Isabelle L. Sterne

Isabelle L. Sterne

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 ( Most importantly, hug those you love and be kind to everyone.

2 Responses to Isabelle L. Sterne

  1. Ken Asher says:

    This is such a warm, yet understated memory of a beautiful, loving, and beloved woman. Her smiles in the photos are wonderful (although it’s hard to tell just what the cat is feeling). While October 5, 2017 marked a loss for us mortals, the ripples created by Isabelle’s time on Earth will emanate for a long while.

  2. Robert Raiford says:

    I’m so sorry to read this news. Isabelle came into my life in 1979 when I entered her shop in Homewood. I was instantly fascinated with her and all the wonderful things in her shop. I took every class she offered and she was always so bright and delightful. She made you feel so at home. Our paths continued to cross for the next 30+ years…we’d always talk about those special classes and how she helped me learn about food, taste and preparation. But most of all, she was such a wonderful person. I’m so glad I knew her and had the opportunity to be in her “food” family. Robert Raiford

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