Jeri Bilus, 1945–2020

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 1990s, she survived a series of cancers and other health problems. 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.


The Passing of Irwin Pomranz

I regret to inform you of the passing of our member Irwin (Pete) Pomranz, 92. The World War II veteran was buried this past Sunday, March 31, 2019 in the ICFS section of Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge, NJ, next to his wife, Ray (Stein) Pomranz who died in 2016. Family was extremely important to Pete. Even though he lived in St. Louis for most of his life, the father of Steven, Jeffrey, Jon, and Craig was a lifelong member and supporter of the Family Society. We extend condolences and our good thoughts to his family.

The following obituary appeared in the St. Louis Jewish Light:

Irwin (Pete) Pomranz, age 92, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 in Sarasota, Florida. 

He was born on September 18, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York, the only son of Joseph and Celia Pomranz. He is preceded in death by his wife Ray (nee Stein), whose hand he held for 69 years; and by his sister Lenore Shier. He was the proud father of 4 sons: Steven (spouse Meg), Jeffrey, Jon (spouse Cynthia), and Craig (partner Tom Fernandez).

Pete’s most passionate and proudest times involved his family and his community. He led by example and placed an emphasis on moral integrity and family values. He coached Khoury League Baseball for his sons. He was past President of the St. Louis Chapter of the B’nai B’rith, and a former Councilman for the City of Olivette, Mo.

Pete had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. He owned several businesses over the years and was involved in multiple other enterprises. He was a World War II Veteran, having met his vivacious wife, Ray, at a USO dance while stationed at Scott Air Force Base.

Pete was also grandfather to 2 grandchildren: Michael Pomranz (spouse Claire) and Kristyn Merritt (spouse Jeff), and great grandfather to Delaney, Polly and Maisy; and favorite Uncle to Susan Shier and Jessica Shier Speck. He was loved and respected by many and will truly be missed.

A family graveside service was held on Sunday March 31, 2019 at Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge, N.J., the location of the Israel Cantor Family Society burial site.

For those wishing to make a donation in his name it is suggested they do so with the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation or the Jewish National Fund.