Friday, August 3, 2012


When I was photographing the gravestone of Mazal Tov and Yom Tov Mizrahi in the Portugese Sephardic Cemetery at Jewish Waldheim, I happened upon another interesting tombstone.  This one had a photo of a young girl flanked by angels but with a poem set into the stone as well.

It marked the burial location for Sarah Amado who died on July 4, 1941 at the age of nineteen.

I have commented on other tombstones at Waldhein that have poems on them: 

Miriam Mandel:;postID=898125431923340019

Marvin and Jeanette Schwartz:;postID=8851507794267110258

It is almost as if the grief of the survivors is so intense that they want to make a tangible public statement about it.  Here's the poem from Sarah's tombstone:

You were born in May
When flowers are in bloom,
And just like a flower,
You vanished so soon.

Your troubles began
At the age on nine,
Just when you thought
That this world was so fine.

For ten long years
You suffered much pain,
Science and medicine
They were in vain.

You have never reproached
You have never complained.
You have always managed
To smile again and again.

Your sister and brother,
Your mother and I,
Often have asked the question

Why you had to suffer,
Why you had to die?
On a memorable day
As the 4th of July?

But who are we to question
The will from above
Maybe he needed an angel
So pure and full of love.

You will be remembered by many,
Forgotten by few,
But our heart's and thoughts
Will always be with you.


Who was Sarah Amado and what caused her untimely death on the 4th of July, 1941?

Sarah Amado was born May 8, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois to David and Sophie Amado.

David Amado was born in Craiova, Roumania, while Sophie (nee Levin) was from Lom Palanca, Bulgaria.  Remembering that their daughter was buried in the Sephardic cemetery at Waldheim, it's not surprising that both David and Sarah's first language was "Spanish".  Both came to the US in 1910 and on the 1930 census were still listed as "Aliens" meaning that they had not completed the citizenship process (they did not become citizens until 1943).  David Amado owned a retail fruit store.  The Amado family lived at 4400 S. Drexel Boulevard where they rented their apartment for $50.00 per month - not an insignificant amount in 1930.

4400 S. Drexel Boulevard, Chicago
Sarah had a younger sister, Matilda (born 1925) and a younger brother Sam (born 1929).  The family name was originally "Amadu" but they went to court to have it changed to "Amado". 

Sarah's Death Certificate from July 4, 1941 tells the rest of the story. The Amado family was now living at 1445 S. Christiana Avenue in Chicago.  As with so many of the old locations, all that is left at that address today is a vacant lot.

1445 S. Christiana Avenue, Chicago
Sarah died, as her father mentioned in his poem, on the 4th of July in 1941.  According to her death certificate the immediate cause of death was a cerebral embolism, but the long term illness that had plagued Sarah for ten years was rheumatic heart disease - perhaps the result of a childhood bout with scarlet fever.

Thus ends the story of Sarah Amado.  Looking at her bright, smiling face it's heard to believe that she could be struck down at the age of nineteen.  I am sure her death left a void in the Amado home that was never filled.

In honor of Sarah Amado tell someone today that you love them - today while you still can.  One thing we know from the stories in this blog, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Barbara LaMarr was a star of silent films.  Hearst columnist Adela Rogers St. Johns called Barbara "The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful". Like Sarah Amado, Barbara was struck down at a young age.  The epitaph on Barbara LaMarr's tombstone would be fitting for Sarah Amado as well:

"With God in the Joy and Beauty of Youth."

Sarah Amado - may she rest in peace. 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful tribute. Sarah was my fathers big sister thank you
    Sandy Amado Rubin