April 1938 - February 5, 2020 George Sander Wolfberg, b. 1938, lived his entire life in Los Angeles. He is survived by wife of 56 years, Diane Wolfberg, children Anya McCann (and Richard McCann), David (and Lin Lin Oo), and Michael Wolfberg, and grandchildren Avital and Yeshaia van Leeuwen (and their father Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen) and Alex and Jonah Wolfberg (and their mother Jennifer Wolfberg). He is also survived by siblings Theodore and Saundra Wolfberg, Jacqueline Smith, and six nieces and nephews. George was 81 and, thanks to hospice, died peacefully at home on February 5, 2020. He was an All-City swimmer at Los Angeles High School, received a BS from UCLA in 1961 and an MPA from USC in 1971, and served in the Air National Guard (1961-1967). He was a Daily Bruin staff writer and staunch supporter of Bruin athletics, notably basketball and women's and men's soccer. He covered defense for the official statistics team at the Rose Bowl (1989-2018). He met regularly with his Pi Lam fraternity brothers. George's career was with the Los Angeles City Administrative Office. At his retirement in 1996, he was a Chief Administrative Analyst, well known by mayors and city council members going back nearly 60 years. His college roommate, longtime City Councilman Joel Wachs, said: "In City Hall, George was a rock of integrity and a font of knowledge, which I and others who cared about our city always relied upon." George considered one of his career highlights to be the creation and oversight of the City's policy to bring pressure upon South Africa to end apartheid, for which Nelson Mandela came to Los Angeles to specifically give thanks. George co-wrote the City's 1984 Olympics bid and served as liaison between the City and the LA Olympics Organizing Committee. In writing the bid, he added a commitment to present women's cycling for the first time in Olympics history. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will feature eleven women's cycling events. George worked for years to secure the 1994 Soccer World Cup for Los Angeles. He served on both the LA City and LA County Bicycle Advisory Committees, about 25 years apart. After retiring, George was recruited by Raphael Sonenshein to the Los Angeles Appointed Charter Reform Commission, which resulted in the first successful, comprehensive update to the City's 1925 charter. The new Charter enacted the creation of a citywide system of neighborhood councils. George served on the boards of both the Pacific Palisades Community Council (16 years) and the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (over 20 years). He worked to preserve and create public park lands. On the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, he advocated for greater public access to beaches via this future City park. George worked closely with Councilmember Mike Bonin's office. Bonin said: "George has led and served with fierce determination, great warmth, big goals, and a smart and specific vision to achieve those goals. He has been a friend, mentor and inspiration." Bonin's Deputy Lisa Cahill said: "George worked to ensure that the committee's recommendations were heard by all the City departments, helping to hold them accountable. He advocated for his fellow Palisadians, while never wavering that this will be a park for all Angelenos." He worked to restore the historic Uplifters Ranch eucalyptus grove. In August 2019, even while in the ICU, he was texting and emailing key City staff and officials to advocate for community needs. George was a driving force in AYSO Region 69 as coach, referee, Registrar, and board member for 45 years. He was still refereeing soccer games for teens the summer before his death. A final impact George made was to elevate the need for a comprehensive urban forest plan and creation of the City's first Forest Officer, a cornerstone to what's being called L.A.'s New Green Deal with a goal to plant 90,000 trees by 2021. An avid chef who could create international feasts, he was also a ceramic artist and Malibu Surfrider Beach longboard surfer in the 1960s and 1970s. Funeral services were held on February 7 at Home of Peace Memorial Park. George can be remembered through donations to Planned Parenthood.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Feb. 8 to Feb. 13, 2020.