lit yahrzeit candles

Deaths for the week of July 21, 2017

Marilyn Berger

Marilyn Berger
Marilyn Berger

August 29, 1928–July 6, 2017

Marilyn Berger lived in Walnut Creek, California, in the Rossmoor community up until January 2017. She lived at Sunrise assisted living in Belmont from January 2017 until her death on July 6, 2017.

Marilyn was a devoted wife to Morris for 57 years, a loving mother to her children Robert Berger and Nancy Berger-Granet and son-in-law Scott Granet, and a beloved grandmother to Allison, who was the joy of her life. She was a retired educator with the NYC Board of Education.

She was a Mah Jong and Scrabble enthusiast. She had a brilliant mind and a kind and loving heart. She loved to entertain her family and friends in her home. She taught us how to love life and each other. She will be dearly missed but never forgotten.

Marilyn was buried on July 9, 2017, at Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus, NJ.

Michael Steven Fuss, z”l, passed away peacefully on July 10, 2017, at home surrounded by his loving children. Born in New York on March 17, 1945, Michael grew up there before moving to Los Angeles as a young teenager. He then moved to Berkeley in 1966 to attend UC Berkeley and called the Bay Area home for the next 51 years.

Michael Steven Fuss
Michael Steven Fuss

After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and minor in Linguistics, he helped build the University’s Disabled Students’ Program, played a role in the creation of the Center for Independent Living, and helped spur Berkeley’s pioneering efforts to incorporate curb cuts into city planning to enable greater mobility for and civic participation by wheelchair users.

Michael was also key in creating a program at Children’s Hospital Oakland to identify and prevent child abuse, a model that was replicated at other institutions through his work with the National Institute of Mental Health. He later obtained an MBA from John F. Kennedy University and worked as a business consultant.

Throughout his life, Michael found great joy in backpacking, his dogs, hot rods, cooking, reading, motorcycles, learning and Judaism. But his greatest love was for his three children. Whether creating a Sunday soccer league, building a treehouse, imparting the joy of reading and learning, or taking them out into the wilderness to share his love of the outdoors, Michael devoted himself fully to their well-being.

Michael is survived by his children Ilan Fuss (Mikayla Weissman), Ari Breakstone and Rina Breakstone; his siblings Lorri Hilbert (John Hilbert) and Robert Fuss; and his mother Carolyn Fuss. Donations in his memory can be made to Congregation Beth Israel (, The Center for Independent Living (, the California State Parks Foundation ( or Milo Foundation (

Arlene Herman, nee Lefkowitz, died July 7, 2017, 13th of Tamuz, 5777, from heart complications. She was 74.

Arlene Herman
Arlene Herman

Arlene lit up a room with her energy; she was full of life and exuded warmth and good spirit. She was a devoted daughter to her late parents, Max and Sarah Lefkowitz, and a loving sister to Olivia. She grew up in Chicago and moved to San Francisco in 1971.

She was a dedicated and loving wife to her husband Harvey until his death in 2011. They made their home in Belmont, California, and were members of the Belmont JCC and Peninsula Temple Sholom. She also embraced Harvey’s family, his late parents, Dave and Fay Herman, and his brothers Mel (Judy) and Steve. She was a loving and completely supportive mother to Matt and Jed. She was thrilled when her family grew with the addition of Matt’s wife, Diana, and then their daughter, Lily. Lily truly was the light of her life for the last 4+ years.

Arlene taught at the North Peninsula Jewish Day School (now Wornick) and, in 1994, joined the faculty of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School where she taught kindergarten for 19 years. When she retired, she’d left her indelible, inspiring mark on her colleagues, parents and — most of all — on hundreds of children. She was passionate about setting children on good paths, teaching, kindness and love, and a life well-lived.

After retiring, she had an active life traveling to Europe, India, China; volunteering at the after-school program at St. Francis of Assisi in East Palo Alto; participating in her granddaughter’s preschool classroom; socializing with friends; and spending time with her family and precious granddaughter.

She was warm, loving, affectionate, generous, giving and unfailingly kind. She didn’t make enemies because she was never unkind to anyone. And when she encountered difficult and challenging times, she’d put her head down and move forward.

A funeral was held July 10 at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo. Arlene is survived by her sister, Olivia Remson, son, Jed Herman of Portland, Oregon, and son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Diana Herman, and her granddaughter, Lily Herman of San Carlos. Donations in memory of Arlene can be made to Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto and Catholic Charities Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi in East Palo Alto.

