Watsonville Woman, 101, Dies

Ethel Goldberg, who volunteered at Habitat for Humanity Renaissance High School, lived independently with her dog and cat until her death.

Ethel Goldberg (January 8, 1911 to June 24, 2012) died at her home of natural causes last month at the age of 101. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Marc Reinig and Sandy Kaplan, her grandchildren, Carly (Chris) Covey and Lyle Kaplan-Reinig and her great granddaughter Vayda Mae Covey and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Her first husband, Edward Reinig and her second husband Louis Goldberg preceded her in death. During the 1940’s and 1950’s she was a single and devoted parent to her son and passed on her love of learning, art, travel and animals.

Ethel was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. She traveled to Palestine with her family in 1919 where she lived and visited much of Europe and the Middle East, returning to Erie, PA, in 1921. She studied art in high school and developed into an accomplished artist, studying with Saturday Evening Post illustrator Richard Sargent. Art was a past time she pursued all her life. After high school, she studied nursing, training at Case Western Reserve University and Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, OH, and became a registered nurse in 1935. She scored in the top 10 of the Ohio state nursing certification that year. She was a pacifist and when World War II broke out, she entered the U.S. Public Health Service to serve her country and worked in the underserved areas of West Virginia until 1945. After getting married, she moved to California and became a school nurse for the Los Angeles City Schools, retiring in 1970. In 1986, she moved to Watsonville to be near her family. She remained active all her life, continuing her education, painting and traveling.

Though she was not a wealthy woman, after retirement she continued to give generously of her time and money for the rest of her life. Most recently, she divided her time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, , and as treasurer for the Pajaro Valley Art Club. In 2003, the Mayor of Watsonville recognized her for her volunteer work; in 2005, the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity honored her for her dedicated service; and in 2006, the Renaissance High School Library was named the Ethel Goldberg Library in honor of her over 14 years of service. In 2008, Ethel received a personal acknowledgement from Wisconsin's First Lady, Jessica Doyle, as an extraordinary woman.

She lived independently by herself with her dog and cat, Colleen and Nattie, in a two-story home until her death. In her final days, she was cared for by her family and Hospice of Santa Cruz. A celebration of life will be held at a future date.

—submitted by Ethel Goldberg's family.

Daniel Elfenbein July 23, 2012 at 09:13 PM
She was my great-aunt. My grandfather, Cecil Elfenbein, was her brother.
Jennifer Squires July 24, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Sorry for your loss. Sounds like she lived an amazing life.


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