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Léon Berliner

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Léon Berliner Obituary
L‚on Berliner L‚on Berliner died on December 15, 2013. His death was caused as a consequence of issues related to cancer of the lungs. He was born on February 1, 1935, in Antwerp, Belgium. He came to America in 1948 with his sister Ellie Levin. Their mother, Golda Chariton, was in killed in Auschwitz's gas chambers in 1944. Ellie lives in Connecticut. Her two sons, Gary and Daniel, reside on the East Coast. The limitations of language and L‚on's insufficient vocabulary failed to give him the words he needed to express his emotions in leaving his wonderful wife, Diana, whom he wedded in 1960. Their two children, Gwen and Larry, had the admirable good taste to take after their mother and thus became wonders as well. They each chose their spouses well; Michael Williams by Gwen and Tania Fleischer by Larry. Among L‚on's greatest regrets was leaving his four grand children without getting to know them as adults; Adrian, Oliver, Cobi, and Isabel. Watching them grow up was an indescribable pleasure and joy. L‚on wrote a 128 page biographical essay that he titled "Some Pages about Grandpa L‚on's Life" for his descendants. L‚on loved classical music, books and he was an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants and the 49ers. In 1971 L‚on brought his young family to Humboldt County to initiate a new service agency that would be called Redwoods United, Inc. The community had raised $6,000.00 to open its doors in Manila. Prior to this employment, L‚on had worked with mentally and physically challenged adults in vocational training facilities for twelve years. He had been Executive Director of a facility in Fontana, California. Grants and community support added to income derived from manufactured products. This allowed the agency to prosper and grow to an annual budget of more than two million dollars in the late 70's. The agency continued to provide services for thirty years. In 1985, after 25 years of experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation, L‚on ignored his various scholastic degrees (A.A.S., B.S., M.S. and many credits towards a Ph.D.), and he opened a retail store. He surrounded himself with products that he felt most passionate about; books, music, and brain games. L‚on named his store "Berliner's Cornucopia." L‚on spent almost three decades sharing his love and knowledge of classical music with any willing ears. He taught classes in music appreciation and thus gathered a fan base that helped keep the store open. He loved his little "nest" and the people who appreciated its ambiance and purpose. For almost forty years, Leon looked forward to a gathering of friends on Thursdays for friendly games of poker. These were a source of great pleasure. He is certain that the games will continue in the same good spirit as in the past when we lost players. I'm sorry guys, I can't host next week! L‚on wanted to express his gratitude to Dr. Kessler and his staff for their kindness and competence. His family is greatly comforted by the support, assistance, and expressions of love from friends and neighbors. We thank the Visiting Angels for their kind and compassionate assistance during L‚on's last days. At his request there will be no funeral or memorial. If someone has a need for "closure" L‚on recommends a listen to Brahms' German Requiem, Faure's Requiem, Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass (Diana's Favorite) or any piece of music of your choice that communicates the beauty of life. For most of his adult life L‚on ascribed to Omar Khayyam's beautiful phrase from his Rubaiyat: "One thing is certain, and the rest is lies, The flower that once has blown forever dies." What a pleasant surprise it would be if this were to be contradicted! If readers of this obituary are inspired to donate in L‚on's memory, Food for People, Hospice, or any local charity of your choice would be appropriate. Please sign the guestbook at www.times-standard.com and click on obits.
Published in Eureka Times-Standard from Dec. 19 to Dec. 22, 2013
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