Humility, love is remembered

IRVINE — He was a man who took the time to hug everyone, including a homeless person on the street.

He was a husband who took the time to tell his wife dozens of times a day that he loved her.

And he was a patient father who taught his children about humility and kindness.

He was a man of faith and hope, the kind of friend who was always there.

These were some of the words used to describe Rabbi Bernard King during his funeral Thursday at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma'alot, the Jewish temple in Irvine that was first founded in Newport Beach and where he served for more than 30 years.

King died of liver cancer on Monday at his home in his Lake Forest home. He was 72.

Hundreds of mourners representing a cross-section of generations and faiths, including Muslims and Christians, gathered for the service at the temple on Michelson Drive.

There were no words close enough to describing King's passion and commitment to harmony and justice, said Rabbi Elie Spitz.

King's widow, Barbara, described her husband's ever-lasting love for her by reading a poem that she had composed for him earlier this year.

"Your love carved a canyon through the mountains of my life," she said.

King's widow, and the couple's three sons and daughter could hardly contain their tears as they stood close to one another, holding and comforting one another.

King's children recalled memories of their father ranging from their early childhood to adulthood. They drew laughs from the audience as they described his playful and funny side.

"I always felt his strong love for me," said his son Neil, adding that his fondest childhood memory was of his father holding his hand.

King's humility and humanity was with him since his childhood, said a lifelong friend, Norman Krug. Even as a child, King would take the blame for his friend's mischief, Krug recalled.

The inside of the funeral program read "Bernie's 7th Inning Stretch," a title that he had chosen before dying. King loved baseball and had described life through the prism of the national pastime.

The funeral program's front-page read, "U2RHoly," which King had on his SUV's custom license plate.

That was also a sign of King's conviction that everyone mattered to him, Spitz said.

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