EUGENE EIDENBERG

Obituary
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EIDENBERG--Eugene, who led distinguished careers in public service, academia, business, and philanthropy, died of glioblastoma on December 3, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. He was 74. Gene served as a trusted advisor to the President of the United States, played a pivotal role in remaking the American telecommunications industry, and made significant contributions to the cause of the democratic process around the world. Above all, he will be remembered for the great love he had for his family, who stood with him throughout his battle against brain cancer and were with him at his passing. Gene's wonderful qualities - his ability to analyze complex problems and issues, to recognize the value of relationships in resolving conflict and solving problems, his unerring kindness toward people of all stations, and his wonderful sense of humor played a key role in his success in life. Former President Jimmy Carter paid tribute: "Gene was a delightful and cherished friend and a superbly competent and dedicated public servant." Former Vice President Walter Mondale said: "Gene was a wonderfully gifted and caring leader and friend who lived his life as an inspired public servant, educator and progressive thinker." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "Gene's life was an example of outstanding public service to his country, creative and innovative management in American business, and a deep devotion to family and friends." Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: "Gene loved politics. He did not disparage the practice of politics; rather, he embraced political action as an avenue to represent the views of ordinary citizens and respond to their concerns, hopes and aspirations with tangible results." Gene grew up in Mamaroneck, New York, where he was a high school All-American swimmer. He attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. After completing his Masters and Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University, he taught political science at the University of Minnesota and was then appointed Vice President of Administration for the University of Minnesota system. Gene left his academic career in 1977 to join President Jimmy Carter's administration, first as Deputy Undersecretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare; then on the White House Staff as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet and Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs; concluding his service as a member of the President's Senior White House Staff, reporting directly to the President. Following the Carter Administration, Gene became Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, an extremely challenging job in the wake of the Democrats' loss of the Presidency in 1980. In 1982, William G. McGowan, founder and chairman of MCI Communications, convinced Gene to join MCI as Senior Vice President for Regulatory and Public Policy. During his career with MCI, Gene served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning and Corporate Development, President of MCI's Pacific Division in San Francisco, and Executive Vice President and Group Executive for MCI's International Business Operations. After MCI, Gene pursued a highly successful career in the worlds of high tech business and venture capital investment. He served as President and CEO of Macrovision Corp., was a Principal in the San Francisco-based venture capital firm of Hambrecht & Quist, and joined Granite Venture Associates LLC. Gene also served on the board and as chairman of Internap Network Services Corporation (NASDQ; INAP). In recent years, during his "retirement", Gene helped to support and inspire a group on the Hawaiian island of Kauai who were creating Kauai's first renewable energy company, and served until recently as a board member of Pacific Light and Power. Gene was especially passionate about the civil rights of individuals who wish to determine their future through voting. For more than twenty years Gene served on the board and as treasurer of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide. Through his work with NDI, Gene personally supported and participated in election observations and civil rights and democracy education programs in Asia, the Caribbean, South America and the Middle East. When Barack Obama ran for President in 2008, Gene and his wife Anna moved to Southern New Mexico to register voters and work on the campaign. Gene helped to recruit, organize, and train volunteer attorneys from across the country to staff the Democratic Party's Voter Protection Project which reduced incidents of voting rights violations in areas historically known for voter harassment. Gene's first marriage to Susan Zox produced two lovely daughters, Danielle and Elizabeth. Later, he would marry Angenette Martin, who specialized in grassroots organizing and consulting for political campaigns and other social causes. When Angie was later diagnosed with breast cancer, Gene took a leave from work to be with her as she fought the disease that would eventually take her life. In 1999, Gene married former San Francisco news anchor and broadcast journalist Anna Chavez. Gene and Anna were married by his brother David, surrounded by family and friends in their backyard in San Francisco. Eugene Eidenberg is survived by his wife, Anna Chavez; his sister, Dorothea Ellern; his brother, David Eidenberg; his daughters, Danielle Eidenberg-Noppe and Elizabeth Cazenave; and their families Phil Eidenberg-Noppe, Naomi Ariel and Esther Dov Eidenberg Noppe; and Eric Cazenave, Nora Grace and Owen Eli Cazenave. A private memorial service is planned. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial remembrances be sent to: The UCLA Brain Cancer Research Fund. C/O Timothy Frances Cloughesy, MD, 710 Westwood Plaza, Suite 1-230 Los Angeles, CA 90095 or The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs 455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, 8th Floor Washington, DC 20001

Published in The New York Times on Dec. 22, 2013
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