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Helene Ungar Adler passed peacefully away on March 5, 2020, after a short illness.

She was born March 6, 1927, in Patterson, New Jersey.  Her father, Leonard Ungar, a life-long resident of Savannah, returned her to Savannah when she was three years old; her mother, Lillian K. Ungar, was from Brooklyn, New York.

Growing up, Helene, accompanied by her parents and her grandmother, Mrs. Esther Ungar, would often take the ocean liners up from Savannah back to New York in order to visit the many cousins there.  Helene’s grandfather, Bernhard Ungar, was a Savannah policeman in the 1890’s, and after he passed away, Helene would recall how during St. Patrick Day parades, the lead police horse would bow to Helene’s grandmother in recognition of her grandfather’s police service.

Helene attended Armstrong Junior College when it was still located on Bull Street, then furthered her education at the University of Georgia, where she received her AB degree.  She went on to earn a Master’s degree in History in 1950, having written a pioneering thesis on “Free African Americans in Ante-Belleum Georgia,” under the direction of E. Merton Coulter.

Helene was a former educator who taught in numerous elementary and high schools.  She moved extensively with her husband, Bernard A. Adler, who precedes her in death.  She returned to Savannah with her husband in 1980 and, with his help, restored her two-hundred-year old family home, which served as an equal source of pride and vexation in her life.

Helene was president of Temple Sisterhood of Temple Zion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; vice president of Hadassah in Ormond Beach, Florida; and president of the National Council of Jewish Women in Greenville, South Carolina.  She was a current member of Congregation Mickve Israel and the Retired Officers Auxiliary Association.  She was strongly concerned with the welfare of animals, and in that she took after her father, a notable animal lover.

Survivors include her son, Brian Adler; her daughter-in-law, Annette Vaigneur Adler; her grandchildren Sarah Smith (Juan Michael Smith) of North Bethesda, MD; and Noah Adler of Denver, CO; her great-granddaughter, Ella Savannah Smith; a cousin, Arnold Goldstein of Savannah; special friends, Nancy Warth, Harleston Cabniss, and Frank Fling, of Savannah, Russ Sill of Atlanta, George and Stell Cranford of Charlotte, NC; and her caregiver, Sheila Webster of Savannah.

Donations in Helene’s memory can be made to Hospice Savannah – Post Office Box 13190, Savannah, Georgia 31416-0190, or the no-kill animal shelter of your choice, or to Congregation Mickve Israel Sisterhood – Post Office Box 816, Savannah, Georgia 31402-0816.

The funeral service will be held at 10 o’clock Monday, March 9, 2020, at the graveside, Bonaventure Cemetery, conducted by Rabbi Robert W. Haas.

Online Condolences

  1. Brenda Kenworthy says:

    Dear Brian and Annette. Our hearts go out to you both and your family. We have all lost a great teacher and role model. Helene was a dear lady, who we will miss very much. With love, Brenda and Brian

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