Dimi Berkner’s Eulogy For My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)

Gail Schlachter, Palo Alto

Gail Schlachter, Palo Alto

At my mom’s memorial service, we asked her long-time friend Dimi Berkner to say some words. Her eulogy:

Gail will be honored and celebrated for her fierce dedication to libraries and ALA and for her contribution to reference publishing. Our relationship was also built on those interests, but it was much more a friendship between two kindred spirits.

The year was 1971; the place was the University of Southern California Library. I was at my desk when this cheerful, intense, confident and determined little woman with a distinctive accent introduced herself to me. She said, “I teach social science book selection in the Library School. I understand you’ve just been hired to do social science book selection in the library. Would you like to come and talk to my class about how you do your job?”

And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that lasted 44 years through both of our careers in libraries and in publishing, through children and spouses, moving and changing, illness and recovery, happiness and loss. Gail was such a dear friend, such an amazing woman, such a role model for me: her dedication and work with ALA, where she ultimately achieved the influential executive position she’d worked toward for so many years; her entrepreneurial spirit–founding and maintaining her own unique reference publishing company, a company that has provided essential access for generations of students seeking higher education; her passion for real estate–she taught me that the best use of a Sunday afternoon in California was to go open houses and keep up with the real estate trends where you’d like to live; her boundless energy and love of learning, as her many degrees and ongoing projects demonstrated; and especially her love and support of her family, which motivated her recent move to this area.

We didn’t see each other that often in the last few years as our life circumstances changed, but we maintained our relationship and our caring for each other. We could pick up a conversation without hesitation two years after the last get-together; she made the time to attend both of my children’s weddings on opposite coasts and my husband’s memorial; we shared ideas, dreams, successes, life changes, and continued hope for the future. I was lucky and blessed to have celebrated her birthday dinner with her just five days before her operation, and I will have those happy memories of our last time together. Gail left us all much too soon, and we will miss her terribly.

There will be another memorial service for Gail Schlachter at the ALA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, June 28, 5 pm.

Blog Posts About Gail Schlachter Hauser’s Death

* Remembrance From My Mom’s Lifelong Friend, David Weber (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* Remembrance from Sumyyah Bilal
* An Example of How My Mom’s Books Helped Students (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* My Sister’s Eulogy For Our Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* My Eulogy For My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* From my wife: Gail Schlachter, My Mother-in-law, Remembered
* Selected Remembrances of Gail Schlachter Hauser (1943-2015)
* My First Mother’s Day Without My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* Signs That My Mom Is Still Thinking of Us (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* My Mom’s Idea of a “Really Good Day” (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* Initial Reflections on Losing a Parent (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* My Mom Died: Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015