Sidney Lerner

December 10, 1930 — January 12, 2021

Sidney Lerner Memorial

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Family & Friends of Sid

Live stream HERE on February 21, 2021 at 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

A photo montage will play in advance of the Memorial at 3:30 PM so feel free to log onto this website at that time to see Sid through the years.

Leave a Memory of Sid Below

Sidney Lerner's Memory

I first met Sid over lunch in a small restaurant in Downtown Syracuse. I didn’t know much about him then, but remembered we had a fun conversation about his time as a student, the ideas he had about promoting public health, and our mutual interest in breaking conventions – especially in higher ed. He must have enjoyed and remembered the conversation too, because I received a call from my boss a couple years later telling me that Sid wanted to work with me on a new project. That was probably the most significant call I received while I was at the University, as it began a journey that has become a highlight in my career.

Over the course of several months, I got to know Sid more closely in creating the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion. While being very driven, and always challenging others to steps outside their silos in order to see the bigger picture, I admired Sid’s sincerity and a deep personal commitment to supporting others. He never placed himself above others, but that didn’t stop him from believing what is right, becoming impatient with those who stood in his way, and doing his best to change the world for the better. Those are the traits of a great social entrepreneur.

I will also remember the trust Sid placed in me. We always had a very open and honest two-way conversation. He asked for my advice, and valued my opinion. He would tell me if he didn’t like something without worrying about offending or without me feeling offended. It made for a relationship that was very natural, and one that anyone should strive to have with their colleagues. After we launched the Lerner Center, and I went on to work on other things, we would often talk and Sid would continue to ask for my thoughts.

On a personal note, I will remember his humor and natural ability to come up with a unique one liner to lighten the mood. I will remember the love he and Helaine have for each other, and just how much they compliment each other in life and in their philanthropic endeavors. Their partnership is something we all should try to replicate with our friends and our families.

I will miss Sid, but it was a pleasure to have known him, and to have fond memories. He set an example that others should follow.

Eric Persons

I knew Sid for many years. We shared ideas for new products and new ways to do business/nonprofit activity. He was extremely creative. One project we had was to start Fastball, which was to have both retired professional and college athletes forming teams to play flag touch football on television – unfortunately, we couldn’t find a sponsor.

Bud Feuchtwanger

I’ve known Sid and Helaine literally my whole life.

There are many things I will miss about Sid. For one thing, his sense of humor. By the time I was 7 I had a very good idea how funny my father was. It wasn’t long afterwards that I realized there was a good reason he and Sid were such good friends. Sid was hilarious. And like my dad, he enjoyed making others laugh, and I loved being part of his audience.

Sid was also a good listener. You could tell him any story and he’d find a way see what was interesting about it and make a relevant comment or two. One time my dad told Sid about a recent run-in at the movies he and my mom had experienced with a young couple and their unruly . . . child. As funny at the story was, Sid’s reaction was even funnier. He really knew how and when to say the exact perfect thing to put a capstone on an already great conversation.

Sid wasn’t condescending. Even when I was 6, I never felt like I was being talked down to by a “grown up”. I always felt like I was talking to a friend. A friend who always showed a real interest in me.

When I graduated from high school I was more interested in having Sid and Helaine there and other family friends like them than I was the friends in my own age group. Of course they were invited to and gladly attended my graduation party. I still have and use the graduation present they gave me.

I’m very grateful that the last time I saw Sid in person, almost 20 years ago before moving away, I gave him a big hug so he knew how important he was to me.

Grant Schinto

An amazing celebration of a life lived!
I am most grateful that I met and got inspired by Sid.
Always combining energy and determination with a smile.
I add a picture of our first encounter 12 years ago.
I miss you

Thomas Hartung

Sid with Mark Ruffalo and Peggy Neu at a Climate Week Event

Cherry Dumaual

Sid made beauty queens smile (at UN event).

Cherry Dumaual

“If you believe it and it’s true, stand up for it.” Sid Lerner, Visionary, World Hero

Jennifer Skiff, Author & Animal Advocate

I have known Sid mostly through his companionship and working in partnership with Helaine. I can easily picture both walking down the halls in the office together conferring. His energy was always on high and his greetings filled. But perhaps one of my best memories is that he and Helaine always waited for each other–not because they could but because they wanted to. The care they showed for one another on a daily basis was inspiring and a model for all of us to love each other much every day.

And to you dear Helaine- I am so sorry for this loss. Thank you and your family for helping to put this marvelous memorial video about Sid together–I caught some great photos of you in there as well Helaine-love the dancing dip and your movie star wedding photo! The twinkles in your eyes and springs in your steps in the pictures really make for an enduring and amazing New York story.

Thinking of you and looking forward to seeing you again.

With much affection,

Urvashi Rangan

Dear Helaine,

Sid’s creativity and insight helped make our organization what it is. Every day we use some tool, do some task, use some process, that you and Sid played a part in building for us. I’m reminded of him constantly and will miss him very much. Thank you for including me in his memorial, best wishes and lots of love from all of us at HonestReporting. –Daniel

Daniel Pomerantz

Sid was not only a relative but also a great friend.


