Ben Anixter, a Silicon Valley pioneer who turned marketing semiconductors into the high competition he embraced in all aspects of his life, especially in athletics, lost his race with cancer on Sunday, July 30 and died in his home surrounded by his family. He was 79.
Benjamin Martin Anixter, the son of Simon and Leslie Anixter, was born in San Francisco. The family moved to Kentfield in Marin County when he was 12 years old. He went to Drake High School, where he ran track specializing in 100- and 220-yard sprints. At 15, he began playing golf at the Lake Merced Country Club with his lifelong friends.
He graduated from high school and matriculated to Stanford University where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. Joining the track team at Stanford, he continued to run the 100- and 220-yard track events, but this time under the guidance of legendary U.S. Olympic team coach Payton Jordan.
In the early 1960s, Anixter joined Fairchild Semiconductor, a division of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp. He first was a marketing manager for diodes. After several years working out of Fairchild’s Hollywood office, Anixter moved to the firm’s Mountain View headquarters, where he was to head all digital product marketing.
He left Fairchild and along with fellow Fairchild marketers John Bosch and Gordon Russell and formed Anixter, Bosch and Russell. The firm consulted with smaller electronics companies.
In 1971, Anixter picked up Advanced Micro Devices’ badge No. 260 and became the fledgling firm’s director of marketing for digital products. In the 1980s, his functions were expanded to include all product-support activities, such as public relations and advertising. He was then assigned government-related activities, including working with the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in its lobbying efforts in Washington. He was also put in charge of the firm’s charitable-giving program. He was named Vice President for External Affairs. Anixter spent more than 30 years at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
W.J. (Jerry) Sanders III, founder and chief executive officer of AMD, noted that he met “Ben more than 50 years ago and he instantly won my respect and friendship. Until our mutual retirement, we worked together as colleagues and friends. No one could be a better or truer friend and teammate.” Sanders added: “His unassailable character and discipline coupled with his devotion to family and friends will be a cherished memory. He was a man that stood strong with his convictions.”
Steve Zelencik, AMD’s former senior vice president of sales, worked with Anixter from the early days at Fairchild. “Benny was always true to himself and to his principles — whether he was right or wrong, and, of course, Benny was never wrong,” Zelencik said. “Anixter was extremely loyal to his friends, his company, and above all else to his family.”
AMD’s public relations chief, John Greenagel, said, “Ben had a reputation of being kind of like great French bread — crusty on the outside but soft and warm on the inside.”
Anne Craib, who worked with Anixter in the SIA, remembers some of Anixter’s common sayings: “Do the right thing, even if it’s hard — and even when no one is watching” and “You can’t win if you don’t play.” And when someone tried to pull a fast one: “They’ve been trying to get away with that since I had hair.”
Anixter was generous. Among his favorites was the effort in research in cancer and blood diseases at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, the university’s track and field department and the Jewish Home of San Francisco.
The Anixters are members of Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame. Ben was a long-time committee member for the annual golf tournament for the Jewish Home of San Francisco, where he also served on its board of directors.
“What’s the real take-away?” Ben Anixter, the consummate marketing man, would ask. He was a proud American. He was moral, ethical and highly principled. A teacher to many, he was always learning — from history classes, books, newspapers and people. For years after college, Anixter was a competitive sprinter, and when his knees got older than his spirit, he switched to roller-blading. He then graduated to swimming, and he continued playing golf. Ben was an exceptional father who respected his children as individuals. He loved the San Francisco Giants, he was a highly talented athlete, and he was a good friend of Israel. And he hated garlic.
Anixter is survived by his wife, Patricia Fischer Anixter, and his sister, Katherine Anixter Browning and her children, Jason and Adam; his children, Shelley Jane Anixter, Jeffrey Tod Anixter and his wife Gina, Martin Beldin Anixter, Simon Benjamin Anixter and Harrison David Anixter; his grandchildren Aly and Natalie Anixter and Abigail and Julia Kravec. Anixter is also survived by his cousins Louis (Bill) Honig, Sue Honig, Joseph Nadel, Leslie Flemming and Johnny Davis.
Funeral services were held on Aug. 3, 2017 at Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (lpfch.org) directed to the Weinberg Stem Cell Laboratory or the Jewish Home of San Francisco (JHSF.org).
(Sinai Memorial Chapel – Redwood City)
Leslie Appleton (nee Roth) died peacefully in her home on July 13, 2017, at the age of 96. She was born in San Francisco, California, on Aug. 17, 1920, the daughter of Lester and Marion Roth. Leslie’s beloved husband, Robert O. Appleton, Sr. (“Appie”), predeceased her in 2013.
