Meryl Kligerman Drabkin

  Meryl Kligerman Drabkin of 88 Notch Hill Road, N. Branford, CT died Sept. 29, 2011. Mrs. Drabkin was born on June 5, 1923, the daughter of Manuel and Sarah Kligerman. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Lester Drabkin, and her sons David and Robert Drabkin and Jamie Drake. She was predeceased by her brother, David Kligerman. She graduated from Prospect-hill School, and attended Yale University School of Art, where she developed and refined her artistic talent, abetted by her innate aesthetic sensitivity. During World War II, she helped her mother run a popular Yale campus restaurant, Mrs. Kligerman’s. After her marriage in 1947, she devoted her precious years into raising her three sons and being an ever caring wife to her husband. Besides being an excellent and meticulous housekeeper, she became a gourmet cook, lavishing her skills upon her family and hosts of friends whom she loved to entertain. During the formative years of her children, she seemed at times to be living her life in her station wagon, carting the boys to ice skating lessons, serving as a Den Mother in the Cub Scouts, attending craft shows all over Connecticut where her son Jamie exhibited and sold macramé. There was no limit to her inexhaustible energy, and besides her family obligations, she led a very active live in the community. Mrs. Drabkin craved the company of people, her warmth and smile instantly endeared her to whomever she met. Shortly after her marriage, she joined the New Haven Section, Nation Council of Jewish Women, and in three years was elected president, the youngest in the history of the organization. In that capacity she was instrumental in forming the Evening Section of the chapter, and helped initiate the WELI Call for Action Program. She never was a mere joiner in an organization, once she joined she became an active worker, and her efforts were soon recognized as she ascended to the boards and heads of the organizations. She served as president of the Yale University Women’s Organization, and the New Haven Section of the International Wine and Food Society, and Vice-President, New Haven Chapter Brandeis Women’s Committee, board member Executive Committee Yale Art Gallery Associates, board member friends of Hillel at Yale, chairman of fund raising North Haven League of Women Voters, co-chairman Mother’s March on Polio North Haven, and board Member Creative Arts Workshop, Co-Chairman New Haven Jewish Community Center Craft Show. For many organizations, she arranged and conducted bus trips to art galleries in New York. For several years she was chairman of the Celebration of American Crafts of the Creative Arts Workshop. Her affection for Yale University never ceased. She was a member of the Yale Club of New York, the Yale Club of New Haven, and Mory’s. Along with the multitude of public service activities, her social life was full, she loved to entertain in her home, hosting large dinner parties for many years, culminating in elegant black-tie New Years Eve’s celebrations. She was an avid tennis player well into her eighties. Along with her husband, she visited 35 countries world-wide, ranging from Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, to Sweden, Norway, and Russia. She led a full life.
   Funeral service at the Congregation Mishkan Israel, 785 Ridge Rd., Hamden, Sunday morning at 11. The Interment will be in the Mishkan Israel Cemetery, Jewell St., New Haven. After the funeral, friends are invited to gather at the Penthouse Lounge at the Study at Yale, 1157 Chapel St., New Haven to pay their respects. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her honor to the Creative Arts Workshop, 80 Audubon Street, New Haven, CT 06510.
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  1. Bert and Martha Weisbart said,

    10.01.11 at 8:40 am

    Meryl was such a wonderful role model for women and leadership. I admired her for year and then had a chance to witness her energy and artistic taste and skills first hand when I worked at the Creative Arts Celebration of American Crafts…how wonderful to have lived a life well.

    Our sincerest sympathy.
    Bert and Martha Weisbart

  2. Kirsti Langbein said,

    10.01.11 at 9:20 am

    She was fun to play tennis with. She was fun to cook with. She was fun to talk with.
    With our deepest sympathy,
    Kirsti and John Langbein

  3. Jennifer D. Botwick said,

    10.01.11 at 9:06 pm

    My deepest sympathies to the entire family, and especially to my lifetime childhood friend, Jamie. My sincerest condolences for your loss.
    I have fond childhood memories of visiting Jamie and experiencing first hand the warmth and acceptance of his mother when I would come over to their beautiful home.
    In later years, when I returned to live in New Haven, I enjoyed seeing Mrs. Drabkin at CAW every fall for their fabulous holiday sale. She was the quintessential hostess and it was always lovely to touch base and catch up on our lives .
    may her memory be for a blessing.

  4. Denise M Kokaram said,

    10.02.11 at 1:10 am

    My thoughts are with the entire family at this time, and most especially, my wonderful friend and confidante, Robert. May healing energy and love surround you all during this time of transition.

    Your mother was a most amazing woman by all accounts! What a role model and inspiration she must have been to so many! I sincerely wish I could have met her in person, but she is reflected in the gift of her wonderful son, Robert.

    Honour her Spirit, and celebrate her with smiles and remembrances.

    Sending love, light and healing to you all, wish I could be there, but know I am here for you always, Rob,
    Denise Kokaram and family

  5. Lyn Caliendo said,

    10.02.11 at 9:08 pm

    Meryl was a warm and welcoming women. Meryl appeared to make everyone her friend,including me. I saw her just last month, she will be remembered fondly.

    Lyn Caliendo

  6. Jane Serlin said,

    10.03.11 at 9:58 am

    My deepest sympathy to the Drabkin family – Meryl was a lovely woman and was an inspiration to all whose lives she touched – We were tennis players at YUWO together and also worked together at Creative Arts during the holiday season. She will truly be missed. Jane Serlin

  7. Lupi Robinson said,

    10.04.11 at 1:42 pm

    I met Meryl close to 12 years ago as a CAW volunteer. She encouraged me to become more involved in that organization, which is something I will always remember with gratitude. The difference in our ages mattered not at all. Meryl was an inspiration– her energy, her style, her eye– were amazing. We bonded over our interest in art and fine crafts, good food, and over our husbands’ shared background in printing. She was an original and I will truly miss her. So sorry we were out of state at the time of her memorial service.

  8. lise prown said,

    10.05.11 at 10:25 am

    Dear Jamie and Family,
    I send my deepest sympathy and affection at this sad time. I too remember your Mom’s sense of style and energy!

  9. Steven P. Schwartz said,

    10.05.11 at 3:03 pm

    To the family:
    I am sure that my name is unfamiliar to you but Manuel Kligerman was my childhood dentist, as well as that of my mother Helen Peck Schwartz, who was his cousin. My maternal grandmother was Dora Peck, nee Greenstein. She was an immigrant from the area of Russia near Odessa in the late 1880’s or early 1890’s. I remember her speaking of family in New Haven named Brown. I believe that Dr. Kligerman was part of that family.
    My grandparents, Kello and Dora (legally Vera) lived in Great Neck, NY until their passing, respectively in 1969 and 1970. My parents Helen and Hy Schwartz also lived there till their passing, respectively in 2008 and 2006. Other family members also lived there as well including my cousins the grandchildren of Dora’s identical twin sister Gussie Borden.
    I reside in East Hampton, NY and New York City, with children and grandchildren.
    I never met your wife and mother, but extend my sympathies on your loss.
    Steven P. Schwartz, East Hampton, NY