In Memory

Patricia (Pat) (Raffie) Warner

This notice from Julie Isen Sackman:

I am saddened to report that my old friend and our classmate Pat Warner died on October 22, 2021 in Oakland, CA. Like many of us, she had already turned the big you-know-what earlier this year and, to those of us who still feel in our prime, 70 is way too young an age to go.

I've known Pat since she came to Beverly Vista in 5th grade. Probably in her early 40's, she changed last name from "Warner", her estranged father's surname, to "Cohn", her mother's family name. A few years later, she changed her first name to "Rafaela" and called herself "Raffie" for short. Inflexible as I am, it was difficult for me to adjust and so, for the longest time and much to her irritation, I called her "Raffie Pat".

Eventually, my brain and mouth made the switch and I was able to drop the "Pat". So, in honor of her wishes, I am writing here about Raffie.

Raffie's parents were Holocaust survivors from Germany. The United States wouldn't let them in and so her parents immigrated first to Cuba and only later to the United States. She was an only child and her parents divorced when Raffie was around six years old. In all the years I knew Raffie, I only met her father a few times. She also did not see him regularly.

Raffie's mother, Ruth, had the foresight to move to Beverly Hills so Raffie would get a good education. They lived in various one bedroom apartments south of the tracks. One of their apartments was on Robbins Drive, right near the high school. Toni Goldenberg (DeeDee Lancet) and Kathy Miller lived in the same apartment complex and the three of them became perhaps unlikely friends. Raffie's mother worked hard as a bookkeeper and Raffie also began earning money at a young age to help out. Later, Raffie's mother remarried, which required another adjustment on Raffie's part. So hers was a life very different from most of ours in Beverly Hills.

Raffie graduated from UC Berkeley and later went to law school but lawyering was not up her alley. She worked as an organizational trainer and developer, trying to help small businesses improve their internal workings.

Raffie felt social injustices and both her own and other people's plights very strongly. The causes that spoke to her became her passion and she spent countless hours organizing and working with the community and groups on these issues so close to her heart. Raffie never married or had children and so these comrades in arms were her family.

Raffie was intelligent but what distinguished her even more was her talent at expressing herself. Moved by music, dance, drama, and strong feelings and thoughts that she did not shy away from but instead delved into, she was insightful and able to put those feelings and thoughts into incredible (but often too wordy) prose and poetry. Writing was Raffie's therapy.

Raffie and I kiddingly called each other Toody and Muldoon from the TV show "Car 54, Where Are You?" because she was so short and I was so tall. We were also opposites in other ways, but I always admired the way she felt so deeply. I'm sad that she is no longer with us.

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11/01/21 10:44 AM #1    

Lynn Mayer (Smith)

Raffie aka Pat only knew each other in passing during our high school years. We connected for a short period of time here in the Bay Area. Raffie graciously offered to assist me in planning the NoCA BHHS Class of '69 Reunion. I got to know her during this period of time and few years thereafter. Julie, thank you for describing Raffie as you knew her then many of your words had been expressed to me. I hope Raffie's soul is in a better place than one I saw and knew her as. May she RIP wherever she may be.

11/01/21 02:23 PM #2    

Deborah (Georgia) Jones (Davis)

I am so sorry to learn about the passing of (Pat) Raffie Warner, one of the loveliest, kindest souls in our class.

Her background of a Holocaust survivor parent and life in an apartment in the flats mirrored my own ...

Beverly Hills in its own weird way opened vistas for the kids who were let's say --
"have lesses" -- rather than "have nots".  We were exposed to great success, great challenges, creativity and beauty in Beverly Hills.  A gift of what was possible in life.  My recent visit to downtown BH was great fun last week (I live in Santa Fe NM now) and I loved the cheery, bright, small buildings, super clean streets, many pedestrians and the amazing elegance of the designer shops so thoughtfully arranged and presented.  And Nate n' Als back! 


Bye Pat!  Will remember you, a part of youth's early puzzle.



11/02/21 05:06 AM #3    

Gary Raymond

What a beautiful tribute.

11/02/21 09:25 AM #4    

Naomi Gross (Blakely)

Ah Raffie. Rest in peace. Thank you for all your efforts on behalf of the greater good. I will picture you dancing with Miriam.

11/02/21 10:09 AM #5    

Marc Russell

I never knew Pat in high school, but we had some brief e-mail correspondence a couple of years ago, after I informed the class website of the death of Rick Jerome, which I had learned of more than five years after the fact.  I am sorry to hear of her death at a rather early age.  These days, 70 is not very old.  RIP, Raffie.


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