Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel. This page will be updated throughout the week. Submit an obituary here.
Anita Ruth Heyman
April 14, 1934–Feb. 14, 2021
Anita Ruth Heyman (née Rosen), born April 14, 1934, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, at 86 in Fullerton, CA, from complications due to Covid-19. She is survived by her sons Jeffrey, Steven and Richard and daughter Charleen; five granddaughters, Stephanie, Victoria, Cameron, Halle and Penelope; three daughters-in-law, Sari Zimmerman-Heyman, Catherine Heyman and Gretchen Murphy; and son-in-law Brian Cohen.
Anita was born and grew up in San Francisco and attended Lincoln High School and San Francisco State College. Her parents, Charles and Sarah Rosen, were both Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Poland. She had fond childhood memories of spending time on her sister Jeanette’s chicken ranch in Petaluma.
In 1956, she married Alan Heyman, whom she had met at a dance at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco; in 1989 they divorced. Besides a brief stint in Baltimore in the late 1950s, she lived in the Bay Area her whole life, mostly in Alamo, until last year, when she moved to an assisted-living facility in Southern California.
She prized living close to her family (especially her siblings Arthur, Jeanette and Manuel, and her niece Lauretta, all of whom she loved dearly). Anita also cherished her Jewish heritage.
A fierce advocate for public education, in 1970 she became the first woman elected to the Laguna Salada School District in Pacifica. She was involved in the Democratic Party, serving on the Contra Costa County Central Committee for several years and as an alternate delegate at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. She also served on a civil grand jury in Contra Costa County in the 1990s.
In her early working life, she sold ads for several newspapers, including the Examiner; during her middle years, she worked as a teller at various banks; later in life she worked for the County of Contra Costa and was active with her AFSCME union.
Besides family and liberal politics, her passions were card playing, especially bridge (and formerly mahjong), and animal print clothes. Anita loved to learn about people and often relentlessly questioned new acquaintances about their lives. She was tenacious and could be quite stubborn; these qualities no doubt sustained her through numerous illnesses in recent years. As Anita was fond of saying, she was one tough old bird!
A virtual celebration of Anita’s life will be held in the near future. Please contact a family member for details.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Anita’s name can be made to the American Cancer Society and Jewish Family and Children’s Services.
Ruth Ann Fredkin Seiler
Nov. 7, 1929–Feb. 9, 2021
Ruthie passed away peacefully Feb. 9, 2021 at home surrounded by her family. She was born Nov. 7, 1929 to Eva Kaplan Fredkin and Perry Fredkin, in Oakland and raised in San Jose. Ruthie is survived by her loving family, daughter Carol Seiler Roberts, son Richard Seiler and his wife Susan. Devoted grandmother to Cory Roberts, Mark Roberts (and his wife, Fereshta), Matthew Seiler and Alexandra Seiler Speiser (and her husband, Alexander Speiser), and great-granddaughter Madison Roberts. Loving sister to Bernard (deceased) and Henne (deceased) Fredkin and to Stuart Seiler and his wife, Gaye, and nephews and nieces.
Ruthie and her husband, Donald (deceased), met in college at UC Berkeley and shared a long, loving marriage of nearly 62 years. They married in San Francisco in 1950. Together they were each other’s catalyst for success in all aspects of their lives. By 1960 they moved to the mid-Peninsula, where they built their lives and raised a family. They loved to travel, and Ruthie enjoyed the many years she and Don traveled the world, many times with friends and family.
Ruthie was a loving, compassionate, kind-hearted and generous woman. She was devoted to her family and loved spending time with them, especially her grandchildren and great-granddaughter. Ruthie also made extraordinary contributions to the community along with husband, Don. Together, Ruthie and Don founded and chaired Friends of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford. Through the years they supported numerous community organizations and programs to help enrich the lives of others.
Special thanks to her wonderful caregivers, Sola Taimani and Louise Saukitoga.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Ruthie’s memory to one of the following charities: 1, Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area, Feed the Love program, 520 Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, Bay Area Kids–Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area (rmhcbayarea.org); 2, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, in memory of Ruth Seiler, 400 Hamilton Ave., Suite 340, Palo Alto, CA 94301 (supportlpch.org); or a charity of your choice.
April 13, 1924–Feb. 1, 2021
Marian Blanton’s fierce determination to teach others to write, think and further their learning punctuates every part of her story.
