July 21, 1926 – July 16, 2014
Resident of Los Altos since 1952
Florence Heeger, who balanced a full life both professionally and personally, died July 16th in Sunnyvale surrounded by her two children, son-in-law, and devoted caregivers.
Florence was passionate about her family as well as about making her own contribution in the world. Her professional career included being a litigator and partner for Nelson, Perlov and Lee Attorneys at Law 1974-1990, becoming one of the first female arbitrators of Santa Clara County, and serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California.
Fleeing persecution in Russia, Florence’s father Meyer emigrated from the Ukraine through China in 1917, finally reaching America in 1922. Separated by the Russian Revolution, it was another 8 years before Florence’s mother Olga and older brother Leo were able to join Meyer where he settled in Salinas, California. The next year, Florence was born. Raised in Salinas, Florence lived through turbulent times in a rapidly changing world, and like her mother Olga, she was renowned for spinning captivating stories of events that held deeper truths. Florence attended Stanford University and soon after the war married her sweetheart Raymond Perlov (who was the brother-of-a-friend-of-the-daughter-of-Olga’s-best-friend-from-Kremenchug-Urkraine). It was a loving marriage that made everyone happy and produced three children in rapid succession.
Early in her married life, Florence immersed herself in local politics, working for the League of Women Voters, and inspiring her three young children to be informed, support the under-served, and keep licking those envelopes! Florence met some of her oldest and dearest friends through the League, and always valued the importance of educated, democratic civic engagement and the advancement and independence of women. When Raymond became ill, Florence returned to school to seek a career in law to support her and her family. Graduating from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1974, Florence was admitted to the California State Bar in 1974.
Predeceased by her husbands, Raymond Perlov, and William McDonald M.D., and by her eldest daughter Leslie Perlov, Florence is survived by her husband Michael Heeger, whom she married in 1994. Mike made Florence laugh, took her on many wonderful trips abroad, and brought into her life his three lovely children who enriched her life even more and immediately became an integral part of Florence’s expanded family. In addition, Florence is survived by her daughter Diane Perlov and son Craig Perlov; three nieces and two nephews: Susie, Emily, Ricky, Allan and Melinda; four step children: Scott, Megan, Laura (Lolly), and Susan; two grandchildren: Noah and Deanna Marie; and one great granddaughter Matilda Ines Leslie. Her sister in-law Helen Levin who was key in introducing Raymond to Florence so long ago is now 101 years old. Florence’s great grandson was born just days after she passed away. He was born on her birthday, July 21st and was named (as she knew he would be) after her beloved brother Leo. Florence always welcomed her ever-widening family with her characteristic warmth and humor. “I can’t ever marry again; I have no room for a longer dining room table!”
Florence was a joyful extrovert who always looked forward, never back. She never saved collectables, photos, or letters, saying, “People are important to me, not things.” Despite having suffered many loses in her life, Florence was resilient. “You work hard to get the best hand you can. But ultimately, you need to play the cards you are dealt”. And she played her hand with a resolute love of life and inner-strength. A voracious reader, fast walker, imaginative story-teller, beautiful dancer, and inspirational role-model, Florence immersed herself in the world and gave with selfless generously to family and friends. She had a great sense of humor and strength that supported many. Florence - with her infectious laugh and twinkling eyes - will be deeply missed but never forgotten.
A private Celebration of Life is pending. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name can be made to the League of Women Voters of California.