Frances Sherle Cushman

Frances Sherle Cushman 1922-2013

Frances Sherle Cushman passed away on Aug. 31, 2013, at her home in San Rafael, California. She was born in Virginia, Minnesota, to David and Rose Segal on Aug. 13, 1922 and was raised in San Diego, where she lived until 1990. She graduated from Hoover High, worked as a secretary for the Navy during WWII, and married Alvin Cushman in 1942. They raised two sons, Philip (wife Karen) and Edward (wife Sharon), were active in the San Diego and later Irvine Jewish communities and in many philanthropic pursuits.

After Alvin’s death in 1998, she moved to San Rafael to be near her two sons and their families (grandchildren David, Yael and Leah); she was active in Rodef Sholom’s Sisterhood and tutored at elementary schools. She lived in San Rafael until her death, surrounded by many friends and her loving family.

Frances had a deep and abiding commitment to her family, which was the focus of her life. She is survived by her two sons and their families, her sister Maxine Altshuler, nephews (Stephen and Lawrence Cushman, Earl and Bruce Altshuler), their wives, two generations of their children, and a multitude of dear friends who all join in mourning her passing.

Services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Cypress View Mausoleum, San Diego, with a reception to follow. Donations in her honor may be directed to Congregation Beth Israel San Diego, Hospice By the Bay or Hebrew Free Loan, San Francisco.

Shirley Tobey Galbraith

I have the very sad duty to tell you that my mother, Shirley Tobey Galbraith, died on Aug. 2. She would have been 97 on Oct. 9. She was very sound in body and mind until the end.

It is with deep sadness but also deep appreciation that I’ll share a few remembrances of her with you now.

Mother’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Latvia and the Ukraine in the late 19th century. She grew up in New York City and, despite moving to the Bay Area in the ’70s, was always a proud New Yorker.

She was confirmed at Central Synagogue in Manhattan. As a child she was sent by my grandmother, Gertrude Hirschman Tobey, to be educated at the Montessori schools, although the only thing mother claimed she learned was how to make “hospital” bed corners.

During the Great Depression she was a union activist for the ILGWU. Her favorite story from that time was how, during a strike, dressed up in a big “picture” hat, she rode uptown on a float in a labor parade in order to deliver the strikers’ payroll hidden in her very large purse.

Later, after studying the fine arts at the famous Traphagen School of Design, she worked for the federal government during the Second World War as a map maker doing her bit to defeat the fascists.

After the war she married and had two children— me, Niki Rothman, now married to Richard Rothman and living in S.F., and Robert Galbraith of Oakland.

Throughout her life mother considered herself a “proud bleeding-heart liberal” and worked for Democratic political causes. She also always made and taught art in many media and many settings.

She was a member of Temple Sinai in Oakland for 35 years and was a founding member of their Shabbat morning Torah study class, which she never missed — right up until her death.

Always a strong supporter of Israel, her trips there were a high point of her life. She experienced a profound spiritual awakening when, on approaching the Western Wall — the Kotel — in Jerusalem, she was transfixed by a life-changing sense of what she called “awe.”

Mother had a beautiful funeral at Home of Eternity cemetery in Oakland, where many people shared their fond and funny memories of her.

She is so deeply missed and we hope that many people will always hold her memory as a blessing.