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Berlin, Pearl

Berlin, Pearl

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HIGH POINT Pearl Berlin died peacefully in her home on May 17, 2018. She left behind her wife, Ellen W. Gerber (Lennie), a very devoted circle of friends, nieces, cousins, and former students, all of whom will greatly miss her sweet, smart and loving presence. Pearl was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1925, the daughter of Claire and Silas Berlin, both deceased. Her only sibling, Judy, died when Pearl was 16. She graduated from Boston University, Sargent College, and earned a master's and Ph.D. at Penn State University. Her specialities were sport psychology and research methods and statistics. After teaching at several universities in the north, in 1971 Pearl moved to this area to preside over the new Ph.D. program in the kinesiology (formerly, physical education) department at UNCG. In the course of her work there, approximately two dozen students earned their Ph.D.s with Dr. Berlin as their advisor. Her compassion, concern and love for her students was evident to all. One graduate wrote: "Pearl was a wonderful, determined, smart and loving woman. She was an inspiration to all of us who knew her." Revered by her students, the department later created the Pearl Berlin Writing Award, which honors thesis and dissertation writing excellence. Pearl was passionate about the important causes she cared about and fought for. So, upon her retirement in 1985, Pearl shifted her work to politics. She used her talents in statistics to aid many political candidates. Using statistics from past voting, she was able to direct the candidates to the best areas on which to focus their time and money. She also devoted much time to working with the High Point Democratic party, helping to build and develop its work. Another significant part of Pearl's life was her love of travel. She and Lennie made many trips to Europe. Safaris in Botswana and Kenya allowed them to see the magnificent animals of Africa. They visited distant places such as New Zealand and Australia, the Arctic and the Antarctic. When a former student invited her to teach for a week in Shanghai, China, Pearl happily went there and then she and Lennie explored China for several more weeks. Pearl also enjoyed the easy river cruises in Europe, the last of which took place in 2010 when Pearl was 85 years old. Pearl leaves behind Lennie, her partner of 52 years, wife of almost five years. As an openly gay couple, Pearl and Lennie helped to take on the fight in North Carolina for same-sex marriage. They were the named plaintiffs in the NC marriage case and they furthered the cause by providing an example of the fact that being lesbian and gay is about who one loves. On their 47th anniversary, as two Jewish women, they got married in Beth David Synagogue in Greensboro, in front of family, friends and community, as they had long desired. A memorial service open to all will be held on June 14, at 3 p.m., in the Virginia Dare Room of the Alumni House on the campus of UNCG. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Equality NC, the Human Rights Campaign, ACLU-NC, or any charity of your choice.

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