Sid was a warm hello. A friendly chuckle. An honest conversation. About things that mattered. He was a creative genius. He paved the way to doing the right thing. In a world that needs outside of the box leadership. I am grateful for the advice Sid offered me over the years. His keen eye. His direction. He will be missed.

We are so sad to hear that Sid san left us in Jan. 12th of this year, but so grateful to see him again today.
Helaine san , Thank you for this wonderful pictures and letting us know his lifelong
friendship and kindness with everyone.
Sid san will be always in our heart and soul of our life.

Shigeki & Fumiko Matsubara

Sid was a talented, energetic and generous spirit, and I enjoyed spending time with and learning from he and Helaine over the past five years. I personally benefited from how he integrated his expertise, passion, leadership, and philanthropy. I am grateful for his support of Syracuse University and the legacy he has entrusted us to carry out.

David Van Slyke

Will miss our wine and chat!

Gloria and Edith

As an employee of AJC I am enormously grateful for the transformative impact of the Lerners on our work. Thanks to Sid’s compassionate vision and generosity, we are now functioning at a whole new level with far more capacity to bring so much good into the world. The memorial was deeply moving and inspiring – he was a true original and a remarkable man. My deepest condolences to Sid’s family. May his memory be a blessing.

Michael Gilbert

we always looked forward to our dinners together. They filled us with warmth. And because Sid was so very modest we never realized we were in the company of not only a kind, smart and funny man but a great one. love to you Helaine and thanks for sharing him with us.

fran and alan

Sid was a creative genius who brimmed over with amazing ideas. I have so many fond memories of Sid offering inspired designs and memorable phrases. He was always witty, clever and had such great stories.I always walked away energized. I’m grateful to have had the good fortune to know Sid–he will be sorely missed.

Wenonah Hauter

It is a joy and a privilege to work at GRACE and carry on the work that Sid and Helaine have created, and I will miss seeing Sid’s face in the halls. What a remarkable life he led – thank you for this beautiful tribute to his memory. All my thoughts are with Helaine and the rest of his lovely family.

Maggie Tauranac

Along with other members of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Executive Council, I have heard so much about Sid and his incredible warmth and wisdom. Because of Sid and Helaine’s generosity, we have been able to undertake initiatives that meant so much to him and that make an appreciative difference for the Jewish people. May his memory be for a blessing.

Joyce Silberstang, AJC Executive Council

Flying to New York for a meeting with Helaine and Sid remains one of my fondest professional memories. While the main topic was animals, Sid and I found we had a degree or two of separation as he reminisced about the great old advertising agencies in Detroit a half century ago, the world in which my wife grew up. Sid’s special sauce was matching creativity to his compassion.

Mitchell Fox

Thank you for including me in mourning Sid’s loss. he was a special person. It was a joy working with Sid alone with all the conversation we had together, I will cherish the memories I have of Sid. He was thoughtful and generous, and his devotion to Meatless Monday and public health was admirable. He will be deeply missed. With my deepest and heartfelt condolences.


Although I was not fortunate enough to spend time with Sid, through my work at American Jewish Committee (AJC), I have seen firsthand the impact that Sid has had on the Jewish world. Through his generosity and vision, AJC has been able to break new ground in Muslim-Jewish relations and to reach millions of people across the world with messages of change and hope. I am privileged to have been a part of some of these efforts, and know that Sid’s legacy will continue each and every day through our work.

Belle Yoeli, American Jewish Committee (AJC)

Sid will be missed very much. His support of AJC was crucial and so important. May his memory always be for a blessing.

Anthony Meyer

I am blessed to work at AJC where Sid Lerner’s name is spoken with reverence. He and Helaine have done so much to support our organization. While I never met him, I heard so much about Sid from my colleagues, that I felt as if I knew him. He was a mensch, a brilliant businessman and a passionate supporter of what he felt was important. May his memory be a blessing.

Janet Besso Becker, AJC Chief HR and Strategy Officer

I had the privilege of meeting Sid (z”l) a handful of times while he and Helaine met with AJC CEO David Harris. Sid always lit up the room, and of course, I knew his passion for furthering Muslim-Jewish relations. I also participated in the life-changing Muslim World League-American Jewish Committee trip to Auschwitz and Warsaw, which simply would not have been possible without the vision and generosity of Sid Lerner. Sid’s involvement with AJC changed the trajectory of Muslim-relations. I’m grateful to have met him and will continue to remember him every time I think of the historic trip to Auschwitz.

Jillian Laskowitz, AJC

Dana Smith

I always enjoyed meeting with Sid, learning from his insights and passionate beliefs. I will miss him.

Bob Martin

An honor and privilege to work for you and to help carry out your mission. You are definitely missed. We will not loose sight of your mission, spirit and passion as we continue the good fight! Thank you for all you created.

Dana Smith

Sid thanks for being a giant in the field of public health. Your passion, devotion and spirit was always felt. Thank you for touching the hearts, minds and souls of so many! While we will always remember you, we will have a special memory of you on Mondays! Deepest condolences to Helaine and her family. With love and admiration. Gina Wingood

Gina Wingood

My earliest memories are of Sid visiting the farm in his red mustang convertible. He was so cool! Aunt Jean used to brag that he spent his summers on Fire Island. Whatever that was.

