Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.
July 28, 1920–Jan. 4, 2020
Born to Jacob and Lena Hackman in Calgary, Canada. Predeceased by her husband, Leon Bloomberg. Loving mother of Judith Bloomberg (Michael Barnett), Marsha van Broek (Alexander), Sharon Cushman (Edward), Paul Bloomberg (Deb). Adoring grandmother of seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Passed peacefully at home in Oakland.
Mom was a dedicated master teacher in the Oakland public schools, a world traveler, one of the founders of Women for Peace, an avid bridge player and a lover of the arts. She will be missed by all.
Donations in Miriam’s memory to Alameda County Community Food Bank or Girls Inc. of Alameda County would be kindly appreciated.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-LAFAYETTE
Aug. 19, 1917–Jan. 2, 2020
In Daly City, January 2. Age 102. Wife of the late Sidney Bronstein, a marriage that was blessed for 66 years. Mother of Howard Bronstein and Debbie Fithian (and Bill Hatley). Grandmother of Charles (and Samantha) Fithian, Sarah Fithian, and Zachary and Rebecca Bronstein. Great-grandmother of Michael Pleasure. Sister of the late Manuel (and Maureen) Rosen and the late Arthur (and Florence) Rosen. Jeanette is survived by sister Anita Heyman. Sister-in-law to the late Milton (and Celia) Bronstein. Aunt to many nieces and nephews.
She deeply loved her family, and nothing made her happier than being together. Jeanette grew up in San Francisco with parents (Sarah and Charles Rosen) who owned Jack and Jill Store where Jeanette later worked. She worked at Spaulding to help support her family and was later an original Jewish chicken rancher. She and Sidney volunteered for many years at the Jewish Home and were part of a founding family for Temple Beth Israel Judea. She spoke perfect Yiddish and was well-traveled (South America, Israel, Hawaii, Yosemite, etc.). She passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family.
Private family services were held. Donations to the Jewish Home, 302 Silver Ave., SF, CA 94112, or a charity of your choice.
Cantor Hans Cohn
May 31, 1926–Jan. 4, 2020
Cantor Hans Cohn passed away surrounded by his loving family on January 4, 2020 at the age of 93 in Redwood City, California. He led an extraordinary life.
Hans was born on May 31, 1926, in Berlin, Germany. His first years were lived happily with his parents who owned a small women’s clothing shop. As Hitler came to power, his life drastically changed. His synagogue where he attended school was torched on Kristallnacht. As soon as they could, his family escaped to Shanghai, where he lived for seven years. His mother died within five months of their arrival.
During the years in Shanghai (from ages 11 to 19) he experienced hunger, poverty and death around him, yet he still managed to have his bar mitzvah and take singing lessons. He had to drop out of school to get a job, but he learned to be an expert cook, working in restaurants. When the war was over, he stowed away on a ship to Australia. He was caught but managed to slip away and live as an undocumented person under the name Johnny Corn. Finally, he turned himself in and with the help of the Jewish community avoided jail time and was able to leave for the U.S.
In Los Angeles, he worked as a chef until he was drafted into the Army at Fort Ord. As a soldier, he drove the Army bus to take enlisted Jews to a synagogue in Salinas, where he met his wife, Eva, our mother. Once his enlistment was over, they married and remained in Carmel where they opened a gourmet French restaurant, Le Coq D’Or. However, his heart was in music and Jewish life, so he took Eva, who was pregnant, and their two small children to New York to study to become a Cantor. Five years later, after graduation, he spent two years as Cantor in South Bend, Indiana. Then the family moved to Palo Alto, California, where he served as Cantor at Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City with Rabbi Teitelbaum for over three decades. He earned a master’s degree from Stanford and an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College.
In the ’90s, he was diagnosed with throat cancer, but after two successful surgeries, he was able to live cancer-free for many years. Sadly, his voice was greatly impacted, and he was no longer able to eat normally. Yet, in retirement, he led services for Jewish holidays on cruises. He lost Eva to lung cancer shortly after their 50th anniversary. As part of his healing process, he published his autobiography, “Risen from the Ashes, Tales of a Musical Messenger,” which aptly describes his great courage and indomitable will to survive. He married Nina, who has been by his side for 20 years. In all his years, Judaism, service to others and education have been his guiding values.
