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Funeral for Bernard DeHovitz

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Funeral: 10:00 AM Friday, February 14th, 2020
Home of Peace Cemetery - Colma
1299 El Camino Real
Colma, CA 94014
Graveside: 12:00 PM Friday, February 14th, 2020
Home of Peace Cemetery - Colma
1299 El Camino Real
Colma, CA 94014
Memorial Contribution: Congregation Emanu El
2 Lake Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 751-2535
Memorial Contribution: Jewish Family and Children’s Services
2150 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 449-1200

Bernard DeHovitz MD

March 6, 1924 - February 11, 2020

Bernard DeHovitz passed away on February 11, 2020, at the age of 95. He died after a brief illness.

Bernard was born in Flat River, Missouri, on March 6, 1924. Flat River was a small lead mining town 60 miles south of St. Louis, and his parents Jack and Jeannette DeHovitz owned a small clothing store on Main Street. Bernard was the middle child of three. He was predeceased by his brother Melvin and his sister Doris Page. He was a child of the Depression, yet he learned about generosity from his parents as they would offer extended credit to customers in their small-town store. He graduated from Flat River High School in 1942 and started college at the University of Missouri.

In the midst of World War II, the Navy promoted a program to speed through the education of future physicians. Bernard passed the exam and enrolled in the Navy’s V-12 program and soon finished his premed education. In 1944 he started medical school at LSU in New Orleans and graduated in 1948. He then started his residency at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. During this period, he met Ruth Senturia and over a 9-month period in 1950, they dated, became engaged and then married on Sep 2, 1950. Their marriage would last just shy of 70 years, and Ruth was his constant partner, companion and advisor.

Bernard was called up to Camp Pendleton in southern California to serve out his obligation to the Navy as the Korean conflict was heating up. For two years, he worked at medical clinics in Camp Pendleton and Port Hueneme. Upon discharge in late 1952, he returned to St. Louis to start practicing medicine. Over the next 17 years he ran his own private practice in Internal Medicine at multiple locations in the St. Louis County area. But he kept wondering and hoping he could see a way to return to California. By the late 1960s, Bernie gave up his practice and he moved with Ruth and their four children to the San Francisco Bay Area where he found temporary medical work for the County of San Mateo and Pan American Airlines.

Eventually, he became Medical Director at the Kaiser Center in Oakland where he ran a medical office for the executives and employees at Kaiser Industries. There he could practice medicine with a much more predictable schedule, and he stayed on there for the next fifteen years. He retired in the mid 1980s and in his retirement stayed active in medicine by doing health evaluations at the VA Hospital in San Francisco. He was very proud that his three sons followed him into medicine.

He also had many varied interests outside of medicine. He was passionate about modern art and he directed the art gallery at the Kaiser Center for many years. In his retirement, he cultivated his appreciation of art deco design in art and mid-century modern furniture. He also directed the creation of the Lead Belt Jewish Oral History Project; a book of remembrances of former members of the now long-gone Jewish Community in the Flat River (now Park Hills), Missouri area. The book has been welcomed by the libraries and historical societies of the area.

Bernard will be remembered by his children as the essence of support and affection. He was always eager to know how they are doing and would always offer advice and wisdom laced with experience of his almost 96 years. He derived great joy from the achievements of his eleven grandchildren. He also was a loving and devoted husband to Ruth and a caring friend to all who knew him.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth and his four children, Jack (Lisa Goldfarb), Dan (Vivian Kim), Ross (Ann), and Joan (Aaron Braun). He is also survived by his eleven grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Congregation Emanu-El or to the DeHovitz-Senturia Campership fund of Jewish Family and Children Services. The funeral will take place at Congregation Emanu-El on Friday, February 14 at 10AM.