Born Marian Kovacs in a small mill town near Pittsburgh, PA in 1924 to a mother from Turkey and a father from Hungary, she recalls fondly that her father and his brother had married two sisters; they all lived in a duplex until Marian’s family relocated in 1937 to a Jewish enclave — Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh.
In 1944, Marian earned a liberal arts degree and teaching credential in the first graduating class of the new Cathedral of Learning at University of Pittsburgh. Just a few months later, after her father’s unexpected death, Marian’s mother asked her to help to reset their lives in Los Angeles, so Marian traveled out West and bought her mother a house with the help of a family lawyer friend.
After leaving her mother’s house to marry Joseph Aaron, Marian became a high school English teacher and gave birth to her only child, Marcia, in 1947. After teaching high school English for 15 years, the L.A. District awarded Marian a grant to attend the first master’s degree English program offered at CA State University, San Fernando Valley. She graduated from there in 1968.
Marian’s first marriage was not a happy one, and she began a relationship with Gerald Blanton, a married neighbor friend and practicing psychiatrist. After a 12-year affair, Marian and Gerry found the courage to leave their first families and were married in 1964.
The newlyweds moved to Maui after the provost of a Hawaiian community college recruited Marian to teach English there. Devotion to teaching and literacy prompted Marian to help organize the Learning Center at Maui Community College, promoting language skills for underprepared students. Teaching and writing sustained Marian for 18 years on Maui, where Gerry was the house husband and she, the breadwinner.
A teaching and house exchange in 1983-84 brought the couple to Marin. Gerry and Marian’s fondness for the Osher Marin JCC pool led to the discovery of Congregation Rodef Sholom next door and to Rabbi Michael Barenbaum (z”l), who implored them to return to San Rafael after completing their move back to California. They joined Congregation Rodef Sholom, where they became the Bay Area’s first adult b’nai mitzvot in 1984, and moved to San Rafael permanently in 1994.
Marian and Gerry had many happy years together in Marin until Gerry’s untimely death in 2004. Without any local family to lean on, Marian showed great fortitude and courage in reinventing and living her independent life as a widow and made many close friends of all ages.
At age 93, Marian finally published a memoir of her early life and relationship with Gerry that had lain dormant in a box for 35 years. Called “Only Connect: The Prose and the Poetry,” it is an unflinchingly honest look at an unconventional life’s journey.
On Feb. 1, 2021, Marian passed away peacefully in her own bed surrounded by loving friends. Per her wishes, she will be cremated and buried at sea. Marian is survived by her brother, Arthur Kovacs (Hermine); daughter, Marcia Aaron; and her stepchildren, Fred Blanton (Carol) and Carol Box. Donations can be made to Congregation Rodef Sholom, 170 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael, CA 94903.
Martin Hilbert Sosnick
March 30, 1931–Feb. 4, 2021
Marty was born in San Francisco to Mahla and Gedalia Sosnick. He died peacefully with his wife, Goldie, by his side. Marty was the brother of the late Myron and the late Robert Sosnick. He attended Central Hebrew School under the leadership of Rabbi Stolper. From there he created lifelong friendships. Marty was a proud graduate of Lowell High School and UC Berkeley. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the family business, J Sosnick and Son as the third generation. The business was started in 1906 by his grandfather, Joseph Sosnick. Marty was instrumental in building the import and distribution business of fine wines. It was during this time he had great joy from his travels to the vineyards in Europe, where he would taste and purchase wines for the U.S. market.
After the sale of the wine business, he led the family in building a distribution company of kosher and gourmet foods, and then again in the candy business.
Marty was involved in the Jewish community beginning with AZA, B’nai B’rith and JNF. Was a founding member and past president of Congregation Adath Israel. He also was a member of the Shriners.
Marty was recently honored at the Jewish Study Network annual gala.
Marty and Goldie were married for 64 years. They have three children: Jeff (Marian), Wayne (Amy) and Michele (Steve Goren). His grandchildren are Brandon, Andrea, Bebe, Adam, Joey and Zac; brother-in-law to Phillip Kaplan.
Upon retiring from the wine business, he loved to spend time at his home in the Sonoma Valley. He loved to entertain his children, grandchildren and many friends. He was passionate about traveling, reading and history.
Donations can be made to Congregation Adath Israel or Peninsula Sinai Congregation.