Shirley Werner Kornreich

Though we never met, I will be forever grateful for Sid’s profound impact on American Jewish Committee, where I work, and the world at-large. Sid was a true visionary. His (and Helaine’s) generosity, insight, and creativity have made the world a better place. May his memory be a blessing.

Jon Schweitzer

I loved the dinners at your apartment in the 70’s; there were always so many intriguing people around. Sid’s rapier wit always stole the show. But I seem to remember a delicious goose for dinner one night, pre-food consciousness for us all!

Ruby Lerner

The heart of a gardener.

Thomas Muse

Sid was one of the last surviving members of the Strick/ Lebowitz family. We mourn his passing and remember the family times we shared.

The Strick sisters and Trudy


Your stories of creative courage and ingenuity will always be an inspiration. Elizabeth and I hold dear the endless encouragement and guidance you’ve shown us. We will forever cherish each smile and every tale you shared with us.
Scott & Elizabeth

Scott Valins

Sid was a man of great energy and passion. Whether he was talking about the Meatless Monday campaign, of which he was so proud, or his work with AJC to combat antisemitism and to build mutual respect among all people, Sid spoke with gusto, with a full heart, and a mind that was fully engaged, firing off new ideas. I admired his tremendous facility with language, and his ability to distill an issue or idea into a clever, memorable phrase. I’ll truly miss all of these things about Sid, and appreciate all of the time I’ve been able to spend with him and his beloved, Helaine.

Julie Schair, AJC Chief Development Officer

Dear Sid – I will always be grateful for your encouraging words, kind support, and amazing ability to come up with tag lines and titles for campaigns and work! You were such a help, and I so appreciate you and your guidance over the years. You and Helaine will always be such a powerful force for change. Thank you. With much love and appreciation.

Diane Hatz

Sid was a true leader. His (and Helaine’s) guidance and support have been transformative to our work and to me personally. My favorite memories of him were when we would just sit and talk about the world. All he wanted to do was make the world a better place and it is because of him. His legacy will continue to live on. Sid we miss you and may your memory be a blessing!

Avi Posnick (StandWithUs)

I didn’t get to work with Sid much, being on the “other side” of the GRACE office, but when I did, his creativity, passion, and drive were so evident. You will be very much missed at GRACE. All of our thoughts are with Helaine and your family!

Megan Saynisch

Sid had a million ideas – really, really great ideas – and he was always interested in other people’s ideas as well. The world is a better place for every living thing thanks to Sid, his ideas, and his ability to bring these to life.

Mark RItchie

Bob sharing memories with Sid about being in the CIC in the US Army

Robert Marshall

Sid took me under his wing at Benton & Bowles in the ’60’s and I’ve been blessed to have Sid’s mentorship, wisdoms and friendship with me throughout my life and career. An amazing man. I will miss Sid very much.

Hank Wasiak

I am AJC’s Chief Financial Officer and have been with AJC for close to 13 years. I deeply believe in the mission of AJC. As I am responsible for the financial wellbeing of this leading Jewish organization, it would be impossible to do my job without the financial support of our most loyal donors, and Sid and Helaine Lerner are at the top of the list. Their love and support for Israel and the Jewish people is second to none. Jews all over the world are the beneficiaries of their commitment to these causes, which is backed up with the philanthropic support that is given at the absolute highest levels. The world lost a beautiful soul in Sid, but the world for the Jewish people will forever be a better place because of Sid Lerner. He will be missed and his memory will be cherished forever by so many, me included! May Sid’s memory be a blessing.

Rick Hyne

I had the pleasure of meeting with Sid, often together with Helaine, on numerous occasions. Each time, I couldn’t help but marvel at the speed of his mind and the brilliance of his ideas. Sid was deeply dedicated to Israel and the Jewish people and he invested his boundless passion and tremendous professional experience in efforts on their behalf. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Sid Lerner, whose legacy will live on in the countless people across America, Israel, and the world whose lives were touched by him and his work.

Avi Mayer, AJC

As an AJC (American Jewish Committee) staff member, I am grateful for Sid Lerner’s support of our organization’s mission in profound ways. He has left an indelible impact on all we do at the agency. May the memory of Sidney Lerner be for a blessing. May his family be comforted by his immortal legacy.

Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC (American Jewish Committee)

Sid’s life was a blessing to us all. His positive impact on the world will be felt for generations to come, and for that I am especially grateful. My deepest condolences to Helaine and his entire family.

Pamela Frasch

The impact of Sid Lerner’s vision, dedication, and generosity on the world, and specifically on the security and well-being of the Jewish people, was profound — and will endure. So much of the work the American Jewish Committee has been able to undertake to advance Muslim-Jewish and Arab-Israeli understanding and cooperation has been made possible only because of Sid and Helaine Lerner’s commitment; this work has been groundbreaking, and generations across the Middle East, around the world, and in our country will remain always in their debt. Words are insufficient…but thank you, Sid, for your powerful and lasting contributions to a better world for our people and for all.

