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Frieda Faigin

Frieda Faigin, 95, of Seattle, Washington, formerly of West Bloomfield, Michigan, died on 13 December 2019.

The Funeral was held at The Chapel at Adat Shalom Memorial Park on Tuesday, 17 December 2019 at 3:00 PM .

Rabbi Matthew Zerwekh officiated. Interment at Adat Shalom Memorial Park.

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The family of Frieda Faigin will be gathering through the evening of Tuesday, December 17 at the residence of Eileen and Michael Baum, 24611 Sussex, Oak Park MI 48237.

Religious services will be held on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.

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Frieda Faigin, 95, who moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2014 to be closer to her two children and their families, died in Seattle on Friday, the 13th of December, at the home of her son Gary and daughter-in-law Pamela Belyea.

Frieda was born in 1924 in Detroit. Of the five Gussin siblings, born in what was Byelorussia, four moved to Detroit, so she was surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as her grandmother. She and her parents, Beryl and Dora Kumove, shared an apartment building on Muriland Street with her cousins Florence "Flossie" Citeral, and Dolores "Lollie" Bennish, who survive her. The four girls, including Frieda’s late older sister Miriam, stayed close all through their adult lives. The family was very active in supporting Israel, both before and after independence, and they gave Golda Meir accommodations in their home one night when she was fundraising in Detroit in the late 1940s. Frieda also went to Camp Farband near Ann Arbor, a Labor Zionist camp where her parents stayed in a tent and did menial work to help pay for her tuition. Later, Frieda attended Wayne State University, and received a Bachelor of Art. In the 50s and 60s, she worked on and off as a substitute teacher in the Detroit School system.

Frieda married the handsome army sergeant Henry Faigin, who had recently returned from WWII where he ran a radar unit on an island off of Trinidad. They met on a hayride arranged by the Jewish community as a sort of matchmaking service for returning servicemen. After marrying in 1947, they became the proud parents of Sybil in 1948 and Gary in 1950. Henry taught history and civics at Pershing High School until his retirement around 1980. They brought up their two children in a house just off Seven Mile Road in northwest Detroit in the heart of the Jewish community. Their next door neighbors were Henry’s brother, Joseph Faigin, his wife Anne, and their son, Alan and daughter, Linda (Wayne) whom the family stayed close with over many decades. Family gatherings brought together many members of the Gussin clan, including a favorite younger cousin, Larry Gussin, 25 years her junior, now also of Seattle. Later, as the community migrated north, Frieda and Henry followed, living consecutively in Southfield and then West Bloomfield.

Frieda, like her mother Dora, was an active supporter of Israeli causes, and was a member of both Hadassah and Pioneer Women (now Na’Amat). During their 49 year marriage, Frieda and Henry visited Israel three times. They were also active Democrats, hosting a fundraiser for Congresswoman Martha Griffiths in their home in Detroit. Her son Gary remembers visiting the House of Representatives in Washington in the early 1960s and sitting in the Visitor’s Gallery, and being spotted by Congresswoman Griffiths from the House floor. She not only joined the family in the Gallery, she invited them to lunch at the Members’ Cafeteria.

Frieda was also an active supporter of civil rights, and on one family excursion in the late 1950s, she walked out of the office of a woman who rented horseback rides in response to what she thought were racist, anti-black comments.

Frieda and Henry were lifelong learners, and through the Elderhostel program, visited countries like Brazil, France, and England. No matter where she lived, Frieda tried to attend a lecture, theatrical or music program as often as she could, which meant several times a week. Long after her children moved to the West Coast, Frieda remained close to her many relatives in Detroit; her nieces, Eileen Baum, Carol Seligson and Susan Katz and nephew, Jerome Katz, adopted her as a sort of surrogate mother. In fact, as an adult, Jerome, called Frieda on a nearly daily basis both when she lived in Southfield, and when she moved to Seattle.

Frieda will be best remembered for her loving devotion to her family, as well as her spirit and spunk. She knew what she wanted, and her pursuit of it was both gentle and determined. After her husband Henry died in 1999, she found an equally loyal and supportive companion in the widower Tom Tannis with whom she enjoyed a warm companionship until his death in 2007. Perhaps her strong spirit helps explains Frieda’s longevity. As of today, Frieda is the longest-lived member of her family. Her last two-and-a-half years were spent living with her son, daughter-in-law, and her two grandchildren, Sarah and Ben, in their home in Seattle. She was pleased to welcome her only great-grandson, Nathanial Henry Mondello, in November 2018. Frieda adored Baby Henry and they became best of friends and unusual playmates. She was in fine health until almost the end. Frieda passed away peacefully in her own bed with her family at her bedside.

Sadly, just six weeks before Frieda’s death, her beloved and devoted daughter, Sybil, also passed away. Sybil had been sick for several years and unable to travel from Vancouver, Canada to visit with her mother. Nonetheless, Sybil called and wrote daily to learn of her mother’s needs and activities and she tried to be as involved in her mother’s life as possible. Frieda is also survived by her son-in-law, Michael Barden, and her oldest grandchild, Dorah Barden, both of Vancouver.

It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of Frieda Faigin may do so by making a contribution to:

Hadassah-Greater Detroit Chapter
5030 Orchard Lake Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48323
Click to Visit Charity Website

Na'Amat Greater Detroit Council
25900 Greenfield #205D
Oak Park, MI 48237
Click to Visit Charity Website