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Deaths for the week of Dec. 24, 2021

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.

Barry Adler

Jan. 23, 1931–Nov. 18, 2021

Barry Adler
Barry Adler

Barry Adler, 90, of San Francisco, passed away on Nov. 18, 2021.

Barry was born on Jan. 23, 1931 to O. Theodore and Frances Adler in the Bronx, New York. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1948, he went on to study chemistry and biology at University of Dubuque.

After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Upon his return, he worked in the paint and coatings industry for over 30 years. Barry was passionate about giving back and mentoring, and served in various positions at many industry societies.

In 1960, he met Evelyn at a bridge game hosted by mutual friends, and they were married six weeks later, going on to have three children, Libby, Wendy and Adam.

Retiring after almost 40 years in the field, Barry had time to fully commit to volunteering for KQED and JFCS, two organizations he strongly supported. At KQED, he was Chair of the Community Advisory Panel and Coordinator of Docent Activities. Barry and Evelyn were awarded the MetLife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America Award, President Bush’s (1,000) Points of Light Award, and the Fammy from Jewish Family and Children’s Services. He was also involved with Elderhostel. Barry and Evelyn acted both as hosts and participants, taking the opportunity to travel and learn. He had a generous soul and his jokes filled the room with laughter.

Barry was predeceased by his parents and his son, Adam. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn; his children Libby Adler, Wendy Adler-Mayes; and his grandchildren, Jordan, Claire, Garrett and Capri.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to KQED or JFCS in his honor.

Sinai SF

Alina Kerson

Sept. 11, 1926–Dec. 7, 2021

Alina Kerson 
Alina Kerson

Alina Kerson (nee Boruchowska), a longtime resident of San Francisco, died at home on Dec. 7, 2021, at the age of 95. On Sept. 11, 1926, Alina was born in Sosnowiec, Poland, as the only child of Isador and Paula Boruchowska.

Alina recalled her early childhood as a happy time with her parents and extended family, but the rise of Nazism and antisemitism destroyed their peaceful existence. Her family tried to escape but could not get out of the country and ended up in Czestochowa, where her grandparents lived. On Sept. 1, 1939, her world fell apart when Germany invaded Poland. Alina’s family ended up in a Jewish ghetto that the family hoped to be temporary, and still hoped to return to their home one day. On Oct. 4, 1942, her family was marched to a train staging area for transport to the notorious death camp Treblinka, which was the beginning of the fifth selection. Alina was separated from her parents and grandparents, and she never saw or heard from them again.

Alina was able to reconnect with her Aunt Blanka and Uncle Romax, and through their resilience and courage was able to escape the Nazis. She and Blanka hid in other people’s homes, farms and apartments throughout Poland with the help of the Polish Underground ending in Warsaw. Eventually, she and Blanka, with forged papers, were sent to a labor camp where living conditions improved, and they stayed there until the war was over. Later in life, Alina recalled her story to her son Rob, who wrote a tribute to her and titled it “When the Singing Stopped.”

After the war, Alina moved to San Francisco to live with her great-uncle, Samuel Hamburger, and start a new chapter in her life. She met Mayo Kerson through a blind date, was married in 1949 and they were together for 50 years until his passing. Together with their sons Perry and Rob, they owned G&M Sales’ The Great Outdoors Store on Market Street for 49 years until it closed in 2004.

Living in San Francisco was a joyous time for her as she raised her sons, developed lifelong friendships, and baked (especially her marble cake). After Mayo’s death, Alina reconnected with Henry Weil, a widower she dated before marriage. Together they were partners who traveled the world, spent time in Hawaii and shared family get-togethers with both families for 15 years until his passing.

Alina is survived by her sons Perry (Cindy) and Rob (Andee); her four grandchildren Justin Kerson, Chelsea (Alex) Matthews, Renee (Chris) Stewart, Lily Kerson; her four great-grandchildren Bodhi and Lochlan Stewart, Clae and Knox Matthews; Blanka’s daughter Susan Heller; and her beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.

Her family would like to thank Alina’s caretakers, Henry Raymundo (little brother) for his years of help and companionship and Ella Tarroza for helping in her final years.

Alina was a devoted wife, mom, grandmother (Iya), great-grandmother, aunt and friend to many. She endured many travesties in her life but was able to create a new life in the U.S. that brought her many years of love and laughter.

Alina had a private funeral on Dec. 10, 2021.

Donations may be sent in her honor to the Jewish Community Federation, 121 Steuart St., San Francisco, CA 94105.

Sinai SF

Frank George Meyer

Dec. 12, 1924–Dec. 12, 2021

Frank George Meyer
Frank George Meyer

Frank George Meyer died on December 12, 2021, at age 97 in San Francisco, California. He was born in Bochum, Germany, on December 12, 1924, to Karl Ernst and Stella Reichenberg Meyer. The family left Germany in 1933 for Basel, Switzerland, where, until immigrating to the United States in 1939, they helped many family and friends to also escape the Nazi regime. They arrived in New York City just 10 days before the beginning of World War II.

