Erica Cecilie Weinberg, 90, died on Aug. 29, 2012 at the University of Chicago Medical Center after a brief illness. Born in Berlin, Germany on April 2, 1922 to Edward and Kathe (Staub) Müller, she was a clinical social worker. For over 50 years, she worked in a wide range of foster home and mental health agencies in Chicago and western Massachusetts, where her responsibilities included training social work student interns from Smith College.
She had a gift for working with troubled children, which developed in part from her own experiences of loss and displacement growing up Jewish in the shadow of the German Nazi regime. At the age of 8, she lost her father to illness. In 1934, at the age of 12, Mrs. Weinberg and her brother were sent for their own safety to America. Before their mother joined them several years later, the children lived in a series of foster homes and were thrust into the Chicago public schools with no knowledge of English.
Despite these challenges, she earned top grades and an academic scholarship to the University of Chicago, where she received her B.A. in 1943 and her M.A. in 1945 from the School of Social Service Administration. She met her future husband there, and they married in 1943.
After the war, they to raised a family in Chicago and moved to Oak Park in the 1950s. In addition to her social work career, Mrs. Weinberg enjoyed playing piano, listening to classical music, gardening, exercising, teaching Sunday school, attending classes and forums, and reading books in her native German. She always said that giving birth to her five children was her proudest achievement.
Erica Weinberg is survived by her sons, Benjamin, Carl, Daniel, and David; her grandchildren, Eric, Max, Kevin, Eli, Anna, and Leo; and her cousins, Joram Seggev and Lesley Lewis. She was preceded in death by her husband, Meyer; her daughter, Rachael; and her brother, Frederick.
Interment took place on Sept. 14, 2012 at Waldheim Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the League of Women Voters of Chicago, 332 S. Michigan Ave, Suite 525, Chicago, IL 60604.