Harriet Sacks Perlis, 94, of Lancaster, PA, died November 5, 2020, with her granddaughter Jennifer “Sweetheart” Perlis by her side. She was born in Boston, MA, on February 4, 1926. Affectionately known as “Hesh” to her birth family, she was the daughter of the late Etta and Benjamin Sacks, younger sister of the late Miriam Stafford, and wife of the late Irwin B. Perlis. She was the mother of John “Sonny boy” Perlis, the late Sarah Elizabeth “Beth-Meffer” Perlis, Robert Perlis and David “be a good boy” Perlis and a grandmother lovingly known as Baba to her “darling” Deaf granddaughter Jennifer and her grandsons Bobby, Benjamin and Nathan.
Harriet graduated in 1943 from Dorchester High School for Girls in Boston. Her senior quote was, “Nothing is impossible to a willing heart and creative hands.” She earned her Art History degree from Millersville College in 1974 and this was a source of great pride for her. Her career included secretarial work, running the local section 8 housing program, the Office of Aging and real estate before her retirement.
From early childhood and throughout her life, Harriet maintained a collection of Alice In Wonderland books that reflected her lifelong sense of curiosity and wonder. To satiate her quest for knowledge, she was a voracious reader and a political news aficionado, a lifelong member of the Democratic party and a proud Jew. She loved spending time with her family, volunteering for Saturday Hebrew school, the Lancaster Public Library, Planned Parenthood, NOW (National Organization for Women) and many other worthwhile organizations. She enjoyed classical music, fine arts museums, ornithology, poetry, learning and using American Sign Language, and watching PBS and British TV programs. She was also her granddaughter Jennifer’s best friend and her dearest of hearts. She will be deeply missed. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the American Civil Liberties Union or to any animal shelter.