Hans is preceded in death by his parents, Max and Ida Cohn, and his wife, Eva Cohn. He is survived by his second wife, Nina, and his daughters Becki Cohn-Vargas (Rito Vargas), Ruth Cohn (Michael Lewin) and Barbara Liepman (Michael Liepman), and six grandchildren.
Donations can be sent in his memory to the Hans Cohn Music Fund and CBJ Cares Committee by going to the Congregation Beth Jacob website donation page at bethjacobrwc.org/donate.
Shirley Lenore Daniel
March 15, 1921–Dec. 16, 2019
Shirley Lenore Daniel, 98, passed away peacefully December 16, 2019, in Millbrae, CA.
Shirley was born March 15, 1921, in San Francisco to Sam and Silvia Wenger and spent the majority of her life in the city she loved. She had an idyllic childhood and idolized both her parents. Shirley graduated from George Washington High School, class of 1938, just the second year after the school’s opening.
Shirley was predeceased by her husband, Leslie, of 56 years. She was also predeceased by her brother, Irwin Wenger.
Shirley is survived by her three sons, Bruce Daniel, Clifford Daniel (Gigi) and Sanford Daniel (Janis). Also survived by her grandchildren, Aaron and Julia Daniel.
Mom was very dedicated to her family and proud of all their accomplishments. She was proud of her Jewish identity. Mom was very enthusiastic about being a native San Franciscan (born and raised), even having walked across the Golden Gate Bridge on the day it opened in 1937. Mom engaged in many activities to keep her mind sharp, including a lifelong love of playing bridge, mahjong and knitting.
Services were held Dec. 20 at Home of Peace Cemetery Chapel in Colma. Contributions to San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living (formerly Jewish Home for the Aged), 302 Silver Ave., SF, CA 94112 preferred.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-SAN FRANCISCO
Allen Marvin Dekelboum
May 21, 1930–Dec. 7, 2019
Allen Marvin Dekelboum, longtime San Francisco physician, died in Marin on Saturday, December 7, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. He was 89.
Allen was born on May 21, 1930, in South Bend, Indiana, to Louis and Anne Dekelboum. He moved to San Francisco as a child and graduated from Washington High School. He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he met Joan Mitchell. They married on August 21, 1955. In their 64 years of marriage, they enjoyed music and art, entertaining and traveling. She was his partner in the pursuit of their passions and in the beauty of everyday life.
While attending the University of California at Berkeley, Allen served as a naval corpsman in the Korean War. Upon graduation, he and Joan moved to Chicago where Allen attended the University of Chicago Medical School. They returned to the Bay Area for good in 1960 for his residency at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
Allen established a private practice in San Francisco as an Ear, Nose and Throat, Head and Neck Surgeon and served as an Associate Professor of Ear, Nose and Throat Pathology at UCSF Medical Center. He was awarded teacher of the year by the residents at UCSF. He was also selected as the California Academy of Sciences Diving Medical Officer. Allen retired from private practice in 1998.
Nowhere was Allen and Joan’s shared passion more apparent than in their love of the ocean, particularly sailing and scuba diving. Together with their three daughters they sailed on the San Francisco Bay (Joan and the girls left the racing to Allen!), and Allen served as the Commodore of the Tiburon Yacht Club in 2005.
In 1979, Allen and Joan were both certified as scuba divers, opening a new path to adventure. They went on dives all over the world, which Allen captured with increasingly marvelous underwater video and photography. Not one to rest on his laurels, he went on to become a master diver, scuba instructor and expert in diving medicine. Allen also volunteered at the California Academy of Sciences conducting research in nudibranchs and barnacles, where he helped identify a new species of barnacle. Not surprisingly, he named the species Oxynaspis joandianeae after Joan.
Allen was an avid skier, cyclist, runner and triathlete. For more than 20 years he ran in the San Francisco Bay to Breakers, as well as every California Academy of Sciences Run to The Farside. He completed the San Francisco Marathon and in 1998 participated in the California AIDS ride, 586 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Allen is survived by his wife, Joan, his daughters Lisa Nelson, her husband Dennis and their sons Joshua and Seamus; Sharon Dekelboum and her husband Peter Crandall, and Tracy Dekelboum.
