arthur Harold Frohman (1905 - 2002)*
Robert L Frohman (1936 - 1996)*
Arthur Harold Frohman (1952 - 1960)*
Lake Park Cemetery
Maintained by: Gwen Langley Pittman
Originally Created by: Patricia Langley Harvey
Record added: Feb 14, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48115213