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IRMA GELLER GUSFIELD

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GUSFIELD, IRMA GELLER Jan. 30, 1926 to Jan. 5, 2013 The former La Jolla resident Irma Geller Gusfield died January 5th, 2013. She was 87. Irma Geller Gusfield was born in Chicago on January 30th 1926 the daughter of Joseph Geller and Mary Cholden, two Russian Jewish immigrants. She lived in La Jolla for 40 years and spent the last 4 years in an assisted living home in Danville, CA. Her mother, Mary Geller, was a well-known fashion designer and had a decided influence on her daughter. Irma was filled with admiration and pride for her mother's accomplishments. Mary and her husband also transferred a great love of Yiddish culture to Irma, who often entertained her friends with knowledge and songs from the Yiddish canon. With her husband Irma traveled widely in connection with his work as a teacher and researcher while he was on the faculty at the University of Illinois. They lived for extended lengths of time in London, Tokyo, and especially New Delhi, India. Her travel was a constant joy and she loved seeing new places and exposing herself to new languages. While a student at the University of Illinois Irma acquired a Masters in Social Work. In 1968 her husband assumed a position at the University of California at San Diego. It was as a social worker with Children's Hospital in San Diego that her caring qualities were of exceptional importance. During her 17 years in the oncology/hematology unit she gained the admiration of many parents. Her concern for the welfare of children with Leukemia was especially important in helping her organize one of the first Ronald McDonald houses in the country. The Ronald McDonald house enables parents from outside the area to live near the hospital while their children are being treated. She remained on the board for many years. In 1991 she retired. In 2009 for health reasons Irma moved to an assisted living facility in Danville, CA to be closer to her children. She is survived by her husband, her two children, Daniel of Davis, Rabbi Chaya (Ilene) of Oakland, and three grandchildren. A third child is deceased. A funeral will be held at The Home of Eternity in Oakland, CA at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013. Donations in her memory can be sent to the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego or the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic in Oakland.

Published in U-T San Diego on Jan. 8, 2013
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