a lit memorial candle with a Sinai Memorial Chapel logo on it

Deaths for the week of March 9, 2018


Benjamin Dorfman, 97, longtime resident of San Francisco, California, died peacefully in the first hour of January 24, 2018, at the Willow Park senior residence in Boise, Idaho, which had been his home for almost seven years. He was appreciated by all who knew him as one of the nicest, kindest men who ever lived, with a smile that made a tremendous impact on people.

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Benjamin Dorfman

There was a memorial service for Ben on March 9 at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Interment of his ashes was at Home of Peace Cemetery in Colma that same day.

Ben was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1921, to Mary Rosenberg of Minsk, Russia, and Nathan Dorfman of Disna, Poland. He attended the University of Louisville, graduating in the Class of 1942 with a Bachelors Degree with Honors in Economics. His major subject was Accounting.

In early 1943, Ben enlisted in the Navy and received four months’ training in the V-7 program at the Notre Dame Midshipmen’s School, where one of his fellow students was future actor Kirk Douglas. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve and ordered to the Port Director’s Office in San Francisco for duty. He was there for 21 months.

During that time, Ben met fourth-generation San Franciscan Edith Marian Lilienthal. They married on November 2, 1944. Shortly thereafter, Ben was sent by the Navy to the Philippines. He was Port Director of the Port of Iloilo, Panay Island. He separated from Naval Service in the rank of Lieutenant.

He came back to San Francisco in 1946 and, starting in 1948, had a 37-year career with Berven Carpets Corporation. He held the positions of Chief Accounting Officer, Controller, Corporate Secretary, and then Vice President and Assistant to Chairman of the Board.

In 1957, he joined the San Francisco Chapter of the Administrative Management Society. Ben joined their Audit Committee in 1957 and became Chairman in 1959.

Ben and Edie had two sons, born exactly two years apart. Richard Nathan Dorfman was born on April 2, 1947, and brother Roger on April 2, 1949. Ben was a wonderful father. He took his boys to San Francisco Seals (then San Francisco Giants) baseball games and professional hockey games at the Cow Palace. This sparked interests each son would have and utilize in broadcasting and pro sports.

During his 65 years in San Francisco, Ben was also active on various boards and committees of homeowner and neighborhood associations and other organizations. He served on the Troop Committee of Boy Scout Troop 17, in which his sons each attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He was active in the Jewish Community Center.

Ben and Edie were members of Congregation Emanu-El and supported the synagogue and other Jewish causes as part of their philanthropy. They were generous in helping other organizations and various family members through the years.

Their major hobby was travel, and they were fortunate enough to be able to do a lot of it. Ben’s other major passion was reading the San Francisco Chronicle, which he did routinely after dinner each night.

He suffered a mild stroke in January 2007, and vascular dementia gradually overtook his mental abilities. A bout with the flu facilitated his passing.

Ben was predeceased by his parents Nathan and Mary, his beloved wife Edie, his son Roger, sisters Anne Louise (Max) Goldstein, Sylvia (Seymour) Stiller, Eva (Ross) Socolof, and brother Leon (Ethel) Dorfman.

He is survived by son Richard (Sylvia), grandsons Ryan (Lindy), Scott (Leigh Schoettinger), Jeremy, and Bernard, granddaughters Marleigh (Trevor) Steis and Rose, seven great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

He will be missed and remembered by all as a mild-mannered, even-tempered, serious man who never sought the limelight but certainly merited recognition for his stability, wise counsel and generosity to, and love for, his family. He and his wife of more than 64 years established many friendships.

As a memorial, people are asked to consider a donation to their local Alzheimer’s support group, their local American Diabetes Association, or support of their favorite Jewish or other charity.


Gerald A. Ornstein

When you have lived 92 years with a glad heart and a jovial spirit and have served on the board of philanthropic organizations, you influence many lives in a profoundly positive way. Gerald A. Ornstein died on Feb. 11, 2018, from complications from a broken hip, leaving behind a legacy of good deeds and a truly cherished memory.

Gerald Ornstein
Gerald Ornstein

He is survived by two children, Sheryl and Geoffrey (his daughter Susan predeceased him in 1991), and four stepchildren: Lawrence (Stephanie) Krames, Elliot (Rosellen) Krames, Jennifer (Robert) Futernick, and Nancy (Natan) Huffman. The next two generations were tremendously enriching to his life, as he was to theirs. “Pop-Pop” had eleven grandchildren — Jason, Jeremy, Benjamin, Tamar, Rachel, Joshua (predeceased), Jacob, Sarah, Amy, Timothy, and Tyler — and nine great-grandchildren: June, Joshua, Adi, Noa, Rowan (predeceased), Teagan, Elan, River, and Winter. His wives, Jean Liebman and Irene Krames, predeceased him. Jerry is survived by his loving partner of 14 years, Joan Stern. Joan’s children, Eric (Rachel) Stern and Karen (David) Cahen, and Joan’s five grandchildren remember him as a devoted member of their family, too.

