a lit memorial candle with a Sinai Memorial Chapel logo on it

Deaths for the week of July 26, 2019

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.

Alfred Cotton

December 29, 1925 – July 19, 2019

Alfred Cotton
Alfred Cotton

A man of tremendous integrity, loyalty, determination and kindness, Alfred Cotton, 93, of Oakland, California, passed away peacefully at home on July 19, 2019, with his beloved wife of 63 years, Anita, by his side. Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1925, the only child of Salomon and Amalia Baumwollspinner, his pleasant childhood was ended by the Nazis’ rise to power. After his Jewish day school was closed and the synagogues of his city set afire during Kristallnacht, his parents intensified their search for an escape. In the spring of 1939, Alfred’s parents learned about the Kindertransport, the effort that had begun in England in December to save children from Nazi Germany. His parents made the heart-wrenching decision to send him away to save his life. On June 13, 1939, at the age of 13, Alfred boarded a boat in Bremerhaven and never saw his parents again.

Despite the loss of his parents and his education, he built a new life for himself, becoming an electrician and changing his name to Alfred Cotton. In 1953, at the invitation of one of his few surviving relatives, he emigrated to the United States, joining his cousin in Berkeley. One week after arriving, he was introduced to Anita Rosenfeld, also originally from Hamburg, and they began to date. They were married at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco in August 1956.

Alfred enjoyed a long and successful career as an electrical contractor in the Bay Area, valued by residential and commercial clients for his meticulous work. In 1960, he and Anita built their home for the next 55 years in the Oakland Hills. During his membership in Congregation Beth El in Berkeley for the past 60 years, Fred held a variety of leadership positions, including treasurer and vice-president of the board of trustees.

In 1991, Alfred and his dear friend, Ralph Samuel (also a Kindertransport “Kind”), co-founded the Bay Area chapter of the Kindertransport Association, bringing together nearly 50 Kind — many of whom had never met — and their children for semi-annual get-togethers. Alfred subsequently visited classrooms throughout the Bay Area to share his personal story, and his oral history is archived at the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project and the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Although he lost his parents at age 13 and endured the loss of his own child, David Sol Cotton (age 19) in 1984, the arc of his life was not one of tragedy but triumph. One of his greatest sources of pride was his children and grandchildren. He took great delight in their accomplishments — personal, academic and professional. His gentle spirit, impish sense of humor and unwavering loyalty to family and friends will remain a blessing.

Alfred is survived by his beloved wife, Anita, his children and their spouses, Debbie Cotton Kilcoin and Neil Kilcoin, Dan Cotton and Katie Yezzi, and his grandchildren Ryan and Brendan Kilcoin, Aliza and Ezra Cotton. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made in his honor to Congregation Beth El, David Sol Cotton Memorial Fund, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles or the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

May Gevertz

April 9, 1921 – July 13, 2019

May Gevertz passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family. She was the loving wife of the late Sidney Gevertz. Devoted mother to JoAnne (David) Auerbach and Russell (Susan) Gevertz; caring Grandma to Hollie Gevertz; adored Great-Grandmother of Lexie Kitson; predeceased by her dear in-laws Harold & Rosalie Gevertz and Jerome & Helen Urbach, as well as her cousins Esther Grossman, Mildred Cohn & Bernice Apte, and her best friend, Harold Cooper.

At May’s request, a private service has been held.


Eva I. Levi

September 13, 1927 – July 13, 2019

Eva I. Levi
Eva I. Levi

Eva I. Levi passed away peacefully on July 13, 2019, at the age of 91. Eva was born on September 27, 1927, in Berlin, Germany. She left Germany for Shanghai in 1939, with her family, to escape the Nazis. Eva lived in Shanghai under very difficult circumstances until December 1947. There she lost friends, her father and brother.

She immigrated to the United States with her mother and arrived in San Francisco. She settled in Fresno, California, and then San Francisco, working as a Laboratory Technologist. Eva met her husband, Max, in 1950, and was married to him for 55 years. Eva graduated from college in 2000, and she was the oldest graduate from San Francisco State University that year. Eva helped her husband start Pacific Coast Products, a wholesale business, in 1968.

