Home December 2012 Lil Firestone

Lil Firestone

When I think of Lil Firestone, I think of an event where she was honored by one of the many organizations she served.  There she was, 90-plus years old, literally bouncing up the steps to the stage, impeccably dressed, thoroughly enjoying the moment and communicating her infectious enthusiasm.
Lillian Lola Landay Wolf Firestone loved the limelight and shone in it.  She was spirited, feisty and fun while being passionate about the Jewish community.  She lived her 98 years to the fullest.
Formerly a buyer for Bonwit Teller, Firestone discovered a new career in her 70s – as an impresario of young, talented musicians.  She also worked for the Jewish National Fund at one time.  As a retiree, she put her boundless energy into a variety of causes, and that will be her legacy.
As her granddaughter, Randi Berry, said, “My grandma was not the traditional Jewish Bubbie with a calm, sweet soul who would sit, knit or bake cookies with you.  Nana was a strong, outgoing, independent little dynamo all wrapped up in a classy little package.”
Linda Stern, Firestone’s surrogate daughter, said,  “She was definitely in the driver’s seat of her own destiny.  Her strength of character, dedication to family and friends and causes dear to her heart, as well as her keen sense of style made her a wonderful role model for us all.  She was certainly a ‘glass half-full’ kind of person.”
Rabbi Dennis Linson recounted Firestone’s efforts and contributions as a prodigious fund raiser in more than 13 organizations including Temple Judea, where she was the perennial ways and means chair.  “Since settling in Orange County in 1981, Lil involved herself in every aspect of Jewish life here,” he said.  “Just doing a partial listing of the innumerable tributes, awards, memberships, involvement, acts of tzedakah, positions of community leadership and personal acts of kindness we associate with the name Lil Firestone leaves little or no space to record her personal history.”
According to Chelle Friedman of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS), Firestone was a leader in JFFS, Women’s Philanthropy and Laguna Woods Region where she served two terms as region president.  “Lil was a role model for several generations of Jewish leaders,” Friedman said.  “She was a woman with style, grace, compassion and generosity who cared for others and truly believed that her mission was tikkun olam.”
“Lillian was a devoted supporter of the Jewish Community Foundation for many years,” said Myrna Shields, director of administration of that organization.  “Her bright positive attitude will be missed.  She served as a ‘cheerleader’ in raising funds for charities and she was truly an inspiration for all of us with her philanthropic views.  She was truly a woman of action.”
Formerly of Pittsburgh, Firestone was a resident of Laguna Woods.  She was the wife of the late Jack Wolf and John Firestone; the mother of Lonnie and Natalie Wolf and Barbara and Tito Braunstein; the grandmother of Randi Berry, Michael and Betsy Wolf, Richard and Karen Chotiner and Brad Chotiner; great grandmother of Ryan, Zoe, Jillian Berry, Shira, Ilana, Jonah, and Adena Wolf, Jake, Brian, and Matthew Chotiner; 23-year companion of Nat Applebaum; and dear friend of Linda Stern.  Contributions may be made to the Jewish Community Foundation for Lillian Firestone Pace Endowment, 1 Federation Way, Suite 210, Irvine CA 92603.

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