Holocaust Survivor Honors JFCS East Bay

March 07, 2018

Gerda Karoly was born in Budapest, Hungary, on June 22, 1930. She survived both the Nazi occupation in 1944 and the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. She and her husband, George, came to California to begin new lives when she was twenty-six. They both enjoyed long careers as chemists at Del Monte Foods. Gerda and George were serious bridge players and avid travelers. They sailed to every part of the world and collected folk art, which they proudly displayed in their Rossmoor home.

Rita Clancy, JFCS East Bay’s Director of Adult Services, first met Gerda in 2009 following George’s death. Gerda had no family and was housebound and extremely isolated. Rita stepped in to provide grief counseling and support. For the next eight years, Rita worked to create a community of care around Gerda, including matching her with volunteers and helping to address her home and health care needs.  Rita, herself an immigrant from Eastern Europe, recalls listening to Gerda’s wonderful travel stories, shared in their native language. Gerda died at home, surrounded by her many mementos, in December 2017 at the age of eighty-seven.

As part of her estate planning, Gerda honored Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay with a Legacy gift to benefit Holocaust Survivor Services and Older Adult Services. She is lovingly remembered and forever memorialized as a member of our Legacy Society.


For information about leaving a legacy gift for JFCS East Bay in your will, trust, retirement plan, or life insurance policy, contact Courteney Coolidge, Donor Relations Manager, at .