Deaths

Art Finkelstein died on May 28, 2010 at his home in Napa Valley surrounded by his family. He was born in Chicago on Feb. 20, 1942 and grew up enjoying his family’s garden and goats and view out over the Mississippi Valley. He studied architecture at the University of Southern California and established a successful practice in West Los Angeles. Through the years Art also was a prolific home winemaker, winning many awards in wine competitions and teaching winemaking to the Cellar Masters at UCLA. Art was literally making “garage wines” before the term was coined. In those years he married Bunnie Matz and their son Judd was born.

In 1979, Art and his brother, Alan, purchased a vineyard just south of St. Helena in the Napa Valley, where Art designed and built Whitehall Lane Winery. He then began a second career as a professional winemaker, releasing his first wine in 1980. In this milieu, he flourished and established himself as one of the premier winemakers in the Napa Valley.  In 1988, he decided to downsize to a smaller artisanal winery, and built Judd’s Hill, also in St. Helena. Art’s scope of interests and hobbies was huge — it included architectural design, winemaking, oil painting, ceramics, cabinetmaking, playing the mandolin, biking and cooking at an essentially professional level.

Art was a founder of The California Cabernet Society and served as a mentor for numerous winemakers in Napa Valley. He also created and taught “Designing the Small Winery” at Napa Valley College for many years, counting several of today’s successful winery owners as students.  In 2007, Art received the Al Brounstein Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to winemaking and the community by L’Chaim Napa Valley.

Art was a charitable sponsor to many events and organizations in Napa Valley; he was a regular volunteer and chef for The Table, feeding Napa’s hungry. Art also served on the board of the charitable organization Jewish Community of Napa Valley. Some of his happiest times were spent coaching Little League Baseball in St. Helena.

Art is survived by his wife, Bunnie, son Judd, daughter-in-law Holly and his granddaughters Talulah and Ruby K., all of Napa. Donations suggested to the Art Finkelstein Shorashim Pre-School Fund at Congregation Beth Sholom, 1455 Elm St., Napa, CA 94559. There will be a memorial service celebrating Art’s life on June 13 at 11 a.m. at Congregation Beth Sholom: all are welcome. Burial was private.

Albert Hoffman

Passed away peacefully on June 4, 2010 at the age of 96 with family at his bedside. He is survived by Thelma, his wife of 72 years, and sons, Ken, Bud and David and daughters-in-law Jan and Bee. He was cherished by his grandchildren, Lisa, her husband, Troy; Joel, his wife, Cindy; Donna, her husband-to-be, Kevin; and Lauren; and his great-granddaughter, Sabrina.

Al was born in San Francisco and lived, between the ages of 5 and 17, at Homewood Terrace, a Jewish orphanage. His first job was sweeping floors in a jewelry store. At the age of 26, with borrowed money and a pregnant wife, he opened his first business, a wholesale paper supply company, Allied Paper Company. A born entrepreneur, he later founded Betty Lou Foods and Wallpapers Inc., which, 25 years later, spawned Wallpapers To Go, which became the largest retailer of wallpapers in the U.S.

Al retired from the business world in 1980, to concentrate on his hobby, horse racing. At the peak, he and Thelma owned about 25 thoroughbreds, which he raced at Golden Gate Fields and other tracks.

Al was a generous, kind and loving man, totally devoted to his family.

Donations would be much appreciated to Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville, CA 94506. Funeral services were held under the direction of Sinai Memorial Chapel, Lafayette.


Abraham Lenczner

Born Jan 4, 1921, passed away peacefully on May 20, 2010 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Abraham was an Auschwitz survivor, who together with his wife, Regina, came to San Francisco in 1950 to build a new life after the Holocaust. Together they built a thriving retail business. Abraham was a founding member of Congregation Anshey Sfard and served as vice president for many years.

