Renee Laurel Harwood, 90, died at home on July 24, 2017.
Renee Laurel Harwood was born in the Bronx, NY the daughter of Herman and Rose Dubrov, Russian immigrants who came to this country to escape pogroms. She graduated in the top ten of her high-school class, graduated from Brooklyn College in June,1948 and earned her Masters degree from Hunter College in June, 1952. For years she was an active member of the American Association of University Women. She married Huy Ruby Harwood on June 20, 1948. Mr. Harwood displayed heroism on Utah Beach in the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June, 1944. Renee and Huy were married until his sudden death in February, 1977. She later married Harry Bader, with whom she lived until his death in 2008.
Renee had a long career as a grade-school teacher while raising four children. She loved teaching and often reminisced about the magical moment when her students suddenly broke through the barrier and started to be able to read. Her creativity was always on display in the elaborate murals she created for each change of season and for major holidays.
While living in Monsey, NY, Renee and Huy made sure to expose their children to all of the cultural wonders of New York City. They made weekly trips to visit museums, to see opera and ballet, and to attend classical music concerts. Renee loved poetry and was able to recite poems from memory.
After she retired from teaching in 1986, Renee and Harry moved to the Mystic Shores retirement community in Little Egg Harbor, NJ. Active in the local library, she volunteered her time to read to children and write for the library newsletter. For many years she wrote a column in the Mystic Shores newsletter. She was kind, caring, and generous. It was as if she traveled with her own lighting; she had a spontaneous smile that could brighten any room.
Upon Harry's death, Renee attended a bereavement group at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and it was there that she truly found a home that brought her much joy. Although she was Jewish, the Church welcomed her warmly; the pastor recognized the Jewish holidays and hosted a Seder on Passover. Renee joined the Bible study group, taught Bible studies to children, and took an active part in many of the Church’s charitable activities. She became something of a celebrity for her joke-telling ability. At the close of every meeting, luncheon, or other activity, the gathered would turn to her. “Renee? It’s joke time.” She never told the same joke twice!
Her family is filled with gratitude to the church and for the many friends she made there. They were a constant source of comfort to her during her final months, as were many of her friends in Mystic Shores.
A graveside service will be conducted on Wednesday July 26th, 2017 at 10am at the Gary Onderdonk Veteran Memorial Cemetery at Rockland County Community College.
Her family has asked that instead of food or flowers, donations in my mother’s name be made to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 500 Mathistown Rd, Tuckerton, NJ 08087. It is a small congregation that does good work for the community and deserves support.