Ryna Jean Grossman had the most spirited, positive attitude that anyone could imagine, but that was Jean!
Jean was a remarkable woman. Born to Israel and Helen Menin in Sioux City, Iowa on September 30, 1927, Jean was an only child but not for long. Her family was soon permanently joined by her widowed aunt and two young cousins. An excellent student, Jean also participated in a wide range of sports and played piano throughout her childhood and teenage years.
In 1945, Jean began college at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. It was there that she met the love of her live and husband for 56 years, Harold Grossman. Though Jean left college to marry Harold in 1948, she went back to school in the 1960's and finished her BA in communications in 1970.
Jean's years in Minneapolis were filled with friends, charitable work and raising their three daughters. Eventually, there would also be six wonderful grandchildren who brought her joy and whom she adored. While living in Minneapolis in the 1960's, Jean decided to have a garage sale to benefit the American Cancer Society. Her sale grew each year, eventually filling several warehouses, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When Harold retired in 1981, they moved to Scottsdale and continued their philanthropic work. The community and in particular, the Jewish community, has been enriched by their leadership and continual support.
After Harold's death, Jean continued their joint passion for philanthropy. In addition to making donations, she contributed ideas, served on many committees and mentored others. She truly cared how Jewish organizations could best operate and be sustained. Some of her favorite projects included the Israeli Fellowship Program at the Mohammed Ali Parkinson's Center, the Jewish Day School Free Loan Scholarship Program, and the funding of a gym for IDF soldiers in Israel. She also underwrote the Arizona Challah Bake which involved over 600 Jewish women in the Valley.
In 2005, Jean was honored with the very prestigious Medal of Honor award given by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. This award recognized her outstanding leadership, service and devotion to Jewish causes.
Jean had many passions. She loved spending time with family especially her grandchildren. She appreciated each in a special way and was a huge part of their lives. They have been inspired, encouraged and deeply loved by her. Jean also enjoyed reading, walinking in the mall and eating chocolate. She cherished her many friends and had a knack for conversation with everyone!
Jean is survived by her three daughters, Nancy (Irv) Leaon, Mary (Art) Schuman and Molly Levitt, her six grandchildren, Sam Leon, David Schuman, Joanna Schuman (Ricky Houghland), Ellie, Anna and Jenny Levitt. She was predeceased by her husband, Harold, her parents, Israel and Helen Menin and her son-in-law, Thomas W. Levitt.
A live well lived, Jean's favorite quote sums up her legacy: "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
Jean will not pass this way again but she will live on in our hearts.
Services have been held.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Jean may be made to The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254. Arrangements by Sinai Mortuary.