Longtime Williamsporter and trustee of the James V. Brown Library, Freda "Freddie" Kisberg, passed away on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, at age 94.
Born in Portsmouth, England in 1918 to Lilly and Maurice Noble, she was an excellent student and developed a keen interest in literature, theatre, ballet, politics, current events and the talkies.
After high school in London, she worked in a law office. At age 19 she answered an ad for those interested in forming an amateur acting troupe to perform plays concerned with social justice and the rise of fascism and totalitarian governments. The placer of the ad, Jack Kisberg, was destined to become her loving partner and husband of 62 years.
They married in 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II. While Jack was serving king and country, during nighttime bombing raids on their neighborhood, Freddie joined her apartment building's fire brigade up on the roof, watching for window lights and fires while keeping a pot of tea going.
Late in the 30s, Freddie landed her dream job, working for the British Film Institute, reviewing and selecting movies for village cinema societies, a job she loved until she and Jack immigrated in 1947 after an Uncle, Harry Schwab, offered Jack partnership in his business, Equipment Manufacturers.
Freddie and Jack quickly fell in love with Williamsport, their welcoming new friends and the natural beauty of the area. As the family grew, Freddie became active in the PTA, the Williamsport Arts Council and the Friends of the Library.
In 1982, she was elected to the library board of trustees, where she served dedicatedly for 21 years. She loved the library's beautiful building, its dedicated staff and service to the community.
In 1999, the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation honored Freddie with a community service award for her outstanding contributions. When the Friends of the Library instituted their annual Carile Brown award for outstanding service in 2000, she was the first recipient.
Freddie and Jack loved hosting friends in their home, especially introducing new area residents, especially artists, educators and health providers to future friends. Freddie was a wonderful cook. She learned to drive at age 40 and how to swim even later on. She became a big New York Yankee fan in her later years and also loved the Olympics, the Tour de France, Penn State football and always books and movies. She joined the sold out crowd at the showing of her favorite film, "Casablanca," at a local theatre this past spring and was a regular listener to the Sunday Beatles Brunch on the radio.
The greatest joy of her last few years was her great-granddaughter, Sophie. Her grandchildren Rebekah, Marny, and Braden, nephew Richard, sister Zena, daughter-in-law Karen and sons Ralph and Ivor also survive her full of warm memories.
A gathering for remembrance will be held on Sunday, Nov. 18, in the Rotunda Reading Room of the James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., at 4 p.m. Contributions to the Freddie and Jack Kisberg fund at the library, for library staff education, would make a fitting tribute for those wishing to make a memorial donation.