Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.
July 9, 1925-August 14, 2019
Mila Feldbrill, born in Częstochowa, Poland, passed away peacefully on August 14, 2019 at the age of 94. She is survived by her two sons, Leon and Bill, daughter-in-law Michelle and granddaughters Elexis and Ashley. She was a beloved wife to Mendel Feldbrill, who passed away two years ago. They were inseparable for their 72 years of marriage.
Mila was a Holocaust survivor and was liberated from a work labor camp in Poland in January 1945. In Germany after the war, Mila and Mendel started a candy business in order to make enough money to allow them to move to Israel with their son Leon in 1948. When they immigrated to the newly formed State of Israel, their four years there were difficult as the state was establishing. They cherished the freedom of living as Jews in Israel. In 1952 relatives made arrangements for the three of them to relocate to Canada. In 1956 Mila’s brother made arrangements for them to relocate to San Francisco. In 1957, she gave birth to her second son Bill.
Mila’s passions included her beautiful garden, cooking and most importantly family.
The family is deeply grateful to Mimi who for the past year has been Mom’s, loving friend, kind companion and caregiver.
A memorial service was held on Aug. 20 at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Peninsula Temple Sholom Holocaust & Projects Fund.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-REDWOOD CITY
Lois E. Flamm
October 1, 1944-June 5, 2019
Dr. Lois E. Flamm, a renaissance woman and pioneer in user-machine interface design, web interface architecture and usability, and in basic eye movement tracking, conspicuity and visual stimulation of electroretinograms and evoked cortical potentials, died under hospice care at the Reutlinger Community in Danville, CA on June 5. She was 74.
According to Dan, her husband of 53 years, the cause was Lewy body dementia, which she had been fighting since a diagnosis in early 2014.
Several years back, Lois wrote for her Skidmore College class of ’66 history, “Following my junior year, I roomed at Columbia University IHouse (International Student House) at Columbia University. Returning from a date one night, I met Dan Flamm, an MIT student, playing his guitar near a stairwell (Dan had a summer job with Shell Chemical at Rockefeller Center). I dated Dan that summer, before we went to our respective homes for a couple of weeks, met up again in Cambridge, and married at the end of October, 1965. Our first son, Jonathan, was born in Saratoga Springs on May 17, 1966 during my senior year, and our second son Stephen was born three years later in Boston. Dan and I lived in Westgate, MIT married student housing in Cambridge while I was a graduate student at Northeastern University in Boston, and Dan at MIT. Dan jokes that our kids went through college twice, once with us and once without us.”
22-year old Lois’ Northeastern Ph.D. research in experimental psychology used a stimulator, eye movement detection system, and electrodes coupled to a PDP8I computer system to record and process electrophysiological responses to uncover relationships between visual evoked cortical potentials and paced saccadic displacements of stimuli. Later, as a professor at Texas A&M University during 1972-76, also a wife and young mother raising two young boys, she pioneered use of eye movement tracking cameras to investigate factors affecting conspicuity for pilot landing systems while a visiting faculty fellow at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Her research at Texas A&M spanned a diverse range of fields including perceptual stability, the relationship between eye movements and reversable figures, visual search, visual electrophysiology, and water use and water conservation.
In 1977 Lois left Texas A&M to join the Human Factors Engineering Group, Loop Transmission Division at Bell Laboratories in Whippany, New Jersey, as a Member of the Technical Staff (MTS) where she pioneered human factors support, and methods for overcoming interface problems in the engineering, development and evaluation of new apparatus for outside plant craft. She went on to join the Distributed Computer Systems Research Department of Bell Labs at Murray Hill, N.J., in 1982, earning a master’s equivalent in computer science in the Bell Labs in-house curriculum. Her work with John O. Limb led to the seminal invention of protocols for simultaneously transmitting voice and data over a local area network or the internet (U.S. Pat. 4,581,735).
Lois went on to develop UNIX networking software as a member of the Unix Development Laboratory at Murray Hill. When divestiture finally split the Bell System, Lois became a Systems Engineer in the BELLCORE Integrated Planning and Engineering Department where she did engineering and user interface design for software tools and plant electronics inventory databases to mechanize the planning, and engineering of the parent Bell operating companies’ network facilities.
In 1988 Lois joined Pacific Bell (Pacbell) in San Ramon, California, and managed the company’s human factors group until Pacific Bell was acquired by SBC Corporation (later AT&T) in 1997. Her group was a center for process reengineering, and user interface design of consumer, business, and internal support services. At Pacific Bell, Lois pioneered designs, systems and testing for customer care support centers, IT requirements processes, and numerous software design and evaluation methodologies for Windows, Apple, Unix, and Web-based products, and human interface design.
