Park staff installed a new memorial bench last week bearing a plaque with the name of Muriel Seligman, “From her loving children, Joel, Brad, Dale and Lucy.” The bench views the Bay from the west side of the park, on the little land island where the paved path and a dirt trail briefly separate.
According to open web sources, Ms. Seligman was born in New York City on November 7 1922 and died in El Cerrito on June 16 2015. She earned a B.A. from Queens College in 1944 and an M.A. degree from Columbia University in 1946. She held jobs in retail management and insurance in the years 1947-1950. She married Selig Seligman, who died in 1969. She was a prominent member of the National Tourette Syndrome Association and of its California chapter, serving on its board and as chair of several governing committees. She was the association’s story editor since 1970. She was cremated and her ashes scattered in San Francisco Bay.
Former congressman Henry Waxman writes of Ms. Seligman that “a panicked caller named Muriel Seligman told him that her son Adam suffered from a rare neurological disorder known as Tourette’s syndrome, for which no treatment was available in the United States.” That telephone call, Waxman writes, led to passage of the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, legislation that incentivized production of pharmaceuticals for diseases with only a small number of sufferers.
Berkeley Parks management will install memorial benches for a donation to the city of $3,400.