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

Deaths for the week of Jan. 24, 2020

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

Albert Cohen

Nov. 16, 1929-Dec. 31, 2019

Albert Cohen
Albert Cohen

Albert Cohen, the William H. Bonsall Professor of Music, Emeritus, and longtime former chair of Stanford’s Department of Music, passed away on Dec. 31, 2019. He was 90.

Cohen was distinguished internationally as a theorist and musicologist. His major research specialties were the history of music theory and French music in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1982, he established the Lully Archive at Stanford for the study of Jean-Baptiste Lully, the most influential French composer of the 17th century.

As chair of the department of music from 1973 to 1987, Cohen is remembered by many colleagues for his dedication to the department and his enduring warmth as a colleague and friend.

“Professor Cohen was a remarkable person – keenly intellectual and deeply sensitive,” said Jonathan Berger, the Denning Provostial Professor in Music. “His soft-spoken leadership shaped our department.”

“Among his vast scholarly works, his study of 18th-century harp strings inspired my interest in musical acoustics. As a mentor, Al was a caring advisor throughout my transition from graduate student to faculty member,” Berger said. “I will remember Professor Cohen’s role throughout – but mostly, I will fondly remember meeting him as I walked my dog and he walked to the swimming pool at precisely the same time each day,” he added.

During his time as chair, Cohen was responsible for envisioning, championing, raising funds for and launching the Braun Music Center. He also played a pivotal role in the founding of the Center of Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) in the 1970s. The department’s move from the Knoll – where CCRMA is currently housed – to Braun in 1980 was critical to its success. With more classrooms, studio spaces, offices, rehearsal facilities and the Music Library, the department was able to better accommodate faculty and student needs in the areas of performance and scholarship.

“We live in daily remembrance of Al Cohen since Braun Music Center would not have been built without his long-term insistence and persistence, including seeing the completion of the building through,” said William Mahrt, associate professor of music.

In addition to numerous scholarly articles, Cohen authored several books, including “Music in the French Royal Academy of Sciences: A Study in the Evolution of Musical Thought,” and contributed approximately 40 articles to the “New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.” His most recent work was an edition of the 17th-century five-act opera, Céphale et Procis, by the French composer Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Geurre.

Across his career, Cohen was honored with awards such as a Guggenheim fellowship, a Fulbright grant and multiple significant grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was a member of the American Musicology Society, the Société Française de Musicologie, the Galpin Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, the International Musicological Society and the Music Library Association.

Born in the Bronx and raised in Brooklyn, Cohen received his bachelor’s degree in violin at the Juilliard School in 1951. He became interested in music of the early Baroque in the 1950s when it was largely overlooked in academic study in favor of later music. That passion led him away from a career as a professional violinist to the then-nascent field of musicology. Cohen pursued musicology at New York University, where he received his master’s degree in 1953 and doctorate in 1959.

He taught at the University of Michigan and chaired the music department at State University of New York, Buffalo, before coming to Stanford in 1973. From that point forward, he was a cornerstone of the campus community, whether teaching in the department, swimming at the pool at 6 a.m. daily or supporting students and faculty at a performance.

“If there were an attendance record for concerts on the Stanford campus, Al would be a serious contender to take the trophy,” said Stephen Hinton, the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities and professor of music. “He must have gone to thousands over the years, satisfying his broad, eclectic taste in performed music.”

Cohen’s daughter, Eva Denise Cohen, died the same day as her father, Dec. 31, 2019, from septic shock resulting from pneumonia. Albert Cohen is survived by his wife, Betty Cohen; son, Stefan Berg Cohen (Deborah Gilman); brother, Barry Cohen; sister, Regina Orloff; and two grandsons, Adin Gilman-Cohen and Theo Charles Holtzman.


Anna S. Gewing

Jan. 8, 1932-Oct. 18, 2019

Anna was born in San Francisco on Jan. 8, 1932. She was a loving sibling to her younger brother, David, and a caring daughter to her mother, Rose Gross.

She had a fruitful educational experience, graduating from George Washington High, San Francisco City College and San Francisco State University. Her passion for education compelled Anna to teach English at San Francisco Junior College. She was an avid writer with astute literary analysis capabilities; her favorite author was Virginia Woolf.

