Deaths

Mary Hirsch Imberman

A resident of Palo Alto for 35 years, for the past year at the Jewish Home in San Francisco, Mary passed away on October 10, 2009. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1912, Mary was a social worker and talented “people person,” and worked at Jewish Community Centers in Akron, Ohio, San Francisco, and San Diego, as well as in other settings. Mary was actively engaged in the Palo Alto Jewish community for over 3 decades, and belonged to Congregations Emek Beracha and Kol Emeth. She and her deceased husband, Bob, were often the first stop for newcomers to the community and for travelers seeking a kosher meal and home hospitality. She had an extremely positive view of life and was psychologically resilient despite her experiences during the Depression and when her beloved husband died, 10 years ago. Mary was the last of her 6 siblings to pass; she is survived by her children Larry (and Helene) Imberman of Nahariya, Israel, Nechama (and Howard) and Malka Imberman Lozon, all of Palo Alto. She also leaves 13 grandchildren: Dov (Amy Bryman) Tamler, Tamar Tamler, Yoni Tamler (Hadas), Aliza Imberman, Maya Imberman, Amitai Imberman, Ben Imberman, Guy Imberman, Avinoam Lozon, Lily Lozon, and Talia Lozon, and two great grandchildren, Daniel Aaron Tamler and Shira Miriam Tamler. She is also survived by friends and numerous niece and nephews, in the United States and in Israel. Services were held at Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto on Oct. 13. Contributions can be made to Congregation Kol Emeth and the preschool at the South Peninsula Hebrew Day School.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

Bertram H. Kotin

Born in New York on March 12th, 1923 and passed in Hillsborough on October 6th, 2009 at age 86 years. Dearly beloved husband of 53 years to the late Miriam Kotin; beloved father of Geoff (Barbara Beach) Kotin, Gwen (Lawrence) Watson, Stephanie (Chris) Tebbutt, Lisa Kotin (Gordon Anderson); cherished grandfather of Daniel, Adam, Mikaela, Jeremy, Aria, Theo, Sava and Edie; loving brother of Edna Charles.

Bertram was a respected dentist and served in the U.S.A.F. Dental Corps as a Captain and was the Veterans Administration Staff Dentist (1953-1955). He had his Private Practice in General Dentistry, San Mateo, California (1955-1993). He was a life member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association and San Mateo County Dental Society. He was also a long-time member of Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, as well as Congregation Ner Tamid in SF.

Bert’s hobby and passion was people. He could not walk down the street in his hometown without being greeted by someone who recognized and appreciated him. Bert loved conversing with his patients, and his care and devotion to his large, extended family kept his cup overflowing. At family events he would often recite his favorite prayer, Shehecheyanu.

Bert thrived on serving his community. This included his roles as a co-founder of the Dental Clinic at Samaritan House, as well as “The Brush Mobile,” a nationally recognized program. He also served as Visiting Faculty at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, San Francisco, CA as Course Consultant in Dental Ethics and Infection Control.

Services were held at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be sent to the George Mark Children’s House, 2121 George Mark Lane, San Leandro, CA 94578.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

Lili Rachel Smith, beloved daughter of Averell “Ace” Smith and Laura Talmus, sister of Abram, passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 10th at the age of 15 1/2.

In her much-too-short but extremely full life, Lili captured the hearts of people around the world, from presidents to store clerks to little children and babies. They all fell in love with Lili’s mischievous quick wit, her soulful smile and that sparkle in her eye. She made intensely personal connections with everyone she met. Lili was many years ahead of her age and cared deeply about equality, human rights and global injustices with her huge heart. As a member of the Marin County Youth Leadership Commission, Lili was a voice for children with special needs in the Marin County School District.

Lili faced challenges from the day she was born. But she faced them with poise, grace, courage and most of all an unwavering optimism. She loved to sing and took inspiration from all kinds of music, from liturgical melodies to the Dixie Chicks.

Lili was passionately curious about the world and was always planning her next adventure — she campaigned around the country for Hillary Clinton, explored New York City, camped in the San Juan Islands, and loved to eat exotic ethnic food. Sometimes she just loved to jump in the car and go for long country rides with her parents. Just this fall, determined to make it on her own, Lili left the comfort and security of her home to attend a boarding school that she picked out in Iowa. In less than two months she became a beloved member of their community. At her school, Lili biked, gardened, read books about powerful women, and carried a 50-pound sack of chicken feed on their farm. Everyone was so proud of her and told her that every day.

Lili attended Marin Montessori School, Bacich Elementary School and Kent Middle School. In the two years before leaving for Iowa, Lili attended Forest Knowles Academy as a home schooled student.

Services were held at Congregation Rodef Sholom, 170 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael followed by graveside services at Mount Tamalpais Cemetery.

In honor of Lili’s deep commitment to human rights and equality, contributions can be made in her honor to the Clinton Global Initiative (New York, NY), the Breast Cancer Fund (San Francisco, CA) and Scattergood Friends School (West Branch, IA).

Sinai Memorial Chapel

Robert Nathan Willard, October 10, 1923-October 10, 2009 in Los Angeles with friends and family by his side. Bob was a native San Franciscan who spent the past six decades living in Los Angeles. He grew up in Sea Cliff and attended Alamo, Presidio and Washington, before he matriculated to his beloved Stanford University. After two years, Bob entered the United States Army, serving as a First Lieutenant in France. He returned to Stanford to graduate Pi Beta Kappa. After moving to Los Angeles with his first wife, Beth Rubin Willard, Bob earned a Masters in Engineering from Cal Tech and went on to start Willard Engineering and raised three sons, Douglas (Andrea) of San Marino, Andrew (Cynthia Joyce) of Cedar Rapids, IA and Matthew of Brandon, SD. Together with his second wife, Donna, Bob was passionately active in many organizations including Leo Baeck Temple where he sustained close relationships with the clergy. Additionally, he was president of the board of directors of OPICA and served on the boards of The Raoul Wallenberg Institute and The Levantine Cultural Center. Additional survivors include his sister Eleanor W. Miller of San Francisco, his first wife and five grandchildren. Bob was predeceased by his second wife, Donna Hymson Nelson Willard and his brother, Morton Klein Willard. Donations in Bob’s memory can be made to OPICA or Stanford University.