Thursday, January 9, 2014 | return to: lifecycles, deaths



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Arthur S. Becker

A veteran civic leader of the City and County of San Francisco and the Jewish community, passed away peacefully in Danville on Dec. 31, four days shy of his 102nd birthday.

Arthur was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the third son of Samuel Shapiro and Jennie Rosenblatt Becker. He moved as an infant to San Francisco, where he was reared, became a bar mitzvah and was confirmed at Congregation Beth Israel.

After graduation from Lowell High School in San Francisco in 1929, he and his brother started a grocery business. During the Second World War, he served proudly in the U. S. Army. Shortly after his discharge from active duty, he became affiliated with the Littleman supermarket chain, where he served for many years as its executive vice president. Always active in trade organizations, he served as president of the San Francisco Grocers Association and the California Grocers Association and later as treasurer of the National Association of Retail Grocers of the United States.

In 1961, Arthur was appointed a commissioner of the San Francisco Parking Authority, the predecessor of the present Department of Parking and Transportation, where he served as chairman from 1964 to 1965. In 1967, he was appointed as director of the Parking Authority, serving in that office until his retirement from city service in 1977.

A recognized and respected leader in the Jewish community, Arthur served as president of Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Israel Judea, the Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Francisco, Sinai Memorial Chapel (Chevra Kadisha) and the City of Hope. A member of San Francisco B’nai B’rith Lodge, he served as a member of the board of directors of the Jewish Welfare Federation of San Francisco, as well as a member of the advisory board of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth).

Arthur was a member of the Commonwealth Club and the Concordia-Argonaut Club, a past master of Starr King Lodge No. 344 F&AM, San Francisco Bodies Scottish Rite, Islam Temple of the AAONMS and American Legion Post No. 1.

Preceded in death by his beloved wife of 44 years, Virginia E. Becker, Arthur is survived by daughter Susan J. Klein (John) and son Stephen C. Becker (Jill); grandchildren David (Le fiancée) and Joshua Klein, Jonathan “Yoni” Levy (Jennifer), Beth Sacks (David), Julie Colby (Ryan) and Joshua Becker; great-grandchildren Khai Klein; Samuel, Rina, Yeshaya, Yehuda, Moshe and Rivka-Leah Sacks; Sajun Rude; and Lowell and Malachi Colby. Arthur was predeceased by his devoted brothers Louis, Morris (Rose) and Charles (Norma). He was a loving uncle and great-uncle to many, as well as a dear friend and companion for over two decades to Rose L. Spindel.

Services for Arthur were held on Jan. 3 at Congregation Beth Israel Judea, San Francisco. Interment was at Salem Memorial Park, Colma. Contributions in his memory may be made to Congregation Beth Israel Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, San Francisco, CA 94132-2992.

Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636

Norman David Heller

9_Gdeaths_norman_hellerPassed away Dec. 9, 2013 after a stubborn battle with cancer. He was born on April 22, 1927 to Abraham and Martha Heller. He grew up in Burlingame and graduated from Burlingame High School. Upon his graduation, he was drafted in the Army to fight at the end of World War II. He was stationed in Germany and attended the Nuremberg trials. He was honorably discharged after two years of service and then attended U.C. Berkeley on the GI Bill. He was an active member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity and graduated in 1951 with a degree in Business.

After college, he worked with his father in the retail business. He owned and managed Lakeside Sporting Goods in San Francisco until he retired in 1989. In his younger years, Norman learned to scuba dive and was a participant in the “San Francisco Flipper Dippers,” a group of scuba divers who became and stayed good friends for many years after they had turned in their fins. This was also the avenue in which he met his wife, Barbara. Some of his favorite memories were participating in abalone dives at Salt Point and having his daughters pound out the abalone so it could be cooked.