Anna’s warmth extended not only to family and her students, but also strangers. She opened her house to close friends down on their luck and even to refugees; there was always someone staying at their house while they got back on their feet.

Anna is remembered by her husband Walter and their children: Shimon, Martin and Ruth Gewing, and by grandchildren: Carmi, Nadav, Zohar, David, Jordan, Krystle, and Jaclyn.

Anna is missed deeply by all, but her memory reminds us to cherish life, family, music, and learning.

Anna was buried at Gan Shalom Cemetery, Martinez, CA.

David Grus

March 7, 1949-Dec. 15, 2018

David Grus
David Grus

David Grus passed away after a long illness. He was the beloved husband of Rebecca, beloved father of Karen Sebaski (Chuck) and Kevin Grus, dear brother of Sheila Goodman (Abert) and Alan Grus (Betty), dear brother-in-law of the late John Rose, and dear zaydeh of Taylor and Chase Sebaski. A third grandchild, Madison Sebaski, was born six months after his death.

David was the son of the late Hyman and Sarah Grus. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Epstein Hebrew Academy and University City High School, and he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Married for forty-six years, David met his wife at a wedding rehearsal, when his sister married Becky’s cousin and they were both part of the wedding party. They enjoyed the wedding!

David knew from an early age that he wanted to be an engineer. He was hired by Hewlett-Packard upon graduation and he and Becky married and moved to the Bay Area, the ideal place for high tech. His interest in computers led him to regularly attend the “early computer hobbyist” Homebrew Computer Club, build his own computers, and dabble in early computer speech synthesis. Family and friends considered him a computer “guru” and frequently sought his advice.

The managerial jobs David held during his career included Research and Program Manager for designing and manufacturing laptop and desktop computers. After leaving HP several times to work for start-ups, he ended his career when he retired from HP in October 2005.

David’s life was also enriched by his enjoyment of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, animation art, Warner Brothers cartoons, visits to train museums and rides on steam engine trains. But nothing brought him greater satisfaction than his family.

We deeply miss David. May his memory always be a blessing.

Alan Klein

Jan. 24, 1938-Jan. 15, 2020

Alan Klein
Alan Klein

Alan Klein, 81, of San Mateo, California, passed away on Jan. 15, 2020, just 8 days after the passing of Ronnie Klein, his wife of 60 years.

He was born in New York on Jan. 24, 1938 to Mildred and Murray Klein. He was the older brother to twins David Klein and Marcy Mastin.

Alan discovered physics in high school and pursued an advanced education in science at Cornell University and later at the California Institute of Technology where he earned a PhD in physics.

As a physicist, he spent his career working for and running high technology businesses including Physics International; Systems, Science, and Software; RPC Industries; and High Country Tek.

Alan was the happiest either working, taking a long run, or playing on the tennis courts at Peninsula Golf and Country Club. He also loved attending the ballet as a season ticket holder of the San Francisco Ballet.

He is survived by his daughters, Beth Klein and Stefanie Klein, his treasured granddaughter Lexey Glouberman, and his son-in-law Bob Glouberman.

Memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America at support.brightfocus.org.


Ronnie Klein

July 22, 1938-Jan. 7, 2020

Ronnie Klein
Ronnie Klein

Ronnie Klein, 81, passed away Jan. 7, 2020, in Redwood City, California.

She was born on July 22, 1938 and was the eldest daughter of Sylvia and Sol Kursch of Great Neck, Long Island.

After high school she attended Elmira College and graduated with a BA in English. She was most passionate about the arts and spent her adult life as a theatrical performer, writer, director, and fan. She also loved to read and travel.

Ronnie was survived by her devoted husband of 60 years, Alan Klein, who died a week later; her loving daughters Beth Klein and Stefanie Klein, her very special granddaughter Lexey Glouberman, her funny son-in-law Bob Glouberman, and her little sister Phyllis Kursch. She is also survived by her large family of friends who filled her life with laughter and joy.

Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America at support.brightfocus.org.


Murry J. Waldman

April 10, 1928-Jan. 15, 2020

Murry J. Waldman
Murry J. Waldman

Murry J. Waldman, the rock of wisdom, stability and grace at his San Francisco law firm and for his large and adoring family, died Jan. 15 at the age of 91.