Eva is survived by her daughters, Karen and Connie (husband Alan); her son, Larry (wife Talia); her stepdaughter, Shelley (husband John); four grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

Eva impressed all around her with courage, positive attitude and tenacity. She loved the arts and traveled until her death.

At Eva’s request, private services have been held. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society will be appreciated.


Brian Timothy Mailman

June 24, 1952 – July 11, 2019

Raised in Salinas, Brian Mailman refused to be defined by his disease. He struggled for decades against pain and suffering while affirming life and love. Brian was no less hard on himself than on others.

From short-order cook at Church St. Station to working as a sous chef under MOF Chef Paul Duford at San Francisco’s P.S. French Restaurant, Brian’s love of food and cooking was a lifetime passion. He wrote a column FWIW for Empire Kosher and was an OUcooking.org Columnist (Slow Food in the Fast Lane). Along with Maxine Wolfson he co-moderated jewishfood-list.com with over 2,000 members around the world. He was happily active with rec.food.cooking in its early days.

He is survived by Stephen McNeil, his husband of 30 years, Saipan family of brother Bruce Mailman, sister-in-law Maya Kara, niece Lila Rachel and her husband Broc Calvo, nephew Brian G. Mailman, and cats Rodger Dodger and The Sam. Thanks to caregivers Luana McAlpine and Lucia Hau, the staff of DaVita especially Eleanor Fabro, Kaiser ICU staff, and Kaiser Drs. Jeffrey Fessel, Jonathan Lieberman, Sumie Iwasaki and Derek Blechinger, Jazmin and Hung of Westside, PAWS, JCFS Chicken Soupers, Project Open Hand, his Yiddish Class, and Open House’s Friendly Visitor Brian Schneider.

Funeral services were held. Family may be contacted at [email protected].

Donations can be made to Danny & Ron’s Rescue, P.O.B. 604, Camden, SC 29021.


Michael S. Newman

December 23, 1948 – July 16, 2019

Michael S. Newman
Michael S. Newman

Died peacefully at home in Novato, California, on July 16, 2019, holding the hand of his beloved wife, Catherine, after a year-long battle with cancer. A 5th-generation San Franciscan, Mike was born on December 23, 1948, to the late Melvin and Maxine Newman. He grew up working in the family business, E. Sugarman, Inc., where he discovered his fascination with “how things work.” When he attended Washington High School, it advanced to sound systems and led to the University of Utah, where he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering.

A generous and passionate man in all aspects of life, he married late, but found the perfect partner in Cathy for all his adventures. A master raconteur, a lover of food, wine and good company, he knew how to embrace life. He could answer any technical question with great expertise. Mike had an extensive personal and professional network, and if he couldn’t help directly, loved nothing better than connecting his friends with others that could.

Mike worked at Pacific Gas & Electric and Sprint designing microwave systems before founding CSI Telecommunications in 1985, a leading public safety communications engineering firm. As President of CSI, Mike was an outstanding engineer and a fierce advocate for the best interests of his clients, which included many public safety agencies in Northern California and throughout the West.

Mike served as a volunteer photographer for the San Francisco Fire Department for many years and published a book of his fire photographs “Strike the Box” in 1988. Mike also generously devoted his time to organizations such as the IEEE, TIA, ATIS, NARTE, NFPA, ICBO, NSMA, SBE, the Phoenix Society and countless others.

Mike loved his friends, and each year took great joy in hosting a holiday party for friends and clients at the CSI offices in San Francisco. His politics were motivated by equally strong senses of compassion and justice. Mike was an avid reader of history: the Civil War, WWII, San Francisco, Railroads, Politics and Judaism, and leaves behind a formidable library of books on the subjects.

Mike is survived by his beloved wife, Catherine Faduska Newman, family and many friends that will sorely miss him. Funeral services were held at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park on July 19, 2019. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Mike’s memory to the SF–Marin Food Bank, the American Cancer Society or to your favorite charity.


