Eugene “Gene” Oberdorfer II, age 86, passed away March 31, 2019. He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Saralyn Bonowitz Oberdorfer; children, Mike Oberdorfer of Suwanee, Julie Oberdorfer (Steven) Leibel of Dahlonega, Robin Oberdorfer (Stacy Kottman of Dahlonega; and six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, Don Oberdorfer, Jr. of Washington, D.C.
Gene was born in Atlanta in 1932 to Donald Sr. and Dorothy Bayersdorfer Oberdorfer. After attending Druid Hills High School, he graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a degree in business. Gene was a lifelong Carolina supporter, Alumni Association board member and avid Tarheel basketball fan. He supported UNC-Chapel Hill causes such as Zeta Beta Tau chapter and the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.
In 1953, he married Saralyn, his college sweetheart, and joined Oberdorfer Insurance Associates, a family-owned independent agency founded in 1921. Gene enjoyed a successful career at OIA, earning his Certified Property & Casualty Underwriter and Associate in Risk Management and serving as a leader in national and local insurance agent associations.
In the 1970s, Gene became OIA president and led the firm to rapid growth through innovation, providing commercial insurance for many prominent businesses and public entities, including Home Depot and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. After selling the agency, Gene retired in 1994 to Dahlonega and Longboat Key, Fla., where he and his wife were active supporters of education and the arts.
Throughout his adult life, Gene believed in giving back and was an active community leader. He was a founding member of Temple Sinai, active member of The Temple, and with Saralyn, developed an independent living program for adults with developmental disabilities that became the Jewish Family & Career Services Independent Living program.
Aside from his business acumen and community leadership, Gene was known for his gregarious, ‘never met a stranger’ personality and his generosity and devotion to family and friends. He loved tennis, playing from childhood into his early 80s, and was an active tennis member at The Standard Club.
Gene lived with dementia and Parkinson’s disease during the last six years, but continued to enjoy fresh air and music.
A memorial service celebrating Gene’s life was held Sunday, April 14 at the H.M. Patterson & Son – Arlington Chapel in Sandy Springs. There was visitation with the family with a reception following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Gene’s memory can be made to Annandale Village, a community for developmentally disabled adults in Suwanee, www.annandale.org.