ABMA Mourns the Passing of Sarita Gantz of Empire Brushes
Wed May 23, 2018
Sarita Dizik Gantz passed away on May 17, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. She was 94 years old. Sarita had been living in Denver with her daughter Elaine and son-in-law Steve Berman for the past 5 years. Prior to living in Denver, she lived in Palm Beach and Harrison, New York. She was happily married to Jack Gantz, President of Empire Brushes, for 44 years, until his passing in 1990.
Sarita was born and raised in Havana Cuba. Her parents, the late Benzion and Anna Dizik, escaped the pogroms in the Ukraine in 1919. When they arrived in Eastern Europe, the Jewish agency assigned them to a ship traveling to Cuba since at that time there was a quota for Jews entering the U.S. Sarita was born 5 years after her parents arrived in Havana penniless and only speaking Yiddish and Russian. Sarita’s father learned how to sew by borrowing a neighbor’s sewing machine and working through the night while his neighbor slept. He taught himself how to make Cuban shirts, Guayaberas, eventually opening his own shirt factory. In addition to building a successful business, he became a leader in the Cuban Jewish community.
Sarita spent her first 16 years in Cuba and then left to attend Goucher College in Baltimore. When she was 21 years old, she married Jack Gantz and moved to Rye, NY. They had two children, Joe Gantz of Harrison, NY and Elaine Gantz Berman of Denver, Colorado.
Sarita felt a strong allegiance to her Cuban heritage. She maintained her Cuban friends throughout her life and was known for her annual Cuban parties complete with men dressed in Guayaberas and Latin musicians. At home, a favorite meal was arroz con pollo, frijoles negros, platanos maduros and flan for dessert. Sarita had a beautiful voice and she loved to sing in Spanish, English, and Yiddish. Her signature song was Besame Mucho. No family event was complete without Sarita’s rendition of her favorite song.
In addition to singing, Sarita was a wonderful hostess and an accomplished dancer. She and Jack loved to entertain and they took every opportunity to dance the night away. They traveled extensively and were among early American tourists to visit Russia in 1959.
Sarita was very involved in the community, serving on boards, working in the hospital gift shop, hosting young conductors at her home among other charitable endeavors. A committed lifelong supporter of Israel and Federation, Sarita dedicated her energy and resources to many Jewish causes and philanthropies.
More than anything else, Sarita was a generous, loving friend, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She was always cheerful, kind, caring, stylish, and beautiful. She had many friends and was a confidant to them all. The world is a better place because of the person she was and the life she led.
Sarita is survived by her children, Joe Gantz and his wife Paula Blumenfeld, Elaine Gantz Berman and her husband Steve Berman, her grandchildren Seth Berman, Ben Berman and his wife Katherine Berman, Alesa Gantz DePerisia and her husband Brian DePersia, Ilana Blumenfeld Gantz and Cobi Blumenfeld Gantz and great grandchildren, Isa, Sebastian and Luca and Sarita’s nephew Mark Dizik and his husband John Oden. During the last few years of her life, Sarita was fortunate to have two amazing caregivers, Ana Wahl and Maxine Parker.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations will be appreciated to Project C.U.R.E., the largest provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world in Denver Co, the Hebrew University/ Sarita Gantz Scholarship fund or Mercy College/Sarita Gantz Scholarship fund in Dobbs Ferry, NY.