Bill Lowenberg, longtime S.F. philanthropist, dies at 84

William J. Lowenberg died peacefully at his San Francisco home on April 2, 2011 at age 84.

Bill was born on August 14, 1926, in Ochtrup, Germany. He and his family fled Nazi Germany to Holland.  He was an observant Jew who lost most of his family in the Holocaust. After surviving seven concentration camps, Bill was liberated from Dachau by the American Army in April 1945 and immigrated to the United States.

He settled in San Francisco and began to build a life in America. Bill exhibited his pride and patriotism for his new country by serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Soon after he met his wife Fern, they married in 1957 and had two children, David and Susan.

Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Fern, his children, David (Jacqueline), Susan (Joyce), grandchildren, Gary, Stacie (Aaron), Alison, Daniella, Ruthie and great-grandsons, Devon and Ryan.  He considered his children, David and Susan, his greatest accomplishments and he deeply cherished all of his grandchildren. 

Despite the hardships that he faced early in life, Bill never lost his humor, faith or optimism.  His love of family and community, both here and in Israel, were shown through his philanthropic work and devotion.

Bill was a leader in the Jewish community in both the United States and in Israel, as well as in the San Francisco civic community.  He was appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and served as its Vice President. He oversaw the building of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. He was very passionate about the work he did while serving on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, as President of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and of the Jewish Home. Bill was very proud of his San Francisco community and gave back by serving with love on the Board of the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Commission on Aging and on The Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Bill will be deeply missed by his family and friends.

A memorial service was held Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco. 

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Holocaust Center at Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco or to the Jewish Home of San Francisco.