Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel. This page will be updated throughout the week. Submit an obituary here.
William Kreitzberg Spinrad
July 11, 1990-Sept. 13, 2020
A fifth-grade youth soccer coach remembered that William used to thank him after every practice. Teammates and opponents were more likely to remember how this diminutive striker, 12” shorter than some of them, could thread his way through a defensive line and score.
Later in life, the sight of William running or walking neighborhood dogs, allowing them freedom to sniff around and follow up scents of squirrels, brought smiles both to those who knew him personally and others who just recognized his regular and charming presence on the bike paths and trails of Central Marin. His own huge and radiant smile lit up his face, and is one of the things most fondly and consistently remembered by those who knew him.
Born in Greenbrae, California, William lived almost his entire life within two miles of his birthplace. The second of five siblings, he developed strong and unique relationships with every family member, and distinguished himself early by his passions, fun-loving personality, and talents. An excellent student, he graduated from Redwood High School having earned lifetime membership in its Honor Society, before attending UC Santa Cruz for two years. Exercising and training dogs had become central in William’s life in his final years, and this interest prompted matriculation at Bergin University of Canine Studies, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cynology (the study of canines) just weeks before he died.
An outstanding and fiercely competitive athlete, William excelled at almost any sport he tried. He ran Marin’s famed Dipsea Race 15 times, beginning at age 9. A fine baseball, basketball, and soccer player in his youth, his focus shifted in high school, where he contributed at a Varsity level in Track, Cross Country, and Wrestling. In his senior year he was a wrestling team captain, named “Most Valuable Wrestler” on the squad, and was the Marin County champion in the 132-pound weight class. William was additionally an enthusiastic and skilled competitive chess player.
While William’s numerous abilities and accomplishments inspired a degree of admiration and awe, it was his good character, gentle and sweet nature, and sense of humor that formed the basis for many longtime friendships, and the loyalty that developed.
His wrestling coach remembered him in these words, during an October Zoom Celebration of Life: “It’s really easy to measure his accolades and what he did on the mat … but really what impressed me … was his presence and energy off the mat… He was a genuine friend, he was humble, and he was a wonderful teammate.” An uncle, speaking at a Remembrance Gathering in mid-September, said, “You judge people by how they treat others, including animals, and Will treated animals wonderfully; but something that should be mentioned is that dogs are very fine and discerning judges of character as well.” And dogs universally loved William.
William lived the last 10½ years of his life with schizoaffective disorder, and while bravely struggling with the effects of a brutal mental illness, lived a life that deeply touched, inspired, and helped many. He was willing to share his story and ran the Marin Half Marathon in 2015, in endeavors to reduce stigma and raise awareness and money for Mental Health Research that ultimately generated donations of over $30,000.
William took his life on September 13th, 2020, at the age of 30. He is survived and deeply mourned by his parents, Caroline Kreitzberg and Mike Spinrad; brothers Sam (Hannah) and Joe; sisters Rebecca (Jared) Davies and Elaine; grandparents Fred and Barbara Kreitzberg and Bette Spinrad; niece and nephew Nava and Jack Spinrad; and an abundance of both human and canine friends, and many more relatives.
Donations in William’s memory may be made to: One Mind (formerly International Mental Health Research Organization IMHRO) onemind.org/donate and Bergin University of Canine Studies berginu.edu/donate.html.
June 19, 1930-Jan. 20, 2021
Forever in our hearts. Strong. Independent. With fierce and unconditional love for her family.
Doba Gendelman (Dunya Solomonovna) grew up in Shargorod, a small Jewish town in Ukraine. As a child, she lived through German occupation while hiding out with her family in the ghetto. After the war, she committed herself to helping others and worked as a doctor in her town for 42 years, through the Soviet Union era. She was known and loved by all residents. Many called her a “Doctor from God,” Врач от Бога in Russian.
Leaving it all behind, she immigrated to the U.S. with her family, learned English at the age of 63, and finally returned to Judaism. Doba lived an incredible life with many hardships and heartache, but also with much joy brought by her family. She was devoted to her friends and family and was always finding ways she could help the people in her life.
Battling dementia in her later years, Doba moved to the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, where before the pandemic she was visited daily by her loving family. She celebrated her 90th birthday last year.
