Bella Heppenheimer turns 100, shares date with Hadassah
Bella Heppenheimer didn't mind sharing her 100th birthday celebration last weekend with Hadassah, the community service organization that she has supported for many decades.
Bella Levy was born in Hoppstaedten, Germany, on Aug. 6, 1912, and was trained as a seamstress from age 14. With World War II approaching, relatives brought her to Chicago to work as a seamstress at a Jewish orphanage. Her fiance, Manfred Heppenheimer, left Germany several months later and found a job in Pittsburgh in the scrap iron business. She moved to Pittsburgh and they married on July 30, 1938. She brought her parents to Pittsburgh in September 1941; they were among the last group of Jews permitted to leave Germany. Many of her aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews perished in the Holocaust.
Mrs. Heppenheimer opened a dress shop, eventually employing five women. She became involved with Hadassah, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh. She also contributes to the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the United Jewish Federation. Several years ago, her donations made possible the opening of a modern sports complex for youth in Israel.
She retired in 1977 and has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for 18 years. She still knits and is the leader of a weekly knitting group at Concordia of the South Hills, where she has lived for 10 years. She loves flowers and receives more arrangements than any other resident. Mrs. Heppenheimer still reads, mostly magazines, and is a member of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills. She says her secret for a long life is "good genes and keeping busy."
To mark the two milestones, members of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter held an open house at Concordia on Sunday and family members from as far away as Israel, Maryland and Texas joined Mrs. Heppenheimer to celebrate. She says her main objective is to make certain that those who perished in the Holocaust are never forgotten.
If you or a friend or a relative recently turned 100 or will soon do so, the Post-Gazette would like to hear from you. To be included in Century Club, send the honoree's biographical information and your phone number to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Century Club, Attn: Kevin Kirkland, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Fax: 412-491-8452. E-mail: email@example.com.
First Published August 14, 2012 12:00 am