Marilyn R. Abbott of Daly City, California. Entered into eternal rest on May 9, 2011 at the age of 88. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the only child of Philip Chaliff and Grace Klein. Marilyn was preceded in death by her loving husband Thomas Abbott; Parents, Philip and Grace Chaliff and Irwin Meyer (cousin). Marilyn is survived by her cousins of Cincinnati: Lilly Meyer, Barry Meyer (Pamela), Glen Meyer (Margie), and Keith Meyer (Terri). She is survived also by her extended California family: Luke and Tracy Aguilera, Laura Marion, Adam Lucas Marion Almedilla and Joseph Marion; her dearest friends Gloria Wheat, Nettie Goodman; Flora and Jeff Green; Debbie Hart (Bob) and Father Michael Walsh. Marilyn worked for the Wilbur Ellis Company in San Francisco for many years until her retirement. She was a member of the Congregation B’nai Emunah in San Francisco. Donations may be made to Marilyn’s favorite organizations: Congregation B’nai Emunah, 3595 Taraval, San Francisco 94116, Saint Anthony’s Foundation, Dept. 05719, Saint Boniface Church, SF, CA, or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. To honor Marilyn’s wishes no services were held.

Lynda Berger Levinson

Monday, 9/12/49 — Friday, 5/20/2011

“Monday’s Child is Fair of Face”

Died suddenly and unexpectedly in Fair Lawn, N.J. Beloved daughter of Muriel and Clyde Fox and the late Maurice Berger. Dear sister of David Berger (Helle) and step-sister of Denise Fox Needleman (Steve) and Deborah Fox Fitch (Alan).

Loving and devoted mother of Rachel Levinson Krich (Daniel). She took great delight and joy in her grandchildren, Ariella and Aryeh.

Loved and respected by her step-children Charlotte, Eddie, Gordon (Debbie) and Julian (Lisa) Levinson. She was a cousin to those of the Berger, Charlip and Iscoff families, and a tried and true friend to those who knew her.

Born and raised in S.F. After graduating from University of California, Berkeley she met and married Carl Levinson of Philadelphia, Pa., eventually settling in Santa Fe, N.M. After their marriage ended, she and Rachel moved to N.Y. where they were embraced by the Chassidic-Lubavitch community and there she found complete serenity.

She was admired for her charm, grace and generosity which were among her many attributes. She had a gifted way of expressing herself in written word. Her letters and notes were treasured by those who received them.

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, she was buried in Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, N.Y. near the final resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, whom she so revered.

She leaves a great void in the lives of her family and friends.

Charitable donations in her name may be made to: Jewish Home, S.F., Jewish Family & Children’s Services or your favorite organization.

On May 25, 2011, after a heroic battle against a rare and aggressive cancer, renowned scholar and novelist Michael André Bernstein, age 63, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, died peacefully at his home in Oakland, California, surrounded by his family.

Born in Innsbruck Austria on August 31, 1947 and raised between Europe, Canada and the United States, Michael was a multilingual intellectual whose endeavors as a professor and as a writer of poetry, fiction, and criticism manifest a unique ability to synthesize the subjects about which he was so broadly learned: history, literature, art and politics.

He distinguished himself as the first Canadian to be accepted by Princeton University without even having completed high school. Over his four years at Princeton he achieved the highest GPA in the history of the university and was named valedictorian for the class of 1969. He completed his doctoral degree in romance languages and literature at Oxford University in 1975 and was immediately hired to teach at U.C. Berkeley, an institution he loved and where he spent his entire academic career.

He published widely in the United States and abroad, and was honored repeatedly for his exceptional contributions to the world of letters. Among the many prestigious awards conferred on him, he was proudest of receiving the Koret Israel prize in its inaugural year (1989), being named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1993, and being elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.

He was a regular contributor to the New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, and the L.A. Times Sunday Book Review. In every critical arena to which he turned his attention, he reframed the discussion, posing questions and laying out answers that seemed, after the fact, foregone conclusions.

His books of literary criticism are rich with original historical, political, psychological and social analyses which resonate beyond the halls of academia and have drawn the attention of an array of critics and cultural figures, politicians and fine artists. He published a volume of poetry, Prima della Rivoluzione, in 1984. His prolific contributions to literary criticism include “The Tale of the Tribe: Ezra Pound and the Modern Verse Epic” (1980),  “Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero” (1992), “Foregone Conclusions: Against Apocalyptic History” (1994) and “Five Portraits: Modernism and the Imagination in Twentieth-Century German Writing” (2000).  

Bernstein’s first novel, “Conspirators,” was selected as one of the three finalists for the 2004 Reform Jewish Prize for fiction, was named one of the 25 best novels of the year by the Los Angeles Times, and was shortlisted for the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book. It has been translated into Italian, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish. He was working on a new novel at the time of his death.

As a teacher he was beloved for his course in which, year after year, he taught the entirety of “Remembrance of Things Past” by Marcel Proust. He was a magnetic lecturer whose humanity and humor informed his analyses of authors such as James Joyce, Robert Musil, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens and Gustave Flaubert. He had a gift for bringing to bear his staggering breadth of knowledge without pretension or jargon.

In his private life Michael was a loyal friend, always offering the benefit of his full attention and generous imagination in conversations both in person and on the page, ready to engage wholeheartedly with the intellectual and artistic productivity of those he cherished. His competitive spirit found its way happily, weekly, onto the tennis courts of Berkeley. He was a devoted and proud father to his three daughters: Anna-Nora Bernstein, from his first marriage to Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, and Amitai and Oriane Sachs-Bernstein, from his marriage to Dalya Sachs-Bernstein, his widow, who survives him in sorrow. He is pre-deceased by his father John Bernstein, and his beloved grandmother Dina Bernstein. His Toronto family includes step-mother Dr. Vera Rose-Bernstein; brother David; sister Suzanne; sister-in-law Susan; nieces Alysha and Laura and Emily, and nephew Brendan. He is also survived by loving family in California: his devoted in-laws Michael and Vivian Sachs of San Rafael, and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Naomi and Ori Sachs-Amrami, and nephews Jordan, Daniel and Benjamin.

