Paulo Ribeiro, close friend of Laszlo Berkovits, who died on April 19, says Laszlo epitomized “life well-lived” and was a role model in many ways. He offers this tribute:
“He was quite generous and often treated me to dinner and invited me to come to his lakeside cottage in Harriman State Park for day trips. He was quite physically active for as long as his body allowed him to be. The first time I ever went skiing was with Laszlo, and I don’t know that I ever would have tried it without his invitation. He was deeply compassionate and conscientious, which made him a committed activist in a number of different areas that were important to him. He brought an intellectual humility to our discussions in spite of his own impressive intelligence and wealth of knowledge. Even as he coped with a terminal illness, he maintained a cheerfulness that I hope will continue to lighten the world of those who knew him even after his death.”
‘Bright and open-hearted’
Laszlo, of Fort Lee, was 74 years old. His obituary at dignitymemorial.com noted that “Laszlo was a loving, generous spirit, bright and open-hearted throughout his life. Laszlo was born in Salgótarján, Hungary in 1946, growing up in the shadow of post-war Europe as one of the few Jewish children born in his town. He left Hungary at age 19 with his parents and spent several months in Rome prior to emigrating to New York City.
“Laszlo studied physics at City College of New York, where he met Edna, the love of his life. They spent many years together engaged in activism, while also making time for many other pursuits. Laszlo was such an avid hiker, biker, and skier, he would take every opportunity to bike or ski to work when feasible. He also loved history, art and music, good food, and travel. His love of the sciences, his quest for learning and seeking, was palpable.
‘Created new friendships everywhere’
“He maintained deep friendships from childhood and created new friendships everywhere. Connection and human experience were cherished. Laszlo is survived by his wife, Edna, his daughters, Ilona and Daphne, sons-in-law, Ed and Butch, and three grandchildren, Isaac, Corinne, and Otto. Laszlo had ALS, which may have limited his adventures, but never diminished his capacity for joy.”
Members were among those who left tributes at dignitymemorial.com for Laszlo:
My sincere condolences to Edna and the family. I will miss Laszlo’s spirited discussions on many topics. They were always educational. Afina Broekman
Laszlo was a gregarious, affable and sensitive friend. A rare combination of scientist, philosopher, naturalist, activist and empath. We had many long conversations on the phone. I always felt enriched and upbeat after we talked. I will miss him. Janet Glass
Laszlo was a gentleman in every sense of the word. I will miss him greatly at our Social Action Committee meetings. His engagement and commitment remained strong up to the end, as did his spirit and sense of humor. Sending much sympathy to Edna and the family. Anne Wallman
Laszlo’s thoughtfulness and inquiring mind, along with his astute comments, were a regular feature of our Society’s Socrates Café sessions. I was always grateful for his contributions and will miss him. Theresa Forsman