Edith Green, pioneer TV cooking-show host and member of one of the nation's oldest Jewish families, died Saturday, Jan. 20, a day before her 92nd birthday, at her San Francisco home.
Active until the end, when she died quietly in her sleep, Green volunteered at the Montefiore Senior Center last week, attended a San Francisco Symphony performance two days before her death, and continued her involvement in the Oral History Project named after her at San Francisco's Congregation Emanu-El.
"She died peacefully and she had a wonderful life," said her son, Donald Green, of Menlo Park. "She had kind of a blessed life, with very few problems, except the loss of her husband after 40 years of marriage. She lived exactly the way she wanted to, on her own, at home, until the last day.
"Mom's always been very thankful for wonderful life, for family and friends," Green continued. "She's looking forward to joining her husband and sisters on what she called Cloud Eight."
Green, who was honored in 1994, at the age of 90, at Berkeley's Judah L. Magnes Museum, traced her roots back to the London-born Abraham Mendes Seixas, who died in 1738. Abraham Seixas' grandson, Moses Seixas, served as warden of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., the oldest in the country. Moses Seixas' brother, Rabbi Gershom Mendes Seixas, was one of 14 clergy officiating at George Washington's inauguration in 1789. Known as the "patriot rabbi," he served at New York's Sherith Israel synagogue before becoming chazzan (cantor) of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia.
Other prominent relatives include poet Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), known for her verses inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
Green's grandfather, Gershom Mendes Seixas Solomons, who came to San Francisco during the Gold Rush, was a founder of Congregation Emanu-El and first president of a West Coast lodge of B'nai B'rith.
Born Edith Solomons in San Francisco and also raised in Larkspur, Green was the daughter of Lucius Levy Solomons, an orator, writer, attorney and founder of the Rumanian Aid Society that helped settle European Jewish emigres. Her mother was Helen Frank Solomons, whose father fought in the Civil War. Green attended Girls High School in San Francisco, graduating from Mills College in Oakland, where she was an active alumna.
Best-known as the first Bay Area TV cook, Green starred in KRON-TV's "Your Home Kitchen" from 1949 to 1955. She had learned to cook from a housekeeper the family brought back from France as well as from her own mother. Before her TV career began at the age of 45, Green had conducted a cooking school in her home and tutored students in French.
"She was a natural," said Donald Green. "She could speak very well on her feet. Her veal Marengo, certainly her cookies and cakes, were outstanding . And she made beautiful French pancakes, souffles, lebkuchen. But she was more a practical cook who helped people who weren't used to being in the kitchen prepare meals easily and well."
Seymour Fromer, director of the Magnes Museum, said 200 people showed up to honor Edith Green at the museum in 1994. "I was really gratified at how loved and respected she was and how many people she inspired to go into cooking. Hundreds of people remembered her TV programs. She was a pioneer in that field."
After she retired from her TV career, Green was an active volunteer at the International Hospitality Center, giving tours of Marin and San Francisco to visiting foreigners. She served as a volunteer at San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center until she was 90.
In addition to her son, Donald, and his wife, Joan, Green is survived by her daughter, Virginia Green Sloss and son-in-law Leon of Washington, D.C. She had six grandchildren: Deborah Sloss (and Mark) Kelman, and David (and Heidi) Sloss of Redwood City; Michael (and Barbara) Sloss and Laurie Sloss (and Peter) Lowet of Washington, D.C.; Mark Green Solomons of San Francisco; and Eric (and Katie) Green of Israel. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren.
She is the widow of the late Stanley Green, an executive with Lyons Magnus flavoring company in San Francisco, and sister of the late Katherine Lilienthal and Marian Warner.
Memorial services for family and friends were held at Congregation Emanu-El. Contributions may be sent to the Edith Green Oral History Fund at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., S.F., CA 94118, or to the charity of your choice.