Beverly Shirley Kerness Unger
1924 ~ 2023
Beverly Shirley Kerness Unger, 98, of Westbury New York, Salt Spring Island and Victoria British Columbia, La Jolla California and Portland Oregon, devoted and beloved wife of Robert (Bob) Samuel Unger for 63 years and loving mother of Jane Unger, Martha Rothstein, Thomas Unger and Sally Unger. Born June 13, 1924 and died April 1, 2023.
Dubbed “Bevy Bubbles” in her youth, her effervescent personality continued to justify that moniker. Growing up in Fall River, Massachusetts to Sara and Morris Kerness, both immigrants from Kiev, Beverly was the second of four daughters to finish college when she graduated from Simmons College in 1944. She also earned a Master’s degree in social work at Columbia University. She worked as a social worker for the Red Cross and the Jewish Board of Family and Child Services before earning certification to practice as a psychiatric social worker. Resourcefulness could have been her middle name. She co-founded the Westbury Co-Op Nursery School when she couldn’t find one to her liking for her first-born.
Pioneer could have been another middle name. She and her husband emigrated to Salt Spring Island in B.C., Canada in 1977 where she literally turned apples into apple cider when she helped create Phoenix Orchards. She helped found the Core Inn on Salt Spring, a non-profit center that provides child and family services. Bev and Bob spent many winters in La Jolla to escape the Pacific Northwest weather. After moving to Victoria, she supported the Victoria Symphony and its music composition program for youth. The symphony dedicated its April 15 concert to her. Her support of the symphony and other community organizations resulted in her receiving a Valued Elder Recognition Award in 2020 from the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health in Victoria. A true lover of all the arts and literature, she belonged to multiple book groups wherever she lived and attended the symphony, opera, and theatre until the end of her days.
Bev and Bob loved travel and made friends wherever they went. She leaves behind dear friends of all ages and nations. She was preceded in death by Bob and her four siblings. She is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Victoria Symphony, the Beverly Kerness Unger Scholarship Fund (c/o Trustees of FR HS Alumni Scholarships, PO Box 2519, Fall River, MA, 02722-2519), or the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s Unger Family Fund for Children and Their Mothers and Senior Women in Need (online at ssifoundation.ca/support-a-cause/).
“And death shall have no dominion.”