Sherlee Rhine

April 13, 1928 – July 19, 2019

Sherlee Rhine
Sherlee Rhine

On the morning of July 19, Sherlee Ann Rhine passed away peacefully at home in the city she loved, San Francisco, after a decade-long battle with cancer. She was 91 years old and will be remembered by all who knew her for her fierce love of family, exceptional business acumen, unparalleled style and courageous spirit.

Born April 13, 1928, to Sherwood and Mina Levy, Sherlee was a third-generation San Franciscan who graduated from George Washington High School at 16 and went on to attend UC Berkeley at a time when few women did. In 1946, she married her high school sweetheart, Gerard Sylvan Rhine, when he returned from military service in World War II.

In the 1960s, Sherlee opened a thriving antique store on trendy Union Street. In the following decade, she joined Gerard to own and operate Mark Morris Tires, which they expanded through the Bay Area and into the Northwest to 36 locations. The couple also became publicly recognized for their unique personalized radio ads. In the 1980s, Sherlee launched 77 Maiden Lane Salon and Spa on San Francisco’s prestigious Maiden Lane in Union Square. The salon became one of the city’s preeminent go-to destinations, frequented by celebrities and public figures. She retired in 2009.

A committed philanthropist and board member for several nonprofit organizations, Sherlee was well known for her support of charitable causes, the arts, politics and the LGBTQ community. Known for her cutting-edge style, she left her mark with her passion for fashion and design and was featured in popular media outlets including the Nob Hill Gazette, the San Francisco Chronicle and Architectural Digest.

Sherlee is survived by her daughter and son-in law, Gail and Barny Foland; son and daughter-in law, Michael and Laura Rhine; granddaughter and partner, Teri Christian and Kim Richard; granddaughter and husband, Leah and Joshi Marshall; granddaughter and husband, Emmy and Vincent Paule; granddaughter and husband, Odessa and Jeremy Donnell; granddaughter, Marlee Rhine; grandson, Daniel Rhine; and great-grandchildren, Sydnee, Gerad, Ethan, Elijah, Kaia, Matea, Kaden, Eva and Jacob. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerard, and son, Gary Sherwood Rhine.

A private service was held for her family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sherlee’s memory to the American Cancer Society.


Stanley R. Zimmerman

February 17, 1928 – July 17, 2019

Stanley R. Zimmerman
Stanley R. Zimmerman

Stanley Reuben Zimmerman passed away under the loving care of Bruns House Hospice on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, with his family present. He waged a fierce battle against a rare form of skin cancer with enormous grace and fortitude.

A child of the Depression, Stanley was born to Russian emigrés Sylvia and Harry Zimmerman in the Bronx, New York, on February 17, 1928. He and his older sister, Ruth, were the first members of the family born in the United States. He attended PS 96 and later Columbus High School in the Bronx, and played with kids from the nearby pioneering Amalgamated Housing Cooperative or “Coop.” He attended college at Syracuse University before serving in postwar Japan and then at Camp Stillman, California. He finished college at NYU, although he remained an “Orangeman” for life.

He moved to California, where he met, fell in love with and married Stephanie Freedman. They had two children, Sari and Harry. Years later after divorce, he shared a relationship with Carol Weitz. A dedicated entrepreneur, he and a partner built a successful fabric business called Home Yardage and he later struck out on his own with Yardage Fair. The first Home Yardage store on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco was a popular shopping destination at a time when families of all economic levels still made their own clothes. He dressed both socialites and working families, and took part in one of the first trips of American businessmen to travel to China after the Cultural Revolution.

As a local businessman, he hung out at restaurants like Ernie’s, the Shanghai Low and Nam Yuen with many well-known San Francisco personalities, from Herb Caen to Dolly Gee and Mom Chung, who took him to his first opera performance. But he preferred attending games of the local East Bay sports teams such as the Oakland Raiders, Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors. A lifelong learner who loved studying about the democratic origins of this country, as well as politics, he later attended Lincoln Law School in San Francisco, earned his JD and passed the California Bar.

He was committed to a number of philanthropic causes, including the Weizmann Institute and Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

He will be deeply missed by his family and friends. In lieu of flowers, feel free to donate in his name to the University of Washington’s Merkel Cell Carcinoma Fund: merkelcell.org/join-the-fight/donate.