Obituary: Faye Behar Mitchell

Obituary: Faye Behar Mitchell

Faye Behar Mitchell passed away on Nov. 29 at 95 years of age, after a long stay at the William Breman Jewish Home.

Faye Behar Mitchell passed away on Nov. 29 at 95 years of age, after a long stay at the William Breman Jewish Home. She received brief but very timely care from The Weinstein Hospice. Faye was born in Atlanta, Ga. on September 7, 1926, to parents Eli and Marguerite (Tereño) Behar, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey.

Faye was a graduate of Commercial High School in Atlanta and worked as a nurse’s aide during World War II. She was married to her devoted husband, Jonas W. Mitchell, after his return from the Air Force, until his death in 1981.

They raised their four children in two different homes in Lenox Park, at a time when they felt their children were safe and free to walk in their neighborhood to visit friends and even ride the city bus to movie theatres and restaurants in downtown Atlanta. The only instructions were, “Be home by dark for supper.”

While her husband, Jonas, was in the food business with his brother Herman, Faye made sure the refrigerator was fully stocked at all times, and she had an open-door policy for all visitors. With the help of her cherished housekeeper, Beatrice Davenport, meals were superb, consisting mostly of Sephardic specialties, but also Ashkenazic dishes Jonas had grown up eating.

Faye made certain that her family was part of the closely knit Congregation Or VeShalom Sephardic Synagogue community. Both of her sons had their bar mitzvahs there and all four children attended Sunday School under the leadership of her beloved Rabbi Joseph Cohen. Rabbi Cohen and his dear wife Luisa lived with Faye’s parents when they arrived in Atlanta from Turkey, following a stay in Cuba.

Faye’s parents were original members of Or VeShalom and her mother was the very first president of the esteemed sisterhood.

Faye was a founding member and danced with the Ruth Mitchell (no relation) Dance Company of Atlanta. For many years she also devoted her talents to volunteering as a ballet instructor to girls of all ages living at the Hillside Cottages in Atlanta, a foster care community. Along with teaching classes, she presented dance recitals to her students’ visiting parents and grandparents at special occasions and holidays. Faye sewed all of their costumes herself, working tirelessly with patterns measured for each dancer and sewing by hand sequins, trims, and adornments, making each costume tasteful and sparkly, giving each girl a feeling of pride!

Later in life, Faye studied art, attending classes at Georgia State University under the guidance of noted artist Joseph Perrin and taking private lessons from a well-respected local artist, Ouida Canaday. She had studio space with other artists at Tula, a local gallery, and a studio in her home. Faye sold her art canvasses in various shows throughout Georgia, mastering many different styles over the years and adding her own unique flair.

Faye was predeceased by her husband, Jonas W. Mitchell, her son, Gordon Mitchell, her parents and her in-laws, Benjamin and Rebecca Mitchell, her sisters and their spouses, Sara & Sol Krieger, Julia and Bernard Libman, her brothers Ralph Behar and Sam Behar and his wife Adele Behar, and most recently her brother-in-law, Herman Mitchell.

Faye is survived by her children, Marguerite (Ronnie) Merlin, Benson (Kim) Mitchell, and Joni Mitchell, and her sister-in-law, Marilyn Mitchell. Faye’s grandchildren include Jay Merlin, Jonas Mitchell, Stephanie M. Paulus, Victoria Merlin, Andrew Schwartz, and great-grandchildren Mason and Olivia Paulus.

Faye’s children want to thank wholeheartedly her son-in-law, Ronnie Merlin, for the patient and steadfast care provided to their mother. They also want to express their deep gratitude to the William Breman Jewish Home and Weinstein Hospice. The nurses, caregivers, and extended staff provided care and patience “above and beyond” to their mother, who presented them with many challenges, but the children were given immeasurable peace of mind. Atlanta is very fortunate to have Jewish Home Life services.

Memorial donations would be appreciated, and should be made to the William Breman Jewish Home, 3150 Howell Mill Road NW Atlanta, GA 30327. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770.451.4999.


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