Jason Isaacson, AJC Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer

We will deeply miss your wonderful stories, thoughts and creativity.

Gay Goldman

What a raconteur! I loved hearing all of Sid’s stories. Our dinners together were such fun. I’ll miss Sid and love to you, Helaine.

Susan Ackerman

Sid, your passion for public health, and improving the lives of people across the globe, has been the inspiration for my own journey in this field. We at NYU will remember you always, and especially on Mondays!

Kim Glassman

Sid was a friend from the moment I met him. His enthusiasm was contagious and his desire to help was appreciated beyond words. Sid and I (and Helaine) had many, many candid conversations asI tried to be a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as possible because Sid was a true genius. The fact that Sid believed in our organization and in what I was doing was an incredible honor. I looked forward to meeting, and in the last year, speaking with Sid any chance I could. His wealth of knowledge did not go unnoticed and I am forever grateful for the limited time I knew him. His incredible personality, spunk, and passion will be missed by all. May Sid’s memory forever be for a Blessing.

Avi Gordon

I loved Sid, whom I had the pleasure of knowing for 20 years. Among the most creative, caring, brilliant, and impactful individuals I’ve ever met. His vision and generosity have literally transformed American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the larger world, for which we shall be eternally grateful. May his memory always be for a blessing.

David Harris

It was always delightful to interact with Sid on the occasions we were in NYC to meet about Healthy Monday initiatives. He was kind, thoughtful, and had a wonderful sense of humor. His impact has been tremendous.

Shannon Monnat, Syracuse University

I will always cherish the wonderful memories of our times together-including all our New Year’s eve celebrations !
You were an extraordinary human being .And what a pleasure it has been to know you and being your friend .-gloria kantor

Gloria Kantor

I’m a better person for knowing you, Sid. You’re very missed.

Shawn McKenzie

Cynthia and I were deeply saddened by Sid’s death and feel privileged to have known hims for these past two decades of his life. Sid was a good friend, a lively and humorous story teller, and a persuasive advocate for public health. I and my colleagues at the Center for a Livable Future learned much from Sid about the techniques and power of social marketing of health promoting messages. We will miss his counsel and encouragement, and most of all, the warmth of his friendship.

Bob Lawrence

I give thanks for Sidney’s long and productive life. He and Helaine did so much to strengthen public health and sustainability, and to a create a more caring and safer world. Meatless Mondays was only one of many inspired ideas and initiatives. We mourn his loss, but celebrate a vibrant and full life and his and Helaine’s wonderful years together.

Maren “Marnie” Imhoff

I wanted to thank you, Mrs. Lerner, and your late husband, for your visionary and generous support of AJC. Your impact is invaluable.
In sympathy,

Harriet P. Schleifer, President AJC

Sid frequently gave me good advice based on all reading and studying that he had done. He recommended some very good organizations to me in my foundations and I valued his good judgment. I also thought he had one of the great smiles of all my friends. .

David Gottesman

We feel like we are with you – and if it were a little later in the day we would be cradling a drink, watching Sid get his, and Helaine with her cranberry juice along with her vodka. We know that Sid will be with us when we both join Helaine for dinner in New York post-Covid!

Al and Jill

I have loved working with Sid en enjoyed listening to his innovative ideas on how to make the world a better place. I will miss him dearly. Martin

Martin W. Bloem

How we laughed at the last time we had dinner-main course: Head of:Roasted Cauliflower!


Sid, I will always remember how supportive you and Helaine have always been to me. Your words of encouragement in every endeavor that I pursued will stay with me forever. I loved the catch up dinners that the three of us used to have in the city. It was always great being with the both of you and hearing your amazing stories of a life well lived. I wish that I could see that smile one more time. Love, Jimmy

Jimmy Schwartz

We are grateful to join Sid’s friends and wish Helaine all the best. Sid was pivotal in the scientific work of Brij Saxena, and we look forward to continuing their legacy and vision.

Anjali & Ranjeet Saxena

Grateful for the many years we have known each other and for good times with
wonderful friendship we shared.


Thanks Sid.
Thanks for helping to bring my creative ideas to life.
Thanks for introducing me to sushi.
Thanks for making me laugh.

Bud Geisenheimer

I’m so grateful for Sid, not only for my livelihood, but for his kindness to me. I’ve worked at The Monday Campaigns for the last six years, coming from advertising myself, and it has been lifechanging to go from trying to make clients happy to trying to make a difference in the world. It was a real turning point for me and I’m so thankful to have been brought into Sid’s Monday family. My desk is right across from his office and I would often stay late because it worked out better for the train I needed to catch. Sid would sometimes pop out of his office after everyone else had left and spy me editing at my desk. He’d pull up a chair, ask me how I was doing, and talk about our latest work. And he loved to tell me stories of past projects. And after my son was born, he’d always ask how he was doing. I have to admit I was a little scared of him at first because he had such a commanding presence and very vocal opinions/critiques, but I got to see who he really was; the kind, passionate man that sat next to me at my desk, wearing his baseball cap, and talking about my son. Thank you, Sid, The Monday Campaigns has been such a blessing to my family and I, and the world.

