Sarah Samuels (1950-2012)

Sarah Samuels, born Sarah Finkelhor, died March 29, 2012 at Oakland Kaiser Hospital of complications from treatment for lymphoma.

She was a public health researcher, advocate and founder of the firm Samuels & Associates, which specialized in the evaluation of nutrition and obesity prevention programs. Sarah served as a leader and visionary in the field of public health, influencing thought and practice via mentorship, participation on advisory boards, and numerous presentations and publications.

She held a doctorate in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also taught courses and served as an adjunct faculty. She had recently been chosen as the school’s 2012 alumnus of the year, an award that will be made on May 19.

Prior to founding Samuels & Associates, Sarah served for 9 years as a program officer for the Kaiser Family Foundation. During her tenure there, she created Project LEAN, a national social marketing campaign to change the eating habits of Americans. She had also served as Pew Health Policy Scholar at the University of California at San Francisco’s Institute for Health Policy Studies.

Sarah was born in Pittsburgh, PA, daughter of Dr. Howard Finkelhor, a neurologist, and Marion Kamin Finkelhor, one of the first female judges in Pennsylvania. Sarah attended Falk School, Ellis School, and the Woodstock Country School in Woodstock, VT. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree at Antioch College, Yellow Springs and two master’s degrees at the Columbia University.

She was active in national public health organizations, and received the 2005 Catherine Cowell award for Public Health Nutrition Practice from the American Public Health Association. She was also an avid hiker, walker, reader, movie and concert-goer.

She leaves behind her devoted husband of 28 years, Dr. Joel Simon, retired internist from the San Francisco VA Medical Center and emeritus professor in the Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology at UCSF, and her son Jeremy Simon, both of Oakland, CA. She is also survived by 2 brothers, David Finkelhor of Portland ME, and Dr. Benjamin Asher of New York City.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 22, from 2-5 PM at the Krutch Auditorium on the Clark Kerr campus of the UC Berkeley campus. Gifts in Sarah’s memory may be made to the “UC Berkeley Foundation” and sent to: UC Berkeley, School of Public Health, 417H University Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

Pola Silver

Pola Silver, born Pola Broder on August 17, 1925, in Odessa, Ukraine, USSR, died peacefully on March 29, 2012 surrounded by her children Adele and Ron Ostomel and Alan and Cheryl Silver. Pola was a Holocaust survivor, and was preceded in death by her husband Sam of 45 years, her nephew Alec Lerner and her sister Lucia Lerner. Pola is survived by her children and her adoring grandchildren Dana Ostomel (Mark Vogel), Todd Ostomel, Michele Silver and Zachary Silver, her great-granddaughter Noa Ostomel Vogel, and Pola’s brother Valery Broder and her brother-in-law Alexander “Shura” Lerner (Lucia).

Pola was a devoted 60+ year member of Congregation Beth Abraham, Oakland, California. Pola’s family thanks Rabbi Mark Bloom and her loving Temple family for her years there a continuous blessing. The family thanks Gilma Zavala for being such a wonderful companion and caregiver, and for helping make sure that Pola could live out her life in her own home until the end as she wished.

Funeral services were held. Donations may be made to the Yom HaShoah Fund at Temple Beth Abraham, 336 Euclid Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

Hurst H. Sommer

Hurst H. Sommer, 84, of Foster City, California, died peacefully on March 24, 2012 surrounded by his loving family.

Hurst was born in 1927 in Breslau, Germany. He spent much of his early childhood in Berlin, where he experienced firsthand the growing Nazi persecution of Jews in the decade preceding World War II. In 1936, at the age of 9, he was barred from attending German public school, and in 1938, he witnessed the violence of Kristallnacht, watching from a window as Nazi stormtroopers smashed the windows of nearby Jewish businesses and synagogues. He and his brother Henry left Germany for Shanghai in June 1939, just a few months before the war broke out and escape would have been impossible.

The family lived in Shanghai, 1947, when the family was able to immigrate to the United States. Hurst arrived in San Francisco in May 1947 and made the Bay area his permanent home.

He served in the Army (stationed in Okinawa) during the Korean War. One of Hurst’s proudest accomplishments was his 1956 graduation from the University of California at Berkeley.

After college, Hurst worked for the state of California for

8 years, spent a year on John Kennedy’s presidential campaign, and then began a career in insurance and financial services with Metropolitan Life and later Prudential Insurance.