Bettie A. Lichtman, 93, on July 12, 2017, in San Francisco, followed by her beloved husband of 70 years, Melvin H. Lichtman, 98, on July 14, 2017. Loving parents to Susan (David) Richman, Nancy (Robert) Cappelloni and Judith (Peter) Schumacher; adoring grandparents to Sam Richman and Beatrice Eickhoff; Lauren, Lisa and Dana Cappelloni; Louis Gropman and Davi Schumacher; proud great-grandparents of Jack, Raaka, Noah, Matteo, Aavya and Sivan.

Predeceased by Bettie’s beloved sisters Ethel Regan and Adele Heller and brothers Marvin and Leonard Heller, and by Melvin’s dear sister Elaine Kane. Survived by Bettie’s loving brother Alvin Heller, and by many nieces and nephews.

Bettie and Mel were lifetime volunteers in Jewish and civic organizations. Bettie dedicated herself to Hadassah, ORT and Sisterhood. Mel served on the boards of Congregation Beth Sholom, SF Jewish Community Center and Concordia Argonaut, and was a member of the SF Civil Grand Jury and USF Masters Swim Team.

The family expresses gratitude for the loving care that Bettie and Mel received at the San Francisco Towers.

Donations to your favorite charity preferred; acknowledgements may be sent to Nancy Cappelloni, 180 Montgomery St., #1616, San Francisco, CA 94104.

Hans Philippi was born in Berlin, Germany, on January 27, 1921 and died in Burlingame on July 16, 2017. Hans left Berlin at 17, went to Holland and then on the SS St Louis to Cuba, the famous Voyage of the Damned. Being forced back to Holland, he emigrated to Chile and after 25 years emigrated to the USA.

He was married for 70 years to the love of his life, Ursula, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his children Peter (Joyce) Philippi, Adriana (Steve) Finnie and Gabriela Coppedge, 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at Home of Peace Cemetery, Colma.

Lucy Spector, founder of the iconic fabric store Britex Fabrics, passed away in her home at the age of 93 on July 1, 2017. There were many stories coming out of the woodwork in her final days. Lucy was many things to many people. She was Lucy the survivor, Lucy the mother, Lucy the businesswoman, and Lucy the grandmother.

Lucy was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1923. She was forced to leave her beautiful city in 1939 when Adolf Hitler stormed through. Her mother was able to escape to England to become a maid and her father to Shanghai, which was, at the time, the only city open to Jews. Lucy stayed in Vienna with her grandparents until she joined her mother in England a year later. Her father died before being able to reunite with them, and her grandparents perished in the concentration camps.

She and her mother came over to the U.S. in 1949 on the Queen Mary and moved their life to New York, where she met and married Martin Spector. Martin was a fabric merchant in Poland. He too lost his family in the concentration camps and started anew in New York City. Once there, he opened Britex Fabrics in 1947 in the garment district. He and Lucy had three daughters: Sharman, Beverly and Audrey.

While on vacation in San Francisco in 1952, Martin and Lucy saw a vacant storefront downtown and decided to move their business and family to San Francisco, which they did in 1960. Lucy was Martin’s anchor as they worked together to build Britex Fabrics. Things abruptly changed when Martin passed away in 1966. Lucy was left with three young children and her mother to take care of.

Rising again, Lucy was determined to move forward, and became a very successful business woman. A woman ahead of her time, she took the reigns and built Britex Fabrics to be one of the most respected and iconic businesses in San Francisco.

Lucy was shaped by her constantly uprooted life. Her experiences made her sensitive to what many Britex job applicants — who were themselves new to the country — were going through. She was willing to give people a chance at a job and a place in America. As a result, Britex became an incredible mix of cultures and languages where people worked and learned together to make the business thrive. It was an authentic American melting pot. She gave people an opportunity and thereby touched hundreds of lives. Many were in awe of her determination, hardworking ethic and outspokenness. There was a feeling of camaraderie and a closeness of a large extended family.

Another aspect of running Britex that satisfied her was selecting the most beautiful fabrics available and relishing the excitement of her appreciative and loyal customers. She had impeccable taste and a refined European elegance which was always set off by her flaming red hair and her irresistible charm. She would often travel to New York to buy fabric, from the tiniest hole-in-the-wall vendors to the Yiddish-speaking jobbers on the Lower East Side to the most well-known storied names on Seventh Avenue like Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene and Adele Simpson.

Lucy has left an indelible mark on her family, employees, customers and the city of San Francisco. Her business, Britex Fabrics, continues to thrive downtown. Her daughter Sharman has run the business on her own for the last 10 years after having worked alongside her mother for the past 30 years.

Lucy leaves behind three loving daughters, Sharman, Beverly and Audrey; six grandchildren, Jason, Taylor, Sydney, Alix, Andrew and Carlo; three son-in-laws, Gary, Kenneth and Milton; her dear friend Inge; her caretaker Tamaki; and her beloved dachshund, Chibi. She will be dearly missed.