Tina Dawn Prensky, 83 of Frederick passed away on Tuesday, the 31st of January, at Buckingham's Choice in Adamstown, MD. She was the wife of the late William Charles Prensky.
Tina was born on May 31, 1933 in Brooklyn, NY, and was the daughter of the late Harry and Clara Gochman Blatt of Lublin, Poland and Tulne, Ukraine, respectively. Her mother, Clara, was one of 10 children; Tina was one of twenty-three first cousins. She often drew upon her experiences as a first-generation American growing up in an extended family. In this family, Tina often said, "everyone had an opinion and was happy to tell you what it was." Those who knew Tina would lovingly agree that she carried this trait throughout her life.
Tina grew up in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn. She attended Samuel J. Tilden high school and graduated one year early. While in high school, Tina worked at the Grand Army Plaza Library in Brooklyn, calling patrons to tell them their checked books were late. This job was an introduction to her life-long love of books and her future career.
She attended Brooklyn College, earning a degree in elementary education with minors in sociology and anthropology. During college, Tina was offered the opportunity to intern with anthropologist Louis Leakey. Tina's mother had other ideas. Girls of that age were to "marry and become school teachers, not traipse around in the dirt". After graduating in June 1954, Tina sat for and passed the New York State Teacher's examination.
Tina met her husband-to-be, William "Bill" Prensky, in 1953 at a party. Bill was a mechanical engineer working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They married on June 20, 1954. Bill was drafted by the U.S. Army one month later. After a brief honeymoon in Cape Cod, Bill and Tina moved to Fort Dix, NJ for Bill's basic training and then to Ft. Monmouth, NJ; Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD; and Carswell AFB, TX for the rest of Bill's two-year enlistment.
When his tour in the Army was completed, Bill and Tina settled in Levittown, PA, where she taught elementary school before starting a family. In 1965 Bill, Tina and their two sons, Ed and Larry, moved to Pittsford, NY. Tina spent her time in Pittsford raising her children and working as a substitute teacher. She also began work on a master's degree in education at Nazareth College.
In 1972 Tina and her family moved to Frederick, MD, where Tina found her true home. During the 1970s she was very active in the community. She worked with the League of Women Voters on campaigns to register voters, learned braille, and transcribed books for the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
To honor her heritage and family traditions, Tina joined Beth Sholom Congregation and took an active role. At Beth Sholom, she served with the Sisterhood, was the first female member of the Board of Trustees, and served in the congregation's chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.
Tina took great pride in these activities but was perhaps most proud of her work establishing the first group home for troubled boys in Frederick County. She testified before city, county and state commissions. She met and won the support of a young City alderman, Ron Young, and convinced the governor, Marvin Mandel, to testify in favor of the group home. The home was opened in 1977and ran successfully for many years.
In her later years in Frederick, Tina was employed as a clerk at the C. Burr Artz Public Library, working her way up to reference librarian. She loved the job and found it extremely fulfilling. As a librarian, she had found her calling.
Tina made many close friendships during her years in Frederick. Many of these friendships lasted a lifetime.
In 1985, Tina and Bill moved back to Pittsford, NY, where Tina continued to pursue her passion. She worked part time at the Pittsford library as the young adult librarian and, with Bill's encouragement, attended the University of Buffalo, earning a master's degree in library science. Upon her graduation in 1989, Tina became the library's assistant reference librarian and retired in 1999 as its assistant director.
Tina and Bill retired to Braddock Heights, MD, where she reconnected with friends from her early years in Frederick and resumed her commitment to the community. Tina served as Trustee to the Frederick County Library Board for nine years. She was active in Congregation Kol Ami of Frederick and was for many years its unofficial hospitality chair. She participated in a number of book clubs and loved to host the meetings, making sure there was plenty of food and cold Pinot Grigio for her guests.
Tina was also very involved in the lives of her grandchildren. She took great pleasure driving them to sports events, plays and music rehearsals, and religious school, and was affectionately called "grandma" by many of her grandchildren's friends. Her children and grandchildren would sit and listen to Tina's wonderful stories of growing up in a large and loving family, and sharing in the many adventures she had with Bill.
Tina was a cruciverbalist and refused to use Google to look up clues. She also enjoyed parting wisdom, often quoted as saying, "This is my opinion. You don't have to listen to it." Her sons would smile, having heard this phrase for over fifty years.
Tina is survived by her son Edward C. Prensky and his wife, Cristina; her son Laurence A. Prensky and his wife, Ann Stolz; three grandchildren, Louis, Clara, and Hannah Prensky; her brother Lee Blatt and his wife, Sydelle; and many first, second, third and fourth cousins, nieces and nephews. Tina was predeceased by her husband, William C. Prensky.
Services will be held graveside at the Resthaven Memorial Gardens on Friday, February 3rd at 11:00 am. A reception to celebrate Tina's life will be held after the service at the home of Larry Prensky and Ann Stolz, 7222 Dogwood Lane, Middletown, MD. All friends and family members are invited. In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to Congregation Kol Ami of Frederick or the Yiddish Book Center in Andover, MA. The family wants to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation for the kindness and care provided to Tina by the staff at Buckingham's Choice.
SolomonResthaven Memorial Gardens9501 Catoctin Mtn Hwy
Frederick, MD 21701 Friday, February 3, 2017
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
ServiceResthaven Memorial Gardens-Graveside9501 Catoctin Mtn Hwy
Frederick, MD 21701 Friday, February 3, 2017
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM