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Deaths for the week of Oct. 25-31, 2020

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

Joseph “Joe” Koerpel

March 6, 1929-Oct. 5, 2020

Joseph “Joe” Koerpel passed away at the age of 91. Born in Germany to the late Martin and Erna Koerpel, Joe is also predeceased by the love of his life, Annabell Koerpel.

The proud father of Philip Koerpel and Dena Koerpel Hein; adored grandfather to Elise Annabella Hein; beloved brother to Mervin Koerpel; loving uncle to Steven Koerpel and Karen Nelson; cherished father-in-law to Chuck Hein.

Joe was proud to serve the community as a pharmacist for 48 years. He was a very loved and respected family man and community member. He will be remembered as a blessing of a man full of integrity, intelligence, with a zest for life, a great sense of humor, and a love of learning.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Joe’s name to: The Fromm Institute, 2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117, (415) 422-6805, fromminstitute.org.


Leonard Louis Greendorfer

January 25, 1928-Oct. 11, 2020

Leonard Louis Greendorfer passed away peacefully on October 11, 2020, at age 92, leaving this earth to join the souls of his loved ones on the joyous Simchat Torah holiday. Len was raised in the Richmond District of his beloved San Francisco and spent much of his young life working at the family’s used furniture business on McAllister Street. When San Francisco razed the traditionally Jewish neighborhood of the Fillmore District in favor of redevelopment, the city lost its Jewish core. Len always enjoyed telling his family, friends and anyone else who would listen about the rich Jewish life that used to exist in San Francisco.

Len spent most of his career after the destruction of the Fillmore District in the tobacco industry, but his passion in life was family, friends and faith. Though he was raised in an Orthodox family, attending Congregation Chevra Thilim, a short walk from his childhood home on 27th Avenue, the family gradually drifted towards Conservative, then Reform Judaism. After marrying the love of his life, Hannah (a Holocaust survivor who grew up in what was Czechoslovakia until narrowly escaping the Nazis to arrive in the United States in the mid-1940s), Len and Hannah moved to Daly City, where they raised their three children Samuel Henry, Marc Arthur and Lynne Michelle and attended Congregation B’nai Israel. Temple life was always the center of the young Greendorfer family’s focus and Len became fast, lifelong friends with many of his fellow congregants. Len was an active and devoted member of the Odd Fellows, Masons and Jewish War Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars (Len served under General Douglas McArthur as part of the Army of Occupation of Japan at the end of World War II).

Without pulling punches, Len had disdain for the dramatic changes taking place in local politics and religion. After a brief experiment with a Reform temple, Len and Hannah found a new religious home, as well as a physical home, when they left Daly City to move to Pleasanton. Chabad of the Tri-Valley restored Len’s faith in faith, and the election of President Trump gave Len hope that the American republic would be saved. Len was an ardent Zionist as well and took delight in seeing the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland of Israel as well as its growth into a modern Jewish nation. As proud as he was of the accomplishments of his people in Israel, he was just as shamed at the conduct of progressives who abandoned the Jewish faith for the religion of the Democratic Party. The highlight of recent years for Len was President Trump’s courageous and unprecedent support of Israel and the President’s strong actions to confront progressive anti-Semitism in the United States.

Len is survived by his wife, Hannah, sons Sam (Cathy Greendorfer), Marc (Lauri Moss) and daughter Lynne Greendorfer-Castillo, his granddaughter Lee Ann Greendorfer and grandsons Joshua David Greendorfer (Chelsea Greendorfer) and Michael Castillo, as well as his beloved sister Gayle and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.

A family service was held at Eternal Home in Colma, in defiance of the politically motivated lockdown that likely shortened Len’s life. In lieu of flowers, Len would appreciate everyone reading this obituary to vote to re-elect President Trump. In lieu of that, Len’s family suggests charitable donations to Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center), an activist organization that combats anti-Semitism throughout the world: israellawcenter.org/donation or Chabad of the Tri-Valley: tinyurl.com/chabad-trivalley-donate.

Marian Jane Arnold Goldeen

Jan. 1, 1919-Oct. 13, 2020

Marian Jane Arnold Goldeen passed away at 101 years young. Born in Portland, OR, to the late Harry and Gertrude Mendelsohn, she is also predeceased by her cherished sister, Doretta Eisenberg, and her beloved husband, David Goldeen. She is survived by her loving children, Marilyn Stiller and Kathleen Derrick; adoring aunt of Susan Weiner.

Marian retired from the San Francisco School District, after 22 years of touching young people’s lives and hearts. She taught Language Arts to gifted elementary school students, a job she dearly loved. Marian was also a gifted writer of poetry and rhyme. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her, but she will remain in our hearts forever.


Richard Seeley

July 12,1930-October 9, 2020

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Max Jacob and Anna Belle Seeley. He had two brothers, Howard (married to Rose) and Herbert (married to Laura). He graduated from Brookline High School and Boston University School of Management Science, Magna Cum Laude. He had two children: Michael Justin and Ariel Brianna and his wife, Susan Rothmann Seeley. The lights of his life were granddaughters Satya and Viva Luz Seeley. He shared his wife’s five children and eight grandchildren with great love and devotion. He was known for his generosity and philanthropy, especially supporting the Oakland Zoo (past treasurer), Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay and the JCC East Bay. He would appreciate donations made to these organizations in his memory.