Zachary Borst

As part of the AJC family, I am the beneficiary of Sid’s generosity and vision. Although we never met, his impact on and belief in our work is felt throughout the entire organization. We are so grateful and will always work to honor his memory. May his memory be for a blessing, and may the family find comfort in knowing what enormous good he did.

Melanie Pell

I absolutely adored the time I got to spend with Sid over about 15 years. He was so determined to make the world a better place through health promotion and health education….and he actually did it! His legacy impacts so many of us individually but it also truly reaches around the globe. After every single conversation with Sid, I was energized and ready to take on any public health challenge….no problem was too big for Sid, and no solution was beyond his reach. With much love and admiration, David

David Holtgrave


My brother Jimmy and I fondly remember you and Helaine coming over to our house every Friday night when we were kids. Jimmy and I were mesmerized as we watched you eat raw onions and smoked oysters in our living room before you would go out to Leo’s with our parents, Harvey and Carol. You guys were BFFs and we cherish the time that we all spent together.
We loved hearing about all of your incredible ideas and accomplishments and will treasure our memories of you forever.

Jane Kantor
Jimmy Schwartz

Jane Kantor

I salute Sid for a life well-lived.

Sid’s passion enveloped me and gave me my own passion for healthy causes. Every day at work was a good day, because I knew we were doing good for the world.

It was a pleasure working with and learning from Sid. And considerably exciting as well, since I never knew where his passion would lead us next.

I am bowing my head in acknowledgment of the influence Sid had upon me, and I will go forth advancing his mission, proudly and happily.

I also thank Sid for allowing me a cameo in his video (below).

Mark Driscoll

Sid was a kind man. A wonderful partner for Helaine. He had a positive impact on some many peolle, as individuals and the universe of mankind. He left the worls a better place to be. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on for generations.

Michael Weiner

Whether at dinner in NYC or on patio in Bridgehampton, always great conversation about our family and world affairs. I will miss our visits with him and Helaine.

Ted Ginsberg

Cousins photo from Simone & Josh’s B’nai Mitzvah 4/18/15

Irwin & Lisa Kizel

Grateful for the many years we have know each other and our wonderful friends. It’s been a long and enjoyable voyage.

Donny Hornung

Mr. Lerner’s creativity and philanthropy are inspiring. It is a true blessing to have met him. I’m humbled to continue to work to bring his vision to more people.


I am one of Sid’s first cousins. I remember a conversation with Sid right after I finished college. It was about art. I knew he was in advertising and I told him I had an interest in art. He encouraged me to continue taking classes in drawing and painting which I did for many years to come at The Art Student’s League in Manhattan. In subsequent conversations with Sid, he always had a professional quality to his conversations and also a pleasant tone of voice. He chose his words carefully and was always respectful, kind and pleasant.
My condolences to his wife, Helaine and sister, Ethel Gardiner, cousins and friends.
My message to Sid is that I wish you could have seen the paintings and graphic work I have accomplished. Life took over and although I’m sorry I didn’t see you and Helene so much. I am grateful for your kind encouragement in my youth. It stayed with me and I think you knew. With love for your memory and love for Helaine,
Thank you Sid, ????
With love, Faye

Faye Richland

Working with Sid for several years at Benton & Bowles in the early 60’s, our weekly lunches(introducing me to the joy of tempura and sushi), often joining him and Helene at their residence after work, and then maintaining that friendship for almost 60 years even tho I left Manhattan has been an important part of my life.

Sam Biondolillo

On our visits to New York from North Carolina, we always made dates for dinner with Sid and Helaine at one of their favorite restaurants to share wonderful evenings catching up on family stories. Their busy schedules always had time for us and we loved hearing about their travel and The Foundation. These dinner invitations were eventually even extended to our children when they moved to the city for work after college. Sid made sure our kids knew they were always available to them.
Having known Sid his entire life, we have always remarked that he was most proud of his work at JHU-his service to others and his “Meatless Mondays” the impact of which will be felt for generations. His ambition was to make a difference in our environment.
Sid was an inspiration to our family and he shall remain so in the lasting memories we all treasure about him and will always be able to share

Harry & Gloria Lerner

I’ve known Sid for 20 years now, and I will miss his presence– always a source of something interesting! He reminded me very much of my father–even though his feathers may have been ruffled on the outside, his warm heart inside was always apparent. He was a staunch supporter of his ideals, encouraging everyone to see it his way and then run with it. No one could ever accuse him of fence-sitting, or being un-opinionated! He was a worthy opponent on legal issues, for which, in the end, we always came to a meeting of the minds. We had similar interests in Jewish causes, and I always learned something new from him in our discussions. He was the true exemplar of what it means to be a mover and shaker. He shook up the world for the better.

Leslie Seff

There was nobody like him, always had a smile and a great story to tell !!!

gayle and mel gerstein

Sid, I miss your corny puns, impish grin, spirited debates and the fun we had as 2 former ad execs taking on the world of public health. Thanks for taking me along for the ride of a lifetime. With love and gratitude, Peggy.

