San Francisco Chronicle
Gwendolyn Miller Kerner
Gwendolyn Miller Kerner, age 97, of San Francisco, passed away peacefully at home in her own bed on Saturday, April 24, 2021, with her beloved husband, John, and daughter, Jan, by her side.
John and Gwen’s grand romance began shortly after World War II. After just two days, they knew they were right for each other, and their incredibly full life together has been a testament to this. They sup- ported each other uncondi- tionally and treasured each other’s friendship. John’s devotion to Gwen was evident to every single person who knew them. John and Gwen were looking forward to celebrating their 75th anniversary on June 16.
Gwen was born in San Francisco to Rose and Jess Miller. As a teenager, she and her family lived in a beautiful home in St. Francis Woods where her mother took great pride in her garden. She attended Lowell High School and her beloved Stanford University where she was Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with a degree in Education. John and Gwen met shortly after her graduation. After John finished his medical education, they began growing their family. Gwen is survived by her sons John Alan Kerner Jr., MD and James Miller Kerner, and by her daughter Jan Adrienne Harper.
Gwen’s athletic skills were impressive. She excelled at badminton which she learned at Tahoe where she and her family spent their summers. After they married, Gwen and John spent most summers with their children at UC Berkeley’s Lair of the Bear, where Gwen won most of the championships in Badminton, even the Men’s. She also enjoyed golf at Lake Merced Golf and Country Club, which she played with friends on weekends. She was also a powerful swimmer and joined John in snorkeling around the world.
Gwen and John bought a beautiful home in Presidio Heights at 101 Spruce Street, where Gwen loved to entertain and often hosted small dinner parties for her family and many friends.
Throughout their marriage, John and Gwen went on nearly 100 adventures around the world, which brought Gwen tremendous joy. They visited family and friends in Europe and many other countries. When the children all left home, Gwen began working in the medical education department at Mt. Zion Hospital. They liked her so much that she was invited to join the cancer program where John and Gwen were deeply involved. She finally was recruited to work in the women’s cancer registry at Mt. Zion, where she received many awards for her good work. Gwen regretted retiring at the age of 82 because she enjoyed her work there so much.
Gwen had the pleasure of seeing her family expand over her lifetime. John Jr., following in his Dad’s footsteps, became a physician, a highly respected Pediatric Gastroenterologist at Stanford Medical Center, and married a lovely woman, Louise. They have a beautiful daughter named Lisa who lives with her partner in New Jersey. She is the Director of Operations at a tech company. Gwen’s son, Jim, and his beautiful wife, Sheryl, live in Chico, California. He is an extremely successful and innovative product designer and manufacturer. Jim has two children, Ryan and Kelley, who both live in Chico. Ryan is a gifted artist and the Creative Director of the family business. Jim’s daughter, Kelley Smith, is a Sales Executive at a tech firm. She has a 12 year old son named Kyler who loves animals and training his new puppy. Gwen and John’s daughter, Jan Adrienne, lives in San Francisco and has been blessed to live near her parents. She is a talented chef who has chosen to work with nonprofit agencies, such as Project Open Hand, St Vincent de Paul and St Anthony’s, in order to serve the less fortunate.
John and Gwen moved out of their Presidio Heights home about 25 years ago and moved into a sophisticated apartment on Nob Hill, where they hosted family get-togethers for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Their wanderlust led them to continue traveling the world until just a few years ago.
Gwen remained very elegant until her dying day. The family wishes to express their gratitude for the caregivers that supported and comforted Gwen throughout her final years. Gwen will be dearly missed. There will be a small private celebration of her life in the near future.