Beyond the signature: my dear friend, I miss Essy
We’ve all had people in our lives who left lasting impressions on us. Most lists would start with our parents and go from there.
In cases where parenting advice has been exemplary but cut short, others have come into our lives and provided wonderful examples of how a human being should live their life.
I have had many of these relationships with people whom I have considered mentors, advisers, teachers, friends, confidants, who have provided wise wisdom and guidance not just in words, but in how they lived their lives.
I won’t list everyone who has helped me through many years and struggles – I’m sure they know who they are.
But today I have to take the time to talk about a person whose friendship I appreciated and whose friendship I will always remember whenever I need to reflect on something.
Her name is Essy Davidowitz.
Essy died May 17 at her home in Kingston. She was 88 years old.
To say Essy will be missed is really an understatement. Essy was, without a doubt, a pillar of our society.
What exactly does this mean?
I offer this definition of a true pillar of society:
“A universally respected – reliable – decent – and hard-working person is more of a giver than a taker; often engaging in volunteer work and championing worthy causes; someone for whom the neighbors and the community have a high regard and esteem.
It is, and was, Essy Davidowitz.
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of having Essy as a friend I could call on when the answers to some questions weren’t clear. Essy has never let me down. His wise wisdom was always relevant and his thought process was clear and precise. She never backed down from any question and she always provided the answer as she saw it.
Having this resource to draw on when needed was a gift that was always given. Essy was always there when needed and he was a remarkable human being.
We discussed the community. We discussed politics. We discussed education. We discussed social injustices. We discussed ethics. We discussed religion. We discussed humanity and the humane treatment of each other. There was no topic Essy wouldn’t talk about and no answer she wouldn’t provide.
As we all move on through life without Essy, we still have those memories she gave us and the knowledge she married that made us better as human beings.
Essy gave us the plan of how to be a better person and improve every day.
In 2020, Paul S. Adams, Vice President of Student Affairs at Wilkes University, said it best when speaking of Essy – the 2020 recipient of the University President’s Medal.
“Few have preserved the history of Wilkes University in the detail and eloquence of Essy Davidowitz,” Adams said. “She has always championed the academic advancement of our students, especially those who are the first in their families to graduate.”
Davidowitz and her late husband, Bill, had been Wilkes supporters for nearly 50 years. She was a member of the university’s board of trustees from 1973 until 2006, when she was granted emeritus status.
A prominent figure in the Wyoming Valley, Essy has received numerous accolades for her professional, civic and community efforts. She received the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Greater Wilkes-Barre Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and received the Hannah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women.
Essy and her family have also been recognized by the Borough of Kingston, Temple Israel and Generation2Generation for their work in the community.
Essy and Bill, founder of Penn Footwear in Nanticoke, have been married for 62 years. They have four sons and nine grandchildren.
Essy’s community work was second to none. If you take the time, you will see the impact she and Bill have had on this community and how much this community has improved thanks to Essy and Bill.
Essy’s obituary said this:
“She led by example with a wise heart that called for peace and understanding. She was a brilliant woman, an advocate for others and a lifelong learner with a passion for the arts. She inspired many with her kindness, resilience, Jewish values and love of family. His passing is a profound loss for his family, the community and the world.
I will forever miss Essy. I’m sure I’ll pick up the phone and start dialing her number before I realize that warm, welcoming voice on the other end won’t answer.
And then I’m going to sit down and imagine the conversation I would have had with Essy. And I will be guided, once again. I will be better thanks to Essy – again.
Rest in peace my friend.
Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.