Peggy Neu

Thank you for being such a good friend and mentor, Sid! Your constant creativity, infectious sense of humor and sincere generosity made you a one-of-a-kind “Mad man.” Your advice and support meant the world to us! We will forever miss you—and will continue to spread your Monday message. Rest In Power, Sir Sid!

Julie Graham

I stand on your shoulders.

Robert Graham

Our first date. Miss you man!

Robert Graham

I’ll deeply miss working with Sid. There was never a dull moment at The Monday Campaigns when Sid was around. He challenged us to always strive higher and applauded us when we delivered exceptional work. I loved his emails of “take a bow” or “good get.” He inspired us to think of new, different ways to present public health issues and solutions simply and memorably. Most of all, I’ll miss how Sid cared for our well-being. When I ran into him by the elevator or in the kitchen, he would ask with a warm, wide smile, “How’re you doing, kid?” When he would read about a typhoon in the Philippines, he would always ask about the welfare of my family living there. I enjoyed his stories of having spent time in the Philippines when he was stationed there during the war. He shared his memories of world travel with Helaine, sometimes suggesting fun restaurants he remembered. So, Sid, thank you for the memories and for the wonderful opportunity to have worked with you and learned from you.

Cherry Dumaual

Few people have so completely dedicated their time, talents and resources, on behalf of others, as Sid Lerner has. He is a sterling example of unwavering leadership and vision in our challenging times. Sid’s efforts all demonstrate a profound love of others.

May God keep ever alive the memory of Sid’s devoted life of service.

Dr. Victoria Hale / San Francisco, CA

Victoria Hale

Dear Helaine and family,

So much, that is so well deserved, has been said about Sid’s life and legacy, from awards and Honorary Degree citations, to personal letters of gratitude for Sid’s generosity and humanitarian impact. But owing to his innate modesty, even some family may not realize how much of a Renaissance man Sid truly was.

I had the privilege of knowing Sid not just in his role as philanthropist, but in his long and storied advertising career. When he worked in my marketing agency some years ago, Sid hatched many groundbreaking, even disruptive ideas that were not only brilliantly word-smithed, but which also broke the molds of tradition and established policy. He helped us convince the NCAA to use their official logo to promote several leading beer brands along with responsible drinking, to college football fans. His creativity led to the first ever corporately sponsored float in the Thanksgiving Day Parade … floating an aluminum foil logo in front of 55 million TV viewers globally. His ideas were often off the wall, or in one case, under the rug. In order to promote a revolutionary carpet fiber, he actually formed an original rock group to advertise the product in televised commercials. And then working with a leading hotel casino client, he crafted a campaign that would bring thousands of patrons from the NY metro & mid-Atlantic region to Atlantic City, by promoting the convenience of proximity: “You’ve Never Been So Close to So Much”… entertainment and winnings, of course.

Sid’s memory, and the special friendship we shared, will live in our hearts for so many reasons, not the least of which will be our many shared meals, his inspiration for the best way to enjoy a martini … and his spontaneous turn-of-phrase when he learned of our son’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis, “Don’t Let Diet Beat Us!”, which the ADA would eventually adopt as a nutritional motto.

I hope this shines a light on some of the lesser-known ways, even beyond Charmin’s Mr. Whipple, in which Sid’s intellect, wit and versatility made a memorable impact. I have a feeling he’d want you to have a smile on this occasion. And we all know he’d have something clever to say.

With love for our great friend,
Jeff and Judy McElnea

Jeff & Judy McElnea

I have known Sid for more than twenty years from my days in Cornell. I remember him as a man of character and firm commitments. We became co-owners and co-inventor in our dream project BioRings. He was a visionary and at the time when no one trusted non-hormonal for contraception, he took on the responsibility of bringing this health and empowerment for women to the world. He dedicated himself to this women centered project. He was the pillar of our progress and Sid will be deeply missed. I celebrate his life and will strive to fulfill his dream and make BioRings a reality. Energetically Sid is always present and leading us. Thanks and may god keep him in his care.

Mukul Singh MD, PhD

Dear Sid, we will miss you dearly. The few precious times we had together, I always came away inspired and moved by your passion for ‘doing good’ and making the world a better place … with a hefty dose of humor, wit, and love of life. We at the Bloomberg School promise to further our commitment to “… getting the knowledge out, informing the public and changing behavior.” You taught us well and will honor your legacy by keeping health promotion and advocacy front and center in all we do. Cheers (with Martini in hand) to a life well lived !

Ellen MacKenzie

A man of warmth, wit and wisdom, conversation with Sid dazzled and delighted, always imparting something fresh and new or provocative. Words were his currency, humor his forte. Only Helaine could keep up with him. Generosity was the guiding principle of this consummate wordsmith. It colors our memory of Sid forever.

Nancy Uberman

Dear Ms. Lerner,
May the legacy of your husband and the works that he, and you effectuated, serve to better the world in years to come. May his memory serve for a blessing.

