July 10, 1925 – February 12, 2020
GRANGER, IN – Gertrude “Shish” Rubin was born on July 10,1925 in Lamar, South Carolina. She and her sister Rachel were raised in Columbia, South Carolina by her mother, Minnie Karesh, and Russian immigrant grandparents after the untimely death of her father, Alexander Karesh, due to health complications experienced following mustard gas exposure as a soldier in the trenches of World War I.
Shish is predeceased by her husband, Irwin Rubin; her sister, Rachel; and parents on both sides of the family. She is survived by her four children: Terry Rubin of San Marcos La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala; Wendy (Robert Johnston) Rubin of Beverly Farms, MA; Laury “Ruby” (Nick Carlo) Rubin of South Bend; and David (Carole) Rubin of Arlington, MA; as well as four grandchildren–Emily (Jason) Unger and Alex Rubin-Johnston, and Lilia and Jacob Rubin–and two great-grandchildren (Lucy and Jonah Unger).
Her academic pursuits at the University of South Carolina were interrupted during World War II when she met Irwin Rubin, a young soldier stationed at Fort Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina. When he returned from duty overseas she traveled with a one-way ticket to see Irwin in his native home of South Bend. Three weeks later they were married in a small ceremony at the apartment of Tessye and Kurt Simon, Irwin’s aunt and uncle. Shish became an integral member of the extended Rubin family, and grew particularly close with Milton Rubin, Irwin’s father, whom she regarded as a second father in her life.
As a young woman Shish was an accomplished pianist, with ambitions serious enough for her mother, during difficult financial times, to purchase a Knabe baby grand piano that remained a fixture in her home throughout her adult life. To express her artistic energies while raising her children, Shish spent many hours cultivating beautiful flower gardens. She later began to take art classes, painting portraits in oil and pastels. She won an award for her pastel work, “String Quartet Less One,” as part of a juried exhibit of local artists at the South Bend Regional Museum of Art.
Shish was an active lifelong member of the Temple Beth El Sisterhood in South Bend, and among other accomplishments, was a founding member of their nursery school program. A Temple sisterhood member recounted that Shish was always at the ready to help or take charge, and served on so many committees that they are too numerous to mention. Shish continued to be active with the Temple sisterhood into her late 80s. In 2011, at the age of 86, she received Temple Beth El’s Woman of the Year award, with her four children among those in attendance.
Shish worked alongside Irwin, her husband of 57 years, at Rubin Cleaners, initially at 227 E. Jefferson Boulevard, and then at 625 E. Jefferson Boulevard, across from Howard Park, when the business moved due to South Bend’s urban renewal efforts. The business continued to flourish in its new location, and Shish and Irwin worked side-by-side until their retirement in the late 1980s. An accomplished business woman, Shish was recognized by the broader South Bend community for her contributions to the success of the Rubin Cleaners business.
Shish and Irwin enjoyed traveling throughout the world, including trips to Australia, Asia, Central America and Europe.
Above all, Shish was a loving and devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother whose memory will be cherished dearly by her family members, and by her many friends in her Granger, Temple, and greater Michiana community.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Shish’s honor to Temple Beth-El (South Bend, IN), the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley, or Harbor Light Hospice of Mishawaka, IN.
The Funeral will be held on Sunday, February 16th at 11:00 a.m. at Temple Beth El, 305 W. Madison St., South Bend. Burial will follow at the Hebrew Orthodox Cemetery in Mishawaka.