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  1. Herb died last night. I'm not sure what to even call him. He was my Jewish father, the man who taught me what it meant to be culturally Jewish. He was my adopted and surrogate father, the man who was always there for me and the rest of the family, even in the days when I had minimal contact with my family of origin. Herb was amazing and it seemed like he knew everything and how to do anything. He taught physics at Occidental College in L.A. for many years, and before that taught all of the math and science courses at Deep Springs College, in Big Pine, CA, a two year college where students attend college courses while also learning how to run a working ranch. Not only was he able to teach any college course in math or science, he could have taught world history or photography, or a host of other subjects. He had a great sense of humor, played the guitar and could sing or talk in Yiddish, Spanish, and several other languages. He could design or repair anything, and had creative and sometimes bizarre - but workable - solutions for anything and everything. You could call him or sit down with him and pose some question, and he would launch forth on a lecture of close to an hour with entirely information that he pulled out of his vast memory. He was a true mensch and loved his family and friends, of which he had many. He was a humanitarian and a feminist; there was nothing about him that was sexist, racist, agist, or prejudiced in any way. He was kind and generous, and the smartest person I have only known. He is a lost to the world, and most especially to those close to him. I have tons of pictures of him explaining something to his daughter, his niece, to me, or someone, gesturing with his hands and talking with intensity. That seems like ages ago and like yesterday. Herb had been declining for several years from dementia and the person that I knew 25 years ago has been mostly gone for a while. Ten years ago he would say he couldn't rememberer all of the details about some thing you had asked him about. Four years ago he stopped driving from Pasadena to Sedona because he was relying on his wife's memory for driving. Two years he could no longer read a clock, but could carry on a basic conversation and remembered the people who were close to him. A year ago he was moved to a memory care unit, but was still under the same roof as the independent living apartment his wife lived in. Six months ago he spent his life facing the door waiting for her visits twice a day. Two months ago his wife suffered a major and then a minor stroke. One month ago, their daughters coaxed his wife out of Pasadena to go live in Oakland with the younger daughter, because they were terrified that they were going to lose both parents. A week or two ago he tested positive for Coronavirus and was placed on Hospice care. And now Herb is gone. He had some FaceTime sessions with family during his last days as he was slipping in and out of consciousness. He has been slipping away from us for years, but there is a terrible finality to his actual death. The world is not the same place without Herb in it.
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