Regina Tein

Regina Goldig Tein

Formal education came tough for Regina Tein; school was interrupted by wars and survival.

But in her life, she learned seven languages, lived in six countries, witnessed the birth of modern Israel, and helped her husband run dry cleaning businesses in America’s two largest cities.

“She was intelligent, courageous, practical, hard working. She was a real survivor. She did what she had to do,” her son, Joseph Tein, said.

Mrs. Tein died Jan. 11 in Islands Convalescent Center. She was 97.

She was born April 28, 1908, one of five children of Abraham and Sarah Goldig. At the time, her birthplace, Czernowitz, was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. She was a refugee in Czechoslovakia for four years during World War I and when she returned to Czernowitz it was part of Romania. It is now part of Ukraine.

She and Morris Tein were married in Czernowitz in 1933. They lived there through World War II; both lost numerous family members and friends in the Holocaust, including Mrs. Tein’s parents, a brother and a sister.

The Teins lived in Windsheim, Germany, from 1945-48, hoping to emigrate to Israel. In 1948, they emigrated to Natanya, Israel, and lived there for eight years; their only child, Joseph, was born in Hadera, Israel in 1951.

In 1956, the Teins emigrated to Uruguay with an eye toward eventually settling in the United States. In December 1960, they moved to the U.S.

The Teins lived in New York City and Los Angeles, where Mr. Tein ran a dry cleaning business and Mrs. Tein was a seamstress and taught sewing. Mr. Tein died in Los Angeles in 1997 and Mrs. Tein moved to Medford, Ore., and then Bellingham to be closer to her son.

In her life, Mrs. Tein spoke German, Yiddish, Czech, Romanian, Hebrew, Spanish and English. She read novels and continued to improve her English skills in her 90s.

“She loved to read,” her son said. “She had a sharp mind, an excellent memory and enjoyed helping people.”

Mrs. Tein is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Joseph and Bridget Tein, of Friday Harbor; two nieces and one nephew in Israel; and a niece in Miami, Fla.

She will be buried next to her husband in Eden Memorial Park in Southern California.

— Richard Walker