Eulogy for Reyna Regina Fis
By Hazzan Isaac Azose
Reyna Regina Fis was born in Seattle on December 20, 1914 to Nissim and Bea Calvo. She died in Seattle on Sunday June 20, 2010 at 8:15 a.m. Her husband Sam passed away last December. Her father was Nissim Calvo. Her mother was Bea Calvo. She was the oldest of four siblings, William Calvo, Jean Halfon and Betty Goren. Regina and Sam were married in 1937. She was what we call in Ladino a 'nikochera'. A nikochera can be described as a woman who cooks delicious food and knows everything that needs to be done around the household and sees that it gets done. She loved to cook, knit and do embroidery. Among many other things, she made the best yaprakes (those are stuffed grape leaves) and pishkado kon wevo i limon (that’s fish with lemon and egg sauce) from the time she was a little girl. Regina loved to knit. She made afghans, sweaters and pillow cases, using her own knitting patterns. Regina had artistic talent which was never developed. She absolutely loved her family. Family always came first with her.
She and Sam moved to Detroit in 1952. Sam had been working for American Smelting and Refining Company as a Purchasing Agent. He received a promotion and was given a choice of moving to Chicago or Detroit as Head Purchasing Agent for the entire Midwest. He decided on Detroit. They later moved to St. Louis where their daughter Sue married Stuart Barrett. Stuart had met Sue when she was in Detroit and they attended Michigan State University. Stu became an honorary Sepharadi by virtue of his attraction to the wonderful Sephardic food that Regina would make, even though he was alergic to fish. Later on, Regina and Sam moved to Chicago. When Sam retired, they moved back to Seattle but Sam felt he had to keep working and he went to work for Seattle Iron and Metals.
Regina developed cancer in 1970. Her doctor told Sam that she had one year to live. Sam, however, insisted she not be told and, although she went through three very difficult years, she was grateful for the help that she got from Vida Hershberg, Sam’s sister, who Regina called a Godsend. Vida would take her to the doctors for treatment, but Regina came through it with flying colors, and, as everyone can see, she lived to be 95 years old when she died. Regina put it in financial terms when she would always say that her grandchildren and great grandchildren were her dividends. Her daughter Sue called her ‘Alma del Dyo’, ‘a soul of the Lord’.
Regina is survived by one daughter, three grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great great grandson.