Sally Shorr, a homemaker and popular Weight Watchers speaker who loved to draw, died Saturday, March 21, of coronary artery disease at the Abramson Center Residence in Horsham. She was 106 and had lived in Chestnut Hill for many years before her move to Horsham three years ago.
“She was a vibrant, strong force,” a son, Saul Shorr, said. "She did not live to 106 by being gentle. She was a tough cookie. She was very opinionated, a very strong Democrat and a very strong liberal.”
Sally Wohl Shorr was born in Warsaw, Poland, on Dec. 7, 1913, the first of two children of Saul Wohl and Kate Altman Wohl. She was 3 when she and her mother joined her father in the United States, where he had worked in a hat factory after arriving a few years earlier.
Mrs. Shorr grew up in the Bronx and graduated from Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. The family later moved to Lakewood, N.J., where her father operated a chicken farm in a community of Eastern European Jewish immigrants.
In 1950, Mrs. Shorr married Louis Shorr. The couple moved from New Jersey to Levittown in 1956 after Louis began working as a chemical engineer for Domino Sugar’s research and development division in Philadelphia.
A few years later, the sugar company moved its research and development division to New York, so in 1964, the family moved to Jamaica Queens, N.Y.
It was there that Mrs. Shorr, determined to fit into a size 3 dress for her younger son’s bar mitzvah, joined Weight Watchers.
She lost 125 pounds in time for Saul Shorr’s March 1967 celebration, he said. She wore a silver satin suit, size 3.
Saul Shorr said his mother became a popular and engaging speaker for Weight Watchers and gave about three lectures a week.
“That was a job that required entertaining skills,” he said. “You are inspiring people, leading a whole class. Her sense of humor and her sense of humanity inspired a lot of people to lose weight."
She had other jobs too. In New York, she once worked as an art therapist, teaching children to draw and also helped fill restaurant jobs for an employment agency.
When her husband retired in 1972, the couple moved to Chula Vista, Calif., where Mrs. Shorr joined Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood, and organized trips and cooked for fund-raisers.
In 1998, she and her husband returned to Philadelphia to be closer to family. They had been married for 51 years when Louis died in 2001, two days after 9/11.
Mrs. Shorr lived in her Chestnut Hill home independently until 2017, when she moved to the Abramson Center at the age of 103.
She loved to read The Inquirer, even after her eyesight became so poor, and she needed a magnifying glass to read it, said Peggy Shorr, a daughter-in-law: “Then, in the later years, when she couldn’t really see, she always had it delivered to her apartment door and brought it in herself every day.”
In addition to her son Saul, Mrs. Shorr is survived by another son, Neil Altman; a stepdaughter, Stephanie Rose; three grandchildren; and other relatives and friends. Her brother, Abe Wohl, died in 1991.