For most of his adult life, Hurst was a proud and active member of the Democratic Party and devoted countless hours to voter registration drives in the Bay area. He attended numerous state and national Democratic conventions and in 1994 was elected to the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee. He was appointed by the President as a member of the board of the Selective Service System. He was a volunteer for Travelers Services at the SF Airport for over a decade.

Hurst was also an avid and loyal sports fan, attending hundreds of Giants and 49ers games over the years, following his teams to the World Series and Super Bowl.

Hurst faced many difficulties in his life including a series of health challenges over the past 25 years. He met these threats with tremendous courage and an almost superhuman optimism. He was more than a survivor; he was a conqueror of adversity. His hold on life, his love of life, the sheer energy he brought to life, will endure in the memory of all who knew him.

Hurst was a loving husband, a devoted and engaged father, a loyal brother, and a great friend to all who were privileged to know him. He is survived by his wife Noreen, his daughter Vicki Sommer and her husband Seth Kimball, his son James Hearn and his wife Kellee, and grandchildren Ethan and Shari Kimball and Alexandra Hearn. He is also survived by his brother Henry Sommer and wife Marianne and several nieces and nephews. Services were held at Congregation Beth Jacob Redwood City on March 28th.

Donations to the following charities in his memory are preferred: Jewish Family and Children’s Services, 2150 Post, San Francisco, California, 94115 or to the American Friends of Magen David Adom, 352 Seventh Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10001.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

Joe Yarkin

Joe Yarkin, beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend of many passed away March 7th, 2012 in Palo Alto. Joe possessed a wonderful, generous personality. With a positive attitude, warm smile and natural curiosity, he could connect to people from all walks of life, helping them feel important and appreciated. He was always passionate about learning new things and believed in living life to its fullest. As a businessman, Joe was highly respected for his integrity and compassionate nature.

Joe was born to Sophie and Meyer Yudkofsky on May 22, 1922 on the Lower East Side of New York. His parents came from Bialystock, Poland in search of a better life. With seven children in the family, Joe was the first-born son, arriving after five girls, and right before his youngest brother. As a child Joe had a vivid imagination, making up stories to tell his friends. He watched cowboy movies every Saturday at the theatre. He loved to collect and trade baseball cards as well as listen to his hero, Lou Gehrig, on the radio.

After one year at CCNY, Joe was drafted into WWII. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was seriously wounded with shrapnel lodged in his skull. Always the fighter, he was lucky to survive. Upon returning from overseas, he set out for USC to continue his education, receiving a BA in Economics and a Masters of Public Administration. While at USC, he met and fell in love with Pearl Galpern, a beautiful law student, also from New York, and they married in 1948.

While still in school, Joe was accepted into the public policy internship program at the Coro Foundation. Inspired by Don Fletcher, the co-founder of Coro, Joe gained the self-confidence and a desire to do something meaningful in life and to pursue his passion. After completing the internship and the Masters in Public Administration Joe and Pearl returned to the Bay Area.

Joe began his career working for the Home Builders Association of San Francisco, a secure and highly desired job. However, Joe’s passion was to own his own business and in 1957 he took a huge risk starting Yarkin Realty and becoming his own boss. Palo Alto was a small town and Joe knew everybody! Joe’s success in business was earned the old-fashioned way: with hard work, honesty and honorable business practices, and especially through his vibrant, positive personality and his wonderful way with people.

In the mid 1980s Joe began to pursue other interests. He loved playing tennis, running with his group, practicing yoga, meditating, playing poker and bridge and practicing a healthy life-style. Joe and Pearl traveled all over the world and shared their adventures with friends and family. Joe loved summers at Rio Del Mar Beach and wintering in Palm Springs.

Joe believed in giving back to the community. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto for 40 years, past President of the Palo Alto Board of Realtors, served on the Board of the JCC, joyfully involved in the downtown Farmers Market and a founding and lifelong member of Beth Am. At the center of Joe’s life was his family. He was devoted to his wife Pearl and took much pride in his seven children, their families and all 10 grandchildren.

Joe is survived by Pearl and their children: Neva Yarkin, Allan Yarkin (Ray Ellen Yarkin) of Miami Beach, Mark Yarkin (Terri Yarkin) of Danville, Kerry Yarkin, Don Yarkin, Burt Yarkin (Karen Yarkin) of Piedmont, and Matt Yarkin and by his grandchildren Adi, Mayaan, Sophie, Jenna, Brent, Justin, Ilana, Sarah and twins Nathan and Kaylee.

The memory of a good man is a blessing forever. There will be a celebration of Joe’s life at the Lucie Stern Community Center on Saturday, May 19th, between 2:00-5:00.