Bella Vitkin (born Броха Мордуховна Чечик, aka Белла Марковна Виткина) passed away peacefully in her sleep on May 10th, 2020 in Broomfield, Colorado, USA – just 2 months shy of her 98th birthday.
Bella was born in a small village near Gomel, Belorussia (former USSR) on July 10, 1922 to Morduh Chechik (Мордух Чечик) and Esther Golubitsky (Эсфирь Голубицкая) and was the youngest of 9 children.
She moved to Moscow with her two best friends to attend Medical University right before World War II began and had to combine her studies with defending Moscow from the Nazi occupation, for which she was awarded the Medal for the Defense of Moscow. After the war ended, she graduated with a medical degree and became a doctor. She also met and married Iosef (Joseph) Vitkin and settled in to have a family while pursuing her calling in medicine. While being a devoted wife and mother to their two sons, she simultaneously managed to provide medical care to an extended worker community near Moscow, going on house calls as family doctors did at that time. She continued to practice medicine for the rest of her career, eventually becoming Head of Physical Therapy in a local hospital.
After retiring from medicine (and her husband’s death in 1992) she emigrated to America in 1994 to continue what she had been doing all her life – being with and supporting her sons and their families. She spent most of her remaining years living in Cleveland, Ohio before moving to Colorado a few years ago due to declining health.
Bella was beloved by her family, friends, coworkers, and patients. She was known to her patients as the pillar of support during their struggles and to her coworkers as a strict but fair boss. But as much as she has shown dedication to her work, she showed even more dedication to her family, to whom she was known for her gentle and warm disposition, even temper and good-natured spirit. She also remained close to her two best childhood friends (Lilia and Zoya) her whole life and considered them her family as well. They all ended up emigrating to America and made a point to visit each other as often as possible.
She was predeceased by her beloved husband – Joseph Vitkin (Иосиф Виткин), and her siblings: Grisha Chechik, Moisha Chechik, Leva Chechik, Isaac Chechik, Sonya Golod, Fima Chechik, Yosif Chechik, and Marusya Sokolovskaya.
She is survived by her two sons: Michael Vitkin and his wife Valentina Vitkin, and Vitaly Vitkin and his wife Svetlana Leonova; one daughter-in-law: Luba Vitkin; three granddaughters: Elena Vitkin and husband Victor Roberts, Olga Vitkin, and Julia Vitkin; three great-grandsons: Tristan Strater-Vitkin, Aleph Vitkin Roberts and Benjamin Vitkin Roberts, and many cherished nieces, nephews, and their families.
A small private ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 14, 2020, followed by a virtual memorial service held over the weekend for her extended family and friends spread throughout the world (details will be sent separately). In the meantime, feel free to share a message, a photo, or a story from her life on her Tribute Wall – it will remain here indefinitely in her memory.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bella Vitkin, please visit our floral store.