Dr. Bella Davidovna Chernyak died peacefully on Saturday, May 23rd in Youngstown, Ohio at the age of 92.
Determined, brave and generous-- Dr. Bella Chernyak was an extraordinary woman. Bella will be remembered for her loud laughter and unbreakable spirit. She survived a war, lived through communism, anti-Semitism, and left her country of origin at the age of 66 years to start all over. She was a strong-willed person who had a fierce tenacity, a sharp wit, and a great sense of humor. Bella loved to entertain and to cook for her family. She was obsessed with her grandchildren and their happiness and success in America. Most of all, she taught her family what it means to have courage.
Bella is survived by her two sisters, Esfir Malina, who lives in Los Angeles, and Galya Fizitskaya, who lives in Israel. She leaves behind a loving son, Vladimir, his wife Svetlana, and their two children, Dan and Masha Chernyak. Bella had three happy and healthy great grandchildren— Molly, William, and Roux-- who brought her the greatest pride and joy.
Bella was born on November 22nd, 1927 in Kopatkevichi, Belarus to Yitzhak David Garavoy and Sonya Garavaya. She was a dedicated and very hardworking student her whole life. In 1955, she graduated from the prestigious St. Petersburg Medical Institute and began her lifelong career as a family Doctor and a beloved Endocrinologist. Bella was the oldest of three sisters, who she inspired and encouraged to also pursue a profession in medicine. Bella loved her career deeply and built a large community of friends and colleagues who she loved to entertain in her home.
Bella was married to Vill Samuilavich Chernyak in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1949. Vill passed away on October 25th, 2009, just months after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Vill was a WWII veteran and a decorated Navy officer. Bella and Vill met and lived in St. Petersburg until they immigrated to Youngstown, Ohio in 1991, with the generous support of the Burdman and Friedkin family. She was very grateful to her cousins and the entire Jewish community that helped give her grandchildren the opportunity to live, work, and contribute to society in a free country. Bella and Vill loved to travel, read, garden, and to sing songs together.
Bella was deeply admired. Her love and laughter live on. A small family funeral is scheduled for Wednesday May 27th. All are welcome to celebrate Bella’s extraordinary life from afar.
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