Sophie Payeff Sindler had a long life full of love. Born January 24, 1930 to George and Dora Payeff; Polish Jewish emigrant parents in Aiken, she lived to see her family not only partake in the American dream but to give back to it many times over. Her determination, spirit and love helped build a better future for her family, her community and everyone who was fortunate enough to be part of her orbit.
Her childhood was spent interacting with a large extended family as well as her parents and two brothers, many of whom were talented artists and scholars who passed along the love of learning, creating, and giving in a variety of ways. Her closest childhood friend was her cousin Mortecai, who just this year dedicated a newly published volume of poetry to her. Her older brothers, Kivy and Mandel, both served honorably in WWII, leaving Sophie to help her mother, an exceptional cook who passed along her talents and recipes and be tutored by her gentle scholarly father.
After high school she attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, which is where she met the true love of her life, Allan Sindler, who she married in 1951. From that point on the two were inseparable until Allans’ passing in 2010. They spent, with the exception of four years in Delaware, the remainder of their lives in South Carolina, settling in Camden, where Allan was a chemical engineer for E.I. Dupont and Nemours for 35 years. During this time, they raised three sons; Robert, Marc, and Michael.
As well as being a loving wife, mother, and homemaker Sophie was always active in civic and community affairs, working to advance better living conditions and promote equality for all in addition to involvement in the local arts community, where she showed talent and flair as an actress in several stage productions, perhaps most memorably co-starring with Allan in “On Golden Pond.” Her most intense and extended endeavor in service to the community was her role as a teacher at Camden Middle School, a job she gave her heart and effort to for nearly two decades. She also volunteered as a hospice worker, easing the transition for many other souls. She also opened her heart and gave all she had in taking care of parents, siblings and finally Allan in their final times of need.
Even with this full palette, she still found time to be a gracious hostess and “tour guide” showing friends, neighbors and those who came from all over to see Allan’s backyard garden full of his sculptural creations. She and Allan also enjoyed traveling and explored not only the Continental U.S. and Alaska, but several other Continents, with some of their favorite trips being to the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and S. Korea.
Among her very greatest joys were the hours she got to spend with her beloved seven grand-children and five great grand-children. Her great love also extended to her son’s wives. She was the exact opposite of the cliche mother-in-law stereotype. She was a kind soul whose life epitomized caring and service.
She remained in Camden until July 2017, when she moved to Grace Valley Assisted Living facility in Orlando, Florida where she was able to see her eldest son and several of his grown children (and their families) on a nearly daily basis. And it was there, in the company of her granddaughter Amy that Sophie (otherwise known to those close to her as “Skip”) peacefully passed away in the early hours of October 13th. A beloved and respected matriarch to her family and a dear and true friend to countless others who witnessed her kind nature and good will, she will be deeply missed and most fondly remembered. She was pre-deceased by her parents, her two brothers; Kivy and Mandel, her husband Allan and her Daughter-in -law Beth.
She leaves behind her three sons, Robert, Marc (Joan Hannagan) and Michael (Svetlana Mechkova), as well as seven Grandchildren; Julie (Sam Montione), Amy (Victor Hung), David (Mellisa Thompson), Sean ( Yoon Kyeong Seon), Derek, Sarah, and Jesse and five great-Grandchildren; Allan, Jennifer, Charly, Tommy and Elizabeth, her cousins Mordecai Persky and Hya Laurel,and her nieces Samantha Payeff (Josh Fernatt).
The family wishes to express thanks and gratitude to the many caregivers that made Sophie’s last years so much more comfortable and who also became dear and trusted friends. Special thanks go out to John and Barbara Masco.
A celebration of Sophies’s life will take place on Saturday November 25 at 2 pm in the Douglass Reed House at the Fine Arts Center of Kersahaw County at 810 Lyttleton St. Following the service, family and friends and invited for refreshments and reminiscing at the family home at 2006 Springdale Drive.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Hospice of Kershaw County.