Activist Clarence Krieger, 89, left legacy at Home for Aged

After paving the way for a 176-resident and medical-service wing of the Jewish Home for the Aged, past president Clarence Krieger spent his final years in the very building he helped create in 1969.

Krieger died of natural causes Thursday at the Home in San Francisco. He was 89.

Sadly, by the time he could reap the rewards of those early efforts, he wasn't lucid enough to know where he was, said his son, Stephan Krieger of Hillsborough.

"I felt grateful that we could be of assistance to him," said Jerry Levine, director of the Home. "It was a payback. He was there for the community and then when he needed it, the community was there for him."

Krieger, a San Francisco native, served as president of the board from 1967 to 1970, but he was active for many more years as chairman of the building and admissions committees.

Levine said Krieger promoted the Home's tradition of providing "a high quality of services to all regardless of their income."

About 75 percent of the home's 450 residents are low-income seniors, with an average age of 87. Many have multiple chronic diseases and could not otherwise afford live-in assistance and medical care.

Stephan Krieger and his wife, Arlene, have continued Krieger's legacy of involvement at the Home. Arlene Krieger is vice president and is set to become the next board president.

"I hope the grandchildren will some day be involved. That's what Jewish community is all about," said Levine, who was hired at the home by a committee that included Krieger.

The activist also served as past president at Sinai Memorial Chapel in San Francisco and was active at Congregations Sherith Israel and Emanu-El in San Francisco.

He once turned down an offer to be president of Hebrew Free Loan because he wanted younger people to get involved, son Stephan said. He instead was appointed as an honorary board member for life.

Krieger is remembered at San Francisco's Concordia Argonaut Club, where he was a member, as an avid water sports enthusiast.

"Whatever he took up, he gave his all to," Stephan Krieger said.

Gene Kaufman, director at Sinai, recalled Krieger as "a dynamic leader" who was involved in some of the chapel's cemetery acquisitions during the early 1960s.

Krieger retired from a family real estate business after an earlier stint in the automobile industry as an Oldsmobile salesman.

He is survived by another son, Dennis Krieger, and his wife Alice, of New York City; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two brothers, Alfred and Stanley Krieger, both of San Francisco. Krieger was preceded in death by his wife of 38 years, Georgette.

Private memorial services were held.

Donations can be made to the Jewish Home for the Aged, 302 Silver Ave., S.F., CA 94112, or a favorite charity.

Lori Eppstein

Lori Eppstein is a former staff writer.