After his retirement, he was active in the local chapter of Volunteers for Israel, a nonprofit organization with the mission to connect Americans to Israel through volunteer service as he traveled to and volunteered in Israel many times. Norman served one term on the Marin County Grand Jury in 1982-1983. He was an avid gardener, lover of good food and devoted father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Heller, his daughters, Sarah Heller Madson and Leslie Heller, his brother, Daniel Heller, his son-in-law Ethan Madson, and his two beautiful granddaughters, Riley Grace and Kelsey Rose Madson. A celebration of his life is being planned.

Morris Krantz

In San Francisco, on Jan. 1, 2014 at age 95. Beloved husband of Stephanie Krantz; devoted father of Rebecca Pulles (Jorge) of Washington, D.C., Claudia Abrahm (Don) of Irvine, CA, Julie Samson (Glenn) of Danville, CA; loving grandfather of Adam, Evan, Andrew, Eric, Rachel and Sam; dear brother of Nettie Bass of New York City and Nathan Krantz of Delray Beach, Florida.

Mr. Krantz was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City at age 5. During World War II he served in the 45th division of the United States Army in North Africa and Italy. In 1946, he settled in San Francisco where he established Union Offset Printers and Lithographers. During his career and his life he was committed to many civil rights causes and Jewish charitable organizations. In addition, he was active in the Democratic Party in Northern California.

Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636

Robert Louis Miller

Jan. 5, 1922–Dec. 30, 2013

9_Gdeaths_robert_millerRobert L. Miller, “Bob” to all who knew and loved him, passed away on Dec. 30, 2013, five days short of his 92nd birthday.

He was deeply loved by family and friends alike. His cheerful personality warmed any room. His generous nature lifted many people, and served as an example to others.

Bob was a wonderful husband to his adoring wife of 53 years, Ellen, who was the love of his life. He was a loving father to his daughter, Sandra, and to his stepsons, Fred and Jeffrey, as well as to his son-in-law, Lior, and daughters-in law, Candice and Joan. He was the playful and caring grandfather of Ilana, Danielle, Dustin and Spencer.

Born and raised in a small Pennsylvania town, Bob served in the Marines during World War II and attended Penn State, where he played on the university’s football team. Ultimately, in 1959, Bob made his way to San Francisco and would spend the rest of his many years in the Bay Area. His personal interests were broad. An original in every sense, he was a man for all seasons, and his concern for the well-being of his family and of others always guided his life.

Bob’s easygoing manner, his ready smile and his exceptional sense of humor made him a person who everyone enjoyed being around. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, and especially by his family who loved him dearly.

Henry Salem

9_Gdeaths_henry_salemPassed away peacefully surrounded by his family in San Francisco on Jan. 1, 2014 at age 92. Beloved husband of Arlene for 60 years; loving father of Esther (Felipe), Morris, Sarah (Alan) and Leon; adoring grandfather of Reuben, Orly, Oren, Ronitte, Aaron, David and Julia; dear brother of Nessim, Flore, Nellie, Sammy (Bella), Yona (Riri), Jacques (Francoise) and Roger and the late Emma (Eli), and brother-in-law of the late Rachel, Albert and Raymond; respected uncle to his 30 nieces and nephews.

Henry had an unbelievable life and was a source of integrity, courage, strength and inspiration. He was a trustworthy adviser for all those who knew and loved him. Henry was a dedicated and devoted family man, the patriarch of the family. He was a man whose reputation preceded him for his hospitality, generosity of spirit and his ability to make friends and relate to others, especially those in need. Henry worked very hard to give his family the best of life and he succeeded.

Services were held on Jan. 2 at Eternal Home Cemetery, Colma.

Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636

Ada Emma Schwarz

Ada E. Schwarz, beloved wife of the late Kurt Schwarz for 48 years. Loving and beloved mother of Jeffrey (Jeff), Daniel and Michael (Melinda, daughter-in-law, Benjamin, grandson).

Resident of Belmont, San Mateo County, for over 50 years. A community volunteer, received many awards for volunteering.

