Erica C. Weinberg

Last modified: Sunday, February 03, 2013

CHICAGO - Erica Cecilie Weinberg, who lived in western Massachusetts from 1978 to the early 1990s, died Aug. 29, 2012, at the University of Chicago Medical Center after a brief illness. She was 90.

Born April 2, 1922, in Berlin, Germany, to the late Edward and Kathe (Staub) Müller, Erica was a longtime clinical social worker who for some 50 years worked in a wide range of foster homes and mental health agencies in Chicago and western Massachusetts.

Her responsibilities in this region included training social work student interns from Smith College.

She had a gift for working with troubled children, which drew in part from her own experience of loss and displacement growing up Jewish in the shadow of the Nazi regime in Germany. At the age of eight, she lost her father to illness. In 1934, at the age of 12, Erica and her brother Frederick (1921-2002) were sent for their own safety to America. Before their mother joined them several years later, the two children lived in a series of foster homes and were thrust into Chicago public schools with no knowledge of English.

Despite these challenges, Erica earned top grades and an academic scholarship to the University of Chicago, where she received her B.A. in 1943 and M.A. from the School of Social Service Administration. She met her future husband, Meyer Weinberg (1920-2002), at the university and they were married in 1943. After the war, they settled down to raise a family in Chicago, moving in the 1950s to Oak Park with their three children.

While Erica and Meyer lost their first-born child, Rachel (1947-58), to a train accident soon after the move, Erica gave birth to two more children in subsequent years.

In addition to her social service career, Erica enjoyed playing piano, listening to classical music, gardening, exercising, teaching Sunday school, attending classes and forums and reading books in her native German. But she always said that giving birth to her five children was her proudest achievement.

She is survived by her sons Benjamin, Carl, Daniel and David; her grandchildren Eric, Kevin, Eli, Anna and Leo; and her cousins Joram Seggev and Lesley Lewis.

Her remains were interred in a family ceremony on Sept. 14, 2012, at Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Ill.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the League of Women Voters of Chicago, 332 South Michigan Ave., Suite 525, Chicago, IL, 60604.


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