Bertram A. Yaffe, a WWII veteran, former candidate for the Tenth Congressional District and public health activist passed away Monday morning after a brief hospitalization. He was 93.
Mr. Yaffe was a native of Sparta, Georgia. He graduated Emory University and was attending Emory Law School until joining the United States Marine Corps in 1941. He served in the Pacific theatre for twenty-seven months and was awarded the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars during the battles of Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima. He achieved the rank of Major. His memoir, Fragments of War: A Marine’s Personal Journey, was published by the Naval Institute Press in 1999.
He was a Democratic candidate for Congress in 1970, running as a progressive in opposition to the Vietnam Nam war. He founded and chaired the New England Coalition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, one of the first multistate efforts to coordinate regional health policy and programs. The World Health Organization recognized his efforts as a model of regional collaboration in 1988. He was President of the Erna Yaffe Foundation, an organization he founded in honor of his first wife Erna to promote health efficacy. Mr. Yaffe was appointed to the Massachusetts Public Health Council in 1979 and served through five administrations becoming the longest serving member in the Council’s history. He also served as President of both the Massachusetts Public Health Association and the Massachusetts Health Council.
Mr. Yaffe is survived by his sons, Eric and Rob, his daughter Cheryl, his grandchildren Alyson, Ross, and Kenna, his great grandson Bleecker, and their families.
Mr. Yaffe’s funeral with Military Honors will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, August 15, at Beth El Cemetery, N. Main St., Fall River, MA. All arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Hathaway Home for Funerals 1813 Robeson Street, Fall River, MA 02720.
In recognition of Bert’s dedication to public health, gifts in his memory that will continue the teaching and research that Bert supported throughout his life may be made to: Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition 90 Smith Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02120.