Executive, philanthropist and community leader Gerald H. Oppenheimer died peacefully on May 4, 2021. He was 98 years old. Oppenheimer was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 11, 1922. He began his career at the age of 18, founding an aviation-components business.
During the Korean War, he piloted F84 jets for the Strategic Air Command, flying 21 combat missions. He found later success in the banking, automotive and software-technology industries. He began actively supporting nonprofits in the early 1980s, and for almost six decades UCLA Stein Eye Institute was the recipient of Oppenheimer’s skill and philanthropic giving.
After the death of his stepfather, Dr. Jules Stein, and his mother, Doris Stein, he took an active role in promoting their legacy at UCLA. He helped establish the Doris Stein Eye Research Center and the Edie & Lew Wasserman Building, which transformed Stein Eye Institute into a vision-science campus at UCLA.
Oppenheimer served on the UCLA Foundation Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors and Stein Eye Institute Board of Trustees. In 1989, he received the University Service Award from UCLA and extended his giving to numerous areas of the campus, as well as to community organizations focused on those in need, veterans and the arts.
He is survived by his wife, Gail, his sons, Bill and Mark, stepchildren Britt, Pablo and Alyce, along with 10 grandchildren, 13 greatgrandchildren and one great-great grandchild.