Abraham is predeceased by his wife, Regina. He is survived by his son Harry

Lenczner and his wife Estelle Monderer, daughter Esther Rosha-Stadtler and her husband Sandy Stadtler, grandson Jason Rosha, step-grandchildren Josh and Shoshana Stadtler, nieces Patty Ozeri and Helen Key, nephew Lloyd Klein, five grandnieces, and one great-grandnephew. He is also survived by his beloved caretaker, Tsomo Sodnompel, and her daughter Anee, who became family.

Donations can be made to the Holocaust Center of Northern California, 121 Steuart St., San Francisco, CA 94105 or the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, D.C. 20090.


Judith Ann Macks

April 7, 1954 – June 8, 2010

Surrounded with love, Judy Macks died peacefully at home on June 8, 2010. At 56, she left this world with her daughter, Sophie Rose Macks, and other family members and friends by her side. She is survived by her father, Morton Macks, her sisters Janet Macks and Katie Macks, her nieces Amara, Ariana and Jamila, her nephew Jordan and her sweet dog Cosmo. Judy was loved and supported by many and we are grateful for all who lovingly took care of her as she bravely and courageously navigated breast cancer. She is also survived by her loving extended family and the many people whose lives she touched.

Judy was a 4th-generation San Franciscan and graduated from Washington High School in 1972.  She attended Colorado College and earned a Masters of Social Work at U.C. Berkeley in 1982. As a social worker, Judy became an early pioneer in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, working with people newly diagnosed on Ward 86 at S.F. General Hospital. Later, she combined her passion for travel with her dedication to AIDS education and worked in both the Caribbean and in Africa doing HIV-prevention training. Driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Judy later became an organizational consultant, as well as a life coach and a mortgage broker in San Francisco.

Judy’s greatest joy, her most cherished role, and her favorite activity was parenting her beloved daughter, Sophie. She remained close to her Mom’s group, and formed strong bonds with other parents at Sophie’s schools. She and Sophie attended Camp It Up Family Camp every summer since 1994.  Judy was an avid volleyball player and prolific craftswoman. Her adventurous nature and bright presence at camp will be greatly missed by the entire camp community.

Judy’s life was about building connections across a broad spectrum of circles and communities. Judy strongly identified with her Jewish heritage and was a member of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. She treasured Jewish holiday traditions shared with friends and family.

After her diagnosis, Judy sought her own path to healing through many new endeavors. She pursued spiritual work in a variety of venues. In addition, she participated in the Art for Recovery program at UCSF, and participated in programs with other cancer survivors who found relief and solace through writing, art and exercise (water aerobics and chi gong). It was at this point that she found complete joy while singing with the Anything Goes Chorus and the Threshold Choir.

Judy had an unparalleled passion for living life to the fullest, and for inspiring those around her to do the same. She had very strong bonds with those in her life and was committed to and sought her truths in all of her relationships. She was a gay Olympian Champion swimmer, an enthusiastic party-giver, and above all a proud mother. Judy will be missed, but will live on in the hearts of her father, sisters, nieces and nephew and her daughter, Sophie. We will all miss Judy and her incredible passion for living life “To the Macks.”

Funeral services were held at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., San Francisco. Donations to remember Judy can be made to Camp It Up (campitup.org), Threshold Choir (thresholdchoir.org) or to a charity of your choosing. 

Sinai Memorial Chapel.


Florence Mervis

June 7, 1925 – June 6, 2010

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, moved with the family to L. A. area in her teens.  Graduated from Verdugo Hills High School and attended UCLA.  Upon moving to the Bay Area, established a bookkeeping and income tax preparation business, was proud to be an Enrolled Agent. Active in IMA Accounting Assn, and longtime member of Women’s American ORT.

Beloved sister to Charlotte (Paul), devoted aunt to David and Marshall Fish, also Ron (Annie) Mervis and recently deceased Barry Mervis and their families in Utah. Preceded in death by brother Jack and his wife Sylvia.

When the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease could not be ignored, she moved to the Jewish Home in S.F. where she received compassionate care.

Funeral services were held at Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma on June 9th.

Donations in her memory may be made to ORT America, c/o 1210 Bellevue, #201, Burlingame, CA 94010 or to the Jewish Home.