Allen Trachtenberg: the driving passion of his life was his 61-year-long marriage to his artist wife Mitzi (Tyrnauer)

Allen Trachtenberg died March 11 at the age of 84 at home surrounded by his wife Mitzi, his children, their spouses and his grandchildren in Berkeley.

Having been diagnosed with cancer Allen underwent treatments that gave him four more years, outliving all expectations, during which he traveled, tutored, campaigned and savored the company of his large family and rich circle of friends.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1927, Allen’s grandparents and parents immigrated there from Poland and Russia. His life was informed by his Socialist, Jewish Orthodox grandfather who instilled values of social justice on which he acted and agitated in the Civil Rights movement and the United Farmworkers’ boycotts.

In 1962, a freedom of speech controversy erupted in Pittsburgh when the couple co-sponsored a Pete Seeger concert. With his children and grandchildren he marched against the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He went to Mexico City to do election protection and to Chiapas to understand the Zapatista movement. At 79 he and Mitzi began volunteering at a model pre-school in Richmond, CA.

At 17, he enlisted in the Navy to fight the Nazis. A graduate in Political Science and Economics of the University of Pittsburgh, the driving passion of his life was his 61-year-long marriage to his artist wife, Mitzi (Tyrnauer). Their good fortune included two children, followed by the news-making birth of their triplets.

Allen worked for Robert Bruce Menswear for 25 years as a salesman and sales manager followed by six years with Campus Sportswear. An excellent golfer, Allen shot a hole-in-one on two separate occasions. Survived and forever loved by his wife Mitzi, his children Larry (Ingrid Henningsson), Amy (Jeffrey Miller), Julie, David (Dr. Elizabeth Trachtenberg), Robert (Catherine Lazio) and grandchildren, Daniel, Nathan Miller, Leo Miller, Emma, Gaetano, Mia, Rose and Samuel, his brother Bernie (Shirley), sister-in-law Charlene and many beloved nieces and nephews. Allen was pre-deceased by his brother Jack.

With much appreciation to the outstanding doctors and nurses at Kaiser Permanente, Dr. David Larson at UCSF, Senior Helpers, and Vitas Hospice. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Richmond College Prep School, PO Box 2814 Richmond, CA 94802 or the ACLU of Northern California.

Berkeleyside is always happy to publish, at no cost, obituaries of members of the Berkeley community. Please email text and photo(s) to

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...