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Deaths for the week of Feb. 3, 2017

Edith Holtz
Edith Holtz

Edith Holtz died peacefully in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2017, at age 94. She was the beloved wife of Bernard Holtz, z”l, and dear sister to Robert, Ruth and Harriet, all of blessed memory. Loving mother of Lana Goodman (Howard) and Barbara Rauchwerger (Tom). Cherished grandmother of Rachel Goodman, Adina Rauchwerger (Brian Chaikelson), Alan Goodman (Beth), and Daniel Rauchwerger. Devoted great-grandmother of Marlo and Sabine Chaikelson, and Avi and Austin Goodman. Loving aunt to many nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed. Contributions in Edith Holtz’s memory can be made to Congregation Chevra Thilim, San Francisco.


Burton H. Press
Burton H. Press

Burton H. Press passed away on January 28, 2017 with a smile on his face and with his wife and children by his side. As his grandson posted on Facebook, “A great man has died.” While small of stature, Burt Press was indeed a great man, and his influence on this earth was widespread and positive. He was admired for his intellect, sense of humor and wealth of wonderful stories. He impacted and was a mentor to many, and he will be greatly missed.

Burt Press was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Jack and Minnie Press on June 19, 1928. He attended the University of Connecticut and graduated in three years. He then attended the University of Maryland Dental School, where he was a member of the Alpha Omega fraternity and the OKU Honor Society. He met Rona Page while in Baltimore and they married on the day after he graduated from dental school. Burt won a prestigious Air Force dental internship at Walter Reed Hospital, so the couple moved to Washington, D.C. and Burt began his dental career. At the end of the internship Burt and Rona moved to Hamilton Air Force Base in Marin County, California, where Burt served as a dentist and Captain in the U.S. Air Force for two years. Burt and Rona fell in love with California and spent the rest of Burt’s life there.

After leaving the Air Force, Burt opened a dental practice in Pittsburg, California. The family moved to Walnut Creek, California, in the East San Francisco Bay Area, and Burt became involved in the Rotary Club, serving as the President of the Pittsburg Rotary Club, and in the local dental community, serving as a member of the Insurance Council and as Editor of the Contra Costa Dental Society publication, and then as President of the Contra Costa Dental Society. While he enjoyed dental practice, Burt’s strongest talents were in writing, speaking and leadership, and these qualities inevitably drove his career path. He entered dental politics, serving as Chairman of the California Dental Association Council on Legislation and Speaker of the House of the California Dental Association for three years, before becoming the first president of the newly unified California Dental Association. After his service in California, he served as a delegate to the American Dental Association House of Delegates for eight years and Speaker of the House of Delegates of the American Dental Association for four years. In 1982 he became the President of the American Dental Association.

In addition to his service in dental politics, after selling his dental practice, Burt launched, and served as the editor and publisher of, The Press Report, a newsletter for dentists about effective management of dental practices. He also was a national and international speaker on this subject. In addition, he served as an Assistant Dean of the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. He was a member of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration, the American Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, the American Analgesia Society, the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. He also was a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists.

After retirement, Burt and Rona split their time between homes in Walnut Creek, California and La Quinta, California. An avid golfer, Burt also enjoyed snow skiing, water skiing, boating and flying a private plane.

Burt is survived by Rona, his wife of 63 years, his daughter Caren, his son Adam and his two grandsons, Troy and Noah. He is also survived by his brother Stephen Press of New Haven, Connecticut. A memorial service will be held on Feb.18, 2017 in La Quinta, California. Donations in Burt’s name can be made to the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry by mailing checks to 155 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103.


Marion Rothstein Skootsky Colton
Marion Rothstein Skootsky Colton

Marion Rothstein Skootsky Colton, born on Jan. 19, 1919, in Fort DuPont, Delaware, passed away in the City on Jan. 21 at the age of 98, after a short illness. Dearly beloved daughter of the late Augusta Rothstein and Morris Rothstein, Marion was also preceded in death by her two husbands, Harold Skootsky and Ellis Colton. Marion is survived by her three children: Deborah Skootsky Lubow (Stephen), Samuel Anshel Skootsky (Bernadette) and Seth Morris Skootsky (Sheila); seven grandchildren: Abigail Lubow, Miriam Lubow Khurgel (Jeff), Justin Skootsky, Joshua Skootsky, Tamara Skootsky, Austin Skootsky and Sarah Skootsky; and a great-grandson, Nathan Khurgel. Marion is also survived by her sister Thelma Rubin.