A lifelong Francophile, Leslie was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in French. Leslie was fiercely intelligent, opinionated and strong-willed, and loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren tremendously. She derived immense pleasure from the opportunities to meet both of her great-grandchildren and adored the “gallery” of pictures she had of them surrounding her room. She was incredibly proud of her family and would light up with a phone call or visit from them. She adored cooking, recipes, good food, reading and word games.
Leslie is survived by many friends and family, including her three children, Robert Appleton Jr. (Susan Appleton) of St. Louis, Missouri; Diane Appleton (David Ach) of Palo Alto, California; and Michael Appleton (Pamela Sawyer) of Oakland, California; six grandchildren, two sisters, a niece and grandniece.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood or any charity of your choice.
Anne Blachman, born September 11, 1919, died peacefully on July 31, 2017 at the age of 97 in Oakland, CA.
She was adventuresome, loved to learn, had an eager intellect and was an independent thinker; she was a voracious reader, adored connecting people (i.e.networking), was physically active, very matter-of-fact and an excellent cook. She had considered immigrating to Palestine/Israel after receiving her B.A. in economics from Brooklyn College in 1941, but the outbreak of World War II put an end to that plan.
Instead, she went to work in Washington D. C. in the Office of Price Administration with the Processed Food Division, where she helped set the value of rationed products. In 1943 she took a job in the administrative offices of the Tule Lake war relocation camp. In 1945 she returned to the East Coast to work at Columbia University, and then, after the war, traveled to Hokkaido, Japan to work for the American Red Cross, running a recreation center for U.S. serviceman, where she handed out doughnuts and coffee in hopes of meeting nice young men. She next secured a job as a Research Assistant at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California in 1948, not long after it was founded.
Thanks to a mutual friend, at the age of 34 she was introduced to Nelson Blachman. Their courtship was short and sweet. They married at a small ceremony over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1953 and continued to celebrate their anniversary on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. She joined Nelson in Washington, D.C., and the following year moved to Palo Alto, where she lived for the next 40 years except for sabbaticals in London, Madrid and Washington, D.C. as well as sojourns to many other countries.
Anne was delighted to be a housewife and mother, as she had worked from a young age at her parents’ shoe store. In her “free time” she became a personal investor for her family, exercised regularly, took classes, read, socialized, and derived great satisfaction finding good deals and collecting entertaining stories at garage sales. She was a life member of Hadassah.
In 1996, she and Nelson moved to Piedmont Gardens in Oakland, where she made new friends and spent time with her children and grandchildren. Around 2008, at the age of 89, her ability to care for herself began to falter and her health took a turn for the worse. While not the social, outgoing person she had been, she was kind and appreciative, thanking the staff and greeting everyone who passed her. Her family dubbed her condition “zen dementia.” Her husband, four years her junior, died in 2014, and although she wasn’t always aware of what was happening, when informed of his death she said “I’m sorry to hear that. He was a good man. The world needs more men like Nelson.”
Anne passed away painlessly in her sleep following a visit with her daughters and son-in-law Joel. As per her wishes, her body was donated to Stanford Medical School through their Willed Body Program. In her last act, she supported education and reuse, and got a bargain.
She is survived by her two daughters (Susan and Nancy Blachman), their husbands (Joel Biatch and David desJardins) and four grandchildren (Isadora and Sophia Blachman-Biatch and Louis and Sarah Blachman).
Donations in her memory can be made to Hadassah and the Residents Council of Piedmont Gardens, 33 Linda Ave., Oakland, CA 94611.
Florence “Flossie” Ginsburg was born in Oakland, February 11, 1922. She lived her entire life in the East Bay. Flossie was a beloved mother to Larry Ginsburg (Lynn Simon) and Susan Fornelius (Steve Fornelius); grandmother to Zack (Sandra) and Adam Ginsburg; and doting great-grandmother to Nathan and Evelyn Ginsburg.
Flossie was married for more than 20 years to Aaron Ginsburg before his death in 1965. She was one of six daughters of Louis and Mary Posnet, including surviving sisters Sunny Paris (Stan) and Poppy Finston. She adored and treasured her life-long friendship with Pearl Wolffs and many other friends, including Julie Kruse and Gertrude Mann and those at Baywood Court, where Flossie lived well into her 90s. She loved Zack’s wife, Sandra Ginsburg; her former daughter-in-law, Hanna Levenson; and Larry’s life partner, Lynn Simon.
Flossie also leaves a legacy of being an uplifter of others — sometimes through Hallmark cards, always with her delightful laughter and smiles. Flossie lit up a room when she walked into it. Her essence was noticeable in her presence — she was as loving and elegant on the inside as she was on the outside. Yet far from being elegant and stuffy, Flossie was adventurous, fun and fabulous. She embraced life and was in turn embraced by it. Those who had the privilege of spending time with Flossie treasured her.
