Bertram Wolfson Profile Photo

Bertram Wolfson

d. June 24, 2024

Bryn Mawr

Bertram Wolfson


Bertram Wolfson of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania died on June 24th 2024 from renal failure. Bert lived his life through his values of helping people and working towards a just society. Professionally, he embodied the role of counselor at law – engaging clients in discussions of what was important in their lives and how to express that in their estate planning. He was a voracious reader and delighted in discussing the ideas raised by books.  He was enjoyed as a humorous and thoughtful conversationalist.

Bertram Wolfson was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, December 21, 1930 to Dora (nee Kasindorf) and Samuel Wolfson.His father had been born in Russia (contemporary Belarus) and grew up in Vienna. Bert proudly retained his New England accent throughout his life. As a child he was a good student but also enjoyed playing practical jokes on the neighbors. At West High School, he played basketball and enjoyed theater. He admired the comedians he listened to on the radio and aspired to be as witty and clever as they were.

Bert attended Brown University and graduated in 1952. In his sophomore year he heard that there was a first year student at Pembroke from Vienna, Lorle Patzau. He charmed her with Viennese songs he had learned from his father. To avoid being drafted during the Korean War,Bert decided that law school was the only graduate degree he would enjoy pursuing. He attended Harvard University Law School and graduated in 1955. A year after starting law school, Bert and Lorle got married. After law school, Bert joined the Army and was stationed in Bad Neuheim, Germany. Lorle accompanied Bert to Germany. Bert lived off the Army base with Lorle, after proving to his superior officer that there was no Army regulation prohibiting that. They traveled throughout Europe on Bert’s leaves and sent Danish modern furniture home. On returning from the army, they bought a house in Ithan, Pennsylvania and Bert started his law practice at Raspin Espenshade Hines and Erskine. Later, Robert Erskine and Bert left the practice to form Erskine & Wolfson (and later Erskine, Wolfson & Gibbon, when Daniel Gibbon joined the practice). Their offices in a former carriage house on Chancellor Street typified the down-to-earth nature of their practice. After commuting into the City for fifty years, Bert decided to practice closer to home and accepted a position at McCausland, Keen, and Buckman. He practiced law until he was 90 when he decided “no one wants the advice of a 90 year old.”

Bert was an attentive father to his two children, Roderick Harold (born in 1958) and Marietta Kyra (born in 1964). When Rod was born, Bert and Lorle took him to the Church of the Redeemer to be baptized. But when they requested multiple changes to the baptism liturgy, the minister suggested they might be happier at the new Unitarian church that had formed recently in Devon. Bert was one of the early leaders of the Main Line Unitarian Church (MLUC) and remained an active member throughout his life. The children attended Haverford Friends School where Bert subsequently served on the School Committee. Many of Bert and Lorle’s  lifelong friends came from their membership in the MLUC and Friends School communities. Throughout his life, Bert served on non-profit boards of trustees. In the 1960s he was active in the Delaware County fair housing movement aimed at eliminating redlining. He was the founding president of Resources for Human Development in 1970 and served in that position for three decades as the organization grew tremendously. 

Bertram Wolfson was predeceased by his wife Eleonore (Lorle) Patzau Wolfson. He is survived by his daughter Kyra Delaware, son-in-law Robert Delaware, and granddaughters, Courtney Valtin (Nathan), Alexa Jorgensen, and Lauren Jorgensen. He is also survived by his son Roderick Wolfson, daughter-in-law Elizabeth Varcoe, and granddaughters Charlotte Varcoe-Wolfson and Lydia Varcoe-Wolfson.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2024 at 3:00 pm at the Main Line Unitarian Church, Devon, PA. In lieu of flowers, the family invites gifts to charities supported by Bert: the Main Line Unitarian Church or Nationalities Service Center.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bertram Wolfson, please visit our flower store.

Upcoming Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, August 3, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2024 at 3:00 pm at the Main Line Unitarian Church, Devon, PA. In lieu of flowers, the family invites gifts to charities supported by Bert: the Main Line Unitarian Church or Nationalities Service Center.

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