Inez Silverman, 80, whose empathy and business savvy helped her become a leading real estate broker, died Friday in her West Toledo home.
Her health problems the last decade included congestive heart failure and kidney failure.
She was feted by children, grandchildren, and friends at an 80th birthday party in February.
"It was a crowning achievement that she made it that far," her son said. "It gave her a great deal of pride and pleasure."
Ms. Silverman was in her mid-30s when she began to sell real estate, a job she felt she could balance with home life, her son Peter Silverman said.
"She was one of the top three or four [sales] people in the city," her son said.
She liked people and listened carefully.
"She had business smarts, and she negotiated to help people get what they wanted," her son said.
She retired from the Danberry Co. about 10 years ago.
The daughter of the late Morris L. "Moe" Okun and the former Frieda Kest, she was a graduate of DeVilbiss High School and Ohio State University.
Her father was a well-known Toledo labor lawyer and first chairman in 1952 of the Americans for Democratic Action local chapter.
She wasn't particularly political, but her father "was the biggest influence in her life," her son said. "More than anything, his influence was [in] how much she loved people and she didn't have any airs about her and everybody was comfortable about her."
She was supportive when her son Peter, a lawyer, entered politics and was proud of his achievements. He was elected to Toledo City Council and the Toledo Board of Education.
"But she always thought that I was crazy to run for any office," said Peter, who did not seek re-election to the school board in 2005. "When I stepped out of politics was a very happy moment for her."
She played in bridge tournaments and arranged family vacations and liked to spend time with friends, some of whom she knew since childhood.
Surviving are her sons, Peter and Ross; daughter, Beth, and six grandchildren.
Memorial services will be at
1:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home. The family will receive friends afterward, through tomorrow evening, at the Barrington Drive home of Peter and Marcia Silverman.
The family suggests tributes to Chabad House of Toledo; Congregation Etz Chayim, of which she was a member; Hospice of Northwest Ohio, or a charity of the donor's choice.
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