When Pacific Bell was acquired by SBC, Lois retired and joined Oracle to manage a team of graphics, interaction designers, and usability engineers charged with the design of data warehousing products. At Oracle she also played a lead role in usability engineering and designing HTML and Java-based applications for clinical (healthcare), CRM, credit management, and manufacturing.
Starting in the new millennium, Lois joined Charles Schwab’s new Electronic Brokerage Enterprise in San Francisco as its Customer Experience Director, leading usability design for Schwab.com’s new financial services and information architecture. In 2002 Lois became Vice President and Business Technology Manger for the National Wholesale Sales Division at Bank of America where she began initiatives to improve the usefulness and usability of BOA’s Mortgage Network. She drove major user interface redesigns which integrated vendor CRM and mortgage transactional capabilities into a common framework, developed a nationwide technical desk for the division, and managed all usability testing activities.
Lois returned to Oracle as a user interface architect in the Communications Global Business Unit in 2007, then in 2010 she started her own business as an independent consultant providing usability and user‐centered design services. Lois was a member of Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, SIGCHI/ BayCHI and the IEEE Computer Society.
Lois was born on October 1, 1944 in Springfield, Mass., to Bernard and Henrietta (Katz) Canter. Her father was a doctor. She attended Classical High School in Springfield, but spent her senior year studying abroad while in the care of her aunt Lolly and uncle Nathan Sanders (Sandy) Wall who was a professor of physics at MIT spending a sabbatical year at the Neils Bohr Institute in Denmark, and short time at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Lois returned to the U.S. and began her studies at Skidmore College in September 1962.
Lois understood what was happening to her and fought hard against her disease. She worked out vigorously at her gym and physical therapy, and jogged every day, until it eventually became necessary to enter a care facility. She participated in a number of early phase clinical and preclinical treatment trials. Despite eventual difficulty with her mobility, she did not succumb to a wheelchair until the very last months of her life.
Throughout her life, Lois radiated kindness and grace. Her smile would light up a room and bring joy to others. That smile endured through her last days at the care facility. She will be sorely missed.
Lois is survived by her husband of 53 years, Daniel L. Flamm, B.S. Math, M.S. Ph.D. Chem. Eng. MIT, J.D. Golden Gate University, two sons Stephen (Stephen K. Flamm, B.S. EE MIT, M.S. UC Santa Barbara in Fremont, CA) and Jonathan (Jonathan E. Flamm, B.S. EE Cornell, M.S. Kings College, London, in San Francisco), her brother Mark Canter, J.D. (Cambridge, Mass.), and three grandchildren, Chloe, Emma and Alex.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-LAFAYETTE
Ira Stephen Fink
April 22, 1937-May 27, 2019
Ira Stephen Fink, a Berkeley resident for more than 50 years, passed away at home on May 27, 2019. He was born in 1937 in Phoenix, raised in Denver, and fell in love with the Bay Area during the exciting and politically charged days of the mid-1960s.
Ira left Colorado after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, service in the U.S. Air Force, and a brief career as an architect in Denver. He landed first in Pasadena, doing residential architecture, but soon left the balmy weather behind to pursue Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. While carrying a full academic load, Ira also spent nine years as one of two senior planning officers with the University of California Office of the President. In that role, he was instrumental in helping plan nine campuses of the University. That experience led Ira to conclude that academic facility planning and programming were his real passion. He often told friends and colleagues that buildings are meant for the people — students, faculty and staff — who will use them, and user-focused planning is essential for successful buildings.
After leaving the university, Ira stepped out on his own, and for more than 40 years was President of Ira Fink and Associates, Inc., a national firm dedicated solely to university planning consulting. He was especially proud of the tremendous diversity of the higher education institutions where his firm worked. They included state universities in every part of the U.S., as well as mid-sized and small private institutions, many with religious affiliations. These faith-based client universities ranged from Brandeis to Gonzaga; from St. Mary’s and Holy Names, both in the East Bay, to The Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey; and from Soka University of America in Southern California to BYU, Hawaii.
Ira was a prolific writer, conference speaker, and consultant to many dozens of universities. His impact on the design professions and higher education across the U.S. was recognized by the American Institute of Architects when they elected Ira to the AIA College of Fellows.
Ira always had an intense interest in learning about his family’s history and Jewish roots. For decades he ardently pursued filling in the family tree through interviews with aging family members in Denver and searches for death records. This was long before dedicated internet websites made genealogy research accessible as it is today.
