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Memorial for Jack Wahrhaftig

Memorial Image
Graveside: Date Not Set
Home of Eternity Cemetery
5000 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611

Jack Wahrhaftig

August 30th, 1925-August 15th, 2022

A source of strength, compassion, wisdom, warmth, good humor and empathetic listening.

Jack Wahrhaftig, a native of San Francisco, died at the age of 96 surrounded by his loving family.

Jack is survived by his children Lynn O'Connor (Terry O'Connor), Peter Wahrhaftig (Rena Dorph), and Marc Wahrhaftig (Liz Struble), and his grandchildren Laurel O'Connor, Amitai Wahrhaftig, Naia Wahrhaftig, and Ari Struble-Wahrhaftig. He was predeceased by Lila, his beloved wife of 65 years.

Jack was a long-time resident of Oakland where he practiced law until retiring at age 87. He loved the practical aspects of the law and making a positive impact on people's lives. In his youth he was an accomplished violinist, retaining a deep love of music throughout his life, as well as an avid photographer and a member of his high school track team. He loved spending parts of each summer on the family farm in Orangevale, CA, where his Grandpa Peter settled after escaping from Russia. In 1943 Jack enlisted in the army, and was in combat in France, Germany and Austria. In later years he would speak of his wartime experiences simply, with the plea of "never again." Upon returning home, he enrolled at UC Berkeley, followed by Hastings College of the Law, and entered private practice with his Uncle Matt. He and Lila met on a blind date and married in 1955. By 1960 they had three children.

Jack was active in Temple Sinai in Oakland, focusing particularly on the religious school. He was also the past president of the Oakland Jewish Community Center, past chair of the Estate Planning Council of the East Bay, and active in many other civic organizations. He was also involved in efforts to improve, as well as to more fully integrate the Oakland Public Schools.

One of Jack's favorite activities was taking his family camping, with wonderful annual trips far and wide. Jack continued to camp with Lila well into his '80's. He would also often assist Lila in her various endeavors as an artist, enjoying spending time with her no matter the demands of the task. One of his other great loves was spending time with his grandchildren - He truly sparkled in their presence.

Jack's genuine warmth was felt by all. He had a love of language and puns, a deeply rooted sense of justice, a love of family, a curious and inquisitive mind, a strong affinity for the natural world, a wonderful sense of humor, and an overall love of life. His memory will be for a blessing.

Suggested contributions in Jack's name may be made to Temple Sinai (Social Action/Anti-Hunger fund or the People of the Book-Oakland Literacy Project Fund), Earthjustice, or the Alameda County Food Bank.