Ida Stein was born in Chicago on September 13th, 1910. She was the first child of Philip and Becky Stein and was born in their home at 1214 S. Spaulding Avenue. She so resembled her father that Philip could send her on errands to merchants in the neighborhood and they would recognize her.

She was the first Stein to attend and graduate from John Marshall High School. In high school Ida took primarily business and secretarial courses. Ida met her future husband Joseph (Joe) Felsenfeld through her sister, Dorothy. Dorothy had a fondness for shoes, and heard there was a new store opening on Madison Street at the corner of Homan - Garland Shoes. The owner was very attracted to her. She demurred however, and told him instead about her older sister at home, Ida. She visited the store with Dorothy, met the owner, Joe, and it was a match.

They married on March 18, 1934 at her parent's home at 3300 Warren Blvd. She had three children, Gilbert Lee, born January 16, 1935, Herbert Emmanuel born July 10, 1940, and Esther Ruth, born March 1, 1946. One of their first apartments was on 4321 Lexington Avenue where they lived with Gil and Herb. When Esther was born they moved to a small third floor apartment at 141 South Springfield Avenue.

In the early 50's they moved again to a larger two bedroom, first floor apartment around the corner in the same building at 3859 West Wilcox Avenue. The family moved for a final time in the mid 1950's to a three bedroom two flat at 215 North Long Avenue. Leaving the Garfield Park neighborhood, they now resided in Austin, directly across the street from Austin High School, one block away from Sam, Sylvia, and Judy Stein, and three blocks from Stein Upholstery.

Ida may have inherited Philip’s face, but her personality was a distinct blend of Becky and her father. She talked with her mother every day of her life, and they had an adoring relationship. Ida’s personality was sweet, engaging and like the entire Stein clan, people were almost preternaturally drawn to her. A quiet charisma was her shadow, both natural and completely unaffected. Ida was an active participant in her life, a problem-solver who loved her family, her children, as well as her children’s friends and their parents! She loved to laugh, joke, sing and keep pace with any and all outrageous stories told by her father, brothers and sisters.

Her great passion in life was music. With her own money she purchased a Hi-Fi phonograph and radio system. It was the joy of her life. On Saturday nights, while Joe had his friends over for the weekly poker game, Gil and Ida would listen to Col. Robert R. McCormack (“Rush Limbaugh Eat Your Heart Out!”) on WGN-Radio, followed by the treasured Weekly Operetta Selection. Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” was a particular favorite opera; the tragic Cho-Cho San was a character whose arias Ida knew almost by heart.

Joe died of a Cerebral Hemorrhage, selling shoes in a store in Cicero, Illinois, on December 2, 1964. Ida died of lymphoma, at home, on April 22, 1966. Her three children, her six grandchildren, David, Bliss, Rebecca, Nathan, Sam, Philip and Nathan, and her four great-grandchildren, Joseph, Benjamin, Matthew, and Elijah survive her.


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