After a year in New York, they moved to San Francisco, where Frank attended George Washington High School, graduating with the class of 1942. He then attended the University of California at Berkeley where he took classes year-round, graduating in 1945 with a B.A. in economics. While at Berkeley, he was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, was on the freshman swim team, wrote sports columns for the Daily Californian and, as an experienced skier, on winter weekends guarded the train tracks near Norden, California, against potential enemy sabotage.

Drafted into the Army after graduation, he was mostly stationed at Camp Beale near Marysville, where he served as an interpreter for German prisoners of war. An eager beaver and hard worker all of his life, he held several additional jobs on the base; for example, manually setting up bowling pins in the bowling alley. He completed his Army service at the Presidio of San Francisco.

In 1947, he was accepted into the executive training program at Emporium-Capwell. Rising through the ranks, he would eventually become the head women’s coat and suit buyer for all 11 department stores of the chain. In 1964, he purchased Famous Fashions, a women’s ready-to-wear junior department store in Antioch, California. He operated this, and subsequently its satellite store, Famous Fashions on the Square, for twenty-four years before retiring in 1988.

He was an ardent skier, from his childhood in Switzerland until age 80. For the expertise, daring, and speed he demonstrated in his 20s, he was given the nickname “killer” by his cohorts, and he won Sun Valley’s Golden Sun award for accomplishing a straight schuss from the top of Mount Baldy to the resort’s lodge. His favorite ski resorts were Vail, Colorado, Sun Valley, Idaho, and California’s Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl. He passed on his love of skiing to all of his children and grandchildren. He was an enthusiastic tennis player, and enjoyed swimming, especially the butterfly stroke.

He resided in San Francisco for over 70 years, and in Lafayette and Orinda in the East Bay for 10. He was an avid fan of both the San Francisco Giants and the 49ers, attending the former team’s games after their move from New York, and the latter’s since the franchise’s inception. From his childhood, he was also a great fan of all things Swiss.

He was a longtime supporter of Israeli and Jewish organizations, such as the United States Holocaust Museum and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, where he was given the titles of both Fellow and Guardian. He served on the board and was a member for over 45 years of the Concordia-Argonaut Club of San Francisco (now the Presidio Golf and Concordia Club).

He contracted type 2 diabetes in his late 50s, but tackled it with determination, a very healthy diet, and close adherence to doctor’s orders. It never got the better of him.

He was a loyal friend, and had many of them. They would be attracted to the sparkle in his eye, to his wit, and to his decency. He will be missed by all those who knew him.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon; his son, David; his daughter, Hailey Meyer Liechty (Christopher); five grandchildren: Stella, Karl, Julian, Nathan, and Margo Liechty; his sister, Eve Heyman; his first cousin, Lotte Goldman; his second cousin, Marianne Rutkin; his nephew, Mel Heyman (Jody); his niece, Vivian Golden (Sandy); and his grand-nephews: Brahm Heyman (Maddie), Will Heyman, Ben Heyman, Dan Golden (Lisa), and Jeff Golden (Samantha).

Due to Covid, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Frank may be made to the American Technion Society, or to the American Diabetes Association.

Judith Sommer

July 23, 1930–Nov. 19, 2021

Judith Sommer
Judith Sommer

Judith Sommer (Judy) passed away on Nov. 19 at age 91, peacefully with her family at her side.

She was an adoring wife, mother, grandma and great-grandma who will be sadly missed by all whose lives she touched.

Judy was born in New York City where she attended school until the fifth grade. The family then moved to Los Angeles and Judy attended Louis Pasteur Junior High, Los Angeles High School, University of Southern California and UCLA.

Judy had a travel agency in San Rafael for many years. Travel was her great pleasure, particularly cruises. She and her late husband, John, were members of Marin Yacht Club and enjoyed boating activities. Judy often planned outings for members of the yacht club.

Through the years, Judy was active in various charitable organizations including the Marin Symphony and Marin General Hospital golf tournament. She was a member of Congregation Rodef Sholom for over 50 years. Judy enjoyed being a volunteer at KCBS Call for Action.

She is survived by her three treasured sons, Gary Koch (Lois), Randall Koch and Clifford Koch (Patty); two grandchildren, Kevin Koch (partner Sarah Jump) and Rachel Koch; two step-grandchildren, Ryan Peck and Matthew Jones (Lea Carey); and one great-grandson, Archer Jump Koch. Judy also leaves her sister Eileen Snidman and many cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends.

She also leaves behind her precious pup, Toby, who will be well-loved.

A special thank you to her amazing caregivers, Josie and Mereani, and her nurses, Nancy and Holly.

Private funeral services were held at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 Centinela Ave., Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, or to a favorite charity.