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Murray Sokoloff

1925 ~ 2022

Murray Sokoloff was born in Toronto, Canada on December 26, 1925 of immigrant parents from Poland and Ukraine. His independent nature blossomed right from the start, always preferring to play baseball rather than go to Yiddish school. As a child, education was not his primary concern. Having fun was.

Murray hid his color blindness to join the Canadian navy during World War II. When he learned that the Jewish underground needed volunteers to help ferry Holocaust survivors from the camps to Palestine, he used his color blindness to obtain an honorable discharge from the navy, and he joined the Machal. He was assigned to a ship called the Haganah which transported thousands of Holocaust survivors. As a British subject, his participation would have been considered a capital offense. Extra special care was taken by the crew of the Machal to protect their Canadian volunteer, including the time the British boarded the ship. The crew dressed him as a Red Cross worker and successfully smuggled him off the ship into a hidden compartment underneath a water truck.

After the War he returned to Toronto and married Lila Greenburg in 1948. They were happily married for over 60 years until Lila's passing. After getting married, they moved to California to join his siblings and mother, and had two children: Fern and Jacob. Murray started his own successful electrical engineering company, Murray Sokoloff Electric and went to night school to continue his education. He became enamored with the Spanish language and at the age of 35 decided to change his life's direction.

In 1963 Murray moved the family to Mexico City for the adventure of their lives. He studied at the University of the Americas and perfected his Spanish. On returning to California a year later, he was granted a teaching position at Wilson High School in Long Beach where he was an extremely popular and inspirational teacher. At Wilson he became a school counselor while continuing his night school education. He earned his Master's Degree and became one of the school psychologists for Long Beach Unified School District until his retirement at age 75 where he redirected many kids away from violence and gangs, inspiring many to become educators and good humans. He also taught night classes in Spanish at Long Beach City College for 26 years.

After retirement Murray taught Spanish in the OLLIE (Older Living and Learning) program at CSULB. In 2017 to the delight of his family, he left Long Beach for the Bay Area to be with his daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He continued to teach Spanish at his assisted living community in Emeryville up until the age of 93.

Murray was an incredibly passionate man and delved deeply into one interest after another. Some of his passions included classical music and opera, languages, baseball, fishing, golfing, boating and especially travel. He made it his mission to visit every Spanish speaking country in the world -- and was successful. He also wished to visit every ballpark in the U.S. but sadly did not quite see them all.

In his wake he leaves behind the continuation of his guiding principles: love, kindness, positivity, humor and humility. He was famous for saying there is a positive solution to every situation, it is just up to us to find it. He also said that there are more good people in this world than bad people. Those of us who survive him are extremely lucky to have been touched by him. We continue to strive to live up to his guiding principles. Wherever he went he beamed happiness, joy and positivity to all he encountered. What a magnificent man. What an incredible life!

If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact Fernwood Cemetery and Funeral Home at: 415-383-7100 or through the form on our Contact page.

We invite you to visit us, meet with a member of our team, and take a guided walk around.