Abigail Laufer

Of course all of us are here today because we loved Sherry, but I am sure the reason we have a special feeling for Sherry is that she loved all of us . . .

She had an inimitable ability to make her friends feel like family and she really did treat so many of us like we were her family.

I assume that you all know that Sherry was my Sister, Susan Bee’s mother-in-law. That she was so close to my entire family is quite remarkable. I became acquainted with Sherry after graduating from college 40 years ago. I came to New York, without much of a job, and living in a temporary sublet apartment. But I was a musician with aspirations of perhaps becoming a concert pianist. Only thing was, I didn’t actually own a piano. This is really how I got to know Sherry. When Sherry heard about my piano problem, she invited me to practice on her beautiful old Knabe grand. This wasn’t just a lovely piano: I sat in her elegant living room, while looking out over Central Park, Lucky me!! It was kind of a comedown when I had to practice on my cheap store bought upright later on in life! When she adopted the title of Baroness and made her way around the club scene in the 1980’s she always got large numbers of free passes which she gave out to me. I shared them with all my Merrill Lynch colleagues so we could go to the clubs which were in their heyday. As a result, I became the most popular member of my department at work and to this day I remember those late nights out at the hottest clubs and Sherry making her most auspicious entrance wearing her super cool hats and outfits. 

As I got to know Sherry better she learned that Tom and I were going to be married and were looking for a location for our wedding. She offered her home to us and the rest is history. The marriage lasted, and we were forever part of Sherry’s wonderful family. From Passover Seders to Rosh Hashanah dinner she invited not just Tom and me, but my father, and our children to all the Holidays. I mean we were a lot of people, almost a tribe all on our own. No matter to Sherry, the more the merrier. And she reached out to so many friends and distant relatives, she gave us all the sense of family that we couldn’t find on our own for one reason or another. And as anyone who knew her, these were not paltry meals, they were the centerpiece of a style of entertaining that had all but disappeared for our generation, but not for Sherry. To this day my children dream about rainbow cookies which they tasted for the first time in Sherry’s home and we always discuss the chopped liver (courtesy of Edward) and the little frankfurters.
In later years and even earlier this year, Tom and I would invite Sherry for lunch at the Atlantic Grill. She came dressed to the nines, but actually was arriving from her favorite gym class – the Silver Sneakers which I know she did not join until her 90’s. The older she got the sweeter she seemed, and she never lost her flair for charming conversation and beautiful hats and jewelry.

Dearest Sherry, you have achieved immortality, since you will remain indelible for so many, many people. Your style and grace can never be recreated. REST IN PEACE Sherry Bernstein.