Ruth Franceska Coen

May 1, 1927-Oct. 23, 2020

Ruth Franceska Coen
Ruth Franceska Coen

Born May 1, 1927 in Vienna to Max and Margarethe Kahn, Ruth fled Hitler’s Austria at age 11 with her family. Landing in San Francisco speaking no English, she helped in her family’s Viennese restaurant and attended school. After marrying David in 1948 and starting a family, Ruth carried on her family’s culinary talents, becoming famous among her family and friends for her apple strudel and other Viennese delights. She was particularly known for her chicken soup and matzah balls, which she tirelessly provided for the sick and needy, reflecting the compassionate, nurturing and unselfish person that was Ruth.

David and Ruth’s 72-year love story was an example for all, dedicated to each other and to their family. They have passed down this sense of commitment and family to all who knew them, a priceless legacy.

Ruth lost her parents, sister Susan and nephew Edward before their time. Before that, she lost her grandmother and many aunts, uncles, and cousins to the Holocaust.

Ruth passed peacefully at home on Oct. 23, 2020, surrounded by family. She is survived by her husband David, daughter Lynne (Charley), son Gary (Shawna), granddaughter Maggie (Connor), new great-granddaughter Logan, and many beloved nieces, nephews, and in-laws.

We would like to thank The Magnolia of Millbrae for all their caring and compassion, all the outstanding staff, her caregiver family the Olivas, and Sutter Health Hospice. She was loved by all and will be greatly missed.

Joseph Aknin

Aug. 24, 1928-Oct. 25, 2020

Joseph Aknin
Joseph Aknin

Joseph Aknin, of San Jose, CA, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 at the age of 92 after months of failing health. He died peacefully at his home with his beloved wife, Andree, and family at his side.

Joseph “Joe” was born on Aug. 24, 1928 in Algiers, Algeria, to Isaac and Emilie Aknin (Attelann). He was the fifth of seven children and lived in Algeria into his early adulthood. He joined the French Army in Paris at 19 years old. A few years later, he met his future wife, Andree Jounneaud, in Limoges. They were married in June 1953 in Paris and spent the next 67 years together.

As a young man he learned strong work ethics and became a skilled apprentice cabinet maker in Paris.

He was blessed with four children. Sylvie and Michele were born in Paris. A few years later in 1956 he followed his sisters, Raymonde and Marie, to pursue his American dream. His daughter, Judy was born in Denver, CO and later his son, Jack, was born in Redwood City.

He was a proud man and strong patriarch to his family and a good friend to all. He was a good father who always took care of his children and set a good example. He became a general contractor for 40 years and became a partner/owner of Rayberg Lumber in San Carlos for many years. He joined Congregation Beth Jacob in 1959 and was a vital part of the congregation, serving as president of the men’s club, Wednesday Morning Minyan and led many services over the years.

After retirement, he sold the family home in Redwood City and he and Andree moved to the Villages in San Jose, where he loved to play golf and dine at the Club house. He was a part of the Jewish Group and they made many friends.

He was a loving grandfather and great-grandfather.

Predeceased by his brother, Andre Aknin (Rosette); sister, Raymonde Singley (Roy); brother, Marcel Aknin (Monique); sister, Marie Hickman (Earl); and brother, Charles Aknin.

He is survived by his loving wife, Andree; daughters Sylvie Kahl (Henry) of Redwood City, Michele Faber (Larry) (D) of Sunnyvale, CA, Judy Chipman (Steve) (D) of Monument, CO, and son Jack Aknin (D) (Barbie Aknin); grandchildren Robert Kahl (Danielle), Rachel Vitorelo (Brian), Jenna Kahl, Joey Faber (Kellen), Ryan Chipman and Hannah Chipman, Chloe Diepenbrock (Paul), Margot Aknin, and Sophie Aknin; great-grandchildren Emilie Vitorelo and Jack Faber; sister Julie Ehrenberg; sister-in-law Blanche Aknin; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews that all adored him.

He was laid to rest on Oct. 27,  2020 at The Hills of Eternity in Colma, CA.

For those who wish to make memorial donations: the Minyan Fund at Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City, CA 94061.

Barbara R. Martin

Oct. 10, 2020

A loving and beloved mother, devoted mother-in-law and aunt, caring friend and all-round wonderful person, Barbara R. Martin passed away on Oct. 10, 2020.

Barbara grew up in Manchester, England. She became the proprietor of her father’s local newspaper, The Jewish Gazette, a rarity for women of her time, and worked hard to maintain it. She enjoyed going to the theater and ballet. She eventually sold the paper and moved to Toronto, where she married, and then to Northern California, where she raised her children, Paul and Sylvia.

Barbara kept a beautiful home for her family. She cooked many delicious dishes and made holidays and birthdays special. Barbara loved to travel and visit relatives, play Scrabble, attend lectures and keep up with current events. She enjoyed embroidery, crossword puzzles and acrostics, and efficient public transportation. She came to love San Francisco. Barbara liked to share stories about her family and life in England. She was a child evacuee during the war. As an adult, she dealt with various illnesses. She was a member of Mensa. She was a survivor.

Family and friends describe Barbara as “warm,” “smart,” “funny,” “highly intelligent,” “a beautiful soul,” “loving,” “generous” and “fun.” She was all those things, and much more.

Barbara will be greatly missed by her son Paul (Kelly) and her daughter Sylvia (Wai Kit). She is predeceased by her parents Samuel and Sarah (Sadie), brother Arnold, and survived by his children Victoria, Amanda and Nicholas.