Yair “Jerry” Eisenberg passed away at Stanford University Medical Center on May 27, 2012, of complications from heart disease. Yair is survived by daughters Beth Pennay of Fremont, California and Rebecca Eisenberg of Ann Arbor, Michigan, sons-in-law Robert Pennay and Judah Garber, grandsons Solomon Garber and Jacob Garber, step-grandsons Anthony Pennay and Christopher Pennay, and Shlomit Eisenberg Barzilai and Shai Eisenberg, both of Tel Aviv, the children of his recently deceased brother Amnon Eisenberg,.
Born on August 19, 1928, in Jerusalem, Israel, Yair led an exciting life. He was a proud son of the State of Israel. His parents, Shlomo and Yafa Eisenberg, came to Jerusalem from Poland to build a Jewish state. Shlomo was general secretary of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem during Yair’s childhood, and their home was a gathering place for visiting dignitaries and philanthropists who joined the causes of providing a homeland for the Jewish people and rescuing Jews during and after World War II.
After graduating from the Gymnasia Rehavia in Jerusalem in 1946, Yair spent a year of full-time military service. Formally he served in the British Palestine Frontier force, but his allegiance was to the Palmach, which was then still an underground military organization dedicated to establishing the State of Israel. He traveled to the United States to begin his college education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall of 1947. He had to take his freshman year final exams early because he was called back home for the War of Independence. Yair fought bravely and narrowly avoided death in the battle of Beit Hanoun, Operation Ten Plagues. He stayed in Israel to continue his engineering studies at Haifa Technion for two years before returning to MIT, where he completed his BS in civil engineering in 1952.
During his senior year at MIT Yair met his future wife, Marjorie Bragdon. They were married in October, 1952 and thereafter settled in Reading, Massachusetts with their two daughters. In 1962, they moved to the Palo Alto area, where Yair resided for 50 years.
Yair had an illustrious career as a civil engineer designing major public works, including over 40 years with the consulting engineering firm of Parsons, Brinkerhoff, Quade and Douglas. Among his many accomplishments, he designed underground stations for rapid transit systems throughout the United States. He played a central role in design of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system from inception to completion. He was an expert in the design of underground structures in seismically active regions. In addition to rapid transit systems he designed tunnels and sewage outfall projects throughout the world.
Yair was an avid traveler who continued exploring the world with Marjorie in retirement. He spoke multiple languages and loved to address people in their native language, even if he only knew a few words. He was an excellent photographer who leaves behind a rich photographic archive of scenic places, exotic animals, and friends from around the world. He was also was an avid reader with passionate interests in history and politics. He enjoyed engaging his friends in lively discussions of world affairs.
After the death of Marjorie in 2007, Yair became involved in many activities at the Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto. He also regularly attended Torah study at Temple Beth Am, Current Events at Little House in Menlo Park, and weekly forums of the Humanist Community of Silicon Valley. He formed many close friendships and had an active social and intellectual life until the end.
His sweetness, generosity, intelligence, and sense of humor touched many lives, and his memory is a blessing to his family and to the many people who loved him.
A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, June 10 at 2 p.m. in the Friedenrich Conference Center, 4th Floor, Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, California. Donations can be made in his name to the American Heart Association, the American Jewish World Service, or the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center.
Location: Alta Mesa Memorial Park
Address: 695 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Directions: Alta Mesa Memorial Park