BEERSHEBA (Jan. 29)
Mrs. Paula Munwess Ben-Gurion, wife of the former Prime Minister of Israel, died here today at the age of 76. Mrs. Ben-Gurion, who had been ill for several years, was rushed to Beersheba Hospital last night from her home in Sdeh Boker after suffering a hemorrhage. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son and two daughters.
Funeral services will be held tomorrow at Sdeh Boker, the Negev settlement where Israel’s former Prime Minister and his wife made their home. Her coffin will lay in state tomorrow prior to burial.
Condolence visits were paid to Mr. Ben-Gurion today by Cabinet ministers, members of the Knesset and labor leaders from all political factions. Among the latter was Mrs. Golda Meir, former Foreign Minister of Israel, who was a bitter political foe of Mr. Ben-Gurion in recent years.
Mrs. Ben-Gurion was born in Minsk, Russia, on April 8, 1892 and was brought to the United States by relatives when she was 13. She studied at the Brooklyn Jewish Training School for nurses and later worked as a student nurse at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. She met her future husband in New York where Mr. Ben-Gurion came after being expelled from Palestine by the Turkish authorities. They were married at City Hall on Dec. 5, 1917, A few months later, Mr. Ben-Gurion returned to the Middle East and enlisted in the Jewish Legion, the first Jewish military unit in modern times, which fought with Lord Allenby to liberate Palestine from Turkish rule.
Mrs. Ben-Gurion joined her husband in Palestine at the end of World War I, bringing with her an infant daughter, Geula, who was born in New York during her father’s absence. In 1920, the Ben-Gurion family spent several months in London where Mr. Ben-Gurion was sent on a mission for the Zionist Organization. Their son, Ames was born there. Their youngest daughter, Renana, was born later in Jerusalem.
Mrs. Ben-Gurion was best known as a housewife and mother during her husband’s rise to international prominence. But she was constantly at her husband’s side in his public appearances and during private chats with visitors from all over the world. One of her last public functions was the naming of the Israeli luxury liner Shalom at St. Nazaire, France in 1963.