Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel. This page will be updated throughout the week. Submit an obituary here.
Sept. 15, 1923-Jan. 3, 2021
Eve Reiman, a member of the East Bay community for more than 80 years, Berkeley High graduate, UC Berkeley student and the heart and soul of her family, passed away on January 3, 2021.
Eve and her husband, Marty Reiman (deceased 1998), whom she met at a United Service Organization (USO) Dance, had two children, Joan Fischer (David) and Tom Reiman (Cindy), four grandsons (Josh and Jeff Reiman, Aaron and Barry Fischer), along with five great-grandchildren and counting (Savannah, Lena, Aria, Max, and Hana).
Eve assisted her husband Marty with his lifelong work as a New York Life Insurance agent, creating and enjoying cherished positive bonds with clients and New York Life colleagues.
Eve stayed active and independent throughout her 97 years, living out her deepest values of family and giving. She found joy in her relationships with her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, cousins, dear neighbors, and close friends, reliably sending day-brightening birthday cards and staying in close touch. Through the challenges we all faced in 2020, her exhortation to family and friends offered strength and inspiration: “We keep going.”
Her family cherished every gathering that Eve hosted with cozy flair, highlighted by Super Bowl and New Year’s Eve bashes.
Eve was a quietly strong person, whose greatest joy was in giving and enhancing the lives of others. She succeeded on a grand level. Her legacy continues through the people who loved her and whom she loved in California, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Arkansas, Maryland, Arizona and beyond.
The family suggests that any donations in her memory be made to the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay or a charitable organization of one’s choice.
Jan. 24, 1928-Jan. 21, 2021
Edward Austin died on January 21. He was born on January 24, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lottie and Morris Austin, their second child after daughter Terry (who passed away in 2009). After high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and was stationed in Japan after the end of the war. He was discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1947. After the Army, he enrolled in Stephens Hoboken Institute of Technology, graduating in 1954 with a Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering. Right after graduation he started a 37-year career with Western Electric, retiring in 1998. He married Elaine Servetar in January 1951. They had two children, Phyllis and Neil. In 1962, Ed was transferred to Sunnyvale and the family settled in San Mateo. Ed and Elaine both became actively involved with Peninsula Temple Beth El. Ed served as president of the Temple as well as the Brotherhood.
Elaine passed away in 1990. In June 1993, Ed married Janet Jacobs Michels. Together they lived in Burlingame for 11 years before moving to The Stratford in San Mateo. Due to declining health issues, his last four years were spent at Complete Senior Living Board and Care Home in San Mateo. Our thanks and gratitude go out to Vivian and her team who took such good care of Ed.
Ed is survived by his wife Janet; his children Phyllis Parola (Ken), Neil (Tom Burtch), step-daughters Karen Barich and Debbie Capetz (John). Also survived by his grandchildren Sarah Tobler (Scott), Angela Barich, Jeff Barich and Emma Capetz. He also leaves behind two great-grandsons, Elliot and Miles Tobler, as well several nieces and nephews.
Aaron Eric Fomil
Oct. 27, 1937-Jan. 16, 2021
Eric Fomil passed away last Saturday after a brief battle with Covid-19 complicated by ongoing treatment for melanoma. Eric was born in Shanghai, China, in 1937 to Abraham and Bertha. With his parents and younger sister Rosa, he moved from Shanghai to Australia in 1949 and then emigrated to San Francisco in 1954. Several years later, at the Jewish Community Center, a close friend introduced him to Sharon, his wife of 55 years.
Eric and Sharon raised two children, Michael and Jessica, in Burlingame. They joined Peninsula Temple Sholom in 1972 and quickly made what became life-long friends. Eric was an active member, and long-time board member, of Peninsula Temple Sholom. He led an active life, enjoying boating, water skiing, snow skiing, and playing tennis regularly. He was an avid 49ers fan, from Kezar to Levi, and was in attendance for “The Catch” at Candlestick. He worked in, and later led, a thriving toy import business founded by his grandfather until he retired in 1997.
Michael brought Anne into the family in 1994 and Jessica’s husband Aaron joined the family in 1997. To Eric, Anne and Aaron were wonderful additions to his life and he treated them as his own, right from the start. Eric’s pastimes shifted to golf and animated lunches with his many friends on the Peninsula. While he was already enjoying retirement, the birth of his grandchildren, Lilah, Ilan, and Sivana, brought him newfound adventures and tremendous joy. Eric loved attending his granddaughters’ dance recitals and his grandson’s football and basketball games; he even enjoyed picking them up from school. He frequently supervised his grandchildren and their friends in the pool in their yard, which sometimes came as a surprise to him as they showed up without notice.
To spend more time with Jessica, Aaron, and their kids, Eric and Sharon also joined Peninsula Sinai Congregation and quickly became valued members of another Jewish community. In addition to being an everyday part of his grandchildrens’ lives, he relished family vacations in Mexico when all 9 family members could be together and he could enjoy being with all of his kids and grandkids at the same time. He will be dearly missed.
Claude L. Ganz
August 5, 1931-January 24, 2021
Former Chairman and CEO of Dymo Industries, Claude L. Ganz, died peacefully, surrounded by family in the early hours of January 24, 2021.
Claude lived a robust life. After fleeing Germany during the Nazi occupation and escaping a French deportation camp, he and his family spent four years living in Swiss internment as refugees before emigrating to the United States in 1947. From 1951-1954 Ganz served in the U.S. Army Intelligence service. Of this period, he said: “I found a place I was accepted, respected, belonged.” Soon after, he earned his B.A. in Science from UC Berkeley.
