In Memoriam: Lee Ivan Weinstein (1946-2011)

Lee Weinstein was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent his life and career speaking and acting on behalf of those whose voices often go unheard. Lee marched with Martin Luther King in the 1960s and helped individuals with developmental disabilities to reach their greatest potential during more than 30 years spent working at Westside Regional Center in Culver City, where he rose to the position of Director. Lee was the foundation of the clinical services team, and served as a mentor for co-workers as well as a staunch advocate for all staff and the clients WRC served. Those who worked alongside Lee remember him as “a fearless leader, mentor and friend to countless people in our community.”

Lee and his partner, interior and furniture designer Michael Berman, met in 1980 and were together until Lee passed away. Michael remembers him as “the kind of person you could always rely on. He was like the bright light in a room that was always smiling and everyone was attracted to. He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable and confident.”

“After a series of unfortunate circumstances with another hospice service, Lee and I were finally placed in the compassionate and caring hands of the Jewish Healing Center. Their comforting home hospice care allowed Lee’s passing to embody the grace and integrity that Lee carried throughout his entire life. I feel so strongly about the Jewish Healing and Hospice Center, Los Angeles’ longest continuing provider of Jewish hospice services, that I have joined the Board of Directors in an effort to grow and support these vital services.”

After Lee’s passing Michael wrote a poem in his memory:

The First Snow

Sunday I witnessed the first snow on the mountain

it seemed like a dream

the thought of such beauty without you by my side

I imagined your smile; your hands

the joy we felt

the confusing sound of morning silence

it seemed too poetic

the thought of the first breath of dawn;

the last moment of twilight without you by my side

you are visible in every canyon and forest;

dusted by the white light of your gentleness

it seems impossible

the thought of cool nights, holidays;

the electric moon existing without you by my side

Sunday I witnessed the first snow

on the mountain

it seemed surreal

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