It is with both gratitude for a life well-lived and great sadness for our loss that Anita Haravon and the Haravon Collins family announce the death of Alda Haravon. Surrounded by family members, the angels took Alda peacefully on Nov. 10 at Oaknoll Retirement Residence in Iowa City, Iowa.
Alda was born on Dec. 4, 1928, in Bucharest, Romania, to Beatrice Berkowitz Saporta and Senor Saporta. She was baptized as a child to escape Nazi persecution.
Despite fears of the impending war, Alda was an honor student at her Catholic School, Our Lady of Zion in Bucharest. She was finally able to leave Romania at age 17 with her sister Gilda Saporta.
Unfortunately, the sisters, now refugees in France, were not to be reunited with their parents for many years. Despite her loneliness in a new country, Alda studied art at the Sorbonne, got a job as an art buyer in Switzerland, and met her future husband, Aristide Haravon. Alda immigrated to New York in 1963 to start a life with Aristide. There, they raised their daughters Anita and Lea.
Despite starting over in a foreign country for a second time, Alda became an integral part of her community in Pleasantville.
She continued her studies in art, taught English as a second language, tutored students in several of the five languages that she spoke, produced children’s theatre — including adaptations of Shakespeare, created and developed history-themed arts and crafts programs culminating in trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and led a brownie troop and started a weekly French club that met consistently for over 20 years.
Alda continues to be well-remembered in Pleasantville.
After Aristide died in 2009, Alda moved to Iowa City to be close to her grandchildren. Undaunted by yet another transition, this time to the “foreign land” of the midwestern United States, Alda adapted one more time. She continued to take art classes even as she created a weekly French club (again), volunteered with the recycling and decorating committees and joined Warm Up America, a knitting group which makes blankets for people in need. Alda was quickly befriended by many and was known as a warm and gracious resident of the Oaknoll Retirement Community.
Alda frequently attended her grandchildren’s concerts, school conferences, fund-raisers, back-to-school nights, competitions, and performances. She spent many weekends at their home, delighting them (and their parents) with traditional Romanian foods.
Alda is survived by her daughters Anita Haravon of New York City and Lea Haravon Collins (Steve) of Iowa City, her grandchildren Serena, Jeremiah, Ari and Tobiah Haravon Collins, all of Iowa City, and her step-grandchildren Sue McCann and Steven J. Collins. She is preceded in death by her husband of 45 years Aristide Haravon, her sister Gilda Saporta, and her grandson Jacob Haravon Collins.
Funeral Services were held Nov. 11 in Iowa City, Iowa. Burial was at Agudas Achim Cemetery. For more information please go to Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Paralyzed Veterans of America.
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