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Obituaries for the week of July 23, 2021

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel

Richard Chaitin

Nov. 8, 1931–July 17, 2021

Richard (Dick) Chaitin was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and died in San Francisco, California. He spent his childhood in Milford, Connecticut where his parents owned a local store called Chaitin’s. His father died while he was in college and so he left the University of Connecticut to assist his mother in the family business. He continued in the field of retail sales, including opening his own business in Los Angeles, Chaitin and Associates, to place high-level management in local and national retail businesses throughout the country.

Previously married and divorced, he came west to California as a single man, where he met Barbara (Bobbie) Staub Weiss and married her in 1974. They lived their family life in Los Angeles and Houston, where they thrived by their enjoyment in the Jewish community, family gatherings and friendships. Married for 44 years, he was widowed upon her death in 2019. He then moved to San Francisco.

He is predeceased by his parents Elizabeth (Bess) and Joseph Chaitin, and is survived by his stepchildren, Rabbi Eric Weiss (Dan Alpert), Wendy Weiss (Andi Gletty), Lauren Weiss and Andrea Farb (Lee Farb, z”l); grandchildren, Alison Farb and Daniel Farb; brother, Dr. Alan (Ann) Chaitin; nephew and nieces, Justin Chaitin (Kelly), Janna Kennedy (Charlie) and Jillian Chaitin (Jeremy Hollingsworth); extended Chaitin, Staub/Gartner and Weiss families, as well as many devoted friends in California and Texas.

Funeral services were held in Los Angeles, followed by shiva. Suggested contributions to the Jewish Home, 302 Silver Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102.

Wallace Levin

April 28, 1930–July 19, 2021

Wallace Levin
Wallace Levin

Wallace was the loving husband to his wife Arlene Levin, dedicated father to his son Michael Levin and daughter Deborah Levin and grandfather to Mathew Levin. He was the son of the late Jesse and Rose Levin. He was a third-generation San Franciscan and was very proud that his family had been in San Francisco for over 100 years. And he was equally proud to have spent the first half of his life working with his pioneering motion picture theater-owner family.

He attended Commodore Sloat Elementary, Aptos Junior High, Lowell High School and City College of San Francisco. After Wallace graduated from College of the Pacific, he enlisted in the Army and served three years. After training with the 10th Mountain Division, he was assigned to the top secret Army Security Agency. He became a Korean War veteran by serving 19 months overseas in theater. Wallace also served 17 years in the California National Guard Reserve (CSMR), retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1997 with 20 years federal and state service. In 1999, he got then state Sen. Quentin Kopp to get California to name the part of Highway 1 tha runs across the Presidio Veterans Blvd. 

He was a San Francisco reserve police officer for 25 years and was a California licensed private investigator from 1980. He was a former San Francisco District Attorney investigator and retired as a city attorney investigator at the end of 2016. He was on the Delinquency Prevention Commission for a decade and the Veterans Affairs Commission for three decades. Wallace was appointed County Veterans Service Officer from 2001 to 2016. He was a past commander of American Legion Post 244, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1205 and Jewish War Veterans Post 152. For decades he was the Veterans of Foreign Wars coordinator of the Memorial Day ceremony and the Veterans Day parade. He recently was a member of the Korean War Memorial Foundation and the San Francisco War Memorial Board of Trustees.

Services were held at Home of Peace, Colma.

Sinai Contra Costa

Sandra Newman Gordon

Jan. 26, 1942–July 15, 2021

Sandra Newman Gordon
Sandra Newman Gordon

Sandra Newman Gordon died peacefully on July 15, 2021, following a long illness.

Born in Baltimore, MD, raised in Skokie, IL, she moved to California in 1969, having been recruited to teach respiratory therapy at Foothill College. She had spent her lifetime serving others: as a respiratory therapist, as a preschool educator and as an advocate for the learning disabled. She was a lifelong member of the National Council of Jewish Women, active in efforts to end human trafficking and passionate about civil rights.

She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Norman Gordon, their son Grant Gordon, their daughter Miriam Gordon and their son-in-law Michael Eul. Also surviving her are her sister and brother-in-law Rhoda and Dr. William Gilbert of Glenville, NY, her nephew Bennett Gilbert of New Mexico, and her niece Roberta De Lalla of New York. She will be missed by her family and friends, and by those with whom she served in various capacities making this a better world.

Charles Frederick Meier

April 3, 1944–July 9, 2021

Charles Frederick Meier
Charles Frederick Meier

With great sadness, we announce that Charles Frederick Meier passed away after a long illness on July 9, 2021 at his home surrounded by his loved ones. 