Ganz enjoyed a distinguished professional life. From 1956-1978, he helped elevate Dymo Industries from a cottage industry to a multinational Fortune 500 company. In 1962, he received the President John F. Kennedy Award for Export Expansion, and in 1987, Sweden’s King Gustaf Medal for contributions to the Swedish economy. In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Ganz to become Special Representative of the President for Economic Reconstruction in Bosnia. He spent 18 months aiding the peace process and rebuilding the infrastructure in the war-torn region, for which he received the Peace Prize from the Bosnian government.
Ganz will be remembered for his expertise with startup businesses as well as his humanitarian and philanthropic efforts. A survivor of the Holocaust, he was a tireless advocate for Jewish education as a way to promote interfaith harmony. Recognized as the driving force in the formation of their Jewish Studies Program, Ganz was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sonoma State University. A lover and supporter of the arts, Ganz served as president of the San Francisco Jewish Museum and served on numerous boards including PBS, American Conservatory Theatre, and KQED.
Claude was the “other” Claude, as in Monet. One trip to his Glen Ellen Estate transported the visitor to a California version of Giverny. Gardening, food, wine, music, and celebration were his passions and he delighted in sharing all of it with family and friends. He traveled the world, spoke four languages, and formed life-long relationships wherever he went, lighting up any room with his trademark smile and joie de vivre.
Claude Ganz was an adoring husband and proud father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. To those fortunate to be his friend, he was fiercely loyal.
He lived his legacy.
He is survived by Lynn, his loving wife of 42 years. Children: Aryeh Ganz (Simona), David Ganz (Kanyawee), Stacy Allegro (Giorgio), Bill Preisler. Grandchildren: Ayala (Yitzchok Levy), Yael (Moishe Chevrony), Yakov Ganz, Menachem Ganz, Rivka Ganz, Miriam Ganz, Seyah Ganz, Jeetah Ganz, Shayna Preisler, Griffin Preisler. Great-grandsons: Avi and Rafael Levy, Eli and Yitzchok Chevrony.
Claude’s family is grateful to Rhoda Goldman Plaza and their staff for the extraordinary care and compassion they brought to Claude’s life. Donations in Claude’s honor can be made to Jewish Family and Children’s Services.
Phyllis Firestone Graff
Nov. 24, 1924-Jan. 20, 2021
Phyllis Firestone Graff passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at the age of 96. She was predeceased by the love of her life, Norman Graff, to whom she was married for 65 years; her parents, Rose and Allan Firestone of St Paul, MN; and two brothers, Richard and Daniel Firestone. She leaves behind four children and their spouses, Marc (Karin Forrest), Wendy (Darryl Price), Steven (Kim Honig), Doug (Cindy Graff); eight grandchildren, Rebecca and Benjamin; Adam and Mike; Mollie and David; Shana and Daniel; and their spouses; four great-grandchildren as well as nieces, nephews, cousins and many, many friends.
Phyllis was born in St Paul, MN, and graduated from the University of Minnesota, where she met Norman. They married in August 1946. Phyllis and Norman lived in Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, Topeka, KS, and Springfield, MO, before settling in San Mateo in the summer of 1955. They lived in the Eichler Highlands before building their dream home, a Mid-Century Modern classic, in Hillsborough in 1964, where Phyllis lived until she moved to The Peninsula Regent in 2012. Phyllis spent her last days in Southern California with family.
Phyllis loved the natural world, dating from childhood summers paddling her red canoe around Balsam Lake, and delighted in sharing that love with her children and grandchildren. Whether it was poking at a seaweed holdfast, frying up a pound of bacon for breakfast in Tuolumne Meadows or walking along Sawyer Camp Road, she was as comfortable in the natural world as she was entertaining in her own home, which she did often and with grace and aplomb.
Phyllis worked as a Counselor Aide at Burlingame High School (thoughtfully not at SMHS, where three of her children attended) for many years and was a docent for decades with both the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum of Art (where she specialized in the works of Africa, Oceania and Asia). She also volunteered at the San Mateo Public Library. She was active in PTAs, Temple Beth El Sisterhood, and community causes.
She and Norman traveled extensively, often to lesser-known spots, with a focus on history and culture. She was a doer and a maker, read voraciously, enjoyed the symphony, ballet and theater. She didn’t have a snobby bone in her body, opened her home and heart to those around her, generally gave people the benefit of the doubt, had a good sense of humor, was candid and sincere. She had a wonderful life and was grateful for it.
A virtual celebration of Phyllis’s life will be held at noon, February 21. Please contact a family member for details.
Howard J. Miller
May 1, 1928-Jan. 20, 2021
Howard Jesse Miller died peacefully in San Francisco on January 20, 2021. Born in San Francisco to Florence “Bessie” Rosenbaum and Jesse Miller and raised on Seventh Avenue with beloved first cousins Walter and Richard Miller, who predeceased him. A graduate of Madison, Roosevelt, Lowell, and Stanford and a proud member of Boy Scout Troop 17. Howie is survived by his wife of 62 years, Eleanor Willard Miller, daughters Jeanne, Susan (Denis Roy), and grandchildren Zachary (Kelly), Taylor, and Tucker. The family is grateful to the Rhoda Goldman Plaza staff for their kindness and support. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to Save the Redwoods League.