Harriet P. Schleifer, President AJC

Sid Lerner was a remarkable man: smart, articulate, and passionate. He cared about the right things and the right causes. Interacting with Sid was a full contact sport—his wit and his intellect were equally prodigious. Everything he touched, whether people or institutions, he made better. The world is a poorer place without him in it. He will be missed.

Mike Klag

Sid–a deep hearted man–his loss is a guiding spirit , a memory for a sense of direction and purpose.
His wit stopped people in their tracks.
As Emerson said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
And Sid did not leave a stone unturned
He will be greatly missed.

Adele Schwartz

When I was a kid the landline would ring like clockwork on Friday early evening. My mom always had the same line” Oh , that’s Sidney Corky, let me get that”. This was the weekly Friday routine. My mom’s response” Yes Sidney, Irving is ok, we are all ok”. I knew my cousin Sid as the patriarch of our family. We were the product of immigrants from Eastern Europe , with very strong connections, and weekly updates if not daily. Of course Sid’s accomplishments would take up this entire page, Sid’s kindness and generosity has touched many of you. His objective was to improve the lives of people, animals, and make our world cleaner and greener. . He brought much awareness to this global problem. Sid was a humble man, from humble beginnings . A man of great wit, and humor. I feel the world lost a giant, but he left a legacy. I will miss you Sid Lerner, and always love you. … Corky…

Corinne Eskenazi

With our sincere appreciation for Sid’s generosity and support of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences and the Founder of our Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Deeply saddened by the loss of our collaborator and friend, we celebrate Sid’s life and know that his enthusiasm, commitment and vision for public health continue on through the work and dedication of those he inspired. Our sincere condolences to Helaine.

Kathleen Sikkema

It was 12 years ago when my granddaughter was attending nursery school that Sid started his campaign for Meatless Monday. My daughter in law
was hosting a group of concerned mothers who wanted to introduce a more nutritious menu at school. I heard them talk about adopting the Meatless Monday theme into the school. I mentioned to the group that I knew the man who started the campaign…They were delighted to hear all about him and asked me to let him know what I wonderful and clever idea they thought this was! Their campaign started and was successful in many nursery schools in the county.
SID’s goal was never about fame or fortune, but about making the country healthier one Monday at a time,
What a Guy!
Arlene Schwartz

Arlene Schwartz

Dear Sid, Thank you for your generosity and your vision for serving as our Founder for the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Mailman School of Public Health. Mailman School of Public Health faculty, fellows, and so many Mailman students have grown to understand the power of health communication from your legendary leadership. Your contributions as a public health advocate will always be remembered. Meatless Monday and the Monday Campaigns will always live on at Mailman. We extend our condolences to Helaine. Much love to an extraordinary man. Gina Wingood

Gina Wingood

My condolences to the Lerner’s, my mother Flo always talk about mr Lerner , Mrs Lerner you are a Gem and you two are beautiful couple mr Lerner you will be miss , Mrs Lerner stay strong

Flo and family

We so enjoyed our times together. Helaine, you and Sid together are very special to us.
Gail and Leonard Davenport

Gail and Leonard Davnport


It was an honor and pleasure to work with you. Sending my deep condolences to Helaine and all who loved you.

Bethany Jankunis

Bethany Jankunis

Sid, your intelligence and dry humor have been with me since our days at Syracuse thanks to email and facebook..

Julian Tomchin

Thank you Sid for being my mentor and my friend. The world and I will miss you. Rest in Peace, my friend.

Hank Wasiak

Thank you Sid for all the wonderful memories
we shared and the great times the four of us had
together -we so enjoyed your humor ,your wit ,
and your intelligence.And so admired your true
commitment to make our world a better place.
Will miss sharing our mutual birthday- ( will be thinking of you.)
With love -Gloria Kantor

Gloria Kantor

Sid, your insights and expertise about how to support people’s ability to take care of their health, mixed with immense altruism and desire to contribute to improving our lives and our world, were an unparalleled combination for good. And the difference you have made in the world is wide. I treasure the wit as well as insights you brought to elevate public health’s ability to deliver health to all, and your sustained dedication. your contributions are significant, enduring and treasured. Thank you! with love. Linda Fried

Linda P. Fried

The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health mourns the passing of dear friend Sidney Lerner. Sidney was a tireless public health champion whose vision and work improved the health of communities around the world. Sidney was one of Columbia Mailman’s greatest advocates and supporters and a dedicated member of the School’s Board of Advisors for 17 years. We will miss him deeply and we extend sincere condolences to his wife Helaine. May his memory be a blessing.

