Annette Eisenberg may have been known as “the woman behind the scenes,” but the longtime Miami resident knew how to get things done for her community.
As the founder of the Downtown Bay Forum in 1992, she brought people together to learn about and discuss pressing city and county issues, including recalls, referendums and development.
As the chairwoman of the City of Miami Edison Park Neighborhood Development Program in the 1970s, she helped secure public funding to build Miami Edison Senior High School.
And on the board of directors of the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless she worked to boost community involvement and mobilize teams to prepare for natural disasters.
Eisenberg, who received a proclamation Nov. 5 by Miami-Dade County for her dedication, died Thursday after a brief illness. She was 86.
“Her footprint and hard work on behalf of the community will remain with us forever,” Rebeca Sosa, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, said Friday through her assistant Manuel Orvis. “This is a great loss to the community.”
Eisenberg was born Nov. 21, 1926, in Chicago. After high school she went to secretarial school, then worked as an executive secretary and marketing specialist.
In 1949 she married Morris Eisenberg after a friend introduced the pair. To escape the cold weather the couple moved to Miami in 1950.
She began working with her husband in the television and radio sales and service business. But Eisenberg quickly began getting involved in the community. She would organize clean-ups, form committees and go to City Hall.
Her son, Alan Eisenberg, said his mom was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in. “She’d do whatever it took, even if it meant marching into the mayor’s office,” he said.
She helped secure funding to revitalize the Edison Park area. In 1974, a community center near the school was named after her.
“She worked hard for what she believed in,” said another son, Leslie Eisenberg.
In 1992 she and her husband formed the downtown forum as a way to inform people of important issues.
“She was the forum and the forum was her,” said William Pena Wells, a forum board member and longtime friend.
In 1999, Eisenberg took the microphone from a Miami city commissioner to stop him from talking about political infighting with the mayor during a discussion about a strong-mayor vote.
“I am tired of you people fighting and saying it’s OK because you can’t get along with each other,” Eisenberg said at the time. “If you can’t work with the mayor for my benefit, then all of you should resign.
“I’m tired of being ashamed to say I live in the city of Miami. Don’t fight so much. Give us some peace and quiet in this city.”
Eisenberg, who loved to travel and loved Miami, never missed a forum meeting.
“Annette Eisenberg will forever leave a legacy of public service and personal commitment to our community,” the county proclamation reads. “She serves as a positive example for young, old and everyone in-between.”
In addition to her sons, Eisenberg is survived by grandsons Joshua and Michael Eisenberg.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Eisenberg’s name to the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless, Temple Israel of Greater Miami or Vitas Hospice