A pillar of the Bay Area legal community for 40 years, Murry was known as a lawyer’s lawyer and a mensch’s mensch, a conciliator who understood that finding common ground through decency and respect was the only way to achieve lasting results in law and life. The law firm he co-founded and led with Jesse Feldman and Allen E. Kline — Feldman, Waldman & Kline — occupied several floors of the Russ Building on Montgomery Street for decades, the go-to place for ambitious young lawyers and corporate clients in search of the highest-caliber legal skills and impeccable integrity.

“Murry was larger than life,” says James M. Finberg, a partner with the law firm Altshuler Berzon in San Francisco and one of Murry’s protégés at Feldman, Waldman & Kline. “Murry was the firm’s spiritual center. He always had an eclectic mix of very smart, nice, talented people and clients. I remember working with Murry to put together a deal of beer distributorships for then Oakland Raider Jim Plunkett. Winning Murry’s praise and confidence meant something, and was a worthy achievement.”

Murry was lucky enough to have two callings — and two extraordinary wives. In addition to his wise counsel for his hundreds of legal clients and colleagues over the years, Murry fathered, mentored, nurtured and loved, beyond measure, an immediate family of 26 people in three generations.

Born in 1928 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Murry grew up in a close-knit Orthodox Jewish family. His father ran a small grocery store, and his mother was one of 13 brothers and sisters. Both of his parents emigrated from what is now Slovakia. Murry told stories about sneaking out to play ball on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as soon as his grandfather took his afternoon nap.

With the help of his uncles, Murry went off to Columbia University for college — just two hours from Wilkes Barre, but worlds away. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and went to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he finished first in his class. He took a job with the law firm of Rosenman, Colin, Freund, Lewis & Cohen, where he was mentored by the legendary Max Freund.

His family career began with his marriage to the late Jean Wollenberg Waldman of San Francisco, the daughter of the late U.S. District Judge Albert C. Wollenberg. Murry and Jean met in New York, where they had their first daughter, the late Amy H. Waldman. The family soon moved to San Francisco, and Jean was fond of saying, “Some men marry for money. Murry married me for San Francisco.”

As the law firm grew, so did Murry’s household, with the arrival of another daughter, Jan C. Waldman-Brown, and a son, Peter J. Waldman. Murry played tennis every Saturday morning at the Burke School’s tennis club in Sea Cliff, co-founded Urban High School, served on the board of Commonweal in Bolinas, took leadership positions in the San Francisco Bar Association and Civil Grand Jury and went to every one of his kids’ school plays, fundraising fairs and athletic events he could make. Dinners with Murry and his father-in-law, Judge Wollenberg, as well as his brother-in-law, Municipal Court Judge Albert C. Wollenberg Jr., were often filled with loving and passionate political discussions, with Murry and Jean, both Democrats, taking very different positions than the judges, both Republicans.

In 1986, Murry lost Jean to lung cancer, and the family was shaken for a few years. But Murry had the extraordinary sense and good luck to meet and marry Marilyn Yolles Waldman, who’d been widowed as well. They combined family forces, and Murry became another father to Marilyn’s two daughters and two sons. That began a new life for the Waldman and Yolles families, with all 26 members gathering regularly for holidays at Stinson Beach, presided over by a beaming Murry and Mare, a pair of doting grandparents in an ever-expanding universe of kids, grandkids and friends.

Murry retired at age 70, and he and Marilyn traveled the world, often with their hiking group of close friends and always somehow ending up for a week or two in Paris, just the two of them enjoying the city and one another. Murry played tennis avidly in his retirement, read voraciously and he and Marilyn reveled in their grandchildren’s every move, filled with joy and errands.

Murry is survived by his wife Marilyn; his son-in-law Felix Vilaplana; his daughter Jan (Jeffrey Brown); his son Peter (Charene Zalis); his stepdaughter Cindy Snow (Steve Snow); his stepsons Peter Yolles (Jill Einstein) and Jonathan Yolles (Stacey Silver); and 13 grandchildren.

Contributions are encouraged to the Congregation Emanu-El Tzedek Council, the ACLU of Northern California and the West Marin Environmental Action Committee.