Ira’s family history work led to a broader interest in preserving Jewish history. He became an avid collector of books and artifacts related to Jewish art and architecture, especially works related to synagogues and art from the pre-WWII period in Europe. In the months before his death, Ira and his wife, Penni Hudis, finally fulfilled a dream of securing good homes for his synagogue books and other artifacts through gifts to the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University and the Magnes Jewish Museum at UC Berkeley. Probably the rarest piece in Ira’s gift to the Magnes is a series of four lithographs by the Russian Jewish artist El Lissitzky, which vividly portrays the Passover song “Had Gadya.” The Magnes will begin displaying the lithographs starting on August 27, with an opening reception on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
While much of Ira’s professional life since coming to Berkeley in the ’60s followed a pretty linear path, at 80 years of age a great opportunity came along that lead him in a new and unexpected direction. In the year before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Ira joined Penni in making a dream come true for thousands of women with cancer in the East Bay. In his last project, Ira volunteered as consulting project manager on the complete remodel of a newly purchased building in Berkeley for the nonprofit Women’s Cancer Resource Center. This beautiful Berkeley Center carries on WCRC’s 33-year tradition of enhancing quality of life with free psychosocial support services and education for women with cancer, especially individuals from underserved communities in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
Ira is survived by his wife of 26 years, Dr. Penni Hudis, sisters Norma Goldblatt and Judy Kippur (Stanley); sister-in-law, Iris Hudis; brother-in-law, Dr. Stephen Hudis; and nieces and nephews Sandy Barter (Dr. Jeff), Dr. Terri Tillis (Stacy Pocrass), Ron Catalan (Michelle), Rebecca Catalan, Lisa Kippur (Chad Bauer), Scott Kippur (Yelena), Loel Hudis (Dr. Shoshannah Levitt), and Suzanne Hudis. Contributions honoring Ira will be gratefully accepted at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, 2908 Ellsworth St., Berkeley CA 94705.
Gary Michael Greene
March 16, 1937-July 25, 2019
Gary Michael Greene of Tiburon died peacefully at home with his family at his side. He was born in San Francisco on March 16, 1937 to Alvin and Alice Greenberg. He attended George Washington High School and graduated from San Francisco State University with a major in radio and television. He died July 25 after a brief illness.
He is survived by his wife Freddie, his daughters Alison and Tracy (Michael) and was proud grandfather of Sarah Moats, Maxine Mintz and Joseph Mintz.
Gary and Freddie met when they were 18 while skiing at Tahoe. They celebrated their 60th anniversary in April.
After working in the television industry, Gary became Western Region Manager for a college textbook publisher. He later owned California Cookware in San Rafael. He was a man of many talents. He built professional quality furniture. He could repair anything. One day, deciding he wanted French onion soup, he opened a cookbook and from then on did all the cooking for the family. He became a gourmet chef.
He was also a skilled skier, sailor and golfer. He was a fan of the Giants and the A’s, whichever was doing better. Gary loved cars and driving. He and Freddie took many road trips, crisscrossing the United States several times. He enjoyed the drive between his homes in Tiburon and Palm Desert. He also enjoyed city life staying at their San Francisco apartment when attending the theater. He loved to travel. He and Freddie took over 30 cruises and visited over 75 countries and all the continents except Antarctica (too cold).
Gary was known for his sense of humor, his wit, kindness, generosity and integrity. A consummate gentleman and party guest, he was always ready with a joke (clean or not) or a witty retort. He had a phenomenal memory. Name a song and he knew the lyrics. Quote a memorable movie line and he knew who spoke it. He could tell you what you ordered the last time you ate at a restaurant with him.
Gary was devoted to his family. He would do anything for his “girls.” He was a softie for cats, especially his recently adopted rescue cat Frankie.
A celebration of his life will be held at a future date. Donations in his memory would be appreciated to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) or Hopalong Animal Rescue.
September 10, 1929-August 7, 2019
Gordon Katznelson, MD, 89, passed peacefully with his family by his side on Wednesday, August 7.
Gordie grew up in Vancouver, BC, son of Russian immigrants Keva and Necha Katznelson. He attended the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and then graduated from the University of Washington Medical School. He completed an internal medicine residency at UCSF Mt. Zion Hospital, San Francisco, and a cardiology fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Gordie then returned to San Francisco in 1959 to start a practice in cardiology and general medicine until his retirement at age 81. He was a dedicated physician and was beloved by his patients. He loved to teach, and he enjoyed teaching medical students how to read electrocardiograms every Wednesday morning at San Francisco General Hospital, which he continued to do until just recently.
