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Theresa Amsterlaw

February 21, 1920 - November 26, 2021

Services Date December 3, 2021

Obituary Viewed 845 times

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Around 1917, Theresa’s parents emigrated to the United States from Lukova (Yiddish name for Lukow) which is near Lodz in Poland. Theresa’s father was a tailor. Her mother was a dressmaker. Her grandfather (her mother’s father) was a kosher butcher in Lukova.

Theresa’s father served in the US Army during WWI.

Theresa was born in 1920, right after the end of WWI.

After the war, Theresa’s father opened a store on Steinway Street in Astoria, NY where he made, sold, and repaired clothing for boys. He taught Theresa how to sew. When she was very young, she wore boys’ clothing made by her father.

Theresa had two brothers. Sid was a few years older; Ben was a few years younger. Sid was athletic; Ben was studious. Sid became a subway inspector. Ben graduated from Yale University and studied chemical engineering. Later in life, Ben became an entrepreneur.

Theresa attended a secretarial school. She was a skilled typist.


Theresa met her future husband, Bernard Amsterlaw, on vacation in Accord, NY in the Catskill Mountains. She was about 25 years old; he was a few years older. They married just before WWII. They lived on a military base in Midland, Texas where Bernard was stationed. Son Bill was born in a military hospital on the base while Bernard was serving in the Philippines.

After the war, they moved into the upstairs apartment in a duplex above Theresa’s parents’ apartment in Astoria, NY. Daughter Wendy Beth was born in 1949.


In 1953, the family moved to Los Angeles. They lived in an apartment in Venice, CA and started searching for a house to buy.

In 1956, they bought the West Los Angeles house that the couple shared for the next 54 years until the time of Bernard’s death. Theresa cared for Bernard’s mother as she developed progressive dementia in the last years of her life. Theresa continued to care for Bernard as he also developed progressive dementia in the last 10 years of his life.

After Bernard’s death Theresa continued to live in the same house. She lived in the house for a total of 65 years until the time of her death.


1. Theresa raised her two children.

2. She sold Avon products.

3. She enjoyed gardening.

4. She was skillful at sewing.

5. She learned to paint. She made a number of oil paintings.

6. She took classes in jewelry-making and ceramics.

7. She worked for 10 years as a clerk for the Department of Motor Vehicles.

8. In her senior years she taught ceramics at the Senior Center in Culver City. She enjoyed making slip-cast figurines with elaborate painted decoration.

9. Theresa and Bernard exercised regularly at a gym for many years. Well into her 80’s, Theresa was able to kick either leg high above her head or touch her palms to the floor.

10. Theresa and Bernard enjoyed travelling.
– They took trips to Hawaii, Europe, Israel, Brazil
– They went to New York for their granddaughter’s graduation from high school.
– The went to Connecticut for her graduation from Yale University.
– They enjoyed many bus trips to Laughlin, NV with seniors from the Culver City Senior Center.

11. Theresa loved to play Scrabble online with friends and relatives.

12. In her last years, her favorite activity was keeping in touch with friends and relatives using her Facebook Portal.