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Gompertz Obit, Berkeley California
Posted by: donna gatts (ID *****2841) Date: November 25, 2004 at 19:49:44
  of 1057

John "Jack" Gompertz, a prominent East Bay physician and avid supporter of UC Berkeley, has died at age 101.

He died Nov. 14 after a brief illness at the Lake Park Retirement Residence in Oakland, said his granddaughter, Marian Schinske.

Dr. Gompertz was a leader in medical societies and an avid booster of the Cal Bears as well as an important financial contributor to the campus.

The 1925 Cal grad's his love for his alma mater and generous, outgoing spirit earned him several UC Berkeley honors as well as continuing gratitude.

"Dr. Gompertz was a legendary advocate for Cal," Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said in a statement. "In the early 1980s, he and another Cal stalwart, football coach Pappy Waldorf, enlisted so many donors for Cal that they became known as Berkeley's 'Gold Dust Twins.'

"Dr. Gompertz and his late wife, Margaret, were themselves leading philanthropists to Cal. Both will be long remembered for their exemplary loyalty and enduring generosity."

He was born in San Francisco and raised in Berkeley, where he was deeply entwined in Cal history.

His grandfather, Charles Felix Gompertz, immigrated from England to California in 1855 and became the first Spanish professor at the fledging college. A cousin, Joseph LeConte, was the first biology professor, and another cousin, John LeConte, was a physics professor and UC president.

His marriage to Margaret Bates of Piedmont in 1933 was covered by The Chronicle, and in retirement, he appeared several times in Pat Steger's society column.

In 1934, he graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. His family later moved to Alameda and then to Oakland, where Dr. Gompertz specialized in internal medicine for 30 years. During World War II, he was a doctor in the U.S. Army Air Forces in Arizona and England and was a major when discharged. The family then moved to Orinda.

Dr. Gompertz served as a president of the American Lung Association at several levels: Alameda County, the state and the nation. He was also a founding director of the Alameda County Heart Association, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and past president of the California Thoracic Society, whose gold medal he received in 1971.

He was a board member of the Merritt Peralta Foundation, the Arthritis Association, the Family Service Bureau, the Lincoln Child Center Foundation, and the Easter Seal Society.

At UC Berkeley, he followed football with a passion and always bought season tickets on the 50-yard line, family members said.

His name is engraved on the "Builders of Berkeley" wall lining the steps to the Main Library, a monument to donors of a million dollars or more. He was awarded the UC Berkeley Foundation Chancellor's Citation in 1984 and later was named a Berkeley Fellow.

The Department of Integrative Biology endowed a professorship named after him and his wife, the John and Margaret Gompertz Chair, begun in 1991.

He is survived by his son, the Rev. Charles Gompertz of Nicasio; two daughters, Jody Cooper of Nicasio and Peggy Huntington Merritts of Piedmont; 11 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A private memorial is being planned.

The family requests that memorial contributions go to the UC Regents, Stadium Fund, Cal Athletic Development Office, 2223 Fulton St., Suite 4424, Berkeley, CA 94720.



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