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Deaths for the week of June 11, 2021

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel


Louis Bernstein

June 21, 1934–May 30, 2021

Louis Bernstein
Louis Bernstein

Louis “Lou” Bernstein, 86, passed away on May 30, 2021 at home in Alameda, CA. The youngest of three children, Lou was born in Peabody, MA on June 21, 1934 to Samuel and Rose (Altshuler) Bernstein. Lou graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he fell in love with Lillian (Miller) Bernstein. Lou and Lillian were married on June 16, 1957.
Shortly after Lou graduated from Boston College Law, Lou and Lillian moved to Walnut Creek, CA. Lou served as president of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA for two back-to-back terms, helping create a Jewish community that he so cherished. Lou practiced tort law for 55 years. He was a founder of the Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund and an active member of the Walnut Creek Democratic Club. Lou was a kind and generous man, with a sharp sense of humor and a strong sense of justice. He loved his family and friends, and was a lifelong Red Sox fan.

Lou is survived by his brother Norman; his children Steve, John (Leslie Israel) and Deborah Sullivan (Charles); and his granddaughter Isabel Sullivan. Lou was preceded in death by his wife Lillian, his parents Samuel and Rose and his sister Betty.

Memorial donations may be made to the Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund at kennedyking.org.

Sinai-Lafayette


Ruth Kagan

March 30, 1927–June 5, 2021

Ruth Kagan
Ruth Kagan

Loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and treasured friend Ruth Kagan (née Kronberger), 94, passed away peacefully from natural causes at her home in San Francisco on June 5, 2021.

Ruth was born in Chodau, Czechoslovakia, to Ida and Walter Kronberger. At the age of 12, she fled the Nazis with her cousin, Kurt Stern, on a Kindertransport rescue mission organized by Nicholas Winton. They found safety in the care of Hilda and Wesley Nunn, Methodist farmers in Redgrave, England. A determined young woman from the start, Ruth acclimated quickly to the new culture, learning English in addition to her native Czech and German. At 17 she moved to London where she worked as a secretary for the Jewish Agency. Within a couple of years, she made her way to Israel where she reunited with her brother Avram Kronberger, learned her fourth language, and served as a radar operator for the Israel Defense Forces. In 1948 she married Sholly Kagan, with whom she had three children — the delight of her life. Her marriage ended in 1975. She later spent many years in partnership with Julian Natanson and cherished their blended family. Ruth excelled in her work as an administrator for Brandeis University and the Harvard School of Public Health and also found meaning through avid volunteer work for many community organizations over the years.

In addition to London, Israel, Toronto, Boston, and Dallas, Ruth lived in San Rafael and San Francisco for the last 20 years. In every setting she was known for her gracious hospitality. Relationships were her top priority and in addition to being a wonderful correspondent with faraway friends and family, she continued to open herself to deep friendships at each chapter of her life — even in her final two years at Rhoda Goldman Plaza where she created close bonds.

Ruth is survived by her devoted children Walt and Kathie Kagan, Ron Kagan and Renia Harris, Lida and David Morgenstein, and Susie Volk Kagan; loving step-children Roberta and Dick Bauer, Barb and Doug Crockett, and Sara and Steve Silva. She was adored by her grandchildren Avi and Merav Kagan, Sarah and Gabe Treves-Kagan, Nina and Orly Morgenstein, and Samantha and Sedona King along with great-grandchildren Dor and Sivan Kagan, and Neko and Aida Treves-Kagan.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jewish Family and Children’s Services or Hadassah.

Sinai-SF


Irving Katuna

Jan. 12, 1929–April 27, 2021

Irving Katuna
Irving Katuna

Resident of the Rossmoor community in Walnut Creek, Irv died suddenly of a stroke at age 92. He was a teacher and administrator in San Francisco from 1951-1989. He retired at age 60 and volunteered for the S.F. Academy of Sciences. He was a lifelong learner and always promoted education and physical and mental exercise. He proudly served in the Lions Club, as president of the local Democratic club and in the Jewish community. In 1965, he marched for civil rights and met Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama. Irv was a beloved father and leaves behind children Linda Harvey and Bruce and Brad Katuna; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Daughter Judy predeceased him in 2017. Also leaves wife Thelma. Contact [email protected] for information on a celebration-of-life event. Also contact Linda about the just-finished book on Irv’s legacy.

Sinai-Lafayette


Jerome M. Lerner

1921-2021

Jerome M. Lerner
Jerome M. Lerner

Jerome (Jerry) Lerner passed away at home in Larkspur Saturday morning, May 29, two and a half months shy of his 100th birthday.

Born in San Francisco on August 18, 1921 to Henry and Esther (Fishman) Lerner, he was predeceased by his sweetheart of 72 years, wife Florine Lerner, brother Harold Lerner, sister and brother-in-law Sylvia (Sue) and Emil Siegel; and mother-in-law Pauline Frank.

Raised in the Richmond District, Jerry attended George Peabody Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High, and Lowell High School. He graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, married Florine Frank, and served in the US Navy during WWII as Lieut. JG.  Upon his discharge, he returned home to Florine and firstborn Jill, and began his career as an optometrist in SF. Subsequently Heidi joined the family.

In 1956, the family relocated to Larkspur.  Jerry never tired of the beauty of Marin and particularly of Mount Tamalpais. Jerry and Florine remained in their home in Larkspur for the rest of their lives, enjoying activities with their many friends, neighbors, and family.

Jerry had numerous interests. A lifelong voracious reader, he played clarinet in school bands (including the Cal Marching Band) and eventually in the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Non-Marching Band (aka the Sewer Band), of which he was a well-loved member for over 30 years. In retirement Jerry joined the Marin Rowing Club, where he made many friends. His volunteer work included two ophthalmology missions to Guatemala. Additionally, Jerry and Florine traveled to many places in Europe and the US.

Jerry was dearly loved by daughters Jill Hallinan and Heidi Lerner, grandchildren Casey Hicks and Neil Hallinan (Vanessa), and great-grandchildren Michael, Alyson, and Olivia Hicks, and Xochitl Hallinan; he was a loving uncle/cousin to generations of Lerners, Fishmans, Siegels, and Blums.

Dad, you were amazed by your longevity, but to your family your life wasn’t long enough. May Jerry’s memory be a blessing forever.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, services were private.  A family celebration of Jerry’s life is planned for the summer.  The family requests that charitable contributions be made to By the Bay Health (Hospice), the Jewish Community Library, or Camp Tawonga.

Sinai-SF