Frances “Fran” Ann Epstein Waltman passed away peacefully at her home in West Hartford on April 1, 2018 at the age of 96. Fran was born Nov. 1, 1921 in Hartford, a city she cherished. She was the daughter of Rose Kramer and Julius Epstein. Julius was the manager of the furniture department at G. Fox & Company and one of the early directors of Jewish choirs in the Hartford area. Fran graduated from Hartford High. Her yearbook said she would be best remembered for her radiant smile. She went to Teachers College in New Britain Connecticut. After raising her family she received a master’s degree in American Studies from Trinity College. She married her beloved husband Dr. Irving “Chick” Waltman in Hartford. They were married for 73 years. They lived in Coral Gables, Florida where Chick was stationed during World War II. They moved to New York City while Chick completed his residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and then settled in West Hartford, where she lived for 60 years in the same home. Fran was actively involved in her community. She was in the first group of docents at The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art where she served for over 20 years. She was a life member of Hadassah. Together with her husband, Fran established The Edward Lewis Wallant Book Award, now recognized nationally, presented annually to a writer whose fiction is considered to have significance for American Jews. Fran was a founding member of the Hartford Jewish Historical Society in 1971. Through The Greenberg Center at the University of Hartford, Fran and her husband have created ongoing programs for cantorial music, Yiddish culture and film. She was a lifetime member of The Emanuel Synagogue. Fran was creative, determined and loved the world of historic research especially as it pertained to immigrant groups in Hartford. Fran was an avid reader and founded one of the earliest book clubs in the community in 1953. Besides art and literature Fran was passionate about politics, world events and music, particularly opera. She was always ready for a game of double solitaire. Fran and her husband enjoyed their Rhode Island beach cottage every summer. She was predeceased by her husband Dr. Irving “Chick” Waltman, her daughter Phyllis “Chia” Waltman, and her sisters Esther Rosenbaum and Lillian Lewis. She leaves her son Dr. Richard Waltman (Ruth) of Gig Harbor, Wash., daughter Marjorie Feldman (Howard) of Roseburg, Ore., son Laurence Waltman (Joseph Lembo) of New York, N.Y., son-in-law Taras Mizrahi of Gainesville, Fla., her sister Alberta Swett of Revere, Mass., grandchildren Julian Feldman (Carolyn Tan), Matt Waltman (Audrey), Anna Dooley (Matt) and Danny Waltman, as well as six great-grandchildren, Sebastian, Eli, Eva, Hugo, Carmen and Zoe and many nieces and nephews. Donations can be made in Fran’s memory to The Emanuel Synagogue, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, the Greenberg Center at the University of Hartford and the Esther Rosenbaum Piano Fund at the Hart School of Music.


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