William “Bill” Harris Widawsky, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died Jan. 12, at the age of 79 at home in Costa Mesa, Calif. Born, raised and educated in Brooklyn, N.Y., Widawsky graduated from the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1958 with a degree in chemical engineering and promptly drove across the country to his first job, in California’s Mojave Desert, one of his many adventures in life. He lived the remainder of his life in Southern California, serving as an engineer and scientist in the aerospace industry for the majority of his career; his work on the Viking mission to Mars was one of his career highlights.
In addition to his formal training as an engineer and scientist, he taught himself and others to do many other things, from installing sprinklers to computer programming. He had enormous affinity – in good and bad times – for the Los Angeles Lakers, and particularly followed Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.
Widawsky was a devoted and loving husband to his wife of 30 years, Dianne, with whom he shared a love of music, theater, sports and travel and the talent to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company. He was a role model and loving father to his children: Lisa (Shemer) Leibovici, David (Shulamit) Widawsky, Daniel (Rachel) Widawsky, Aaron Espana, Rachel (Yehuda) Landsman, and David (Lorelei) Espana. He made sure all his children were regularly reminded of the formal chemistry definition of pH. Widawsky was proud of, and grateful for, his seven grandchildren: Joseph, Matan, Barak, Elias, Sophie, Rafael and Shaul. His warmth, impish smile and irrepressible humor will be remembered.
Esther Cohen (nee Kleinsztern), age 74, died Jan. 22, in Beachwood, Ohio. Beloved wife of “Bip” Lipman Cohen of St. Louis; devoted mother of Lisa (Alec) Stone of Silver Spring and Barbie (Drew) Barnholtz of Beachwood; stepmother of Byron Cohen of Calif. and Susan Osser of Calif.; loving grandmother of Aviva, Arianna, Ayden and Aryeh Stone, Sadie and Stella Barnholtz, Jonathan and Melissa Osser; dear sister of the late Yakov Kleinsztern.