Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice



Written by the family

Anita Lorraine Hara, Chana bat Eliyahu, died on April 27, 2018, after a lifetime of serving as a matriarch to the Hara family. She was 92.

Born in Chicago, Ill., on Oct. 31, 1925, Anita met her future husband, Joe, in high school. After the war they married, and she spent her adult life raising her three children, Bob, Barbara and Mark, and supporting her husband’s career. 

It was always family first for Anita. In 1964 she left her hometown of Chicago with Joe and her growing family to create a new life in the then-small town of Orlando.

Anita quickly became a leader in the Jewish and Greater Orlando communities, where she chaired countless fundraising activities and events. Her many projects included: March of Dimes, Florida Hospital Auxiliary, Heart Fund, Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, Jewish Family Services and Kinneret’s Council on Aging. 

Anita’s voluntary and philanthropic endeavors were often recognized and she was awarded many honors. She often referred to her modest upbringing as her reason to give back to the community. In her forties, faced with the prospect of an empty nest, Anita returned to college at the University of Central Florida, where she earned a degree in social work.

Her husband’s long tenure with Tupperware International afforded Anita the opportunity to visit many countries, but her favorite adventures were more often stateside. Anita and Joe purchased a condominium in Longboat Key, Florida in 1976. This “Shangri-La,” as they referred to it, was a family destination for many wonderful memories. 

In later years, the couple spent their summers in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Enjoying the shade of the blue mountains, they hosted their children and grandchildren, serving up new memories at places like Lake Lure and the Brevard Music Festival.

Anita made life long-friends wherever she went.

At the age of 70 Anita was afflicted with heart disease, followed by macular degeneration. These setbacks may have slowed her a bit, but they never stopped her from her humanitarian endeavors. Her constant cheerleader was Joe, who encouraged her to always move forward. 

In recent times, it became a tradition for Joe to read a passage called Eshet Chayel, A Woman of Valor at the Shabbat table. Joe enjoyed reading this passage from Proverbs and Anita loved listening to it. Joe finished the poem saying, “This one’s for you, babe.” It was always followed by a kiss. 

Joe was often asked, what attracted him to Anita as far back as their high school years. He always replied, “Anita was different. She was funny. She had a great laugh.”

When life presented them with challenges, they joined hands and got through them. 

After Joe’s passing in December 2017, Anita’s loving family circled the wagons. She was visited every day. Her children and grandchildren tried to carry the torch as Joe had, keeping her occupied and surrounded by love.

We are eternally grateful for having this cherished matriarch in our lives.  

Anita is survived by her children—Robert (Judith) Hara, Barbara (Terry) Weiss and Ellen Hara. She was predeceased by her son, Mark. She is also survived by her grandchildren—Aaron (Moriah), Jacob, Audra, Jared (Lucy), Marni (Ram), and Andrea; and her great-grandchildren Eva and Lillia.

A graveside funeral was held at Temple Israel Cemetery, Gotha, with Rabbi David Kay of Congregation Ohev Shalom officiating.

In memory of Anita Hara, the family requests contributions to Congregation Ohev Shalom, 613 Concourse Parkway South, Maitland 32751. Arrangements entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel. 640 Lee Road, Orlando 32810. 407-599-1180.


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