Hilde welcomed me to the family almost 25 years ago, soon after I first started dating her son Rand. At that time, Hilde and Joe were living an active and busy life up in Leisure Village.
Among her many activities, Hilde was head of the committee that welcomed new residents to Leisure Village; so Hilde knew everyone and everyone knew the Lustigs.
The family gatherings in Camarillo were happy times. Hilde loved to cook big meals for big groups. Well, Hilde loved to cook big meals period, even if it was just Randy and me who went up to visit. And we always left with a carload of leftovers.
For Hilde, everyone she met became family, and, family was the most important thing in the world for Hilde. Randy often told me how proud he was of his mother; raising three children on her own, working full time for a design firm on Robertson Boulevard, and, always finding time to help care for others.
And Hilde was so proud of Randy. Randy was appointed a Judge by then Governor Jerry Brown. This was quite big news at the time because Randy was among the first openly gay people to be appointed to the bench. Randy was the smartest person I knew, and one of the most prominent gay activists of his time.
I remember one day Randy and I were riding in the back seat of the car with Hilde and Joe. Hilde was talking about how proud she was of Randy, how wonderful it was that he had been appointed a judge, what a wonderful role model he was, and that he had a promising career and political future ahead of him.
Hilde said 'why, Randy you could even become Governor one day', a prediction that Randy observed was unlikely to happen, but Hilde persisted, saying, 'well, if you ran, and were elected, you'd be the first Jewish Governor!' As I said, Hilde's first priority was always her family.
Life was good to Hilde and life was hard on Hilde in equal measure. Losing her beloved Joe, and two children, Diane and Randy, was a heartbreak and a burden that only the strongest can bear. Hilde's faith, and her family, sustained her through these darkest of hours.
Later in life, having moved from Leisure Village to Northern California, Hilde found great joy in the love and comfort and support of her son Jon, and Jon's wife, Marcy.
No son was ever more dedicated, loving, or self-sacrificing than Jon. With Marcy at his side, Jon made sure that Hilde's final years were full and rewarding. You can be sure, Jon, that your older brother Randy would be very, very proud of you.
Hilde will forever remain in our hearts. We may never sit at her dinner table again, but, may we always be reminded of her spirit and generosity, and live our lives as she did, with love in our hearts and a helping hand for others.