On Feb. 13, a memorial service was held at Peninsula Temple Sholom for this kind man who brought a sense of acceptance to so many friends and family members. In 1955, Jerry’s father, Jack, was a founding member of that temple, and Jerry was a member since 1979. Earlier in his life, he belonged to Temple Emanu-El, where he is still fondly remembered as a Sunday school and Confirmation teacher.

Gerald Ornstein was born in San Francisco on Feb. 6, 1926 to Jack and Harriet Ornstein and then moved with his family, including his brother Allan, to San Mateo, where he attended San Mateo High. Upon graduation he joined the Army Air Corps, where he trained in Texas to become a gunner on the B-29 Superfortress. He was deployed to the South Pacific in 1945. Then, benefiting from the GI bill, he entered Cal where he graduated in 1949 with a degree in political science. Now married and soon to be a new father, he joined Paul Koss Janitorial Supply Co., working in management for his entire career until he retired in 1991.

Jerry loved his alma mater Cal and was an ardent Bear Backer for decades. He also loved golf. In 1973 he became an active member of Lake Merced Golf and Country Club, playing golf and cards there several times a week and serving as president in 1990. True pride came with a hole-in-one on that rugged course, plus two more later in his golf life. Travel to exotic places was another passion, no doubt inspired by his WWII travels to the South Pacific. And oh how he loved to snap his fingers listening to big band music or the marching-band tunes of John Philip Sousa.

Jerry was a notably progressive board member of Hebrew Free Loan for 17 years. He was also a long-time and active board member of the Pacific Northwest Region for the American Committee for Sha’are Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Recognition of his tireless public service came with many awards; an especially esteemed honor was the Jerusalem Award for Leadership that he received from Sha’are Zedek in 1999.

Contributions in Gerald Ornstein’s memory can be made to Hebrew Free Loan; Peninsula Temple Sholom; American Committee for Sha’are Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem; or Juvenile Diabetes Research Association.


Harvey Sharfstein passed away peacefully on February 22, 2018, surrounded by friends and family at the age of 89. Harvey was born in New York City to the late Philip and Esther (Jaffe) Sharfstein. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 50 years, Florence (Schumer) Sharfstein, and is survived by his sister Phoebe Brown, his sister-in-law Charlotte Rudich, his children Susan Sharfstein (Joseph Shiang) and Philip Sharfstein (Susan Barron), his grandchildren Elan, Molly and Orit, his aunts Reba and Chana Sharfstein, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Harvey graduated from Brooklyn Tech in 1945 and went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (Brooklyn Poly), receiving his Bachelor’s degree in 1951. He worked for the Lindholm Engineering Company from 1951 to 1952 and the Benrus Watch Company from 1952 to 1956 before returning to Brooklyn Poly as an instructor in 1956. He received his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brooklyn Poly in 1960 and was appointed as an Assistant Professor. In 1961, Harvey received a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship, and he and his wife Florence moved out to California for “two years” to attend graduate school at Stanford University.

Harvey joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at San Jose State University in 1964, remaining there until he retired in 1992. While at San Jose State, he served as Associate Dean of the School of Engineering for 11 years and as Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department for 4 years. He was recognized for his expertise in design and stress analysis, serving as a consultant to the Navy, NASA, Lockheed, and several other companies.

While at San Jose State, Harvey was much loved for both his teaching and mentoring activities. Upon his retirement from the Department Chair position, the department conferred upon him the “Ask Harvey Award” in appreciation for his service, willingness to answer any question, and coffee-making abilities. After his official retirement in 1992, Harvey continued to assist with the experimental stress analysis laboratory that he developed and the senior design course for several years.

Harvey and Florence were both very committed to public and Jewish education, serving on many committees and task forces in the Cupertino School District and at Congregation Kol Emeth. They also believed strongly in social justice, serving as advocates for housing rights in the early 1960s and working for many progressive political candidates. Harvey was well known for his sense of humor, often joking that he married Florence because she could spell and remember names. After his retirement, Harvey and Florence traveled extensively, frequently with the senior men’s club at Kol Emeth, as well as visiting their grandchildren in upstate New York. When Florence had a stroke in 2006, Harvey devotedly cared for her until her passing in 2010. After Florence’s death, Harvey became a synagogue regular at Kol Emeth, supporting the morning minyan with his presence, sense of humor, and coffee-making skills.

The family would like to thank Kathy Faenzi and Associates for all of their support over the last several months, the staff at Hidden Lane Villa for their loving care of Harvey, and Mission Hospice and Home Care for their help and support. Contributions in Harvey’s memory may be made to Congregation Kol Emeth, 2525 Charleston Road, Suite 204, Palo Alto, CA 94303 or to the charity of your choice.