Ada was the first woman president of Congregation Beth Jacob, Redwood City.

She served on the board of directors of the Jewish Home for the Aged for 12 years, and was a volunteer there for 36 years.

She was also a docent at the Judah Magnes Museum in Berkeley, vice president of United Synagogue, Northern California region, and a member of the board of directors of Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha for 18 years.

She was also a member of the advisory board of the Jewish Chaplaincy at Stanford University.

Services were held, with interment at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, Colma.

Contributions to Jewish Home for the Aged, Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha (Memory Garden) or Jewish Chaplaincy at Stanford University, preferred.

Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636

Marvin Sugarman

Died in Foster City at age 91. Native of San Francisco. Son of the late Edward I. Sugarman and the late Pauline Sugarman. Husband of the late Evelyn Sugarman. Father of Steven Sugarman and Debbie Sugarman of San Mateo and Paul Silverman of Missoula, Montana. Grandfather of Noah and Gabriel Silverman of Missoula, Montana. Graduate of U.C. Berkeley. Nephew of Abraham Ruef. Private services were held. Contributions to the La Peña Cultural Center and the Rainforest Action Network. He was well known to the Schiller Institute in Washington, D.C.

Joseph A. Wahed

9_Gobit_wahedPassed away Dec. 31, 2013 after a long illness. Joe was born in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo, Egypt, on Jan. 2, 1936. He was the son of Mourad (Leon) Abdel Wahed and Sarine El Kodsi. Joe attended Victoria College, a British prep school in Cairo, with the likes of King Hussein of Jordan and Omar Sharif. He didn’t graduate because, along with the other 80,000 Jews of Egypt, he was forced out of his family’s longstanding homeland after Nasser’s military coup d’état and subsequent nationalism. Joe and his family took refuge in Paris in 1952.

Joe finished high school in England and attended the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he earned an M.A. with honors in political economics. He returned to Paris and studied at the Sorbonne, where he earned a postgraduate diploma for his dissertation on economics. As a “refugee escapee parolee,” it was difficult to find work in France so, with the help of HIAS, he immigrated to San Francisco in 1962.

He got his first job with Bank of America’s economics department, then moved to Wells Fargo Bank, where he climbed the ladder of success to become their chief economist and senior vice president. He became a well-known and highly sought-after business speaker on California’s economy during his 27-year career at the bank. He served as chairman of the Economic Advisory Committee to the California Chamber of Commerce, was a trade delegate to Japan with then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein and had his speeches published in “Vital Speeches of the Day.”

In 2001 Joe co-founded Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) to tell the world about the nearly 1 million Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Middle East and North Africa between 1952 and 1972. They were “The Forgotten Refugees,” the name of a film produced to tell this little-known story ( Joe traveled the country, speaking at universities, churches and synagogues, to shine a light on this part of history that has been ignored.

Joe was a passionate activist for Jewish causes, a raconteur who loved to tell jokes and stories, a man who loved the music of Bach, the stories of Somerset Maugham and the game of rugby, a man who spoke three languages and traveled the world, but loved his children, grandchildren, sisters, mother, wife and friends more than anything else. Joe liked people and loved life. He will be sorely missed.

Joe is survived by his wife, Kathi Twomey Wahed of Moraga; his sons and their wives, Andrew and Sara (nee Cruz) Ovadya of San Diego and Dan Ovadya and Tamara Kraus of Davis; granddaughters Dahlia, Mira, Lola and Lucy; and sisters Sylvie Gordon of San Mateo, Simone Mourad and Suzy Cohen, both of Hallandale, Florida.

A funeral service was held on Jan. 5 at Sinai Memorial Chapel, San Francisco, followed by interment at Eternal Home Cemetery, Colma.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute in Joe’s name to JIMENA, 459 Fulton St., Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94102 ( or Friends of Yemin Orde, 4340 East-West Highway, Suite 202, Bethesda, MD 20814 (

Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636



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