Marion was named for the actress Marion Davies by her father, Morris, who was a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Marion enjoyed a remarkable childhood as an Army brat in such far-flung places as rural Maine, Hawaii, Panama and the island of Corregidor in the Philippines, from which the family visited China, including Qinhuangdao and the Great Wall.

At the age of 16, Marion graduated from Bay Ridge High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. Marion attended college at the University of Hawaii and the University of Washington before earning a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1939. Following the outbreak of World War II, Marion volunteered for service as an officer in the U.S. Navy (WAVES). Marion was pictured in a 1943 Life Magazine photo essay of officer training as a member of the color guard carrying the American Flag. Marion served as a senior communications watch officer, stationed in San Francisco and Honolulu, coding and decoding messages for the Pacific Fleet; she held the rank of lieutenant upon her discharge in 1946.

In 1947 Marion married Harold Skootsky, an electrical engineer. Marion spent the next 30 years teaching in the San Francisco Unified School District, retiring in 1979 as head of the English Department at Balboa High School. She was highly regarded as a mentor of young teachers, many of whom became friends for decades, even past their own retirements. Marion was a proud member of the San Francisco Federation of Teachers and never crossed a picket line.

Way ahead of her time, Marion was a liberated woman. She suffered significant criticism for her decision to be a working mother. She felt it very important for a woman to have the security of her own employment, a conviction which she passed down to her daughter and granddaughters. She was vindicated in this regard when Harold died suddenly of a heart attack in 1963, leaving her as sole support for three children then ages 3, 10 and 15.

Marion’s children never suffered from a lack of attention and, in fact, they and their friends have fond memories of picnics and swimming outings that Marion organized on virtually every day of her (and their) summer vacations. Marion was proud that all of her children obtained graduate professional degrees. In mid-career, Marion herself obtained a master’s degree in educational administration and a certificate in library science.

Marion embraced progress. In the 1950s, she and Harold were original homeowners in the new Westlake district of Daly City. In the mid-1960s she used one of the first computer dating services to meet her second husband Ellis Colton, with whom she was happily married for 25 years until his death in 1993. Marion enjoyed playing internet bridge games on her iMac, and she began driving a Prius in 2001 when it first became available in the U.S.

Marion wanted her children to have the Jewish religious training that she could not obtain during her youth in Army life. She led by example, building her knowledge through adult education, eventually teaching in the Temple Emanu-El religious school and serving as principal of the religious school of Temple Judea (Westlake and San Francisco), of which she and Harold were founding members. Marion was a regular reader of the J. and was an occasional contributor when it was known as the Jewish Bulletin.

Marion never expected to live into her 90s. Perhaps her longevity can be attributed to her regular swim regimen that she maintained until her final years. She also thought it was important to keep busy. Marion enjoyed several post-retirement careers, including managing Ellis’ import-export foreign language book business for 10 years, serving five years as a rate clerk at Southern Pacific Railroad and 10 years as a reader in the English Department at Westmoor High School, a position she held until she was in her late 80s.

Marion’s life was filled with family, friends and travel through the end of her 98th year. Marion’s enjoyment of her last years was facilitated by the UCSF Center for Geriatric Care and by rhe Broadmoor retirement hotel in San Francisco. The family is greatly appreciative of her devoted caregivers Marai, Francisca and Maria.

A memorial service was held on Jan. 31 at Congregation Adath Israel, S.F. Burial at Golden Gate National Cemetery followed. Arrangements were made by Sinai Memorial Chapel.

Donations in Marion’s memory may be made to the Harold Skootsky and Marion Colton Family Philanthropic Fund (ID# 30739), c/o Jewish Community Federation, 121 Steuart St., San Francisco, CA 94105.