Dean Linda P. Fried, Columbia Mailman Board of Advisors

We celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Sidney Lerner, whose extraordinary vision, friendship and advocacy have been indispensable to our successes at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The Lerner family’s support of our Integrative Therapies Program continues to expand our capacity to help patients, and the professorship they established, the Sid and Helaine Lerner Chair for Global Integrative Medicine, marks their enduring commitment to assisting the most vulnerable among us. The Lerners’ emphasis on the wellness of our caregivers has been vital for all of us at Columbia, and for those we serve. Mr. Lerner’s commitment to public health, his value of collaboration, and his compassion for both patients and caregivers continue to inform our work every day – we are grateful for his generosity and example. We offer our condolences to his wife, Helaine, and to the extended Lerner family. Jordan S. Orange, MD, PhD Reuben S. Carpentier Professor Chair, Department of Pediatrics Michael Weiner, MD Hettinger Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics Elena J. Ladas, PhD, RD Sid and Helaine Lerner Associate Professor for Global Integrative Medicine Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Animal Welfare Trust mourns the loss of Sid Lerner who we remember as a creative force for social justice issues. His signature project, Meatless Monday, is a brilliant global campaign centered on public health but has also served to make millions of people to re-think their diet not just through the lens of health but also the plight of farm animals and the wellbeing of the planet. The world is better off for Sid’s well lived life and he will be missed

Brad Goldberg, President Animal Welfare Trust

I’m so sorry about Sid’s passing. Much love to everyone in the family.

Susan Rothkopf

We are so sad to hear of Sid’s passing. He is a man with a great reach and his legacy lives on through his beautiful family, his work, and his commitment to the well-being of all of us and to the planet. Sending much love from Andy Sabin and your friends at SOFO.

Diana Aceti

Both Sid and Helaine have been advocates for my work for many years. For that I am deeply grateful. In 2014, my book was published. But not without a book cover conundrum with my publisher. Back and forth with my editor about cover options, I decided to reach out to Sid (at the prompt of Scott Cullen) knowing that he would not only offer levity but also point me (and my publisher) in the right direction. That he did. It was so so simple yet he could see the solution that I wasn’t able to see. My heart smiles knowing that Sid’s touch will forever be imprinted on my book (and my heart). My deepest condolences and my heartfelt gratitude for an extraordinary man.

Stefanie Sacks

Sid – I will always recall our conversations over lunch or dinner. Your enthusiasm for life and making the world a better place was so refreshing and motivating. Your example of always seeking new knowledge by being a life long learner of new ideas and ways to help others was an example of great generosity and philanthropy. You and Helaine have been a guide for a life well lived.

Richard Hodosh

Richard Hodosh

Sid – Wherever you are now, in whatever universe or parallel reality, I know you’ll be using your creative genius to make that heaven a better place. I will always remember your kindness and encouragement – and help coming up with tag lines and campaign names! I will forever be deeply grateful for all your support. You and Helaine were – and still are! – a powerful force for positive change. I raise my glass with love and appreciation – Diane

Diane Hatz

Our common love for Syracuse U brought us from roommates in college to a lifelong friendship we’ve had these 70 years. I am grateful for the many enjoyable times we have had with our get togethers in N Y C and homecoming at Cuse. You were the planner and glue that made it possible.
Donny Hornung

Donny Hornung

Dear Sid, I miss you so much! You sure were the best father figure I ever had. Growing up, you were always such a big part of my life. Always there with smart advise and trying to make my life better in every way. I always looked up to you when I was a child, and I still do, and always will. You are one the most incredible, caring people I’ve every known. I will always remember all you have taught me over the years. I will always love you. Your Nephew, Danny

Shari Jo Gardner

Dear Uncle Sid, We miss EVERYTHING about you…Your bright cheerful hello, anytime we called, your uplifting smile, sharing times together laughing, discussing our lives and all that you always wanted to change for the better. (and did) your wit, intelligence, and most of all, the love we always felt surrounded with whenever you were there. Never will there be another uncle with such a big heart and neverending concern for his loved ones. Rest in peace, our Dear Uncle Sid.

Shari Jo Gardner

Dear Sid, I was so happy to have met you through the “Syracuse” connection you shared with Vince. What a bond Syracuse was for all of you over the decades.. You and Helaine became our good friends sharing wonderful times together whether it was dinner in Jersey, New York, Bridgehampton or Istanbul! Meatless Mondays will always be your legacy along with many innovative ideas to make our world a better place with your devoted Helaine. Love you.

Ellie Rigolosi

Sid, we will all miss your probing intellect, quick insights, and profound commitment to making this a better, healthier world. You never stopped thinking and trying. But, I will especially miss our dinners, jokes, plans (to change the world for the better), and especially our shared commitment to better martinis. With much love and remembrance. Al and Jill

alfred sommer

Dear Sid, Your enthusiasm for transforming the world of girls and women for the better, your warm and twinkly eyed greetings, and your generosity of spirit in sharing your wonderful creative mind and vision to inspire the acts that we can all do, will remain with me forever. With love and wishes for martinis where you are resting, Marni

Marni Sommer

Dear Sid, you will be dearly missed for so many things including your innovative Meatless Mondays, your warm “how are you’s” every time I called, your devotion to my friend Helaine, your many contributions to world health and eating habits. Sweet dreams, dear Sid. Marjorie Gilbert

Marjorie Gilbert

Sid, we will miss your brilliant innovative thoughts, your warm smile and laughter, and the love and commitment you brought to making the world a better place. You were a bright shining star and we are so grateful that we were able to share times with you and Helaine. The world is a healthier, happier and better place because of your life, so well lived with such a big and open heart. With love from Susan and David Rockefeller

Susan Rockefeller

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