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Joyce Gloria Kramer Strom

joyce kramer strom

September 8, 1937 ~ February 24, 2024

Born in: Brooklyn, New York
Resided in: Englewood, New Jersey

Joyce Gloria Kramer Strom
September 8, 1937 – February 24, 2024

Joyce Gloria Kramer Strom was a proud Brooklyn girl: a zealous Dodger’s fan, a devout liberal, and a passionate Brooklyn College alumna. Born to Rose and William “The Duke of Church Ave” Kramer, Joyce grew up alongside her younger brother Arnold and a host of cousins from both her mother’s Slutsky family and her father’s Kramer family. Joyce was only 14 when she attended a party hosted by her cousin Jerry, where she met 16-year-old Lee, who would become her husband. As she put it: “For me it was love at first sight, for him it was “huh”. I eventually told him that “he was it” for me and he agreed if I said so… lucky for me, I still have him.”

Joyce earned two master’s degrees and pursued a career in social work, eventually becoming the director of the Englewood Community Mental Health Center. Joyce also raised four daughters, helped raise 11 grandchildren, cared for her parents as they aged, and never fell out of love with her husband, who she thought was the smartest and handsomest man on earth for the entirety of the more than seven decades they were together.

Joyce was an amazing mother. Loving and supportive, but allowing us to grow into adulthood, whatever that path looked like. Joyce was a devoted and very hands-on grandmother, whether that meant pacing half the night with a crying infant, organizing “camp Grandma” for school aged grandkids, or hosting young adult grandchildren for takeout sushi.

To her wider circle of friends and family, she was the person to call when you needed a sympathetic ear or a bit of encouragement. Joyce made sure her house was the site of countless summer parties, a place where her kids, her grandkids, even the friends of her grandkids could crash for a few days or even months. The clients of her agency, the people Joyce tutored through a volunteer literacy program, the fish guy at ShopRite and the security guard at her bank all became part of her circle. She was generous – with her money, her time, and her compassion.

Joyce was funny and at times irreverent. She could tell a story sure to make you laugh and her stories often became increasingly embellished over time (although, she would say “none of my story can be challenged, since I am the only one who lived this life!”). She taught us not to take ourselves too seriously, because the self-important of the world would get an eye roll. She raised us to have a strong Jewish identity even while having cake on Passover. She taught us to value relationships over things, to practice empathy toward those who were in pain, to be passionate about our politics.

“Grandma Darling” or “GMD” for short as she was known to her grandchildren, was also a staunch advocate for helping those in need, individually and politically. Her first political hero was Adlai Stevenson but she found true political love when a skinny Senator from Illinois became a candidate in 2008, and her love for Barack Obama never waned. Joyce volunteered for many progressive political campaigns at the local, state, and national level throughout her life. While canvassing community members to register to vote, if someone was not sure of their social security number, she gave them hers to put down.

Joyce was a glass half full sort of person who considered herself very lucky – or even blessed, although she would not have used that word. But the last years were not easy ones. The loss of her daughter Gigi in 2015 was devastating for her. Just nine months later she was badly injured in a car accident, and this always upbeat woman who could walk for miles became increasingly frail. Over the last year her memory became progressively shaky. She could still laugh with her BFF Patty, commiserate with her friends Rachel and Zahava, enjoy the company of her niece Lisa and Josh, lunch with her “Brooklyn girls” her “birthday girls” her “medical wives” and her book club friends, all even after she could no longer find the words.

Joyce summarizes her memoir as: “How an unremarkable girl(me)wound up having a remarkably good life”.

Joyce is survived by her husband of 67 years, Leroy Strom; her daughters, Elizabeth (Martin Muschol), Elahna (Jeffrey Weinflash) and Shana (David Jacobs). She was predeceased by her daughter Marjorie (Ofer Ben-Tovim). She is also survived by 11 grandchildren: Yael (Nir Shkalim), Sarah (Anna Keleher), Eden (Matthew Pasch), Benjamin, Noah, Yotam, Naomi, Avshalom, Briana, Zachary and Daniel, her great-grandson Ran; and her brother, Arnold Kramer.

Services

Graveside Service: Monday, February 26, 2024 1:30 pm

Beth El Cemetery
Soilder Hill Road & Forest Avenue
Paramus, NJ 7024

201-262-1100

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  1. As one of Liz’s college roommates, Dr. and Mrs. Strom welcomed me into their warm home. My love to Liz and all the sisters, and to Dr. Strom.


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