Selma Helen Held Straus

Selma Helen Held Straus


Selma Helen Held Straus, 91, of Adamstown, Md., passed on Sunday, December 5, 2021. She was the beloved wife of the late Dr. Donald Straus.

Born October 7, 1930, in New York, New York, she was the daughter of the late William Held and Marian Kraut Held.

She is survived by four children, Robert A. Straus and wife, Mindy, of Lewes, Del., Stewart H. Straus and wife, Cherylene, of Moseley, Va., Richard L. Straus and wife, Susan, of Millsboro, Del., and David A. Straus and wife, Donnie, of Phoenix, Ariz. Selma is also survived by 11 grandchildren, Rebecca Straus, Leah Atwell and husband Scott, Cassie Straus, Chantal Straus, Leon Straus, Brandon Straus, Wesley Straus and wife Patty, Addie Straus, Bethany Straus, Benjamin Straus and Marcus Straus; and two great grandchildren, Alyssa Atwell and Gavin Atwell.

Selma graduated from Julia Richman High School in New York City in 1949 and received a Teacher’s Certificate from the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues in 1952. She was a member of Temple Emanuel of Kensington, Md and Temple Beth Ami of Rockville, Maryland. Selma worked in NYC as a bookkeeper for A&P and worked in the EEG Lab at Johns Hopkins while her husband attended medical school. She was the office manager for her husband’s pediatric practice in Rockville, Md. until they retired in 1993 and moved to Morgan County, W.Va.

Many volunteer activities and non-profit organizations received her time and devotion, including Learning Disabilities Organization of Montgomery County, Md., PTAs in Montgomery County, American Cancer Society in Montgomery County Md. and Morgan County W.Va., War Memorial Hospital and the Hospital Auxiliary in Berkeley Springs W.Va., Valley View Nursing Home in Berkeley Springs, Morgan County Extension Homemakers Council, and Morgan County Community Education Outreach Service. She also encouraged volunteerism in her children through volunteer activities such as adopting grandparents at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md. Selma had active leadership roles in all of her volunteer work, serving as president of most of the organizations for many years. After the racism experienced by Sandeep Makkar and his family in Morgan County after the 9/11 attacks, Selma created an essay contest for Morgan County students as part of the Martin Luther King celebration to encourage tolerance and acceptance of those different from yourself. In Morgan County Selma organized many Relay for Life Events and started a CanSurmount support program to provide emotional support to cancer survivors and their families. At War Memorial Hospital Selma volunteered as a Pink Lady and in the extended care unit, as well as working two mornings weekly in the medical records department. Under Selma’s leadership, the Hospital Auxiliary raised thousands of dollars to purchase furniture and equipment for War Memorial Hospital. Selma continued to work to improve the lives of others while living at Buckingham’s Choice by chairing the Assisted Living Resident Council.

Selma was a life-long lover of reading and an avid knitter, knitting many award-winning blankets for family and friends. She also was a member of Knit-Wits in Berkeley Springs knitting caps and blankets for babies in the hospital. Selma loved her dogs, Sam, Nate, and Chips; and cat, Kitty. Selma loved sharing stories and pictures of her children and grandchildren.

A graveside burial service will be held at Parklawn Memorial Park in Rockville, Md. on Friday, December 10, 2021, at 2:00 pm. A Life Celebration Service will be held at Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown, Md. in the near future.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in honor of Selma may be made to the American Cancer Society. Services entrusted to Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.