Cover photo for Florence  Pogoloff's Obituary
Florence  Pogoloff Profile Photo
1921 Florence 2020

Florence Pogoloff

April 1, 1921 — September 5, 2020

Florence Epstein Pogoloff, 99, a native of Washington, DC who grew up in the shadow of the Capitol, died peacefully on September 5, 2020, after a brief bout of pneumonia.

Florence was preceded in death by her beloved husband of nearly 60 years, David Pogoloff of Brooklyn, NY, a disabled World War II combat veteran who went on to dedicate a decades-long career to serving other veterans, becoming Chief of the House of Representatives VA liaison team. The couple met when Florence was visiting Walter Reed hospital with a group of girlfriends to offer encouragement to the wounded. Theirs was a lifelong love affair that inspired everyone who knew them. Following Dave’s death in 2005, Florence continued to live independently in their house until 2018, when at 97, she moved to North Carolina to be closer to her son’s family, arriving at the same time as the hurricane bearing her name.

She was called Florence and would correct anyone who tried to shorten her name, although she answered to the affectionate nickname “Firecracker,” given to her by a granddaughter. The fifth of seven children, Florence was born to Russian immigrants who fled the rising tide of anti-Jewish pogroms in the early 20th century. Her mother, Minnie, left on her own to provide for the children, opened the family’s 1890 Victorian house on D Street to boarders. During Prohibition, she supplemented her income by operating a still in the attic. For a time, Florence roller-skated a few short blocks to make deliveries on Capitol Hill.

Unlike many married women with children during the 1960’s, Florence worked outside the home, sharing a daily commute with her husband. As an administrative assistant in the Department of Labor, she gained a reputation for her organizational skills and personable style. She took special pride in solving problems for the many thousands of people who contacted her office. In her free time, she enjoyed cooking, and the traditional Thanksgiving meals she served every year for decades brought the entire family together. She was a fitness buff who faithfully did aerobics well into her late 70’s, a habit she later joked was the biggest mistake of her life, because of its effects on her remarkable longevity.

Florence was predeceased by her daughter, Marilyn Raphael of Silver Spring. She is survived by her son Stephen Pogoloff of Durham, NC; grandson Daniel Marc Raphael and twin great-grandsons Sam and Otis Raphael of New York City; granddaughter Elizabeth Pogoloff of Durham, NC; grandson Michael Pogoloff of Denver; granddaughter Amy Raphael and great-grandson Matthew Raphael Loughead of Philadelphia.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Jewish Social Service Agency Hospice ( / 9900 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20902).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Florence Pogoloff, please visit our flower store.


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