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

Deaths for the week of Sept. 6-12, 2020

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel. This page will be updated throughout the week. Submit an obituary here.

Otto Weiss

December 26, 1928–September 9, 2020

Otto Weiss
Otto Weiss

Otto Weiss passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 91. He is survived by his loving children, Paul Weiss (Allison), Karen Hanten (Mark), and Eric Weiss (Lydia), adoring grandchildren Jeremy Weiss, Naomi Weiss, Connor Hanten, Madison Hanten, Adam Weiss and Abby Weiss, and great-granddaughter, Lily Fuller. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Idell Weiss.

Otto was born in Chicago to Hungarian immigrant parents, Morris and Gizella, on December 26, 1928. His mother had been in the US for 11 months when he was born, and named him “Otto” so his name wouldn’t stand out; after all, it was a very common name where she came from! Otto had a seemingly endless reserve of stories of growing up in Chicago in the ’30s and ’40s, alternating between the hilarious and the hair-raising, and back again. His father had a pushcart and later a dry goods store on Maxwell Street, where Otto worked selling packets of underwear for 35¢ each, two for 75¢.

He started college at age 17, eventually transferring to UCLA, where he majored in accounting. After graduation, he moved to San Francisco because he heard that accountants made a few dollars more a month here than in LA. He joined the accounting firm of Aitel & Aitel, along the way passing the CPA exam on his first try, and soon became a partner in the firm. In 1971, he started his own firm and established himself as an extremely creative accountant and advisor.

In 1953 he met his beshert, Idell Rosenthal, when he split his pants — squatting behind home plate, playing catcher at a softball game. Idell was the only person in the stands with a safety pin! They met again at a JCC dance, and the romance blossomed. They married in 1954, and Otto took tremendous joy and pride in the lives and accomplishments of their three children and six grandchildren. Otto and Idell had a close relationship until Idell’s death in 2017, and enjoyed tennis, travel, hiking and (yes) tennis.

Otto was deeply interested in politics, and returned to school at age 61 to earn a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. He and Idell were avid supporters of the San Francisco Ballet and Symphony, and many Jewish charities. Otto volunteered with the Jewish Community Federation and for many years offered much advice and support to the Jewish student newspaper at UC Berkeley.

Due to current conditions, the family will be holding a private graveside service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Jewish Community Federation, the San Francisco Ballet, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, or the charity of your choice.

Ann Gabor Arancio

Sept. 2, 1926–Aug. 19, 2020

After living almost 94 years in three countries, Ann Gabor Arancio peacefully passed away Aug. 19 in her Oakland home surrounded by her loving family. Ann will be remembered by her friends and family for her peerless joie de vivre — despite surviving the horrors of World War II as a Jew in Hungary, she maintained an unflagging optimism, ageless elegance and magnetic charisma.

Born in Gyula, Hungary, to Imre and Rose Gabor, Ann moved with her mother — a noted couturier — to Budapest when she was 14. In March 1944, when the Germans invaded Hungary, Ann Gabor became Maria Debrecen and with false papers went to live with a Christian family. While visiting Rose, Ann, her sister Vali and their mother were caught by the Nazis, as Rose had been denounced as a Jew in hiding. Ann, Vali and Rose were beginning a forced death march to Austria when an air raid caused confusion and provided an opportunity to escape. For the remainder of the war, they hid with a family friend, Lily Kriszhaber. All three women survived and eventually came to the United States.

Ann Gabor Arancio
Ann Gabor Arancio

In 1948, Ann left Hungary and moved to Brussels, where she met and married another Hungarian Jew who had become an American citizen by joining the Army. They moved to California, and had two children, Tom in Long Beach and Vicky in Oakland. Fueled by her relentless fortitude and intelligence, Ann finally went to college, and it was at Laney College that she met and later married her math teacher, Remo Arancio, the love of her life and husband of more than 60 years. She went on to UC Berkeley and, after graduating, she became a social worker, transitioning from welfare mom to welfare worker and co-worker with her own caseworker.

Of all her identities and accomplishments, perhaps Ann’s most prized role was “Nanny” to her three granddaughters and two great-grandchildren. Fortunate to live mere minutes from her grandchildren, Ann was a near-daily presence in their lives, providing a constant source of love and support. She relished in their every achievement, serving as a self-appointed publicist and delighting in the details of their lives.

The whole family treasures memories of holidays spent at Nanny and Remo’s home, feasting on meals inspired by Gourmet magazine, watching the grandchildren perform made-up plays in costumes fashioned from Ann’s signature hats and scarves and engaging in impassioned discussion of the news of the day. When she became a great-grandmother, Ann showed the same devotion, learning how to use an iPad so she could devour photos depicting her great-grandchildren’s growth and development in New York — an activity she described as her raison d’etre in her final months of life.

Ann was a living lesson on how to live and enjoy life to the utmost, every single day. A larger-than-life presence, Ann was charming, upbeat, loved to chat with strangers, and had numerous passions and interests — art, the S.F. Ballet, Symphony and Opera, KPFA, fiction, nonfiction, history, and gourmet Italian, French and Hungarian cuisine. Engaged and engaging, Ann was a lifelong learner and active participant in classes at the North Berkeley Senior Center. She volunteered for 25 years as an Oakland Museum docent, represented local artists, organized exhibitions of Hungarian artwork, for years sat through every movie in the S.F. Jewish Film Festival, and was a fan and patron of the Shotgun Players theater group since its inception. While not observant, she was very proud to be Jewish, Hungarian and a survivor, and spoke and gave interviews about her experience.

She is survived by her husband Remo, her son Tom Kahan, her granddaughters Rebecca Lissner, Alexa Kahan and Julia Friedman, her great-grandson Noah Lissner and her great-granddaughter Annelie Lissner. She was preceded in death last year by her sister Vali Kollonitsch and sadly her daughter Vicky Friedman. Donations in her name may be made to Shotgun Players and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

Roland Greenberg

June 15, 1935-Aug. 10, 2020

Roland Greenberg
Roland Greenberg

Dr. Roland Greenberg died in his home in Tiburon, California, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 after courageously battling cancer over the past decade. He is survived by his beloved family: his daughter Deborah Meshel (and husband David), his son Daniel Greenberg (and wife Janette), and his four beautiful grandchildren Jacob, Sophia, Rebecca and Madeleine.

Roland worked most of his career in the pharmaceutical industry, first as a researcher, and then in the area of technology transfer. Roland loved all types of learning and regularly attended classes at the Fromm Institute in San Francisco. He loved studying composers, authors and politics. Later in life, Roland was a photographer for the National Park Service. He enjoyed getting to know people on the hiking trails and educating them about San Francisco history. Roland had many interests, including hiking, playing poker, watching movies, and attending museums and symphonies. His biggest pleasure in life was spending time with his wife and grandchildren outdoors. Roland was described by those who knew him best as kind, generous and a critical thinker who loved to laugh.

The enormous outpouring of love, appreciation and support for his family since his death served as testimony to the tremendous and indelible impact he made on others throughout his life. It is his family’s wishes that Roland’s memory inspire others to find meaning and passion in life. Our hearts ache but we take solace in our sweet memories and his everlasting legacy of family.

Sinai-Redwood City