OBITUARY: Neuwirth, Florette Margolis

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Born in Geismar on Dec. 27, 1922, Florette Margolis Neuwirth passed away at age 87 on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009, in Baton Rouge. She was the daughter of the late Leon Simon and Evelyn Vessier Geismar. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Max Margolis. She was the devoted mother of Nonnie Segal DeBardeleben and husband Lane, of Pass Christian, Miss., and Seraphine Segal, of Studio City, Calif., grandmother of Dr. Leslie McLaughlin and Lane DeBardeleben Jr. and wife Missy, and great-grandmother of Bailey McLaughlin, Lane III and Paxton DeBardeleben. Growing up in Geismar, she graduated from Dutchtown High School and attended LSU until her college years were interrupted by World War II. She was a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi and served as vice president. She was a resident of New Orleans for 57 years. Florette was always involved with activities involving her children and later her grandchildren. She was an active member of Touro Synagogue serving the Sisterhood on numerous committees from garden club to membership and finally serving as president. She was the first woman to serve as a member of the Touro Synagogue Board of Directors. Her membership and numerous board positions included: Hadassa, National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, chairwoman of the Women's Division of the Israel Bond Drive, Executive Committee and Board of the Jewish Welfare Federation; Advisory and Executive Board of the Anti-Defamation League, president of Women in Federation; Friends of Haifa University, and Board of Tugaloo College. She was especially proud of bringing the essence of south Louisiana to Touro Synagogue's Sukkot Festival decorations. She served tirelessly on numerous community committees and was an advocate for the educational opportunities of young children and underprivileged youth. With Sister Loyola of Xavier University, she initiated the Head Start Program in Gert Town that became a model for the national program. She was also instrumental in assisting the formation of Friends of the Zoo. There will be a graveside service at Hebrew Rest Cemetery No. 3, 2100 Pelodidas St., Gentilly, at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2. In lieu of flowers, contributions would be appreciated to WeSPARK Cancer Support Center, 13520 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, Audubon Institute, P.O. Box 4327, New Orleans, LA 70178 or Touro Synagogue, 4238 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70115. Funeral arrangements made by Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home. To sign and view the family guest book, please visit to offer condolences to the family.