Barbara Teresa Friedman Wilsker, 92, passed away on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
Charming and gentle Barbara, who lived her youth in Schenectady, NY and Yeadon, PA, was owner of the Sanhican Delicatessen in Trenton with her husband Nathan for 35 years. They made wonderful food which was served to politicians, business folk, families, and movers and shakers. Sandwiches from the store traveled from the State House to the White House.
Long before "Cheers", Sanhican Deli was the place where everybody knew your name. "Regulars" had their same breakfast and lunch seats for over 30 years. Barbara and Nate introduced gourmet foods, exotic fruits, new tastes, and surprises to the state capital. Upon retiring, they received a proclamation from the State of New Jersey for their culinary service.
Barbara had an impressive memory. People shared lives, loves, ups, and downs while Barbara listened -- always with encouragement and no judgment. Part of her charm was that she would remember the names of people's family members and ask how they were doing years later. She could recount the stories of Trentonians decades after they happened -- including memories of socialite and businesswoman Mary Roebling, her longtime customer.
In her late 70's, she attended a Trenton holiday party for Democratic political leaders with her grandson. She quickly became the celebrity of the evening. Top-ranking government officials left their conversations with lobbyists to be regaled by Barbara with memories of their childhoods when they ran around her store -- and stories of their parents, siblings, uncles, and aunts that they had never heard before. They were mesmerized by the enthralling stories and the wise insights she added.
Barbara also enjoyed following politics and the stock market. She was sometimes called the "Grandma News Network" because she relayed news before her family had heard about it anywhere else.
She laughed with family and friends over Scrabble and Rummikub. She loved animals, and was a vegetarian for most of her life. She read constantly and listened to books on tape when her eyesight failed her. All she read or heard or lived stayed in that astonishing memory.
Her greatest pleasure was in loving her family well. She is survived by her daughter, Carolyn Green, and husband Jeffrey Green of Somerset, NJ; her son, Roy Wilsker, and wife Nancy Wilsker of Needham, MA; her five grandchildren: Adam Green, Darren Green, Rebecca Wilsker, Elizabeth Wilsker, and Ben Wilsker; nephew, Jim Friedman, and wife Ava; nephews Chuck Wilsker, Ira Wilsker, and neice Nina Sanderhoff.
Barbara is predeceased by parents Samuel and Ruth Friedman; husband of 54 years Nathan Wilsker; and brother Donald Friedman. We are all fortunate to have had a gentle, charming, sweet, funny, loving, intelligent, understanding mother and grandmother in our lives. Her passing leaves a great space in our hearts.
Her funeral will take place on Friday, September 15, 2018 at noon. It will be at Costello Runyon Funeral Home at 568 Middlesex Ave in Metuchen, NJ -- and all are welcome. Letters can be sent to the Funeral Home or WilskerFamily@Gmail.com. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in Barbara's honor to Franklin Township Animal Shelter, 475 Demott Lane, Somerset, NJ, 08873.