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Mount Sinai Obituaries and Services » Donald Bernstein

Donald Bernstein

March 30, 1932 - July 22, 2015

Service Information Mount Sinai Simi Valley - Kamenir Chapel

Service Date: Sunday July 26th, 2015

Service Time: 12:30 pm

Mount Sinai Simi Valley - Kamenir Chapel

6150 Mount Sinai Drive

Simi Valley, CA 93063

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We mourn the loss of Donald Bernstein, who passed away peacefully in the early morning of July 22 at West Hills Hospital after a long and courageous battle with leukemia.

Don grew up in Detroit, Michigan, graduating from Central High School in 1949. He went on to Wayne State University in Detroit and then to the University of Detroit School of Dentistry, where he received his DDS degree in 1957. From there, he became a Dental Officer in the United States Army, serving two years at Ft. Huachuca, AZ, before returning to Michigan to open his own private dental practice.

He soon discovered that his real interest was in the management and administration of health care services, so he decided to return to school, earning a Master’s degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Michigan in 1964. Upon graduation, he accepted an offer to become Assistant Director of Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and then relocated to Connecticut in 1969 to become Executive Director of Mount Sinai Hospital in Hartford and later Director of Shared Services for the Connecticut Hospital Association.

Don relocated the family to California in 1973 to become Executive Director of Central Area Teaching Hospitals, a new consortium of hospitals in Los Angeles spearheaded by the University of Southern California. His career as a health care executive in the Los Angeles area was extensive and varied, serving as Administrator/CEO for Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, Memorial Hospital of Gardena, and Granada Hills Community Hospital. Later in his career, he became an advocate of the benefits of hospice care, serving as Executive Director of Hospice of the Canyon in Calabasas and Avalon Hospice in Panorama City. Don was always known for his inclusive management style, practicing “management by walking around,” giving all employees a stake in the organization’s success, and infusing a sense of fun in the daily work environment.

But for all of his professional accomplishments, Don will be most remembered in our hearts as a remarkable dad and a doting grandfather. He was truly a kid at heart, ready to have fun or play games, and he was adored by children of all ages. As an avid techno geek, he loved spending time in his retirement years tinkering with computers and all manner of electronic gadgetry. He was always our family’s go-to answer man, with a calm solution for any difficult situation, and was almost effortlessly talented at everything he attempted, whether household repairs, drawing cartoons, or playing the recorder by ear. His sharp mind, sunny optimism, and silly sense of humor were cherished by all who knew him.

Don leaves behind his loving wife of 53 years, Jackie, his children, Elliott, Ken and Karen, grandchildren, Daniel, Emily, Claire and Naomi, and siblings Gerald and Elaine.

A memorial service will be held at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park in Simi Valley on Sunday, July 26 at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Don’s memory may be made to MAZON – a Jewish Response to Hunger, or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.