written by Dana Herron
CaraVita Home Care has so many wonderful clients! In fact, that’s one of the best perks of our job—getting to know our clients and their stories. The experiences and wisdom they share with us make every day special. We asked Julie Leibel, the daughter of one of our clients, to help us share her father’s story.
Eugene “Gene” Oberdorfer II is a native Atlantan who now lives at Atria with his wife and the love of his life, Saralyn. You may find Gene challenging one of his friends to a game of ping pong (he’ll beat you!), working in the gym with his personal trainer, or participating in aqua classes as he’s always lived an active lifestyle with a competitive spirit.
He played basketball and tennis at Druid Hills High School. He and his brother both earned their Eagle Scout rank. During the summers, he went to Athens Y Camp near Tallulah Falls, Georgia. Gene not only grew up in Atlanta, but he grew up with Atlanta.
After graduating with honors from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he’d not only excelled in math and leadership, but also became enamored with Saralyn Bonowitz, he and Saralyn were married and returned to Atlanta to begin their lives together.
When we say that Gene grew up with Atlanta, he is one of the unsung heroes behind some of the systems and businesses we enjoy today in the Metro Atlanta area. Gene loves people, and he was a perfect fit to join his father’s insurance business, Oberdorfer Insurance Associates (OIA). He was a consummate salesman and a true relationship guy.
One of Gene’s biggest accomplishments was to expand his father’s business by working with minority insurance agents to form Marta Insurance Managers (MIM). MIM represented the three Metro Atlanta counties served by the transit system, and MIM was selected to insure the transit authority in its infancy. MIM went on to win insurance accounts for the City of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson Airport among many others, helping these entities grow to what they are today. OIA also insured another Atlanta staple, Home Depot.
Through his work to help both his company and Atlanta grow, Gene became friends with many of Atlanta’s movers and shakers, including “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron.
Gene and Saralyn enjoyed traveling and had homes in Dahlonega, Georgia, and Longboat Key, Florida. They raised three children who still call the Atlanta area home, and they have six grandchildren who try to visit them often.
Especially at this time of year, you’ll find Gene watching college basketball. He’s a huge fan of the UNC Tar Heels, and you’ll see him sporting his blue Carolina jacket or baseball cap. And he’ll definitely be smiling as he invites you to a game of ping pong!