The family will hold a Celebration of Life in his honor at a later date. Donations can be made to calacademy.org/individual-giving or sent to Development Department, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94117
July 21, 1951–Nov. 7, 2019
Eve died peacefully more than 68 years after doctors told her parents she would not survive more than three weeks. Born with Spina bifida at a time when little was known about the birth defect, hospital personnel advised Rose and Sam Genirberg there was nothing doctors could do, to take Eve home, and not to buy too many diapers. Eve delighted in her longevity and independent living in Berkeley. She was survived by her father, sister Carolyn, and brother Richard. Eve exceeded all expectations.
Dr. Lance Ronald Gershen
Dec. 7, 1944–Jan. 2, 2020
Dr. Lance Ronald Gershen died peacefully at his home on January 2, 2020, in Walnut Creek, California, at the age of 75. A retired pediatrician, Dr. Gershen is survived by his eight children, 14 grandchildren, and his wife, Cindy Gershen.
The older of two sons, Lance was born on December 7, 1944, in New York City to George and Lillian Gershen (née Gendelman). Alongside his brother, Scott, Lance was raised in New York City and spent summers on Lake Mohegan with his Grandpa Abe Gendelman, Grandma Rose and Aunt Selma. It was in New York where Lance discovered his first two loves — rock and roll and baseball.
A student of life, Lance had a passion to learn and teach. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1961. He graduated from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1965 as a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. Dr. Gershen received his M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1969.
Drafted into the U.S. Navy, Dr. Gershen served dutifully at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago, IL. Thereafter, Dr. Gershen completed his residency at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in pediatric medicine. Dr. Gershen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began working as a pediatrician at Diablo Valley Pediatrics in Concord, California, where he became a principal partner for over 40 years. Affiliated with John Muir and Sutter Health in Concord and Walnut Creek, CA. On faculty at Oakland Children’s Hospital, CA. Dr. Gershen was instrumental in opening the first alternative birthing center in the Bay Area, and touched the lives of thousands of children and families in the Bay Area.
Active in the Jewish community, Lance helped found JBL, a Jewish men’s softball team, and the J Mensch men’s group. Lance was a member of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek.
Lance enjoyed a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, continuing his academic education throughout his entire life.
Retirement did not slow Lance’s spirit. From climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, traveling to the New Orleans Jazz Festival, hiking the waterfalls of Costa Rica or attending Rock Steady boxing classes, Lance never stopped pushing himself. A proud grandfather, Poppa spent as much time as he could with his grandkids. An avid sports fan, Lance brought his love for the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco Forty-Niners and Golden State Warriors to generations of children and grandchildren.
Dr. Gershen served as co-president of the Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo, providing vital support and resources to people living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregiving community.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy Gershen, his five children Jennifer, Zachary, Sarah, Alexander and Benjamin Gershen; three stepchildren Danielle Brigham, Rose Stein and Joe Stein; and 14 grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Scott.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo at http://www.pnmd.net.
Joel Emanuel Gishkin
Oct. 27, 1930–Jan. 5, 2020
On January 5, 2020, Joel Emanuel Gishkin peacefully passed away at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Rachel Gishkin; his daughters, Karen Sarid and Jackie Pikula; and their four grandchildren. A private funeral will be held.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-SAN FRANCISCO
Marilyn “Lynn” Levine
Aug. 12, 1928–Dec. 24, 2019
Marilyn “Lynn” Levine, 91, passed away peacefully on December 24, 2019. Lynn was born in Chicago, Illinois, and lived there until age 24. She fell truly, madly, deeply in love with Leonard R. Levine, who resided in San Francisco, and they were married in August 1953 for 34 years until Len passed away unexpectedly in November 1985. Together they had two children and raised them in a loving, welcoming home in South San Francisco.
Lynn was a public school teacher for 49 years in South San Francisco and San Bruno Park School Districts. She taught third grade in the regular classroom and was also a special needs teacher, resource specialist. Upon retirement Lynn continued her work with special needs children by being an afterschool tutor and also helping out with her three beautiful grandchildren.
She was always interested in politics, loved the theater, served on the board of FHAR and was an avid reader, hence being involved in a number of local book groups. Lynn loved her family and was incredibly proud of all of their accomplishments. Her presence will be deeply missed at Shabbat meals and holiday celebrations.
She is survived by both her children, Alan D. Levine and Lisa Levine Sporer (Michael Sporer), and her three grandchildren, Zoe, Emma and Naomi Levine Sporer. A service in her memory was held on December 27, 2019 at Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, with a private burial at Eternal Hills where she was interned next to her true love, Len. Memorial donations may kindly be made to FHAR, Inc., 20 East 20th Ave., San Mateo, CA 94403; www.fhar.org.
