Devoted wife, mother and grandmother, lifelong activist
Brenda Rosenfeld, a longtime Claremont resident, died on February 17, 2014 at Pomona Valley Hospital following a short illness. She was 75.
Beloved by her husband, children, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, brother, sister-in-law and countless friends, she lived a life filled with passion for social justice and dedicated to Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew phrase that means repairing the world.
Ms. Rosenfeld was born on October 22, 1938 in Detroit, the daughter of Gertrude and Hyman Marks. The family moved to southern California, where she graduated from Fairfax High School and attended UCLA. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science.
It was at Berkeley that Ms. Rosenfeld began her lifelong political activism. She was involved in the protest movement against the House Un-American Activities Committee, the free speech movement and the fight against employment inequality, and later participated in many marches against the Vietnam War.
Helping others was in Ms. Rosenfeld’s DNA. She began her career as a social worker for the Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services and retired 40 years later as Director of Communications and Marketing. She received numerous commendations in recognition of her dedication and outstanding performance.
Ms. Rosenfeld’s favorite expression was “Fabulous!” Whether she was engaged in projects for work, serving on a community committee, or planning a dinner or concert to raise money for a worthy cause, all agreed that if Ms. Rosenfeld was involved, the event would indeed be “Fabulous!”
Ms. Rosenfeld and David, her husband of 52 years, moved to Claremont from Los Angeles 42 years ago. A landscape architect, Mr. Rosenfeld established a practice in the city while encouraging his wife in the development of her career and in her engagement in community activities. They traveled extensively, filling their home with paintings, ceramics, masks and artifacts from throughout the world. Memorable journeys included trips to Turkey, Israel, Sri Lanka, Thailand and much of Europe.
Ms. Rosenfeld’s greatest passion was her family. Twin grandsons, Sam and Jack, and granddaughter Sasha arrived within months of each other seven years ago and became the focus of her life. She traveled the freeway to Los Angeles and across the country to New York to attend recitals, performances and school open houses. She reveled in the individual talents and activities of each grandchild, as she did with her son and daughter, Andrew and Stacy.
She lived life with gusto and her energy was boundless, friends and family shared. She was a good listener and a good talker, and was known for her infectious laugh. She was an avid theater- and museum-goer, and loved ballet, opera, movies, good books, politics and most recently mah jongg. Her interest in the arts inspired her to serve as vice president of the Claremont Museum of Art.
Ms. Rosenfeld was an active member of Temple Beth Israel of Pomona, where she served as a trustee for more than a decade and was a founding member of the Social Action Committee. Her commitment to remedying social injustice also led her to serve on the Human Relations Council of the city of Claremont as well as the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, which recognized her as a Woman Who Makes a Difference.
She planned food drives to feed the hungry, Super Sundays to provide services to organizations throughout the community, concerts and speakers to enrich the life of her congregation and forums for superintendents of schools in the San Gabriel Valley focused on the First Amendment rights of students.
A proverb holds the following: “To possess the crown of a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Ms. Rosenfeld’s loved ones say that this axiom fit her perfectly.
She touched many with her compassion and kindness, and she will forever be remembered with enduring love.
In addition to her husband David and three grandchildren, Ms. Rosenfeld is survived by her son Andrew and his wife Jill of Los Angeles, her daughter Stacy of New York City and her brother Ambassador Edward Marks and his wife Aida, of Washington, DC.
Donations in Brenda Rosenfeld’s memory may be made to the Hunger Fund at Temple Beth Israel of Pomona, the Claremont Museum of Art and the Learning Tree Fund at Cedars Sinai Hospital of Los Angeles.