Remembering Irving X. Burg z”l

 

"You think about leaving a legacy as you grow older. Ellie and I care deeply about our friends, the community in which we live, and the institutions that are important to us. We have invested ourselves in their support, and we want to continue giving to those we care about in perpetuity. That is why we established an Endowment Fund, as a way to accomplish our goals." - Irving X. Burg

Irving X. Burg (3/12/1917 - 7/26/2015)

 

It is with deep sadness that we learned this morning of the passing of a true leader and founder of our community, Irving X. Burg, on Sunday, July 26th at the age of 98.

 

Irving (Irv) Burg was born on March 12, 1917 in New York City to immigrant parents from Poland and Romania. Following his parents' separation, his mother moved Irv and his brother to Chicago where she took in sewing to support them. In his youth, and as a young adult in the Cincinnati minor league farm system, Irv was a talented baseball player, but after he was told by a coach he would never be a top player, he decided to pursue a career in business instead. He later related that this was some of the best advice he had ever received. Irv graduated in 1938 from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a mechanical engineering degree. He joined the army and was a captain in the US Army Air Corps (now US Air Force), serving as an aerial photographic officer. It was during his army service that Irv met his wife of 69 years, Ellie, while on 'R&R' leave in Orange County, California. Irv and Ellie were married on March 17, 1946 in Los Angeles.

 

Ellie shared Irv's passion for community involvement and philanthropy, and together they quickly became dedicated pillars of every community in which they lived. In the 1960s Irv was involved in land development in Lake Havasu City, Hesperia, and San Luis Rey Downs, and served as the Board Chairman of Pasadena Jewish Temple and campaign chair of San Gabriel Valley Jewish Federation. In 1972 the couple and their two children, Laurie (born 1952) and Paul (born 1954) moved to Orange County. Ellie joined the board of then Jewish Federation Orange County (JFOC), became President of its Women's Division in the early 80s, and later, in 1987, President of the Board of JFOC (the first-ever female president of a Federation). Irv soon became one of the founders of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County (JCFOC), serving three terms as its President and staying actively involved as a board member for 34 years. In fact, it was Irv who created the Foundation's motto: "We Guarantee a Jewish Tomorrow." He also served as a member of the JFOC board and was the original major gifts campaign chairman for the founding group of Heritage Pointe, raising $6.5 million to purchase the facility that would become home to so many Jewish elderly over the years. Irv later continued to serve as an Advisory Board member of Heritage Pointe while Ellie, also a member of the founding Board of Directors of Heritage Pointe, served as an active member of the Opening Day Committee. Together they also chaired the campaign to create the Teller Family Chair of Jewish History at the University of California Irvine.

 

Irv and Ellie also supported many other local organizations and causes together, sharing a passion for the arts and for Jewish life and community. They have supported the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Opera Pacific, United Way, and the Mental Health Advisory Board of Orange County, among others. They were active members of Temple Bat Yahm and the Chancellors Club at UCI. Irv and Ellie were also generous and enthusiastic supporters of the Merage Jewish Community Center and the Bureau of Jewish Education. In 2010 Irv was honored as one of the JCC's 'Men of Distinction' at their annual Celebration Ball. In 2012 Irv and Ellie were among a group of community leaders in whose honor a special Torah scroll, for use by military chaplains, was dedicated at the JCC.

 

Irv will be remembered as a great role model and leader, with a terrific sense of humor, a kind heart and a sharp intellect. Irv is survived by his wife Ellie, his children Paul Burg and Laurie Minervi, and his grandchildren Daniel, Gina and Michael.

 

Irv and Ellie are members of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County's 'Create a Jewish Legacy' program, and they are signers of the Endowment Book of Life. Irv's family asks that memorial donations be sent to the Irv and Ellie Burg Donor Advised Endowment Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County. Go to jcfoc.org/donate or contact JCFOC at 949 435-3490.

 

May Irv's's family be comforted among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may his memory be a blessing.


Jewish Federation & Family Services is located at 1 Federation Way on the Samueli Jewish Campus in Irvine, 92603. Telephone: 949-435-3484 (general inquiries), 949-435-3460 (Family Services). Visit us online at www.JewishOC.org.

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