Frederick Sigmund Mayer
April 2, 1933–Dec. 10, 2019
Fred Mayer, beloved husband, father, grandfather, public health pharmacy maverick, mentor and inspiration to many, died peacefully surrounded by his children on December 10, 2019.
Born in Kansas City, MO, to Anna Landie Mayer, a shtetl emigre of Peschanka, Ukraine, and Maximillian Philip Mayer of Lincoln, NE. In the depth of the Depression, Max died when Fred was only 6 months old, and due to circumstance Fred and his older sister Charlotte were placed for several years in orphanages in Kansas City and Denver while their mother worked odd jobs. When Fred was 8, his mother found employment in San Francisco and moved the family west. For the rest of his life, his early childhood struggles shaped his world view and inspired him to commit his life to helping others until his last days.
Fred began working in pharmacies at age 12 and learned how much he loved helping his customers with their health concerns. Fred was a proud graduate of Lowell High School, UC Berkeley and UCSF Pharmacy School class of 1954. Fred served in the U.S. Army, where he ran a MASH Unit in Germany, after which he continued his postgraduate education at Stanford.
After marrying Jacqueline Levy Mayer (Jackie), the love of his life, in 1958, they moved for a year to Copenhagen, Denmark, where Fred continued his postgraduate education. The two enjoyed a year of fantastic travel, food and adventure for a year before returning to the Bay Area and settling in San Rafael. Fred and Jackie had four children, David, Heidi, Charles and Jonathan. The two became thoroughly involved in the community including the founding of Temple Rodef Sholom, members of the Ann Curtis Swim Club and active in the Terra Linda Boosters. He was famous for being the enthusiastic and compassionate swimming announcer at the Ann Curtis Swim Team meets.
Fred also served several stints on the Marin County Democratic Central Committee and as president of the Marin County Pharmacy Association.
In 1963, Fred purchased Sausalito Pharmacy, which he owned for 33 years. An independent drugstore that was part of the Rexall franchise. Fred’s infectious personality and good heart were revered by residents, and “Friendly Fred the Rexall Dealer” became the unofficial “Mayor of Sausalito.” The 1960s and 1970s were a transformational time in America and in Sausalito, and Fred was up for the adventure. From his small drugstore outpost, within a colorful and outspoken community, he began his passionate public health career. In the early 1970s Fred operated a methadone program where he dispensed daily methadone treatments. After the loss of a pharmacist friend to cancer, he became the first drugstore in the nation to discontinue the sale of all tobacco. In a short time, Fred saw how community pharmacists were really the most accessible, educated health professionals to the people, and there began his public health projects. As Fred became more committed to public health, he decided in 1974 to return to school to earn a master’s degree at UC Berkeley. He subsequently founded a public health-based pharmacy nonprofit organization called Pharmacy Planning Service Incorporated (PPSI), which led him to champion countless health advocacy campaigns.
Fred was probably most proud of being an originator of the Great American Smokeout, National Condom Day and child safety caps on all prescription medications. Though a committed and lifelong Democrat, he was appointed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to be on the state Venereal Disease Task Force. He also was proud of his legal defenses for the underserved. PPSI successfully sued the California state Legislature and pharmaceutical companies when drug formularies and drug costs excluded needed medications for low-income people. “We are 28 for 28, never lost a lawsuit,” he often would announce in general conversations or if he was arguing with a government or drug company official to do the right thing. Ironically, several times Fred filed lawsuits against the same drug companies that had given him grants to do public health education. He enjoyed telling others, “I can’t be bought.”
His family and grandchildren loved him dearly. Fred was predeceased by wife Jackie, who made much of Fred’s success possible due to her underlying commitment to keeping the family ship running smoothly. He is survived by his four children, David (Karen) Heidi, Charles (Lisa) and Jonathan (Corinne), and six grandchildren, Izzy, Lena, Sydney, Sam, Hannah and Jacob. We will always cherish his passion, humor, laughter and willingness to stand tall during adversity. Our maverick will be missed.
A memorial service and funeral was held at the Home of the Eternity Cemetery in Oakland on Dec. 16. Donations in his honor may be made to the Jack Aaron Rodef Sholom Scholarship Fund or the UCSF School of Pharmacy.