WORCESTER – Goldie Corash Michelson, the oldest living American and the oldest Jewish person in the world (Jewish Ledger, June 10, 2016) died peacefully at home, one month shy of her 114th birthday, on July 8. She was the wife of the late David Michelson.
Michelson told Clark University Magazine in 2012 that walking was the secret to a long life.
“I was a great walker—four or five miles every morning, weather permitting,” she said. “I never used a car if I could walk. One of the great joys of life was when I sold my car.”
Born in Elizabethgrad, Russia, MIchelson moved to Worcester at the age of two. She attended Worcester schools, and graduated from Brown University. She served as president of the Brown University Worcester Alumni Association. After the birth of her daughter, she returned to college, earning a Masters degree in sociology from Clark University. Her thesis discussed immigration and assimilation, something she worked hard to spearhead in her own community, and a subject just as timely, some 80 years later.
She had a life long interest in theater, even turning the basement of her home into a theater complete with stage lights and a star on the dressing room door, where local children performed for their friends and families. She directed and guided numerous theater groups, with particular interest in children’s theater. She extended this interest as a director for a variety of organizations including the Council of Jewish Women, Hadassah, Brown College Club, The Society for Older Adults, Worcester Girls Club, Red Cross, and the Brandeis Women’s Group. She was a member of the Advisory Board of the forum Theater, and a charter member of the committee that founded Workshop Presents, a very early theater group in Worcester. This interest culminated in the creation of the David and Goldie Michelson Drama Fund at Clark University, and the funding of the renovation of the student theater at Clark, which has been rededicated as the Michelson Theater.
She served on the boards of the Worcester Area Mental Health Association and the Worcester City Hospital Auxiliary.
She was active in Hadassah, the Council of Jewish Women, the Sisterhood of Temple Emanuel, and the Brandeis University Women’s Auxiliary. She chaired the Worcester County March of Dimes Drive, was a Red Cross teacher during WW2, taught public speaking at the YWCA, was a tutor in the Hearts Program, judged debating contests at Worcester State College, volunteered at the Worcester Area Mental Health Half-Way Club, and put countless energy into assisting immigrants, teaching them English and assisting with job placement.
Her interest in both health and education was reflected in her membership in the Worcester Biological Foundation, and the funding of a conference room at U Mass Medical Center. She recently presented a Torah to Temple Sinai in honor of Rabbi
Seth Berstein’s 25 years of service to the congregation.
She is survived by a daughter, Renee Minsky and her husband, Leonard, of Bangor, Maine; a granddaughter, Marilyn Melton and her husband, Dennis, of Scarborough, Maine; two great-grand children, Dani Minsky and Maya Melton; and several nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by two brothers, Harry and Jack Corash.