Jeraldine "Jeri" Lippy Eigner
passed away on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 in Santa Barbara, Calif. after succumbing to cancer. Jeri was born in Youngstown, Ohio on April 29, 1934 and grew up in Niles, Ohio, the youngest of three children of Sylvia Rosing Lippy and Daniel Whitling Lippy. As a child, Jeri enjoyed learning to play golf with her father, playing with her dog, Brownie, playing with her friends and tagging along with her older siblings, Marjorie and Bill. Jeri was an honor student and varsity debater at Niles McKinley High School. After graduation, Jeri attended The Ohio State University. Jeri liked retelling her Mother's warning to her as she saw her off to college that she should not talk to strangers. Jeri loved college, and was known for her winning personality, good humor and beauty and was elected as homecoming queen for various fraternities, sororities and other college organizations. While on break from college after her junior year, Jeri met Lt. J.G. Stanley Eigner at a swimming party at Squaw Creek Country Club in Warren, Ohio. Stanley proposed a number of times and his persistence finally paid off when Jeri said yes. The couple married on April 29, 1956, following Jeri's college graduation, and lived in Youngstown, Ohio where Stanley was working in his father's men's clothing store. In 1958, the Eigners moved to Dover, Ohio, where Stanley operated Schwartz's, a junior department store, and developed Monroe Mall with Jeri's brother-in-law, Warren Fuerman. Jeri was very active in the businesses, serving as a buyer and coordinating fashion shows and other events. While in the Dover-New Philadelphia area, Jeri gave birth to Sally (who tragically drowned at age 2), William, Edward, Thomas and Elizabeth Dana. Jeri served as president of the Tuscarawas County chapter of the Ohio State Alumni Association and on the board of trustees of Temple Israel in Canton, Ohio, where she was a popular and beloved religious school teacher whose students petitioned to have her teach them again the next year. Jeri received widespread praise and recognition for her organization of volunteers in the Dover, Ohio public schools, in all of the school system's libraries and class rooms. The successful volunteer program that Jeri created became a model that was often duplicated.
Jeri and Stan moved to Santa Barbara, Calif. in 1980. Jeri became very active in the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation. As campaign chair and past president of the Federation, Jeri was a driving force behind the opening of the region's first Jewish Community Center and helped develop its dynamic programs and services. Jeri actively served on the boards of Congregation B'nai B'rith, and Planned Parenthood, where she also volunteered as a counselor. She worked as a docent at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, was active in The Music Academy of the West and served on the Hope Ranch Association Board of Directors. She was known for her generosity and her volunteer spirit. Jeri's dedication and generosity did not go unrecognized. The Santa Barbara Anti-Defamation League awarded Jeri its Distinguished Community Service Award in 1999 and the Jewish Federation honored Jeri as a Woman of Valor and Dedication. Jeri's beautiful character shone through to the very end. When her doctor informed her that her cancer was terminal and she had less than six months to live, Jeri was determined to be the "best dier that ever died." Her humor helped her through the pain, and her family and friends felt reassured by her wonderful attitude and constant love. In addition to the community she so ably improved, Jeri loved her garden, her Congregation, her University, and above all her friends and family.
Jeri is survived by four of her five children, William (Linda) of La Jolla, Calif., Edward (Amy) and Thomas (Lauren) of Centennial, Colo., Dana Eigner (Mark Garabedian) of Rocklin, Calif.; and nine grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Marjorie Fuerman of North Canton, Ohio; brother, William Lippy of Warren, Ohio; her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Maureen and Bernard White of Santa Barbara, Calif., and other well loved family in Ohio, Massachusetts and around the world.
Funeral services Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at Congregation B'nai B'rith, 1000 San Antonio Creek Road, Santa Barbara, CA at TBD on TBD, immediately followed by the burial at Santa Barbara Cemetery. Donations in Jeri Eigner's memory may be made to the Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara, Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, or to any appropriate charitable organization.
Published in The Times Reporter on Dec. 2, 2012