Sanford Chandler

Sanford Chandler (1928-2016) — aka “Coach,” Stanford, S.L., Spud, Ford, Sandy and Cliff — was a man of many talents as well as names. A Bronx boy through and through, he loved San Francisco from the day he moved here in 1962, but never forsook his hometown Yankees, Knicks and Rangers. Thanks to years of cheering the 49ers at the old Kezar Stadium with his father-in-law Ira Blue (z’’l), he became a devoted fan (except when they played the N.Y. Giants — then he couldn’t watch).

He went to New York public schools and graduated from his beloved James Monroe High School in 1946. He was a late returnee to college, using his GI bill to go to (for him) the coveted Columbia University School of General Studies and Columbia Teachers’ College.

He taught school with joy for the next 40 years, 29 as an active member of the George Washington High School Social Studies Department, and nearly 35 as coach of a Speech and Debate team, which he took from a few kids who shared a bus with archrival Lowell to a powerhouse national qualifier (with their own bus) for 13 seasons. But win or lose, he loved all his kids and celebrated their courage to try. No coach helped more students just to stand on their feet and feel good about expressing themselves.

In later years, he coached at several local schools, including a fulfilling six-year stint at Archbishop Riordan High School, and for the last seven years he ran tournaments for middle school students in the San Francisco Diocese. Energetic and enthusiastic always, he proudly wore a T-shirt that said, “Coach Chandler may be a dinosaur, but he can still bite.”

“Coach” was also a journalist whose stories ran in such diverse publications as the Manchester Guardian and New York Enquirer.  His interview subjects ranged from Joe DiMaggio and Charles Schulz to Zero Mostel and Ella Fitzgerald, although all whom he met and spoke with felt that their story was important and valued. He wrote reviews for his own “Le Guide Chandler” (after thoroughly enjoying meals in eateries around the city and country), was a tireless and witty contributor to the Letters to the Editor, and was especially proud of his years as a columnist for the English-language version of the Mainichi Daily News. He loved doing radio interviews for KEST and serving recently on the blog staff of the Humor Times, an excellent feat for a man who wrote everything on his vintage Underwood manual typewriter.

S.L. loved a cup of tea, a box of Mallomars and an inspirational black-and-white cookie, burning off the calories with a devoted walking routine, through which he logged more than 25,000 miles in and around his adopted city.

Remembering him with endless love and good humor are legions of friends and students, and most especially his wife Danise, his children Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon and Spencer (Diana Windhorst) Chandler, and grandchildren Adena (18), Jared (16), Olivia (8) and Elliott (1).

In lieu of flowers, donations could be sent to the Chandler Family Fund (providing scholarships for outstanding students), George Washington H.S. Alumni Association, 600 32nd Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121, or a worthy charity of your choice.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

(415) 921-3636

Shirley Geffner

Shirley Geffner passed away peacefully at home on June 20 after several weeks in hospice care. The middle child of Rose and Mack Zweben, she was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on June 13, 1927.

Shirley graduated from Eastern District High School. During WWII she joined the Army Corp of Nurses. She received her education at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, where she received her RN degree in 1948 and established her career. The war ended before she had to serve overseas but she kept her uniform all these years.

She met her husband, Jack Geffner, on a blind date, set up by her Aunt Birdie. They married in November 1956, honeymooned in Cuba, and their daughters Bonnie and Sharon were born within a few years.

Shirley was very involved in her children’s activities: PTA, Brownies, carpool, crafts.  She worked as a camp nurse at Camp Mahopac and Camp Tarigo for several years. As the kids got older, she went back to working full time as a nurse at a Brooklyn Jewish satellite clinic in Crown Heights. She later worked at Kingsborough Community College.

Shirley and Jack lived in Midwood and loved Brooklyn. She was a voracious reader, and loved to knit, crochet, needlepoint and other assorted crafts. Her Passover seders were legendary. She had many friends and was active in Hadassah and other community activities. She spent summers at the Silver Gull Beach Club, enjoying the ocean and mahjong. She also remained very involved with Brooklyn Jewish Hospital and School of Nursing, serving as the alumnae membership secretary and newsletter editor for many, many, years. After Jack retired, they traveled to Israel, Asia, South America and Europe.

When her children married and settled in the Bay Area, Shirley and Jack made the difficult decision to leave Brooklyn. Reluctantly, they sold the house and moved to Sunnyvale.  Sixteen years later she would acknowledge that it was the best thing they ever did.

