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Reva Borenstein Metzger '60

Reva Metzger was the firstborn of Leo and Dora (nee Gold) Borenstein, in Providence, Rhode Island on Oct. 22, 1937. She was followed by siblings Elie, Billy and Ruthie. She was surrounded by a strong Russian-Jewish immigrant family that was determined that her generation would live the American dream. Her father and two uncles bought Miller’s Delicatessen, which became the anchoring point for three generations that worked there together. It was there that Reva, her siblings and cousins learned what came to be important life lessons and how to launch themselves into the new world. She learned that there are no excuses for less than excellent work. At age 10, the rule was that you earned 1 cent for each bag of pistachio nuts packed, but 1 cent off if you tore the cellophane bag. She learned that one has to pay her dues. Each cousin, as they reached 14 and could wait on trade, was hazed by being sent on an ôerrandö of dubious validity. Reva was sent to the drug store for ôsky hooks,ö returning red-faced and furious. She was also told ôas long as I am paying you, don’t let me see you without a towel in your hand,ö i.e. working. While experiencing the security and comfort of a devoted family, she learned that success was to find ones’ own place in the world. From Rhode Island, Reva went to Antioch College, in Ohio, where she felt she could be herself and discovered the beginnings of her work. There, she met Sam Metzger. Reva and Sam drove to California following graduation, married after awhile and never left, living on Sonoma Mountain near Glen Ellen for more than 35 years. Reva became a devoted and much-loved program director at Sonoma Developmental Center. She was committed to community process in her administration, requiring all staff to be active participants in the milieu. She spent endless hours on the job (even without a towel in her hand) and sometimes drove people nuts with her prolonged decision making and attention to detail. No torn cellophane bags here! She wanted the center to be a real home to those who lived there. One with loving, respectful care as well as pleasure and fun. When Reva saw a Sonoma community need, she moved toward its solution. She was instrumental in creating the garden at Readers’ Books, building a healthy and well-managed homeowners association at Park Creek Village, guiding the development of the diabetes committee of the Community Health Center and working for many a nonprofit group. She was surrounded by family. Some members were biological, some by marriage and some just chosen. She remained close to her Borenstein family, embraced the Metzgers and adopted her good friend Shirley Wastell’s clan. Through 50 years, Reva made innumerable trips east for Chanukah and Thanksgiving. Then she would fly back to California for Christmas and New Years. Any child lucky enough to be within her sphere will attest to her magnificent ability to choose gifts and have fun. Her ôgreen roomö was full of surprises and treats, making every child feel special. She loved the parties, the decorations, the gifts, the food û all contributed with her mischievous and loving spirit. When growing up didn’t go so smoothly for a child or an adult, Reva was able to stay connected in the worst of days, tolerate anger and distance and remain available with the hope of re-engagement. She would hold on to the tenuous tie until better times. The needed rescue usually involved food. Please join us to celebrate the life of this serious, funny, intelligent, mindless, disciplined, impulsive, passionate loving person who has been so important to so many of us, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, in the park at Park Creek Village (west end of Andrieux Street). In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to any of Reva’s favorite causes û Community Health Center, FISH, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation or the Elephant Sanctuary