Thanks to all who attended the services for my father, Jerry Kaufman, Friday, October 19 at 9:30 at Mountain View Cemetary, Oakland and for those who would have like to have attended but distance, time constraints or other issues made it difficult. I will recap the events that went on this day for those unable to attend.
As I write this I miss Dad very much and think about how, even in poor health, he still ‘called the shots,’ as it were… the doctor in him was still practicing. Occasionally, we’d miss a beat, forget to bring him the tooth brush at 8 pm or whatever (He still liked to wear his watch and glasses and was usually aware of the date and time). He rarely complained about any pain and and if it weren’t for that heart valve and it’s consequences , who knows, he might have reached 100. He was really quite healthy otherwise – I think his blood pressure was lower than my own! But not to be greedy, we got many more years with him than most do with their folks. Dad took the whole medical situation well. Despite being in medical institutions since April he went with the course of action that would – and did – bring him to better health, instead of fighting it. He even added some humor to it with his occasional jokes and puns for us and the medical staff and he couldn’t remember words he would develop his own language, eg ‘Please raise the elevator’ meant ‘Please raise the recliner’ or ‘ Put me on the floor’ we think meant to ‘Please lower the bed.’ So, we will remember Jerry and good times even when he was in ill health; of course prior to that it was mostly all good and these memories as well as the comments and expressions that follow will remain an inspiration as Dad lives on
About 50 close friends, relatives and admirers from near and far got up early to pay tributeto Jerry, who passed peacefully on Tuesday night, October 16, 9 pm at Tampico Terrace in WalnutCreek, California. Rabbi Strauss officiated and Cantor Keyes graced us with her beautiful singing.
Jerry’s son, Burt, introduced several of Dad’s close friends colleagues and relative, who spoke aboutJerry from different perspectives but first Mindy read Burt’s tribute to his Dad , ‘Hope, Dad and Family’. Then long-time family friend and former patient of Dad’s, Evelyn Benas, talked about Jerry’s wonderful qualities as a doctor and positive bedside manner. Dr. Ron Krause, a medical colleague of Dad’s , talked about Jerry’s love of medicine and how they would continue their medical education up until a year ago. (Dad always looked forward to those Wednesday get-togethers as well as the evening No Name Doctor’s club they attended). Long-timecaregiver, Joseph, spoke warmly of Dad and how he was like a second father, ever generous to him.(Poor Joseph’s own father passed just a week before Jerry). Then, one of the recent group of caregivers, Herman, talked about Jerry’s still mostly postive ways when Dad was at, perhaps, his lowest point, the last months at Tampico Terrace. Finally, Donna (Don), mother ofDad’s grandchildren Jessica and Casey, spoke of how nicely Jerry welcomed her into the family years ago and was so loving to the grandchildren. The Rabbi concluded with prayers as there was not enough time for him to speak about Jerry.
After the 45 minute service we drove to a picturesque foothill plot, which he will share with his late wife, Pauline; nearby is son Don’s grave site. (Daughter Joan was cremated and her remains are with Burt.) It was a clear, crisp fall morning and Those attending heard Rabbi Strauss say prayers for Jerry and then we each put a flower in the grave after Dad’s casket had been lowered.
Following the internment, mourners were invited to Trader Vic’s Restaurant in nearby Emeryville. Trader Vic’s was Dad’s favorite restaurant and, with Dad’s picture on the wall, it was as though Dad was still with us – and he is ,in spirit. Dad and I had attended several funeral receptions in the same room in the past and, I think he would have wanted to go out this way, with friends and relatives in this inviting venue. The time seemed to go so quickly I never got in the toast for Dad I had planned, but all in all I hope and believe Dad was well honored this day. We all said so-long for now but not goodbye. That Friday evening Mindy and I went to religious services where Dad was given a special recognition and we said the mourners’ prayer.
People have asked where they might donate in honor of Jerry. If you feel so inclined you might choose from one of the following listed at the website below or call (510)451-3263 http://www.oaklandsinai.org/tribute/ or you can simply send it to
JERRY KAUFMAN TRIBUTE DONATION, c/o Rabbi Strauss Discrectionary Fund, TEMPLE SINAI, 2808 Summit Street Oakland, CA 94609
And, finally, for those of you unable to attend, below is a copy of the five page remembrance of Jerry that was passed out at the service. It’s only a short overview of some highlights in Dad’s long and eventful life. You will be able to read more in these pages of Kaufman.cc taht follow and as we make future updates. You may print out the pages attached.