Jack Berkovi 1946 - 2021

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My dear Jack sadly died on 26 May this year. In the picture he is holding his Certificate of Recognition for his remarkable contribution in successfully establishing a U3A in the Suburb four years ago. This was awarded by the London Borough of Barnet in recognition of Jack's outstanding service to the community, which truly sums up Jack's character and personality. Jack was someone who loved life and loved people, who gave his time unselfishly always conscious of wanting to make life as enjoyable as possible for others.

He was born in September 1946 and we grew up in the same area in SW London and met when we were just teenagers. After Jack graduated from university we were married and had over 50 years of happily married life. Jack enjoyed a long and successful career in management which enabled him to travel extensively.

In 1999 we decided to move from Hertfordshire to the Suburb looking to start a new life: relishing the prospect of living in such an idyllic location, settling in quickly and enjoying the lovely surroundings and all that the Suburb could offer. So just when life was going at full pelt and on a trajectory career-wise and personally, it dealt Jack a bitter blow 11 years ago. Despite being diagnosed with myeloma and becoming a dialysis patient it was Jack's sheer determination, courage and fortitude which guaranteed that these terrible conditions were not going to stand in the way of making the most of what life had to offer. He had the grace to rise above all of this.

Jack was also somewhat of a polymath. Amongst one of his favourite hobbies was playing jazz piano and this was known locally as he had supported local charities playing at musical events. He was also an avid chess player and often taught others how to enjoy this somewhat complex game. He also wrote and had published a book during the early years of his illness, despite contending with gruelling cancer treatment; waking in the early hours to compile all his work experience into this heavy tome. He was also a coinventor of a maths game 'Nubble' which was published some years ago and continues to be used in helping children with their maths.

There is a great sense of pride in what Jack achieved throughout his life and especially in the latter years, despite such great adversity. So, I and others feel a profound respect for what Jack has given and gave to many who encountered him.

So many people have referred to Jack as someone who always had a smile on his face, despite all his afflictions. Perhaps, as a fitting tribute we could organise a 'Jack' day each year in the Suburb: a day focussed on and synonymous with laughter and joy, which would be a fitting legacy for dear Jack.

DAPHNE BERKOVI

Photograph, obituary-jackberkovi
Jack Berkovi 1946 - 2021