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Phyllis Broad

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Longtime Tucson resident Phyllis Fingerett Broad, 92, passed away Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to Samuel and Bella Fingerett, Phyllis was the youngest of three siblings. She is pre-deceased by her sisters, Sophia Berkowitz and Ruth Levine. Phyllis was born on Black Monday, the beginning of an epic stock market crash in 1929 that preceded the Great Depression. Precocious and intelligent, Phyllis was the first in her family to graduate from college, earning her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh where she was Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude. She met and married her husband and life partner, Merrill Broad, when he returned to Uniontown after serving in the Navy in World War II. They were married for 65 years but had known each other for 70. Their first date, prophetically, was a musical called "If I'm Lucky." In 1959, the pair packed up their young family that included daughters Sherri and Amy, left their extended families behind, and headed out West to Tucson. Here in the desert their life bloomed and their family grew to include another daughter, Judy. They quickly became an integral part of the Jewish community as members of Congregation Anshei Israel, where Phyllis was involved in many aspects of synagogue life. During her 63-year membership, Phyllis served on the Hebrew school faculty as a teacher and assistant to the education director, served on the synagogue's board of directors in several roles including vice president, and worked for many years as an officer for the synagogue's Sisterhood, including president. She also served on the national board of Women's League and Tucson's Interfaith Council for Social Services. Phyllis was involved in adult religious education for over 40 years at the synagogue, as well, teaching Hebrew language and the introduction to Judaism class for those seeking to join the Jewish faith as converts. At a tribute dinner in 2007, Congregation Anshei Israel honored Phyllis and her husband, Merrill, for their countless contributions to the synagogue and Jewish community. While raising her young family, Phyllis decided to further her education, completing her master's in counseling and guidance from the University of Arizona in 1966. Years later, she put that degree to use as a social worker at Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging where she worked for 13 years from 1985-1998. After her retirement, Phyllis returned to work with Handmaker Hospice for five more years. Phyllis was recognized for her service to the Jewish community and Handmaker in 2012 when she received the Eshet Chayil Woman of Valor award. Family was one of the most important things to Phyllis and her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her greatest source of joy and pride. She looked forward to spending holidays with family and was a puzzle and game master who loved playing with and teaching new games to all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Phyllis was an inspiration to all she met. She loved life and was a never-ending student of all this world had to offer. She lived her life to make a difference in others' — and she did. Phyllis Broad is survived by daughters Sherri Bloch (Rabbi Avi) of St. Louis, MO.; Amy Direnfeld (Dr. Robert) of Tucson; and Judy Sanfield (Phillip) of Torrance, CA.; nine grandchildren (Yitzhak, Elisheva, Chani, Devorah, Elayna, David, Zachary, Abigail and Sarah) and 28 great-grandchildren (Yehoshua, Aryeh, Rivkah, Leah, Mordechai, Esther Leeba, Nechama, Yaakov, Yisroel, Meir Simcha, Frumi, Rochel, Rivka Tova, Tamar, Tzippora, Batsheva, Shlomo, Aharon Mordechai, Yisroel Meir, Yosef, Devorah, Elchanan Tzvi, Moshe Ben-Zion, Yisrael, Ahuva, Gila, Zisi and Ariella Joy). The funeral will be at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, June 23, 2022 at EVERGREEN MORTUARY CHAPEL on Oracle Road. Rabbi Robert Eisen will officiate.


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