Longtime Beverly Hills resident and educator Gloria Mae Boraz died on May 21 at the age of 94.
Boraz was known throughout the Beverly Hills community for her 42 years of dedicated service to the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD), including nearly three decades as a second-grade teacher at Horace Mann Elementary School. After retiring in 1998, she worked an additional 14 years as a substitute teacher for the district, until 2013.
Boraz was born on March 11, 1929, in St. Louis, the only child of a divorced piano teacher and typist. She grew up with her mom, grandmother and aunt.
She attended Washington University in St. Louis and earned a degree in Business Administration.
She was married to Martin Boraz for 30 years. When they met, Martin, 10 years Boraz’s senior, was an Air Force captain. While Martin was in the service, the couple lived in Chicago and Fairbanks, Alaska before relocating to California, where Martin transitioned to the liquor sales business. In 1963, they moved to Beverly Hills—a stone’s throw from Beverly Vista—where they educated their three daughters in the sought-after school district.
Boraz first became involved with BHUSD in a volunteer capacity, through the PTA and as a teacher’s aide. The then-principal of Beverly Vista observed the beneficial role Boraz had on the school and urged her to seek a graduate degree in education.
Over the course of Boraz’s lengthy teaching career at BHUSD, the school district recognized her with several awards, including the “Apple Award” for Teacher of the Year in 1987.
Following in their mother’s footsteps, her daughters, Barbara, Leslie, and Nancy, also became BHUSD educators; Barbara taught first grade at El Rodeo Elementary School, Leslie became a speech therapist at Horace Mann, and Nancy taught middle school at Horace Mann.
After Boraz’s husband, Martin, died in 1984, Boraz went on to have long-term relationships with Izzy Seigal, Bob Udkoff and Stanley Goldblatt. Goldblatt was the most significant union of the three. The two were college sweethearts in St. Louis who, 60 years after their initial courtship, reconnected over Facebook. Goldblatt described their late-in-life relationship as bashert, Yiddish for “destiny” or “soulmate.”
Boraz lived in Beverly Hills for 60 years. Her family said she loved the community, the trees and flowers that lined the city’s streets and the public parks. She loved to play tennis and walk. In her years as an older adult, she became active with the Roxbury Park Community Center and participated every Tuesday in the Music Mends Minds program with her daughter, Nancy.
“The city from the minute she moved here until to the end of her life,” Nancy said, “brought her joy.”
Nancy described her mother as a perpetual optimist, someone who saw beauty in the simple things—her rose garden, a bird’s song and good food.
“Beverly Hills is my home,” Boraz told the Courier in a 2015 interview. “It’s where my children grew up, it’s where I’ve lived all these years. All my friends, the students, the children…I feel such an integral part of this City. And to feel part of something so whole and wonderful like Beverly Hills is such a gratifying feeling.”
Boraz is survived by her three daughters, Barbara (David) Zarider, Leslie Boraz and Nancy (Lenny) Friedman; four grandsons, Matt Zarider (Amber), Evan Zarider (Maddie), Jason Friedman and Justin Friedman; and three great-grandchildren, Joseph and James Zarider and Rowan Zarider.
Funeral services for the deceased are being held May 28 at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary.