By Marjorie Searl
The daughter of Frederick (Fritz) Blum and Elisabeth (Lies) Blum, Ursula Blum Granite was born in Nuremberg on May 1, 1929. As the noose around the Jews of Germany tightened, Ursula’s father became convinced that they needed to emigrate, first to Palestine, where the family lived on a kibbutz with their older son and brother Moshe, and then to the United States. Locating first in Lawrence, Massachusetts, she and her parents followed her sister Hildegard to Rochester. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and became a social worker. Her subsequent jobs and community service underscored her dedication to the public good.
By 1965, she was a case worker in the Monroe County Child Welfare division and was granted a leave to do graduate studies in social work at the State University at Buffalo, simultaneously raising two daughters. In 1989, she was a social worker for the Towne House kidney dialysis unit of the Regional Kidney Service Centers. She was a social worker at URMC for a number of years, including in the burn unit, where she dedicated herself to patients who were severely disfigured, in at least one case creating a lifelong bond. Later activities included running support groups for widows and widowers and advocating for urban playgrounds. She never refrained from being outspoken on behalf of, as her obituary stated, “those who could not fight for themselves, and [was] a committed activist for human rights.”