Sara Astrich (Sara Lee Berg) passed away Monday, May 22, 2023, after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. She was 82.
Sara is survived by her sister, Lorraine Wulfe; children Steve Astrich and Stephanie Astrich; grandchildren Bobby Astrich and wife, Stephanie Griffith, Jordan Astrich, Marissa Meador and husband, JD Meador, and Samantha Astrich and fiancé, Ricky Legg; great-grandchildren (who called her Bubbie), Elijah and Theodore Astrich (Jordan); nieces and nephews Sondee and Peter Chalcraft and Karin and Gary Gerstenhaber; and many other loving friends and family members. She was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Nelly Berg and her brother-in-law, Ed Wulfe.
Sara was born on January 11, 1941, in Houston, Texas, to Fred and Nelly Berg, who had arrived from Germany just two years earlier. Sara was named for Sarah Brier Klein, wife of Nathan Klein and Sara’s mother’s first cousin, who died the night of Sara’s parent’s wedding. Nathan had sponsored the family to come over from Germany. Sara had a bright childhood along with her sister Lorraine. She attended Sutton and Roberts Elementary, Pershing Jr. High and the brand new Bellaire High School before attending the University of Texas in Austin. She was a devoted Longhorn fan for the remainder of her life.
Sara was a big sports fan. Longhorn’s football and Yankees’ baseball being the two she paid the most attention to, she was more a fan of sport’s personalities than the rules. Earl Campbell, Alex Rodriguez, and Kevin Durant were some of her favorites.
Sara’s adult life started with motherhood in the ‘60s. Congregation Emanu El started becoming a second home to her in the ‘70s. First she served in Emanu El Sisterhood, becoming President by the late ‘70s and remaining involved for the rest of her life. She then served as assistant to the Executive Director at Emanu El around 1980 before taking the job of Executive Assistant at Gulf State Advertising/Sachnowitz & Co.
She returned to Emanu El as Membership Director in the ‘90s and remained in that role until her retirement. In her membership role, she took pride in meeting every new family and making them feel welcome. She seemed to know EVERYONE at Emanu El and even the rabbis still would call her as recently as this past year to ask about who is related to whom.
Sara couldn’t go to a restaurant without seeing people she knew and stopping to say hello. She never missed sending a card for birthdays or holidays, to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and countless other friends and relatives.
Sara (Sara Lee), was a great cook and baker, best known early on for her pound cake, her mother’s and grandmother’s Challah, which she perfected, but mostly for her chocolate chip cookies, which were generously distributed to her kids until her grandkids and brother-in-law came along, and then they became the primary recipients of said cookies. The last of the cookies found in the freezer has already led to a possible will contention.
Sara was so proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were what she fought so hard to stick around and see as much as she could. On the day of her cancer diagnosis, it took her about two seconds to decide that she wanted to fight. She made it 20 months instead of six. On Mother’s Day, the very last day she could even talk, as each grandchild and spouse came in to visit, she made a point to ask each about a current event in their lives. She could barely open her eyes and was in obvious discomfort and all she could do was ask about everyone else. She was surrounded with love in her final days by her children, grandchildren, nieces, caregivers, and by her sister, Lorraine, who we cannot thank enough for her time and devotion to her sister, which made the entire fight more manageable and allowed her to live out her life at home.
The family is deeply grateful to her loving caregivers, Sharon Williams, Sheryl Turner and Tamatha Britton. They became a part of the family over the past year and made Mom’s journey so much more bearable.
Thank you to all her friends who have been reaching out. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Congregation Emanu El, Attn: Sara Astrich and the donation will be credited to one of her favorite temple funds (
) or to MD Anderson Cancer Center (