Deaths

Lola Nathan Backman

Nov. 9, 1923-May 17, 2016

Born in Hamburg, Germany, the daughter of Max and Cecile Haag Meier. Lola lost her father at age 8. Her mother remarried Albert Nathan, and together with sister Inge, the family fled Nazi Germany and settled in Tampa, Florida.

In 1945 Lola married Ed Backman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they lived until moving to California in 1971. They celebrated over 56 years of marriage before Ed’s death in 2002. Lola was a resident of Rossmoor in Walnut Creek.

Survivors include three daughters: Ellen (Rabbi Zalman) Stein of St. Louis, Missouri; Joanne Backman (Harry) Pollack of Berkeley; and Amy (Doug) Strayer of Davis and Incline Village. Grandchildren number eight: Shoshana, Shimon (Leah Mermelstein), Ari (Abra Rosenbaum), and David (Avigayil Greenzweig) Stein; Rebecca (fiancé Sebastien Lounis) and Hannah Pollack; Elizabeth (Nathan Pollock) and Alex (Caitlin Hogan) Strayer. Also survived by nine great-grandchildren.

Our Mom’s selflessness, nurturing ways, gratitude, positive outlook, and love will be with us always, and we will miss her every day.

Donations in her memory may be directed to any of the following charities: Bruns House of East Bay Hospice, Diablo Valley Chapter of Hadassah or Yosemite Conservancy.

On June 6, 2016, Mervyn Cohn

peacefully passed away in San Francisco, the city where he was born on August 1, 1926, to the late Herman and Rose Cohn. He was preceded in death by his brother and sister-in-law Howard and Jeanne Cohn, along with brother-in-law and sister-in-law Murray and Bobby Gelleri. Mervyn is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Miriam Cohn, along with their two children, Bruce Cohn and Sue Pearlstein (Alan). He will be greatly missed by his grandchildren, Dierdra Perry (Jon), Gary Smith (Cindy), Michelle Zabib (Eli), Josh Pearlstein (Danielle), Adam Pearlstein and Rebecca Pearlstein, along with eight great-grandchildren. Mervyn will be missed by many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A private burial service will be held. Donations can be made to Congregation Rodef Sholom, San Rafael, California.

Norman Coliver, born in Baltimore, died at home in San Francisco on June 1.  He would have been 98 in 18 days. The day before, he was reading and eating dessert, two of his great joys. He will be remembered as a real character, a true iconoclast.

He was high school class valedictorian, and graduated in 1938 from the University of Virginia Phi Beta Kappa, with honors in Philosophy, for writing on James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”

He enlisted in the Army in 1941 and, after completing officer training, served as an intelligence officer under General MacArthur with whom he walked to shore at Lleyte Gulf. In October 1945, Major Coliver witnessed the signing of the Japanese surrender documents, which he had been in charge of producing, on board the USS Missouri.

He studied pre-med at Harvard and was accepted into medical school there in 1947, but instead moved to S.F. to marry Edith Simon.  He graduated from Stanford Law School in December 1950 with the Irving Hellman Prize for legal writing. In 1951, the young couple spent six months in Rome, where Norman served as part of a Stanford Research Mission to the Italian government.

Upon his return, he joined the firm of Dinkelspiel & Dinkelspiel, with which he was affiliated for the remainder of his career. He was active with the San Francisco Bar Association (served as Chair of the International Law and the Probate Committees), and was known for his mentorship of young lawyers.

Amongst his many civic involvements, Norman chaired or sat on the boards of the American Red Cross of S.F., Hunter’s Point Boys Club, Probate Committee of the Bar Association of S.F., S.F. Jewish Community Center, S.F. Jewish Welfare Federation, Congregation Emanu-El, and Judah Magnes Museum.  He was never shy about speaking his mind, or stating his opinions even when unpopular. His abiding interests were lifelong education, civil rights and the history of the Jews of the West.

He is survived by his daughters, Susie Coliver (Robert Herman) of San Francisco and Sandra Coliver (Robert Sullivan) of New York, and his devoted caregivers of the past several years, Temalesi Raturoba, Caroline Timothy and Joe Niumataiwalu.

Donations can be made in his memory to the Western Jewish History Center at the Magnes Collection at U.C. Berkeley at give.berkeley.edu/magnes, Lehrhaus Judaica at vernita@lehrhaus.org or charity of your choice. The family welcomes recollections: scoliver2724@gmail.com