Sidney Leonard Bertisch

June 26, 1941 ~ April 17, 2022 (age 80)


We mourn the passing of Sidney Leonard Bertisch who died on April 17, 2022 at UF Health Shands Hospital after a brief illness. Sidney was born in the Bronx, New York on June 26, 1941, to Max Bertisch and Kate (Lieber) Bertisch. He graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School, then worked for several years at resorts in the Catskills as a lighting operator for nightclub acts including Milton Berle, Gregory Hines, Eydie Gormé and Steve Lawrence, and Jackie Mason. Sidney’s Borscht Belt sense of humor originated here.

In 1967, Sidney headed to Gainesville to visit a friend. He never left, aside from spending a few years in Colorado. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Florida, then launched a successful career as a local piano player and singer at regular gigs and private events. He also worked for the University of Florida from the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s. Sidney’s hobbies included contra dancing, bicycling, acting, and social activism. He participated in many demonstrations, including the 1963 March on Washington and protests against the death penalty in Florida. His compassion for all humans and for other species was unlimited.

Sidney is survived by his wife, Elaine Bertisch of Gainesville, FL, his sister, Sandra Gelman of Ocala FL, his son, James Bertisch of Aracaju, Brazil, numerous other relatives, and hundreds of friends. He will be greatly missed. A private burial with immediate family will be held soon.

If inclined, please donate to one of the causes Sidney supported. Those especially meaningful to him include Human Rights Watch, PETA, PCRM, FFRF, IPPL, ACLU, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jane Goodall Institute, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, The Jerusalem Fund, Doctors Without Borders, Democracy Now!, The Hightower Lowdown, Amnesty International and, locally, Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, the Civic Media Center, Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, FL0165Gainesville Area NOW, WGOT, and Pride Community Center of North Central Florida.


Private Interment

Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery
7204 SE County Road 234
Gainesville, FL 32641

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