Charles “Chuck” was born on April 3, 1944, the only child to his parents, Simon and Irma Meier. Chuck grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago amongst other German Jewish families where he enjoyed playing baseball and working at his father’s dime store. After his mother’s passing when he was age 9, he acquired his beloved second mother (Alice) and sister (Suzanne) upon his father’s remarrying.

Chuck graduated from University of Michigan before embarking on his 53-year career in finance, which included positions as an accountant, a CFO (Dean Witter and Continental Grain), and as a commodity futures trader. In 1985, Chuck and his wife, Marilyn, realized their long-standing dream of moving their family to California, where they settled on the Peninsula.  

Chuck’s enthusiasm and zest for life was remarkable. He loved his family and friends. He was easy to smile and laugh at all jokes, good and bad. He cheered hard for the Giants and Warriors. He had a sincere appreciation of learning about other cultures and was a passionate world traveler (including long trips to India, Tibet, Antarctica, South America and Africa) and became a notable photographer to memorialize places visited and people met along the way. He loved driving and cars, particularly his Porsche. At age 70, he sought a new adventure by taking flying lessons and took all willing family members up in the plane for a ride with him. He enjoyed getting the family together on many trips to Hawaii and treasured that time with his grandchildren. Most of all, Chuck loved his wife, Marilyn. 

Chuck was most proud of his family’s support over the last 17 years of the Meier Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship at UCSF, which has produced doctors who are now at medical centers across the nation contributing to research and direct patient care for ill children. Donations in his memory can be made to this Fellowship at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.  

Chuck is survived by Marilyn; his children, Ilena (Andrew) and Lisa; and his grandchildren, Mathew, Zachary, Ruth, and Miriam.

Esther Schneirsohn Finegold Young Wedner

April 17, 1924–July 18, 2021

Esther Schneirsohn Finegold Young Wedner
Esther Schneirsohn Finegold Young Wedner

With the blessing of many years, Esther Wedner passed away Sunday at age 97. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish home in New Orleans, Esther was one of six children whose parents emigrated from Israel (then the Ottoman Empire), where her family had lived since the 1700s. Her mother, a Schneirsohn and direct descendant of the “Alter Rebbe,” came from Tsfat and her father from Tiberius.

Esther graduated with a degree in sociology from Sophie Newcomb College (Tulane University). She and her first husband, Louis Young, moved to various tiny towns in western Pennsylvania before settling in Washington, Pennsylvania, where they raised two children, Judy and Jeffry.

Esther got a teacher’s certificate and taught first grade for 10 years. She went on to get a MA in counseling from the University of Pittsburgh. For 13 years, Esther was a counselor and teacher of communication skills for student nurses. She was deeply involved with community theater, including playing to multiple standing ovations in her starring role in “Mame.” She maintained this love of theater throughout her life.

In 1981, she moved to Van Nuys, California to be with her sister, Rachel. Esther remarried Arthur Wedner and lived in Southern California for eight years before moving to Soquel. She enjoyed 20 wonderful years there before making the move to the Saratoga Retirement Community.

Esther’s hobbies included acting and singing. She and her sister, Rachel, co-authored “What to Say When,” a book on effective communication, which grew out of seminars they gave.

She enjoyed the family tradition of observing the Sabbath on Friday night with candlelighting and dinner. She traveled extensively with her beloved husband, Art. She founded a women’s investment club, served as a grand juror and sang in synagogue choirs. She enjoyed a special relationship with her grandsons. Supported by remarkably skilled and caring staff at the Saratoga Retirement Community, Esther remained robust and good-natured while bearing both the joy and challenges of a long life.

Predeceased by her daughter Judith Reiser and son-in-law Gene Reiser, she is survived by son Jeffry Young (Anna), a total of five grandsons, two great-grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren, brother Leo Finegold, stepdaughters (Diane and Marilyn) and stepson (Alan) and their families, as well as many adoring nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. The family joke is that perhaps her favorite remained her beloved and much-spoiled dog, Benny.

She was a fervent supporter of social justice; the Esther Young Wedner Social Justice Fund was named in her honor at her synagogue, Congregation Shir Hadash.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to contribute to the fund to honor and memorialize her passion for social justice. Please visit the Esther Young Wedner Social Justice Fund at shirhadash.org/payment.php for more information.

Services were held July 21 at Los Gatos Memorial Park. A true Eishet Chayil, a woman of valor, she will be dearly missed.