Inna Jacob Gershanok
April 16, 2024

Funeral Information

April 18 2024 - 9:00 am
Homewood Cemetery-Star of David Section, 1599 S. Dallas Avenue, (Squirrel Hill) Pittsburgh 15217

INNA JACOB GERSHANOK: Our Babushka Inna was resilient, sweet, and fiercely independent. In the first 25 years of her life, she lost her father to Stalin's terror, fled to Siberia during the Nazi invasion of Ukraine, became a civil-engineer and started a family with her husband Soloman. Together they built bridges in the Soviet Union, and courageously joined the Refusenik movement to give our father, Alex, a better life in America. In 1978, HIAS successfully resettled our family in Pittsburgh. Most Pittsburgers do not know my Babushka but they do know the Bloomfield bridge, the I279 bridge, and other bridges that her and Soloman designed which thousands of Pittsburghers rely on everyday. 

My siblings and I remember my Babushka for her soft hugs, immaculately clean house, and homemade birthday cakes topped with wax candles crossed into roman numerals to mark our age and reused the next near despite the fact that we licked the ice cream off the bottom last year. At her house, we each sat  in our designated chair eating from our designated set of cups, bowls, and plates that my siblings and I used from age 5 to 25. During the meal, a few memories from Russia would slip into our conversation but my Babushka just wanted to listen to us laugh together. My most relaxing memories were curling up next to my brother and sister on my Babushka's couch drifting to sleep as my Dad and her spoke Russian and drank black tea with cookies. When we left her apartment, she would hug us at the front door and by the time we walked out of the elevator she would be on the balcony waving goodbye to us. Every single visit. She would smile and wave to us from the balcony. 

As we got older, Babushka Inna just wanted to know that we were happy and healthy. After 90 seconds of chit chat on the phone, she got straight to the point saying "Ok Sweetie. Thank you for calling. Love you." If I could have one more conversation with my Babushka, before she tried to hang up, I would say "thank you for bringing us to America and giving us the opportunity to succeed and live as Jews without fear. Thank you for creating the most comfortable space for my brother, sister, and I to connect. Thank you for being an amazing mother to my dad. Please tell Soloman we miss him. We will keep looking up at you, smiling and waving to us from your balcony."

Graveside Services and Interment were held at Homewood Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. 


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