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April 28, 1925 - September 18, 2011
Born in Endorf, Germany, Werner Koenig followed his dream of moving to the United States, where he arrived by cargo ship in 1951. With sponsorship from a prominent East Coast physician as his calling card, Werner ultimately completed his medical residency in New Jersey and made his way to Southern California in 1955. Working at a psychiatric clinic in Beverly Hills by day and in the emergency room at El Monte Medical Center by night, Werner was invited to a dinner party in Pasadena in February 1956 where he met his future wife Elizabeth. The couple was married in Laguna Beach and settled in Brentwood where they raised two children, Peter and Kip. Werner became a highly respected and accomplished psychiatrist, first under the tutelage of Dr. Frederic Hacker at the Hacker Clinic in Beverly Hills, and later in his own private practice in West Los Angeles. He also donated his time to the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, where he served as Clinical Professor Emeritus from 1964-2005. Throughout his career, Werner worked with and on behalf of Holocaust survivors and assisted in their receiving reparations from the German government.
Werner was passionate about horseback riding, beginning with trail riding in the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu, and later as a member of the West Hills Hunt where he served as Secretary and received the coveted "pink coat". Werner also enjoyed swimming and sailing in the ocean off of Malibu, cultivating exotic orchids, painting Chinese calligraphy, creating Japanese ceramics, and preparing family meals.
The gardens in his homes were his sanctuary, where many friends and even strangers sought out and received his guidance and advice. He believed in listening, encouraging and taking risks.
Werner will be deeply and forever missed by those happy to have known him. He is survived by his accomplished wife Elizabeth, his sons Peter and Kip, and his two grandchildren, Lucien and Zola Grace. At his request, no funeral service will be held. Instead, he would be pleased if you plant something in his honor.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, 2011