Ruth Helen (Goldman) Zelitch, 93

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 1:30pm

Ruth Helen (Goldman) Zelitch, of Beacon Hill Road and North Andover, Mass, who had a role in the famous 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut legal case, died after a sudden illness. She was 93.

She was born March 23, 1926, in New York City, the only child of Bernard and Helen Solomon Goldman. She lived in Hamden, Conn., for many years where she was civically and politically active. She served on the Connecticut Board of Planned Parenthood when they filed a lawsuit, Griswold v. Connecticut. This challenged a state law against birth control. When the Supreme Court ruled in the board's favor, it became a landmark case for women's reproductive rights.

At age 19, she graduated from Pennsylvania State University. Two years later, she received her masters degree in clinical psychology.

While at Penn State, she met Israel "Zuni" Zelitch of Philadelphia. They married in 1945, three months before he was sent to the Pacific theater in World War II. They were married 73 years.

She was an elected member of the Hamden Representative Town Meeting and Board of Education.

Professionally, she was a school psychologist in Hamden elementary and middle schools. She was a champion for children with learning disabilities. She insisted that teachers not write off students but instead, adjust their teaching methods.

She was an amateur photographer and won several regional prizes.

In 1982, she and her husband bought a second home on Block Island, R.I. After retirement, they lived there five months a year. The home was a welcome destination for her children and grandchildren.

They enjoyed growing flowers and vegetables and for years operated a booth at the island farmer's market. She was a board member of the Block Island Congregation Sons and Daughters of Ruth and of Havurat Shalom, Andover, and former member of Congregation Mishkan Israel, Hamden.

She was predeceased by a daughter, Deborah, married to Gary Gilman of Yardley, Penn. She leaves a daughter, Helen Fleisher, Oak Park, IL, married to Michael Fleisher, and a son, Bernard Zelitch, North Andover, married to Karen Rovner. She has seven grandchildren, Jonah Fleisher, Oak Park, IL; Rosalyn LaRocque, Sandowne, N.H.; Ari Fleisher, Waltham, Mass.; Samuel Zelitch, Brooklyn, NY; Jonathan and Sarah Gilman, Philadephia; and Rebecca Zelitch, Israeli Army. She leaves   five great-grandchildren.

Donations in her memory can be made to Block Island Medical Center, P.O. Box 919, New Shoreham, R.I. 02807, or at ACLU.org to support their work in reuniting children with their families.