Jewish Journal

Janet Williams

Gems of Hope Past President, Dies at 84

by Michael Aushenker

Posted on Mar. 13, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Janet Williams, a past president of City of Hope's auxiliary  division, Gems of Hope, died on Feb. 9, 2003. She was 84.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Williams attended the same grammar school as her husband, Bernard. Her sister, Roslyn, and Bernie were in the same class. However, Bernie and Janet did not get acquainted until they were adults, even though he recalled with fondness that he noticed a little girl running across the school playground with a violin case tucked under her arm.

Following the couple's inevitable first date, Williams came home and confided in her sister that Bernard was the man she was going to marry. Indeed, they did in 1948.

In 1951, the couple moved to Los Angeles. By the late 1960s, she became a lead teacher for LAUSD Children's Centers. Even after retiring from Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima in 1984, she continued with the Children's Centers as a substitute teacher.

The violin remained a lifelong passion for her. She played in the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Burbank Symphony, the Downey Symphony, as well as other orchestras and chamber groups in the Los Angeles area. She performed frequently and taught violin for many years.

In the mid-1980s, Williams joined Gems of Hope, a volunteer organization for City of Hope Hospital, and ultimately served as its president from 1988-89.

Janet and Bernie celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary last September. They were active members of Temple Beth Torah of Arleta, lived in the San Fernando Valley for 50 years and enjoyed traveling to Europe, Hawaii and the Caribbean.

"She had a high level of energy and was highly creative and had so many interests in the world, especially music," said her daughter, Lynn.

She is survived by her husband, Bernie; daughter, Lynn Steinberg; son, Ron; grandchildren, Joshua, Nathan and Rachel; and sister, Roslyn Zaslow.

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