Florence Schiffman, 90


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Florence Miller Schiffman died on Oct. 22. Before moving to Rhode Island in 2001, she was a pillar of the Smithtown, New York, community with her husband, the late Dr. Zachary Schiffman. She was born in Brooklyn to Paul and Etta (Weinberger) Miller. 

She received a Bachelor of Arts, Phi Beta Kappa, from Hunter College and a Certificate of Design from Pratt Institute. Florence started her interior design career in the early 1950s in New York City and in Dallas.  She opened a design firm on Long Island in the 1960s. 

Florence next devoted herself to a career in social work by earning a master’s degree at SUNY Stony Brook University. She worked as a social worker at the DeSisto School, Lake Grove School and Queens College. She also had a private practice. 

She chaired the American Cancer Society Ball, volunteered at Temple Beth Sholom in Smithtown, counseled troubled teens, and mentored students in Providence public schools, for which she was named Volunteer of the Year. She loved bridge, art, and travel. 

Florence is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Mara Schiffman and Keith Laskin, Jamie Waldman and Keith Waldman, Tina Odessa and David Odessa, and Ted Lee; and grandchildren, Zachary and Jeremy Laskin, Zoe, Emma, and Benjamin Waldman, and Zachary Odessa. Florence was predeceased by her daughter, Beth Schiffman Lee, and her sister, Rhoda Shapiro. 

Contributions may be made to Tockwotton on the Waterfront, East Providence; Hope Hospice and Palliative Care, Providence; or the Southern Poverty Law Center.