Shirley Berenson Fromer Mark (1923-2019)

Shirley Mark was born in Portland on July 4, 1923 to Max and Florence Casler Berenson, Polish and Russian immigrants, respectively. She had three older brothers, Milton, Bernard, and Norman. who were all grown and out of the house for most of her childhood. The family kept a religious home, on SW 15th Street and attended Neveh Zedek, and later, Neveh Shalom synagogues. Shirley attended Shattuck Grade School and Lincoln High School. She attended Reed College and then graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in social work. She never worked as a social worker, however, instead working with her first husband, Dan Fromer, in the Berenson Hardware wholesale hardware company he ran after Shirley’s brother Norman could not run the company anymore. She married Dan in 1944 and they had three children: Eileen, Martin and Jimmy Fromer. Dan died in 1982. Shirley remarried Lou Mark in 1984, who died in 2013.

A confirmed Zionist, she went to Israel with her first husband in 1974 and on her own when she was 72. She was the editor of the bulletin for the National Council of Jewish Women, was on the board of the Jewish Family and Child Service and  the Robison Home, and she was the vice president of Hadassah.