Elsa DeBeer

Obituary of Elsa DeBeer


Elsa Gerst deBeer of Slingerlands, NY, known to many by her nickname Bunny, died on Thursday, December 7th.

Elsa was born November 7, 1929, to the late Elsa Wallerstein Gerst and Herbert J. Gerst of Norfolk, VA, where she and her late sister, Edna Sara Gerst Lazaron, grew up.

Elsa attended Western College in Oxford, OH, before transferring to Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. After graduating in 1951, she married the late Frederick S. deBeer, Jr. (Fritz) president of J. deBeer and Son, Baseballs and Softballs of Albany, NY. The family were members of Congregation Beth Emeth where their three children, Jennifer, Sara, and Elizabeth were confirmed. Elsa lived first in Albany, then Loudonville, then in Glenmont on the Hudson River before residing at Beverwyck in Slingerlands, NY. After her children grew up, she studied advertising design and became director of public relations for the family business.

Both the Gerst and deBeer families were active in community service and Elsa and Fritz followed that tradition. Elsa loved working with children and joined the Hudson Valley Girl Scout Council as leader, trainer, neighborhood chairman and board member.

Later she became a Jump Start reading tutor with first graders in Glenmont and Slingerlands Elementary Schools. She was an active member of the board of the Capital Region Center for Arts and Education working to encourage professional development and activities for teachers using art, music, theater, and dance.

She served on many boards, including the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Senior Services of Albany, Travelers Aid, and Planned Parenthood.

She loved gardens, family reunions, reading, concerts, museums, the moon, stars, fire flies, the ocean and the Hudson River. After seeing a whimsical dance program, Elsa commented, “This is what is important. Think big, do good things, and also have fun!” Her favorite book was Alice in Wonderland.

Elsa was pre- deceased by her husband Frederick S. deBeer, Jr., her sister Edna Sara Gerst Lazaron, and her sister-in -law Adelaide deBeer Muhlfelder. She is survived by her three daughters, Jennifer deBeer Charno, Sara deBeer Zeiger (Joel deBeer Zeiger), Elizabeth deBeer (Edward Wardell) and five grandchildren: Bernard deBeer Zeiger, Rebecca deBeer Zeiger, Emma deBeer Charno, Pauline Wardell Brophy (Will Brophy), and Virginia Wardell; Jean deBeer Pollak, sister-in law; Ann Silverstein, cousin, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 17 at 2 p.m. at Congregation Beth Emeth, 100 Academy Rd., Albany, NY 12208. The family will be receiving callers Monday December 18 and Tuesday December 19 from 3 pm to 7 pm at Elsa’s home, Beverwyck, Slingerlands, NY.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Albany Symphony Orchestra, 19 Clinton Ave, Albany, NY 12207, or Doctors Without Borders, PO Box 5022, Hagerstown, MD 21741 or Congregation Beth Emeth..For directions or to leave a condolence message for the family, please visit, levinememorialchapel.com

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