The Israel Cantor Family Society is sorry to report that our member, Jeri Ellen Bilus, died last week at age 74 due to complications caused by COVID-19.
Jeri was born August 24, 1945 in Jersey City to Irving Bilus and Irene Cantor Bilus. Irene was the daughter of Dora Cantor, the second wife of Benjamin Cantor; and was the sister of Edith Cantor Brown. Irene was the half-sister to Norma Cantor Lang and Karl Cantor, who were children of Benjamin and his first wife. Jeri is survived by her brother Ben Bilus and her sister-in-law, Betsy. Jeri’s closest Cantor cousins are Rhoda Brown Chait and Paula Brown Vogel, daughters of Edith Cantor Brown.
Jeri grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey and graduated from Syracuse University in 1967. She moved to NYC after graduation where she became a teacher and then worked in the Lindsay administration. She joined Citibank in the Human Relations department and was working for American Express on 9/11 across from the World Trade Center when it was attacked. She was evacuated and walked home to her apartment on the upper east side. Starting in the 1990’s, she survived a series of cancers and other health problems that left her in need of assistance to perform everyday functions. The rehab/nursing facility she was in while recovering from pneumonia and a dislocated hip, had an early Covid case and was closed to visitors for the last several weeks.
The burial took place at the Bilus Family Circle burial plot at United Hebrew Cemetery in Staten Island where her mother and father and grandparents are buried. Unable to have a funeral service or sit shiva, due to the pandemic, only Ben, his wife, Betsy, and the Rabbi were present at the graveside. The Bilus family plans to hold a celebration of Jeri’s life sometime during the summer.