They made wonderful new friends through the Palo Alto JCC. They became very active in the senior program there; Shirley volunteered for many years on the Magic Moment committee.  She and Jack were very active with the Jewish War Vets Palo Alto/S.J. post and volunteered at the VA hospital. They were among the first residents to move to Moldaw Family Residences (and even appeared in the print and TV ads). Over the years, Shirley taught mahjong at Etz Chayim, at Moldaw, for Hadassah and at the JCC, often as a fundraiser.

Shirley was predeceased by her sister, Muriel (Mutzy), and brother, Barry. She is survived by her beloved husband, Jack, her children Bonnie (and Ron) Shipper, Sharon (and Dave) Ziony, grandchildren, Henry and Rebecca, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. Memorial donations can be made to the Senior Program at Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto or the American Cancer Society.

Tola Mermel

Tola Mermel, born January 29, 1920 in Tomashov, Poland, peacefully passed away July 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. Tola was 96 years old. Tola was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, great-aunt and great-great aunt to many.  After losing her first husband and daughter in the Holocaust, Tola immigrated to San Francisco in 1949 and married Adam Mermel. After the passing of Adam Mermel in 1974, Tola married a longtime friend from Poland, Morris Spaizman, who then passed away in 2002.

Tola will be remembered for many things, including her devotion to her family, strong mind, sharp wit and delicious gefilte fish. She lived a full life filled with family, love and Yiddishkeit. She will be missed dearly.

Donations in memory of Tola Mermel can be made to Congregation Adath Israel in San Francisco.

Lawrence (Larry) Shaine

February 24, 1939–July 11, 2016

Born in Tillamook, Oregon to Yitzak (Ted) and Charlotte Shaine. Longtime resident of Foster City, California. Survived by his loving wife of 52 years Eileen Shaine; son Ted Shaine; brother-in-law Howard Wexler; sister-in-law Judie Wexler; niece Robyn Wexler; nephew Matthew Wexler; cousins  Gloria (Weinberg) Goldstein, Sharon (Weinberg) Singer, Barbara (Weinberg) Schwartz, Fran (Weinberg) Matson; and many other relatives and friends.

Graduate of University of Oregon, BBA Business, Class of 1960. Marched with the Oregon Band in the Rose Bowl Parade of 1958. Enjoyed a 35-year career at Levi Strauss & Company in San Francisco. Active in City of Foster City committees and advisory boards. Devoted fan of Oregon Ducks football. Traveled extensively with Eileen across the world. 52-year member of Peninsula Temple Sholom. Services were held at Peninsula Temple Sholom and Home of Peace Cemetery on July 14, 2016. Contributions to American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association or to Peninsula Temple Sholom.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

(415) 921-3636

Helen Shipper

Helen Shipper passed away peacefully at home on May 27. The oldest of seven children, she was born to Mayer and Kaila Kornberg in the village of Zarnowiec, Poland, on April 19, 1922.

Helen was a Holocaust survivor. As the Germans were rounding up the Jews of her village, she managed to escape with her younger brother Aryeh to the town of Czestochowa, where she joined her relatives in the ghetto. Her parents and the rest of her immediate family perished in the Plaszow concentration camp.

During the war, she worked in the Hasag munitions work camp. Her future husband, Jack Shipper, managed to survive the war since he was a baker by trade and thus performed a service essential to the Germans. No other member of his family survived. Jack and Helen were married in 1942. The Jews of Czestochowa were liberated by the Russian Red Army in January 1945.

Helen and Jack stayed in Poland until May 1957, when they immigrated to Israel with their sons, Mark and Ron. There she was reunited with her brother Aryeh, who had left Poland right after the war.

In 1961 the Shipper family moved to the USA, and in 1964 Jack and Helen opened the Forest Hills Bake Shop in Forest Hills, Queens. While Jack baked, Helen supervised the retail end of the business and worked long hours serving the customers. The bakery became known for Jack’s delicious cakes and breads.

After retirement, Jack and Helen moved to Boynton Beach, Florida, and then to the Bay Area to be closer to their sons and grandchildren.

Helen was an accomplished cook and baker. She enjoyed and excelled in handicrafts, sewing, needlepoint and flower arranging. Gardening was also a favorite activity of hers, something she learned early in life while growing up on the family farm in Poland.

She was predeceased by her brother Aryeh. She is survived by her husband, Jack, her sons, Mark and Ron, Ron’s wife, Bonnie, and her two grandchildren, Henry and Rebecca.

Memorial contributions can be made to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., or Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel.