Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.
Florence Sterling Alpert
March 6, 1925-Sept. 14, 2019
Florence Sterling Alpert, beloved mother, sister, wife, friend and all-around mensch, was born in New Haven and raised in Hamden, CT. She graduated from Hamden High School and received her B.A. from University of Connecticut. She married Erwin Alpert in 1950 and together they raised two sons. Florence loved languages and literature. Her wordsmithing skills served her well in her career as the manager of the classified advertising department of the New Haven Register. She loved her family, friends and co-workers, and those who knew her appreciated her positive outlook, terrific sense of humor and generosity of spirit.
Florence was predeceased by her husband, Erwin, and her son, Richard. She is survived by her son, Dan Alpert (Rabbi Eric Weiss) of San Francisco, and brother, Charles Sterling of Hamden, and loving nieces and nephews.
Funeral and Shiva were held in New Haven, CT.
March 22, 1923-Sept. 20, 2019
Jack Negrin passed away peacefully at home on Sept. 20, surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his children Pam Boxerbaum and Cheryl Negrin; son-in-law Irv Boxerbaum; his cherished eight grandchildren and adored 12 great-grandchildren. Though he will be greatly missed, the family takes comfort knowing he is reunited with his beloved wife, Lillian.
SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL-SAN FRANCISCO
Warner Bein Oberndoerfer
June 5, 1930-Aug. 26, 2019
Warner came to the U.S. as an 8-year-old refugee, moving first to New York. In Dallas he became a true Southern gentleman. A Yale grad, he studied at HUC, Southern Methodist and Air Force programs, as well. After 22 years active and reserve service in the Air Force, he retired with the rank of major. Warner served B’nai B’rith as a longtime regional and national leader. A past president of Temple Sinai and leader of other Jewish organizations, with integrity and dedication.
As a licensed life insurance professional in the ’70s and ’80s, he earned clients’ trust and respect. As administrator of Home of Eternity cemetery for seven years, he served families with compassion.
Predeceased by beloved wife Henrietta “Bonnie” (nee Heyman) Oberndoerfer and daughter Orna Sasson (Jim). Survived by daughter Ilana MacIsaac (Paul) of Guerneville, and nephews in California. Interred at Home of Eternity, Oakland. Donations to Southern Poverty Law Center, Alameda Community Food Bank, Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation or your charity of choice are appreciated.
Felix M. Warburg
May 24, 1924-Aug. 11, 2019
San Francisco: Felix Max Warburg of San Francisco, known to his friends as “Peter,” died at home on Aug. 11 after 95 remarkably full years of life. An architect and lifelong environmental activist, Warburg played a significant role in designing noted public spaces and private homes in Northern California, including Ghirardelli Square and Sea Ranch, for which he served as project manager for the award-winning firm of Lawrence Halprin. He was a U.S. Army intelligence officer in World War II, also serving in the Korean War, and the father of six sons and 22 grand- and great-grandchildren.
As chair of the Marin County Planning Commission in the early 1960s, Warburg pushed for creation of Point Reyes National Seashore and helped lead the successful fight against a Gulf Oil/Frouge Corporation plan to build a town of 30,000 people (“Marincello”) in what later became known as the Marin Headlands, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A longtime supporter of preservation efforts, he also led Jewish history tours throughout Old West sites and helped preserve San Francisco’s Bush Street synagogue.
Felix Warburg was named for his grandfather, the noted financier and community leader whose family home on New York’s Upper East Side today houses the Jewish Museum. Nicknamed “Peter,” he was born in Vienna, Austria on May 24, 1924 to parents Gerald Felix Warburg and Marian Bab of Vienna. Educated at Middlesex and Harvard, during World War II and the Korean War he twice interrupted his studies to serve as an Army intelligence officer, first 1944-46 in liberated France and occupied Germany, then in 1952-3 at Camp Ritchie (later Camp David), where he taught infiltration and map reading to special forces troops prior to their deployment in Korea. The work of his WW II cohort was profiled for the 2004 documentary film “The Ritchie Boys,” which followed the service of German-speaking Jews in the U.S. Army who interrogated senior Nazi officials. Warburg returned to Vienna in 1945 during his service. Attempting to find any trace of his mother’s community, he later recalled that “the only one who survived the Nazi Holocaust was the doctor who delivered me.”
An undergraduate when he first enlisted, Warburg had been studying to be a geologist. After witnessing the Nazis’ destruction firsthand, he resolved to be a builder. He declined recruitment into the Office of Strategic Services (later the Central Intelligence Agency) and changed his major when he returned to college in Massachusetts in 1947 as a 23-year-old sophomore. He graduated from the College, then earned a degree from Harvard’s School of Architecture. The week in 1953 when he completed his second military tour, Warburg moved cross-country by train with his wife, the late Sandol Milliken Stoddard, and their two infant boys. The family initially lived in a cottage at the Alta Mira Hotel in Sausalito while he designed their first home on the newly constructed Belvedere Lagoon. The home at the end of Peninsula Road looks across the water to Mt. Tamalpais and features clean Bauhaus lines and Frank Lloyd Wright-style geometry.
Active in Marin County Democratic Party campaigns, Warburg was recruited to lead the Planning Commission at a time when the Marin County population was growing tenfold. His efforts to block the Marincello development led to his defeat in the next election. He was later recruited to the firm of his friend Larry Halprin, who had designed the landscaping for the Warburg’s first home in Belvedere. Among the many Halprin projects Warburg aided was the Sea Ranch, the first “green” development of a major residential community on the wild coastlines north of San Francisco Bay.
His second marriage in 1966 to the late Sue Rayner and move into San Francisco led to his further engagement with the city’s arts community and his interest in Jewish history from the Gold Rush era. Warburg was later appointed to the San Francisco Arts Commission by then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein. One of the projects he championed was the placement of artworks that brighten the long pedestrian concourses at the city-run San Francisco Airport. Warburg retained a lifelong commitment to environmental causes, advocating against the location of a nuclear power plant on the coastline north of Monterey Bay and for such imaginative initiatives as the use of the old Bay Bridge as armature for wind turbines and solar panels.
A polylinguist, Warburg spoke five languages. He insisted that having casual conversations in his native German, or French, “keeps your mind fresh.” A longtime member of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, in his later years Felix greatly enjoyed attending classes at the Fromm Institute at USF, which provided him with many hours of intellectual stimulation. After his move west in 1953, the former Boston Red Sox fan became a devoted San Francisco Giants fan who attended games from Seals Stadium to Candlestick Park to the stadium now known as Oracle Park.
Asked on his 95th birthday how he always remained so cheerful, he noted wryly that “my name means ‘happy’ in Latin … and I got some of the lightness from those interwar years in Vienna, when all seemed light and cheerful.”
Warburg is survived by sons Anthony (Judy) of Sacramento, California; Peter (Melinda) of Eugene, Oregon; Gerald (Joy) of Arlington, Virginia; Jason (Karen) of Seaside, California; and Matthew (Maggie) of Seattle, Washington; sisters Geraldine Zetzel of Lexington, Massachusetts and Jeremy Warburg Russo of Newton, Massachusetts; brother Jonathan Warburg (Stephanie) of Boston, Massachusetts; and 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son Joshua in 1960 and his wife Sue in 2014.