Obituaries » Jerry Bernard Epstein
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Jerry Bernard Epstein
August 29, 1923 - September 2, 2019
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August 29, 1923 – September 2, 2019 Jerry B (Bernard) Epstein passed away quietly on September 2nd, after a long and wonderful life filled with extended family and friends, and marked by great deeds. Jerry was born on August 29, 1923, the only child of Meyer (Mike) and Tilda Epstein, and raised in the Bronx and Mount Vernon, New York. Jerry met the love of his life, Pat (Tananbaum) Epstein, when he was a student at Emory University after the end of World War II. They were married on December 26, 1948. After more than 66 years of an extraordinary marriage, Pat predeceased Jerry on July 22, 2015. Jerry was one of the greatest of “the Greatest Generation.” He enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor, and served as an enlisted man and commissioned officer in the United States Army and Air Force. He served on active duty during multiple island invasions in the Pacific Theater during World War II, flew in B-17 and B-29 bombers during the war, and later served in the reserves until 1967. He received an Honorable Discharge. Later in life, he contributed to many veterans organizations and museums, most notably the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Pat and Jerry settled permanently in Los Angeles in December 1949. After working for Pat’s family business, beginning in 1952, Jerry became involved in real estate, primarily in the planning, construction, and management of multi-family rental apartments. He is best known for his leading role among the founders of Marina del Rey, California, which became the largest pleasure boat harbor community in the world. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Marina del Rey Historical Society, and the Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce have honored him for his vision and leadership, which were so critical to the initial creation and development of Marina del Rey, and its tremendous growth and vitality since. Jerry was the driving force behind the redevelopment and renovation of Marina Harbor Apartments and Anchorage (where he was co-General Partner with the family of the late Dr. Ellis Ring). Jerry was most identified with Del Rey Shores and the recently-built Shores Apartments, where his closest partners were Kirk and Anne Douglas, with whom Jerry shared more than 50 years of a wonderful business partnership and an even better friendship. Jerry served on a number of important local and state public bodies focusing on transportation infrastructure and public building construction, beginning with his appointment to the Los Angeles County Economy and Efficiency Commission in the 1970s. He was the first Chairman of the Energy Commission for the Cities and County of Los Angeles, and also a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles, where he served as President in 1989-90. Jerry was subsequently appointed to the California Transportation Commission, where he was Chairman, and later as Vice Chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. At Jerry’s recommendation, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also established a three-person advisory group, including Jerry, to oversee the County staff’s management of the $1 Billion construction of the County USC Hospital. Among Jerry’s proudest achievements was his involvement with the Los Angeles State Building Authority, which is a joint state/city agency responsible for the conception, construction, and financing of the Ronald Reagan State Building and the Junipero Serra State Building in downtown Los Angeles. First appointed Vice President, Jerry became President of the Authority between 1989 and 2010, and from 2011 to the present. He played a critical role in the successful fight to prevent the sale of state office buildings in 2010-11, even serving as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the state because of his strongly-held principles that the proposed sale was neither prudent nor in the public interest. In addition to his civic commission activities, Jerry was a Trustee of the Saint John’s Hospital and Health Center Foundation in Santa Monica for more than 40 years, and served as the President of the Foundation Board in 2005-2006. He was a Chair of the Development Committee which oversaw the $500 Million planning, design, and reconstruction of St. John’s following the 1994 earthquake. Pat and Jerry’s decades-long personal involvement with the compassionate Sisters, doctors, nurses, and staff at Saint John’s was a source of great pleasure and satisfaction. The love and sensitivity of care provided over several decades to Pat and Jerry, and their parents, was most appreciated. Pat and Jerry were honored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Boys and Girls Club of Venice, Big Brothers of America, Portals, and Saint John’s Hospital. He was proud to support many other charitable organizations, including the Lucille and Edward R. Roybal Foundation as well as MAZON’s efforts to help food-insecure veterans. Pat and Jerry were also prominent supporters of Jewish Federation, the Jewish Home for the Aging, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. The Fitness Center in the new JFS Gunther Hirsh Family Center will be dedicated to Pat and Jerry B. Epstein. No one loved this country more than Jerry Epstein. His penchant for art work of the American flag and eagles is well-known. During his adult lifetime, he assembled an extraordinary American history document collection, including a rare Stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence and signatures of each and every signer of the Declaration of Independence, which were donated to Colonial Williamsburg. Since 2016, Jerry had a close companionship with Lynda Oschin. Jerry’s remarkable vision and tenacity are best reflected in the development of Marina del Rey, as well as in the state’s role in the rejuvenation of the Historic Core of downtown Los Angeles. All those who knew Jerry, including elected officials from across the broad spectrum of political views, respected and trusted him for his candor and commitment to serving the community and the public interest. Above all, Jerry was a kind and generous gentleman who treated everyone with respect. He was especially beloved at Hillcrest Country Club, the California Yacht Club, and Saint John’s Hospital.The funeral service will be held at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 West Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles 90045, on Friday, September 6th, at 11 AM. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jerry’s memory can be made to Saint John’s Hospital Foundation, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, the Colonial Williamsburg Summer Teachers Institute, or to the charity of your own choice.