Ner Tamid co-founder Leona Goldberg dies at 86

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Beverly Hassid remembers Leona Goldberg for her cheery spirit and warm smile, and that it was never a problem for her to feed a few extra kids.

“I ate green beans and zucchini for the first time at her house,” recalled Hassid, the current president of San Francisco’s Congregation Ner Tamid. “She loved to feed people, and I spent a lot of time at her house.”

Goldberg, a founding member of Ner Tamid, died in Walnut Creek on Jan. 6. She was 86.

Leona Kamalman was born in St. Paul, Minn., on March 1, 1917, the daughter of a dry goods merchant.

In 1936 she married Nick “Nussie” Goldberg, and they moved to San Francisco in 1943, where her husband founded the South San Francisco-based P&D Appliance, which is still operated by the family.

After her husband died, Goldberg worked in the family business, where “everybody loved her,” said her son Jerry of Millbrae.

The Goldbergs were active in Ner Tamid, where Goldberg served as sisterhood president. She later became president of the Northern California branch of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.

Most recently, Goldberg was a member of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Walnut Creek.

Hassid said that Goldberg often drove the carpools to Hebrew school and youth group, and that she was always happy to have her children’s friends over to the house.

“She always had a smile and nice things to say,” said Hassid.

In her later years, she was a volunteer at the Contra Costa Jewish Community Center, often staffing a desk there.

Shoshana Eliahu, director of senior services at the CCJCC remembered Goldberg as “always smiling. I don’t ever recall seeing her angry or in conflict with anyone.”

Goldberg was predeceased by her husband. In addition to her son Jerry, she is survived by her daughters Debra Thiel of Pittsburg and Renee Rudorfer of Nampa, Idaho; brother Bert Kamalman of Alamo and Palm Desert; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Donations can be sent to any charity.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."