Gordie had a great passion for life, his family, his Judaism, and his friends. He loved the outdoors and would spend his time fly-fishing, playing tennis, and camping. Gordie loved to garden, tend to his flourishing orchid collection, and talk about the books and articles he had recently read. He was a huge fan of the Giants, 49er, and Warriors and was the best company with whom to watch a game. Gordie played the cello and loved classical and jazz music. Gordie had the most positive spirit and he was beloved as a dedicated husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and friend. He thrived in the presence of his children and grandchildren.
Gordie and his wife Doris had one of the most magical marriages imaginable, one that lasted 61 years. They met while Gordie was doing his cardiology training in Boston. Doris was the love of his life, and she, his.
Gordie is survived by his wife, Doris, his three sons Larry (Palo Alto), Steve (and his wife Trudy, San Francisco), and David (and his wife, Barbara, San Anselmo), his grandchildren Ethan, Andy, Ben, Hannah, Kaya and Asher, and the entire Arrick family. Gordie was the patriarch of his family.
Gordie was predeceased by his sister Edie and brother Harry.
Funeral services were held on Aug. 11 at Sinai Memorial Chapel in San Francisco. Burial was private. The family requests that donations be made to a favorite charity.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-SAN FRANCISCO
September 26, 1932-August 13, 2019
Nathan Lewin, Ph.D., 86, died Tuesday, August 13, 2019, peacefully at home with family at his side. He leaves his cherished wife of 56 years, Anne I. Lewin; his sons, David A. Lewin and Matthew R. Lewin, daughter-in-law Suzanne G. Sobel, grandchildren Noah Sobel-Lewin, Milo Sobel-Lewin, Daniel Z. Lewin and Daniel’s mother Sunita Rao; and many close family members as well as others touched by his life.
Nathan was born September 26, 1932, in Poland to Rabbi Ezekiel Lewin and Rachel Reiss Lewin. He was indelibly marked by his early life in Poland, with his earliest years riding his grandfather’s gentle draft horse, Tabata, on the family farm in Potoki. As war broke out, he was guided by his older brother, Kurt I. Lewin (1928-2014), and hidden by the venerable Metropolitan Andrey Szeptycki of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Formative memories included hiding with several other children, with whom he made lifelong friends, teaching himself to play the mandolin (the only “toy” they had), as well as finding many other ways to train his mind and hone his resourcefulness and the self-discipline that characterized his adult life.
Nathan arrived in England an orphan in 1946 and was an avid reader and student of literature and science. He earned his doctorate in chemistry from Birkbeck, University of London, where he elucidated the key chemical structures of shellac before advanced scientific instrumentation such as NMR was available.
After earning his doctoral degree, he emigrated to New York City in 1958. There he was introduced to Anne Morgens, also a refugee and émigré from Poland, and married her on June 30, 1963, after a five-year romance. Anne and Nathan moved the family to Corte Madera in the summer of 1973, built a business together following his career in biotech, and there together retired in sight of beautiful Mt. Tamalpais, Ring Mountain, and the North Bay in the house where they lived together from 1975.
He was unfailingly grateful for his opportunity to live in the United States, and he frequently reminded family that the U.S. and our beautiful location is an “oasis within an oasis” never to be taken for granted. Throughout his life he relished knowledge, enjoyed its pursuit, and considerately shared it with humor, humility and patience.
A private funeral service was held Aug. 18 at Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery in San Rafael, California, where the view of Mt. Tamalpais will continue to be shared with all.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-SAN FRANCISCO
August 11, 1941-August 13, 2019
Sandy Oberstein, beloved daughter, wife, mother and grandmother, died peacefully at the age of 78. She lived a life filled with family, friends and faith and will be remembered as an enormously loving and generous soul.
Sandy was born in 1941 in Des Moines, Iowa, the only child of Mickey Westerman Jacobson z”l and Ben Jacobson z”l. As a young girl, she and her parents moved to San Francisco to seek greater opportunities and to get as far away from the heat and humidity as possible! She was an outstanding student, finishing in the top of her class at Lowell High School and going on to UC Berkeley where she graduated with a degree in Social Work.
In 1963, Sandy married Barry Oberstein z”l the love of her life. After a brief stint in the Midwest as Barry finished his medical training, they returned to the San Francisco Bay Area where she devoted herself to family. As her children grew, Sandy ran the financial side of Barry and Linda’s medical practice. In addition, Sandy dedicated herself to the Jewish Community. She shattered the glass ceiling at Peninsula Temple Sholom where she served as the first female president. She served as a Trustee of the Jewish Home of San Francisco and was very involved in the Women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Federation.
