Obituary by Mika Epstein

Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! Taffy lives on with us.

Mika and Taffy, 2000
Mika and Taffy, 2000

Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Mame may have said those words, Taffy lived them. If you were to condense her life into a two hour movie, you would have to leave out taxi rides across Italy and being kicked out of a nun-run hostel. A life-long Clevelander, she was also a die-hard Indians fan, being a Base-Belle and having hand a childhood crush on Bob Feller. Omitting even one small story about the parties she used to throw, the kids she welcomed home (her own and anyone else who tagged along), and the trouble she got into, would diminish any anthology about her. Taffy was simply someone took everything from life and live it to the fullest point.

From humble beginnings in a small dancewear store in Cleveland’s Arcade in 1954, she made Taffy’s a 14-store chain in it’s heyday. Not knowing what the hell she was doing, she said, “I wanted to be the Neiman Marcus of dancewear.” In a time when women were staying at home again, Taffy was changing the face of business with color samples of pre-sewn costumes. The face of dancewear was never the same. When the store went up in New York, her daughter called to tell her “Mom, your name is up on Broadway.”

After selling Taffy’s to Capezio, Taffy went on to start Dinner is Served, a small service that would pick up to-go orders and drive them out to you for dinner. After a mastectomy in the 1950s, heart bypass in the 1990s, macular degeneration in the early 2000s, and long term hearing loss, Taffy never stopped doing ‘something.’ Her last venture was with “Dance For PD,” where she worked to help bring the program to Cleveland.

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