On Jan. 2, William (Mushie) Krasow celebrated his 100th birthday. His nickname, Bill, was created by childhood pals who couldn’t pronounce his Russian name, Misha, or his Yiddish one, Moishe. He was born in Harbin, China, where his parents, Ben and Anne, had migrated as refugees from Ukraine. When he was just 2 years old, they moved to San Francisco, where he lived until 2007. After the death of his beloved wife, Evie, Bill moved to Brookdale in Redwood City to be close to his son, Michael, and his family.
Bill’s oldest San Francisco memory is of horse-pulled wagons on Market Street. His father had a grocery store in the Western Addition, and his mother managed the family finances. In fact, she was so adept that she managed to buy property in Japantown. When many of her tenants were interned during World War II, she performed the mitzvah of safeguarding their possessions until their return.
An only child, Bill graduated from Commerce High School and attended San Francisco City College for two years. He played on the basketball team at both schools. Later he spent four years in the Army, participating in the invasion and occupation of Okinawa and the peacekeeping forces in Tokyo. He also spent time stationed in Hawaii. Bill continued playing basketball and baseball in the military, and he maintained his fitness so well over time that on his 75th birthday, he swam 95 times across the pool at the historic Concordia-Argonaut, a Jewish social club in San Francisco.
Growing up, Bill was a neighbor and close friend of Evelyn (Evie) Abend. As kids she’d tease him that he was going to marry her, and he’d say, “No way!” He ended up proposing when he was 24, and they married on Aug. 25, 1946. Married and looking for a job, he became a partner in a pawnshop and worked seven days a week for just $30 a week. In 1960, he purchased his own business in San Francisco, Pacific Loan Company. For many years, he and Michael worked there together. When asked what he enjoyed most about his line of work, Bill said that he loved meeting all kinds of people and also that the unexpected could happen every day: “You would never know who or what would walk through the doors next!”
The Krasows joined Congregation Beth Israel, which merged with Temple Judea in 1969 to become Beth Israel-Judea, where Bill served on the board. He and Evie had many close friends there, including Arthur Becker, Lea Appel, Hank Greenberg and Nancy Greenberg.
Bill and Evie had one child, Michael, who with late wife Dyanne had three children: Daniel, Erin, and Barry. The grandchildren live in Brooklyn, San Francisco and Jamestown, respectively. Bill’s three great-grandchildren, Beatrice, Norman and Goldie, are the children of Erin and her husband, Joe Glauberman. In 2017, Michael married Nasseem Faria.
Asked for the secret of his longevity, Bill paused for a second, smiled and quipped, “If I knew what it was, I’d sell it!”