After a water aerobics class in the morning, Isabelle Sterne died in her sleep on October 5, 2017 at age 96. She was born and grew up in Selma, Alabama, daughter of Leo Marx Leva and Fannie Rose Gusdorf Leva. In 1940 when her brother graduated from Harvard and became a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black, he moved his widowed mother and his sister, Isabelle, to Washington D.C. In 1943 Isabelle married Charles Sterne, an army officer, also a native of Alabama and they had one son. After war service, the family was stationed in Fort Eustis, Virginia; Bremerhaven, Germany; Yokohama, Japan; and Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Upon retirement, Charles and Isabelle moved to Birmingham, Alabama where they had an active life of social and civic activities. Isabelle was honored as one of Birmingham’s outstanding Beautiful Activists in 1972. For 15 years she and her cousin, Lenore Picard, had a popular cooking store, “Kitchen Things.”
In 2013 she moved to Falls Church, Virginia to be near her son and his family. She is survived by her beloved and loving son and daughter-in-law, Marx Sterne and Joni Sterne; their son, Ian Sterne, and his wife; a myriad of mourning friends; and her devoted cat, Bama.
She will be interred with her husband in Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (www:gbhs.org). Most importantly, hug those you love and be kind to everyone.