A memorial service was held Aug. 6 at Temple Sinai in Oakland. For those wishing to honor her, please support your favorite charity or those Flossie most appreciated: the Alameda County Community Food Bank and Temple Sinai, both in Oakland. Enjoy this message from Flossie: “I Wish You Love.”
(Sinai Memorial Chapel – Lafayette)
Dinah Haken was born in Brooklyn, New York on Jan. 4, 1927 and passed away in San Jose Aug. 5, 2017.
After marrying, Dinah moved to California, eventually settling in Millbrae where she raised her family. Dinah was last employed as a payroll manager for San Mateo County. She was a breast cancer survivor but it was the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s to which she finally succumbed. She was a great friend to many but it was her role of mother, Nana and G.G. that she cherished.
Dinah is survived by her daughters/sons-in-law Bonnie and Jerry Neary (San Jose), Stephanie and Steve Wolff (Poway), four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, her brother Morty Miller (Vancouver, WA) and several nieces and nephews. A special thank you to the staff at Carlton Plaza San Jose and Vitas Healthcare. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Association or City of Hope preferred. Private burial.
Eleanor Louise Marcus-Callison
Eleanor Louise Marcus-Callison passed away on Tuesday, August 1, in New York City at age 63. She is survived by her parents, Sonia and Irwin Marcus; her brother, Alan Marcus; her husband, John Callison; and her beloved dog, Puck. A native San Franciscan, Eleanor grew up in Burlingame and graduated from UC Berkeley, B.A., receiving the Order of The Golden Bear with graduate degrees from University of Michigan, MPH in Health Education, and an MBA from Wharton School, U. of Pennsylvania.
Eleanor was an extraordinarily talented, multifaceted and beautiful woman who was a visionary entrepreneur in all of her endeavors. She always brought her creativity, leadership, focus and drive along with her caring, sense of humor, and effective people skills to all she did. Her careers in education, marketing, and business allowed her to showcase her expertise as well as her ability to be an effective mentor. A beloved niece and cousin and a special friend to many, Eleanor is greatly missed, but her memory and good deeds will be forever cherished.
Graveside services will be held on Friday, August 11, at 10 a.m. at Skylawn Memorial Park, Gan Hazikaron, San Mateo, Highway 92 W. and Skyline Blvd. At a later date, there will be a service of Celebration of her Life. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.
(Sinai Redwood City)
September 15, 1945 – August 3, 2017
Sandra Meyer was born in Seattle, WA on Sept. 15, 1945 to Maurice David Rutledge, z”l and Mollie Sterling Rutledge, z”l. She married Burton in 1965 in Los Angeles. Sandra was an L.A. transplant who became an integral part of the San Francisco community. She earned a master’s degree in gerontology, which she put to use at Montefiore Senior Center at the San Francisco JCC and various other establishments. Sandra was a member of Congregation Beth Sholom and an active volunteer for the S.F. Family Foundation.
Sandra was happily married for 51 years and is survived by her husband, Burton Meyer. She is also survived by daughter Hyla Shubb (Zack) and grandsons Lincoln and Desmond Shubb; daughter Marissa Meyer; her twin sister Sheila Mizrahi and nephew Benjamin Mizrahi; brother Arthur Rutledge (Diana) and niece Alyssa; and cousin Debbie Persselin, as well as her beloved cats, Tallulah and Cassie. Anyone who met her could never forget her.
Services were on Aug. 7, 2017 at the Home of Peace Cemetery Chapel in Colma, CA. Donations in Sandra’s memory would be appreciated at the SPCA.
(Sinai Memorial Chapel – San Francisco)
Eric S. (Tavy) Schmier died of lung cancer at age 70 on July 9, 2017 at the home of his brother and sister-in law in Larkspur, California. He was known as Tavy, his nickname, until law school.
Eric was born in Detroit, Michigan as the second of four children to Walter and Beverly Schmier. He was raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan and Hastings College of the Law. He served in the United States Navy on the USS Constellation. He lived in Larkspur for almost 40 years and attended Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon, CA.
In a lifelong partnership with his brother Ken, Eric had distinguished careers in retailing and industrial real estate redevelopment. In 1985 he became a board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland, served as its president, and remained dedicated to it for the remainder of his life.
He is survived by his friend Ellen Tobe. He is also survived by his mother; siblings Michael Schmier (Jeanette Richards), Kenneth Schmier (Lisa) and Sara Aftergood (Dr. David); as well as nephews Aaron Aftergood (Jenny) and Jacob Aftergood and niece Hannah Reinstein (Yos).
The funeral and memorial service were held on July 11.
The family suggests donations in memory of Eric Schmier be made to the Oakland Boys and Girls Clubs.