An endowed memorial fund for graduate study in modern literature at U.C. Berkeley will be established in his honor.


Marjorie Phillips Block

A resident of Kentfield, died peacefully at home. Born in Philadelphia in 1921, she was a graduate of Lowell High School and UC Berkeley, where she met her beloved Eddie, to whom she was married for 69 years. She had a passion for books and was an antiquarian book dealer. She was a devoted Hospice volunteer for many years.

She is survived by her loving husband, Edwin Joseph; three children, Judie Rachel, Bradford (Diane) and Betsy (Joseph Goldhammer); 6 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Donations to Bancroft Library ( or Hospice by the Bay ( are preferred.

Ann Plaat Stone died peacefully on Saturday, May 21, 2011, in San Mateo after a long illness. A resident of San Mateo since 1963, she was married to Daniel Stone for nearly 48 years until his death in 2000. She was much loved by her children David Stone, Janet Herman, and Elizabeth Stone, her son-in-law, Neal Herman, and daughter-in-law, Linda Pellecchia. She was a proud Oma to her five grandchildren — Jeffrey Herman, Daniel Herman, Nadine Herman, Doria Charlson and Meredith Charlson. Her long-time friend Joyce Klang (Los Altos) will miss her deeply.

Ann was born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, where she lived with her parents, Julius and Edith Plaat, and her brother Otto. Her immediate family survived the Holocaust, although her grandparents died in Riga, Latvia, during the war. Ann arrived in San Francisco in 1936 after a short stay with family in Oakland. As a child, she loved the summer camps she attended, and spent her summers as a young adult as a Girl Scout camp counselor. She was also an active member of Hashomer Hatzair. She spent many years working at her family’s stationary store on Clement Street in San Francisco. Ann attended Washington High School and San Francisco State University, receiving degrees in Speech and Drama. It was in college that she met her husband (later Assistant Principal of San Mateo High School). With Dan and friends, she was a member of the Four by Four Players which performed plays for radio broadcast.


Ann Stone had a long and devoted career as an English teacher and was known for her unwavering dedication to her students. She co-edited three college textbooks published by Prentice Hall, including Child Development Through Literature. After retirement from Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, she tutored students in English and only ended her teaching career a few months ago. The impact she had as an educator was evident by the continuing visits from students decades after their high school graduation.

Ann’s love of literature also extended beyond the classroom. She was a Commissioner of the San Mateo Public Library, and was instrumental in the creation and design of its new building on Third Avenue. As a living memorial to her husband, she established an annual author program for school children and librarians with the Burlingame Public Library. She helped her children operate Pals Swim School for over 25 years, bringing her joy of swimming to thousands of children. She led an active life: she swam daily, was a book club member, edited the newspaper for the Peninsula Regent where she resided, and was a patron of the Smuin Ballet, TheatreWorks, SF Ballet, SF Symphony, and the American Conservatory Theater. Until well into her seventies, Ann studied German at the College of San Mateo. An expert bread baker, she was known for her gifts of home-made cinnamon-walnut breads. She loved going to Lake Tahoe and playing blackjack with Joyce; in her later years she became a crack cribbage player. Ann was a mentor and friend to many and will be missed by all whose lives she touched. She will be remembered for her independence, pragmatism, and drive.

In her memory, the family suggests donations to the Daniel and Ann P. Stone Memorial Book Authors Series, c/o Burlingame Library Foundation, 480 Primrose Road, Burlingame, CA 94010.

Alfred M. Pepper

Age 96, passed away on Saturday morning, May 28, 2011, surrounded by his family and caregivers. Beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He was a resident of Palo Alto since 1982, and was pre-deceased by Rosaline Frantz Pepper, his wife of 62 years, in November of 2010. Born in New York City on October 19, 1914, he grew up in New York City as a first-generation American and the oldest of four children of Josef and Sadie Pepper. He attended City College of New York.

He was a kind and supportive father and husband, who enjoyed his children and grandchildren immensely. A talented dancer, it was a pleasure to watch Al and his wife move across the dance floor. Al worked as a retail shoe store manager for over 55 years, and retired when he was 87. He learned life lessons by being observant and reflective rather than reactive, and spoke only when he had something relevant to say. He was intelligent and easy-going, who taught love, integrity, humor, and patience through his example. He began playing tennis in his 50s, and kept playing until he was 89.

In 1941, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving as a First Lieutenant in the Big Red One, the First Infantry Division that invaded France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The invasion started at 6 a.m., and he landed on Omaha Beach at 8 a.m. He received numerous medals, including the Bronze Star for bravery. In December 2010, he was awarded the medal of the French Legion of Honor for his role in helping to liberate France. However, he did not define himself as a war hero, and never spoke about the war until 50 years after his service. The picture of health into his early 90s, he was a true fighter not only in his military career, but in his final years.

Alfred leaves behind his loving family including son Donald (and Giulie) Pepper and daughter Janis Pepper. He was the devoted grandfather of Daniel and Jennifer Slate, Andrea Pepper, and Giulene Moller. He is the dear brother of Ralph (and Joanie) Pepper, the late Herman Pepper, and the late Ann Pepper Nelson, and brother-in-law of the late Geri and Robert Shimoff, and the late William Frantz. He is the beloved uncle to numerous nephews and nieces.

Funeral services were held June 2, 2011, at Congregation Etz Chayim, Palo Alto. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity.