January 28, 1922 - June 20, 2013
Miriam Sesi Kolm of Ashland, Ore. passed away at home June 20, 2013 at the age of 91. Her long and passionate life would make a great film. She was born in Baden-Baden, Germany to Felix and Paula Levy. She moved to Berlin where her mother married a movie composer. One of her first daring forays was to don heels and furs at the age of 14 and sneak into Viktor Viktoria, for which her stepfather composed the score. When the Nazis came to power, she was sent first to Italy and then Paris to study, finally escaping to Bordeaux while hearing the German artillery firing on the outskirts of Paris. From Bordeaux, Miriam and her mother made their way to Los Angeles, Calif., where Miriam met her late husband, Fred Kolm, originally from Austria.
Miriam adopted America with vast enthusiasm and commitment and was proud to see her sons and grandchildren flourish here. About 20 years ago Miriam and Fred moved to Ashland, an event that was transformative. Miriam loved the small town atmosphere, the theater, the politics and the community, which expanded into a myriad of friendships that never deserted her. She and Fred did not travel extensively until they were older, but then travels included visits to family in Israel and several visits to Germany where Miriam re-established contact with childhood friends who similarly were visiting, and she and Fred also went on various cruises. Additionally, they enjoyed hiking in the mountains around Ashland.
In addition to escaping from the Nazis, Miriam survived two bouts of colon cancer in the early 1990s and two heart attacks in recent years. Perhaps she did not have nine lives, but still quite a few.
Miriam is survived by her two sons, Claude and Cary;, her daughters-in-law, Linda Kolm and Linda Williams; and grandchildren, Valerie and Daniel. She counted as family her dear friend, Toni Blanken, who also headed up her care team. Her ability to live and die peacefully at home was made possible by her angels, devoted caregivers who brought joy every day: Leslie Caplan, Diane Fisher, Paulette Pratscher, Lucy Spence, Amber Vaughn, and Pauline Young.
Miriam was interested in everybody and everything. She was intelligent, funny, and charming, loved bargains, fashion and chocolate, and was a staunch liberal and the best friend imaginable. She could drive you crazy, but you always came back for more.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, July 28, 2103 at Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 East Main Street, Ashland, Ore. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice Services, Ashland Community Hospital Foundation, 280 Maple Street, Ashland, OR 97520.