Doba is predeceased by her beloved husband, Michael Gendelman. She is survived by her loving son, Dr. Arkady Gendelman, and daughter-in-law Irina, her grandchildren Marina Palombini and Ilya Gendelman and their families, including her three great-grandchildren, Ella and Andrew Palombini and Mila Gendelman. She also leaves behind her brother Arkady Shmulevich and her sister Lucia Dikker and their families, including many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Congregation Sherith Israel of San Francisco (sherithisrael.org/donate).
May her memory always be a blessing.
Jesse M. Levy
Nov. 9, 1931-Jan. 28, 2021
Jesse M. Levy III passed away on January 28, 2021, in Redwood City at the age of 89 of renal failure.
Jesse spent his career as a stockbroker with Davis Skaggs, which morphed into Morgan Stanley, from which he retired. He enjoyed his time as Director of the San Francisco Bond Club, as well as his two terms as President of Congregation Emanu-El and President of his B’nai Brith Lodge and District. He was also a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of Presidio Golf and Concordia Club.
Born in San Francisco on November 9, 1931, to loving parents Jesse M Levy Jr. and Fay (Rosenberg) Levy. Jesse’s father was born in Alameda, his mother in Dobrzyń, Poland, and his grandfather in San Jose. He was raised in the Richmond District, attending Lowell High School and U.C. Berkeley. After graduating, Jesse married JoAnne Jermane. They spent 56 years together before she passed away in 2009. Their lives were filled with travel, theatre, music, bridge and many, many friends.
Jesse is survived by his three daughters, known as “The Lovely Levy Ladies”: Robin Levy and husband Warren Belfer of Palo Alto, Janet Levy and husband Richard Schwartz also of Palo Alto, and Gayle Levy and husband Whitney Terrell of Kansas City, Missouri. His grandchildren are Daniel Schwartz, Alana Schwartz, Morrison Terrell and J. Miles Terrell. He is also survived by his younger brother Leland Levy and sister-in-law Judy Huey, of Palo Alto, and good friend Betty Jean Dvorson, with whom he shared the last ten years.
Favorite pastimes included bridge, dominoes, and audio books; he loved playing the piano, and attending performing arts of all kinds — especially Gilbert and Sullivan. Jesse was a devoted cigar smoker since age 18.
If you would like to make a donation celebrating Jesse Levy’s life, please consider a gift to the JoAnne and Jesse M. Levy Endowment Fund for Dream House Residents at Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco: donate.jfcs.org/give/165949/#!/donation/checkout.
Sinai Redwood City
Donald Zanger Sussman
Feb. 13, 1941-Dec. 28, 2020
Don passed away on December 28, 2020, after battling challenging medical issues in the last 14 months of his life. He was born on February 13, 1941, in New York City to Lillian Klein and Milton Zanger. A bright student fascinated by both tech and art, Don’s professional career began in lighting design in New York theatre productions as well as early computer technology. Don’s 20s found him traveling to Europe and Japan, as well as being a witness to the first night of the Stonewall riots in New York City. In his early 30s, Don attended Fordham University and completed both a BA and then an MA in social work. A post-graduate year was spent at the Psychoanalytic Institute of New York.
In 1985, Don followed his mother and stepfather, Morris Sussman, to California and settled in San Mateo. This same year he began a long and esteemed career as the Clinical Director at the Peninsula Offices of Jewish Family and Children’s Services. By 2012, when he retired from JFCS, Don had hired and mentored many therapists who valued his leadership and clinical wisdom. As well, he was appreciated by many clients for his kind and thoughtful counsel. Through the years Don kept a part-time private practice in San Mateo where he continued work until 2018.
An avid hiker of California trails and Western US National Parks, Don’s cars were adorned with the plate “O2HIKE.” An amateur chef, Don was known to collect many kitchen gadgets as he created many dishes including his signature beer stew. Don was a man of fewer words, always used with purpose and empathy. He adored reading and had a fascination with atmospheric history and conditions.
Don is predeceased by his loving mother, Lillian, father, Milton Zanger, and stepfather, Morris Sussman. He leaves a close and devoted circle of friends, including Don Mariacher, Bernie Borok, and longtime friends and colleagues from JFCS. Per his wishes, Don was cremated and buried at sea. In his honor, he would want you to extend kindness to others, and spend an afternoon hiking to give thanks for the beauty of our California nature …… O2HIKE. Rest In Peace, Don! May his memory be a blessing!