Minda Ellen Tilchin


January 15, 1952 (18 Tevet, 5712) – January 7, 2017 (10 Tevet, 5777)

Devoted daughter of Jeannette Katz Tilchin (z”l) and Asher Norton Tilchin, and  loving step-daughter to Arlene Tilchin; beloved mother to  Bethany (Schaer) Higa and Justin Higa  of Portland, OR,  and Aaron Schaer and Keren Thoms  of Seattle, WA, and adoring grandmother to Ethan Higa; loving and supportive sister to William Tilchin and Carol Giliberto of Providence RI, Michael Tilchin and Linda Greer of Bethesda, MD, and Marcia Tilchin and Scott Spitzer of Tustin, CA;  caring and committed step-sister to Robert and Nancy Schostak, David and Elise Schostak, Ricky and Dorit Schostak, and Mark and Lillian Schostak.  Minda was very close to her many tens of nieces, nephews, cousins and all of their families, and was in every respect at the center of her extended family.  Minda and Alan Katz, her former husband, maintained a profoundly caring relationship. 

Minda worked for the Royal Oak School System from 1990 until her retirement in 2013, serving as the Pre-School Coordinator for Special Education from 1994 onward.  When parents with special needs children came to the Royal Oak Schools, they had an effective and unstoppable advocate in Minda.  After leaving the Royal Oak Schools, Minda served as a clinical social worker for Counseling Associates of West Bloomfield, MI.  

A graduate of the University of Michigan and the Wayne State School of Social Work, Minda was a Licensed Master Social Worker and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She was a pioneer in creating wilderness camping experiences and teaching outdoor camping and leadership skills to young women, leading teens on backcountry trips to the mountain ranges of the American west and serving as the first female counselor and then Assistant Director at Camp Tamarack’s Agree Outpost Camp in Wawa, Ontario.

Minda was an accomplished handywoman- comfortable with a wrench, drill, saw, or hammer in her hand, eager to take on home repair projects. She loved cooking, especially baking, and she excelled at it. She delighted in teaching her children, nieces, nephews, and young cousins how to succeed in the kitchen. Preparing delicious and beautiful meals for her large extended family for s’machot and other life-cycle events was her forte. Memories of Minda will endure as a great blessing for her many family members, friends and colleagues:  Nehama Mindl bat Asher Noah v’Sheindl – t’hi zikhra barukh.

Those who wish to further honor the memory of Minda Tilchin may do so by making a contribution to any of the following:

Tamarack Camps
Detroit Public Television
Congregation Beth Shalom, Jeannette Tilchin Memorial Fund
The Jewish Collaborative of Orange County

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