The Heroines

Estelle Abrams Marks

is honored with a Medium Bench from Howard and Rose Marcus.

 Estelle Abrams Marks
Estelle Abrams Marks was born in Russia on May 16, probably around the year 1900. When she was five months old, she and her parents, and older brother, Max, immigrated to Liverpool, England, where six more children were born. When she was a girl of 16, Estelle and Max immigrated to Chicago where they worked to send their earnings back to England to enable their parents and six younger siblings to join them in America.

After several years of courtship, Estelle married a furrier by the name of Ben Turner. Soon after the birth of their son, Mitchell, Ben contracted tuberculosis and was sent to a sanitarium in Arizona. Their son became infected with tubercular meningitis at the age of four. Estelle was devastated by the death of her son and by the death of her husband within a very short time. Left alone by these shattering losses, Estelle began a career of helping others.

While traveling by car for the Jewish Consumption Society, she visited Wichita Falls, Texas, where she met Leo Shusterman, an immigrant from Russia who owned furniture stores in Lawton, Oklahoma. They fell in love and were married in 1939. Their daughters, Rochelle Lila and Rose Merle, were born in 1940 and 1941. Again, Estelle's happiness was short-lived. Leo was killed December 5, 1941l, when his car was struck by a drunk driver. On December 7, 1941, Estelle and the mourners returned from her husband's funeral to the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Estelle found herself left alone with the responsibility of two infant daughters and two furniture stores. Later, Estelle would recount that she was sustained by her Jewish faith and the dependence of her nursing daughter, Rose Merle. Estelle also received support from her brother, Maurice Abrams, who moved to Wichita Falls from Chicago to help her run the stores.

Several months later, she met and fell in love with Bill Marks, a traveling insecticide salesman. After their marriage on February 14, 1943, Bill adopted Lila and Rose who were later joined by a brother, Michel Elliot. Within three years, after Bill assumed management responsibilities for the two stores and an additional store in Vernon, Texas, the family moved to Dallas.

After having raised money for the United Jewish Appeal during World War II, Estelle became active in the Dallas Chapter League, and in selling Israel Bonds and United States Savings Bonds. She raised money for the women's Zionist organization, Hadassah, serving as president of the Dallas chapter, and receiving the honor of having the 1962 Hadassah cookbook, Eater's Digest, dedicated to her in recognition of her service.

Estelle and Bill celebrated the happiness of their full and happy life together on their 25th anniversary. Incredibly, their happiness was shattered when Bill was murdered on the steps of the Dallas County Courthouse by a real estate tenant enraged by the loss of an appeal against Al-Mar Investment Company, a company Bill co-owned. Again, Estelle was sustained by her faith, her adoring family and many friends. When she passed away on July 23, 1993, she left behind three children and eleven grandchildren.

She is honored as a true heroine by her children, Rose and Howard Marcus. She lived life to its fullest, accepting many tragedies with strength and devout faith -- never saying "Why me?" but always picking herself up and going on with life, thanking God for all his blessings and being grateful for each bonus day.

October 1, 1999