Sylvia Kirshstein Yellin, 93, passed away at her home on Tybee Island, GA on January 1, 2021, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
She was born in Charleston, SC, the youngest of five children of Polish immigrants. Her father died when she was two years old, leaving her older brothers to support the family. She never forgot her humble beginnings, and was grateful for everything she had later in life. She moved to Savannah at age eighteen when she married the love of her life, Albert “Bucky” Yellin.
Sylvia loved playing mah jongg, traveling, reading, dancing, attending Broadway shows, watching UNC basketball, shopping, and walking on the beach at Tybee. But it was family (which included both blood relatives and her many life-long friends) that brought her the most joy. Although she never wanted to be in the spotlight herself, she kvelled beyond measure at the accomplishments of her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. No accomplishment was too small for her glowing approval. She loved without measure and was deeply loved in return.
She had an uncanny memory for numbers and used her bookkeeping skills to help her husband in the growth of Savannah Wholesale Company and Allied Department Stores. Those skills also benefited the Bnai Brith Jacob Sisterhood and Hadassah (and were quite useful in her twice-weekly mah jongg games).
Sylvia was a woman of deep faith and a lifelong member of the Bnai Brith Jacob Synagogue, where she attended weekly services and classes. She was previously honored for over fifty years of service to her synagogue’s Goodwill Committee. She was very charitable in ways both large and small. Some contributions were public, but many more were private, known only to her and the beneficiary.
She is survived by her children, Marsha and her husband Richard Ohayon of Durham, NC; Harold and his wife Peggy Yellin of Savannah; and Frank Yellin and his husband Mark Showalter of Redwood City, CA. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Melanie Hirsch and her husband Michael Sanders of Silver Spring, MD; Sara Hirsch of Durham, NC; Joshua and his wife Ashley Yellin of Savannah; and Stephanie Yellin of Atlanta, GA; by four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Sylvia is preceded in death by her husband, Albert Yellin, and her four siblings, Jack Kirshstein of Atlanta, GA, Max Kirshstein of Charleston, SC, Rachel Steinert of Charleston, SC, and Esther Sutker of Columbia, SC.
Private graveside services and burial will be held at noon Sunday, January 3, at Bonaventure Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to BBJ Synagogue, Rambam Day School, Hospice Savannah, Inc., or a charity of the donor’s choice.