Most of all, she loved spending time with family and friends. Sandy is survived by her children Linda and Jeff; daughter-in-law, Sophie; and grandchildren, Lily, Evan, Avi and Zev Oberstein.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Peninsula Temple Sholom.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-REDWOOD CITY
July 1927-April 20, 2019
Frank Stein died on April 20, 2019. He and his partner, Paul May, left this world a better place by their charitable deeds and extraordinary generosity. It is difficult to separate Frank’s achievements, skills and industriousness in successive enterprises from Paul’s, as theirs was a more than 60-year true partnership in love and support and in executing their joint enterprises.
Born in Brooklyn, Frank grew up in a family facing daily turmoil and financial challenges. As a youngster he helped earn money for the family shining shoes and delivering groceries. He met Paul after starting entry level work at Gimbels, who was also working there, thus beginning a lifelong, inseparable relationship. Their talent, creativity and strong work ethic at Gimbels was rewarded with promotions to the executive level. In the ’60s they decided to move on to a new challenge, arriving in San Francisco, establishing what became a thriving motel supply business, and subsequently buying Bay Area real estate and building shopping malls.
Their successful business endeavors enabled them to help people in need, reflecting on their own difficult beginnings and later health issues. Late in life Frank was diagnosed with glaucoma, which Paul also had contracted. Frank funded the Pacific Vision Foundation. To advance treatment for others suffering from this condition, they generously funded the Glaucoma Research Foundation and established the Frank Stein and Paul May Low Vision Center at CPMC. They also funded the Paul May and Frank Stein Interventional Endoscopy Center at CPMC, Pancreatic Cancer Research at UCSF, Chabad’s Residential Treatment Center for Substance Abuse, and Jewish Home for the Aged.
After Paul’s death in 2013, Frank fulfilled a major gift they were considering to Jewish Family and Children’s Services for improvement and enlargement of its Parents Place building, where professional staff provide services to parents and children ranging from prenatal counseling to helping parents and their children with difficult family issues to counseling youth at risk. Frank and Paul did far more than give money; they also gave of their time, for example, mentoring students at South San Francisco High School.
Frank and Paul were grateful to be able to give as much as they did to those institutions that could provide for the needs of so many. They will always be remembered as compassionate and thoughtful gentlemen with depth of character who spread the warmth of their relationship to all. Frank leaves us with the inspiration to follow his and Paul’s lead as role models of selfless generosity to make a meaningful difference in the world.
Donations honoring Frank’s memory can be made to any of the nonprofits mentioned above or to a charity of your choice.
April 12, 1932-July 5, 2019
Ben was born in Oakland on April 12, 1932. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, and attended Hastings College of Law where he was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity. He opened his law office in Oakland on February 1, 1960, and practiced civil law in Oakland and San Leandro until his retirement on August 31, 1996.
Ben was active with the California Bar Association, serving on numerous committees at both the State and Local level. He was chairman of the Alameda fee arbitration committee, and was a director of the Alameda County Bar Association. He served as Assistant Secretary of the California Bar Association handling initial complaints of professional misconduct, and served as chairman of the Alameda delegation to the California State Bar convention.
He served as Judge Pro Tem for the Alameda County Municipal Court, and handled numerous assignments as Judicial Arbitrator for the Alameda County Superior Court.
He was Past Exalted Ruler of the Oakland Elks Lodge, and served as president of Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro.
Ben was an avid tennis player and was a long time member of the Bayo Vista Swim and Tennis Club in San Leandro, where he formed longtime friendships with his fellow tennis players.
After retirement, Ben became an avid hiker and rarely missed hiking the trails of Marin County and the East Bay with his Wednesday hiking group.
He also enjoyed the many classes offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley and Cal State East Bay Concord, as well as the diverse classes offered by Rabbi Harry Manhoff of Temple Beth Sholom.
Ben is survived by his loving wife Gloria Eive, his children Keith (Patty), Linda, and Jeff (Marjorie), step-children Jason Feldman (Sabrina), Esther Feldman, and Reva Feldman, and numerous grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
A memorial service and celebration of Ben’s life will be held at the Alameda Elks Lodge in Alameda on Sunday, August 25, at 1 p.m. (2255 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda, CA 945010.) For further information contact the Elks Lodge at (510) 522-1015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)