Leonie J. Darwin Leonie "Lonny" Darwin, known for her compassion, philanthropy, elegance, vivaciousness and loyalty, has left a big void in all who had the privilege of knowing her. She passed away in her sleep on January 11, 2013. Happily, she celebrated her 100th birthday at the end of October with many of her nearest and dearest at the party she planned herself.
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Lonny was born in Hamburg, Germany. In the late 1930's, she came to the Bay Area with her first husband, George Leonard. Widowed young, she worked in the import business for several years. In the late 50's, she married attorney, Jay A. Darwin, with whom she shared many happy years. After Jay's death in 1982, Lonny spent a number of years in Jerusalem, where she was active on the Boards of Hebrew University and the Rubin Academy. She returned to San Francisco in 1990, where she had been one of the original founders of the Holocaust Center of Northern California (now part of Jewish Family and Children Services) and was largely responsible for the acquisition of many memorial (Yizkor) books of vanished communities.
Also very close to her heart was The Merola Opera Program, a prestigious training program for promising, young singers. Lonny's interest in, and support of, other organizations was remarkable.
She will be missed by many friends and relatives all over the world. Lonny was an inveterate traveler who rarely missed an opera, concert, theater or ballet.
Lonny is survived by her sister Vera Carpeneti, her niece Andrea Cole, her grand-nephew Andrew Jacobson, the Teisch Family, the Miller Family (Haifa) and many cousins. She is also survived by long-time friend, Gerald Rosenstein, to whom she referred as "my Jerry". Her close friends Blanche Streeter, Anita Weissberg and Lisa Danzig were always there for Lonny, as she was for them. They shared so many wonderful occasions. Special thanks to Sophia, Juana, Erika, Anne, Perla, Roxana, Yanina for their loving care.
Burial services were private. In lieu of flowers, Lonny's preference would be a gift to the Merola Opera Program and/or Jewish Family and Children's Services for the Holocaust Center in her memory. Lonny leaves us with many smiles. May her memory be for a blessing.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 13, 2013