Millicent Shelton

Millie passed suddenly yet peacefully Monday, Feb. 26, after her daily walk through the neighborhood park. She was not alone and had enjoyed her daily ritual of greeting other walkers in the park and neighborhood.

Millie Shelton
Millie Shelton

Millie was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia and we loved her Southern accent. She was married for 48.5 years to Fred Shelton with whom she raised a family and owned two businesses in San Francisco — Frosty Bossy and Newmeyer Bakery. Millie was devoted to Fred, who left us on Jan. 23, 2002 after she cared for him for several years. Millie is survived by her sisters, Eleanor and Priscilla, daughter Heidi Pierce (Greg, daughters Shoshana & Abra (Murat, son Feivel) son Mark Shelton (Michelle, daughter Jessica).

Millie loved her family and was cherished by all who knew her. Every family gathering — breakfast, lunch or dinner out or supper with friends — was an event. On her last full day she enjoyed a quiet breakfast with her two children, Heidi and Mark. Not more than a month ago “GG” traveled with Heidi to Galgate, England, visiting for a week with her granddaughter Abra, Murat and great grandson Feivel. Not bad for a 91 years young woman!

Millie was a very generous person supporting many charities and devoted much of her retirement years to volunteerism — Sunday School at Temple Beth Israel-Judea, Kaiser in San Francisco and SSF. She was also a fantastic babysitter for her three granddaughters as they grew up.

Millie was buried at Salem Cemetery in a private service alongside Fred. In the coming weeks there will be a Celebration of Life — the loving stories of Millie will go on for hours! In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to the Religious School Fund at Beth Israel-Judea at 625 Brotherhood Way, San Francisco, CA, 94132.


Barbara Sue Spack

April 28, 1935–February 21, 2018

Born on the 28th of April, 1935, in Kansas City, Missouri, she left us on the 21st of February, 2018, in Rossmoor. Loving daughter to Henry and Mary Spack. She is survived by her beloved sisters Ilene Weinreb and Bari Winchell. She is also survived by her five nieces, two nephews, 10 great-nieces, and five great-nephews, all of whom were never far from her heart. Barbara did not lose her battle with pancreatic cancer; she simply moved the war to a different realm.

As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. In 1960, Barbara moved to San Francisco, where she worked as a lab tech and eventually led a division at the lab at Pacific Presbyterian. Ever striving to improve herself, Barbara attended law school at night all the while working her day job at the lab. She passed the bar on her first attempt and began work as a public defender for the city of San Francisco.

Forever stylish and a trend setter, Barbara loved the ballet, the theater and her family in equal measure. The number of b’nai mitzvoth she attended is too numerous to mention. She even traveled to Prague for the bat mitzvah of the granddaughter of a dear friend. Her generosity to her causes and to the people she loved was quiet and significant. We are better people because she was in our lives. We love you, we miss you, and may your memory forever be a blessing.

Services were held on Feb. 25 at Oakmont Memorial Park, Lafayette. Donations to a favorite charity can be made in lieu of flowers.

(Sinai SF)


Carol Ann “Hilary” Zim (1939-2014)

Carol Ann Zim, 74, died on February 27, 2014, at her Hillsborough home. Born Carol Ann Carp in Granite City, Illinois, on October 29, 1939, her parents were Clemence Emile Carp and Charlotte Carp. After graduating from Clayton High, Missouri, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis in 1961.

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Carol Ann “Hilary” Zim

Fondly known as “Hilary” to friends and family, she was unconventional, giving and a lot of fun. The huge black glasses she wore made her easily recognizable while walking her dog Little Boo or shopping in town. Hilary was passionate about progressive, avant-garde paintings and sculptures. She was always pushing the envelope with her artistic ideas and was very knowledgeable about the masters of the art world.

Hilary loved living in Hillsborough, where she created sculptures, textile art and filled blank canvases with bold colors, words and figures. Her last art series You May Ask Me Why was uncompleted, and we will never see her final vision. Visiting Hilary’s home was like visiting a museum. Her final show took place there with the proceeds going to Peninsula Temple Beth El. The website www.hilaryzim.com showcases the work. Her art can be found in private collections around the country and world.

Hilary is survived by her daughter Valerie Zim of Venice, California, son Noah Intara Zim (and Joanna) of Petaluma, California, Irwin Zim (father of Valerie and Noah) of Los Angeles, grandchildren Raphael and Eliana Bono and Emanuel and Pema Intara Zim, brother Harry “Ted” Carp of Eugene, Oregon, and loving nephew and cousins. Services were held on March 2, 2014 at Skylawn Memorial Park, where she is buried next to her mother. She is missed by all who were touched by her loving spirit and generous nature.