Jewish 12

Sybil Greenberg Tarnower

June 1, 1929 ~ June 20, 2022 (age 93)


Sybil Greenberg Tarnower, 93, a longtime resident of Dallas, passed away Monday, June 20, 2022, at her home.  She leaves behind a host of family and friends who will miss her radiant smile and magnetic personality. 

Sybil was born on June 1, 1929, in San Angelo to Nathan and Lottie Stool and grew up in the dusty West Texas plains.  Born at the beginning of the Great Depression, Sybil lived a simple life with West Texas values. Her entertainment was playing in the backyard with her older brother Sylvan and cousin Leonard, reading Nancy Drew mystery books, listening to the radio, and occasionally splurging on a Tom Mix movie.  A big adventure for the family was piling into the car for a Sunday drive to nowhere in particular. 

Sybil’s parents owned hardware and Army-Navy stores.  Her father, a Ukrainian immigrant, was not an idle person.  When he tired of one town, he and Lottie packed up the store and moved to a new place.  Their adventures took them to towns across West Texas and eastern New Mexico, including Abilene, Lubbock, San Angelo, and Hobbs, N.M.  When her brother entered medical school in Dallas in preparation for service in World War II, the family followed to be near him.  After graduating from high school, Sybil enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, where she joined a sorority, went to dances and parties, dated lots of young men, and lived the carefree life of a young woman. 

While an undergraduate, she met a charming, handsome law student, Galveston native David Greenberg.  Dave swept Sybil off her feet, and, in 1951, the couple married in Abilene before moving to Galveston to start their blissful life together and to raise a family.  At the time, the Island was an exciting, entertainment mecca far different from anything she had known.  Dave and Sybil enjoyed the night life, especially dancing at the Balinese Room to music provided by Manny Green and his Orchestra.  (Maybe not coincidentally, Manny was Dave’s brother.)

Sybil loved Galveston from first sight.  It was a close-knit community, and at one point, Sybil and Dave and their children lived within a two-block radius of the entire extended Greenberg clan, including Dave’s parents, his two brothers and sister, and their children.  Dave’s family had a decades-long affiliation with Congregation Beth Jacob, and Dave and Sybil continued that tradition, raising their children in the Shul by the Shore.  Sybil especially cherished the close bonds of the Sisterhood and the vibrant Jewish community.  

Over the next fifteen years, Dave established a successful law practice with Sybil by his side working in his office before he ascended to the bench as Galveston County’s first ever county court at law judge, where he was a highly regarded jurist. But Dave died at a tragically young age of complications after suffering a heart attack, and Sybil began her next journey, as a single mother raising four young children.  She remained in Galveston for the next several years and worked as a teacher, in sales, and as a secretary.  She found comfort and encouragement from a large network of family and friends, and, in particular, her sisters-in-law Myrtle Gerbert and Lassye Pree. 

In 1977, as her children got older and became more independent, Sybil married Jerry Tarnower, an aerospace engineer who she had known since her college days.  Sybil relocated to Dallas where she reconnected with college friends, such as Libbye Wilensky, and made lasting new friendships with others, such as Elaine Marks.  She and Jerry had a long and successful marriage.  They traveled the world, went to the symphony and Dallas Summer Musicals, socialized with their many friends, and enjoyed the big city life.  Most of all, they enjoyed spending time with family.  For more than forty years, Sybil hosted annual Passover Seders for large gatherings of people.  Everyone was welcome.  It was not unusual for a stranger or two to be among the crowd, but no one left Sybil’s home a stranger.  

In 2013, Jerry passed away, and soon after, Sybil moved to Five Star Premier senior living, where she had many friends and made many more.  She spent her days playing mahjong, bridge, and dominoes, and was affectionately known as “The Shark” for her card-playing skills.  One of her fondest memories in recent years was her 90th birthday celebration, which featured a five-piece band, dancing, good food, lots of wine, and an exquisite cake.  On hand to honor Sybil were her many, many friends and nearly all of her family and extended family, many of whom had not been together in one place in many years.  Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren led a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” and set the tone for a quintessential “Sybil party.”

Sybil had a sweet, sweet soul.  She loved to laugh, have a glass of wine or a cocktail, and chat with her many friends.  She was a happy lady who reveled in the happiness of other people.  She was a special person who always had a smile and a kind word, and always looked for the best in people and events.  She will be deeply missed by all who knew her, but our world is brighter because she was here. 

Sybil was preceded in death by her mother and father, Nathan and Lottie Stool; her first husband, Dave; her second husband, Jerry; her dear brother Sylvan Stool; and her son-in-law Bruce Spindler.  She is survived by her children, Henry Greenberg and wife Alice; Larry Greenberg and wife Sylvia; Mark Greenberg and partner Suanne; and Laura Greenberg Spindler; grandchildren Dava, Grace, David, and Jordan; great-grandchildren Sage, Eve, Ben, Jordyn, and Kairo; and a host of  nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.  Sybil was especially fond of the staff at Five Star and, in particular, the kind souls who looked after her with such tenderness and love as her health declined. 

A family graveside service will be held on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in Galveston with J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home handling the arrangements.  

Honorary pallbearers include her loving niece, Evelyn Waldron; her nephews, Jack, Steve, and Marty Greenberg; and her great-nephew, Lloyd Waldron.  A Celebration of Life honoring Sybil will be forthcoming in Dallas.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Sybil Greenberg Tarnower, please visit our floral store.

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Graveside Service
June 28, 2022

10:00 AM
Congregation Beth Jacob Cemetery
61st Street and Avenue T 1/2
Galveston, TX 77551
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