a lit memorial candle with a Sinai Memorial Chapel logo on it

Deaths for the week of Jan. 7, 2022

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


Sylvia Bearman

Aug. 11, 1935–Dec. 22, 2021

Sylvia Bearman passed peacefully and gracefully on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.  She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend.

Syl, as her close friends and family knew her, is survived by her children: Linda and her husband David Korth, her son Rob Bearman, her daughter Cantor Julie Steinberg and her husband Darrell Steinberg; as well as her grandchildren Leah and her husband Robert Scholer, Daniel and his wife Shauna Korth, Amy Bearman and her husband and Keenon Werling, Jacob Bearman, and Jordana and Ari Steinberg; and her great-grandchildren Benjamin and Joshua Scholer. Sylvia is also survived by her loving brother Stan Hotchner and his wife Marilyn Hotchner.

Sylvia was predeceased by her devoted husband of many decades, Dr. Morton Bearman.

Extreme gratitude is extended by the family to Syl’s long-term and ever-loving caregivers: Camilla, Inez and Caroline. The family is also forever grateful to Jill and her team at Sage Eldercare in Burlingame, and for the gentle care provided by the medical team at Mission Hospice of San Mateo County.

During her long life, Sylvia served the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish community in a variety of capacities. She was a member of the board of trustees at Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, where she helped to champion the development of the synagogue’s highly successful preschool (where her great-grandson Ben now attends). Syl also served as the Sisterhood president during her tenure at PTS. Additionally, Syl volunteered with the Jewish Federation of San Francisco and served on the board of the Bureau of Jewish Education, now known as Jewish LearningWorks in San Francisco.

Sylvia’s life and impact extended far beyond her volunteer service. She was one of the kindest people in the world. She was a devoted friend to many.  She was the family confidant, always listening, always comforting, always encouraging. She also had a wicked sense of humor. She never complained during her long illness. She was the epitome of class and dignity.

For those so inclined, the family would appreciate that donations given in Sylvia’s memory go to Mission Hospice and Home Care of San Mateo County (missionhospice.org)

Sinai SF


Yale Jonathan Downes

Oct. 5, 1927–Dec. 11, 2021

Yale Jonathan Downes
Yale Jonathan Downes

Yale was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Ethel and Jacob Domnitch. He was the youngest of four brothers: George, Saul and Ruby. Throughout the years, he kept a close relationship with all of them. He went to Wayne State and then to pharmacy school.

He traveled to California and fell in love with the Bay Area and worked in pharmacies in San Francisco and Berkeley until he opened his own store in Hayward, Ca.

In 1959, Yale married Arlene Paul. Larry was born in 1960 and Annette in 1964. He was a devoted uncle to Burt, Ellen, Will, Amy, Kim and Barbara. His daughter-in-law Michele and his son-in-law David were very special to him. He was a devoted husband and father interested in fostering the interest of his children’s lives. When his grandchildren (Jo, Josh, Jordan, Aaron, and Max) were born, he said “these were the best dividends” he could have received. We had many wonderful trips together as a couple and family.

Yale was interested in learning — especially Jewish topics.He enjoyed being a member of Temple Isaiah. Many have described him as a real mensch. We are grateful for his long life.


Jane Graham

Dec. 17, 2021

Jane Graham
Jane Graham

Jane Graham, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully on Dec. 17 surrounded by family. She lived in her long-time San Francisco home and was active right up until the end.

Jane was a fourth-generation San Franciscan whose family came around Cape Horn on a sailing ship and landed in the City in 1842. She met Philip Graham at a dance in 1945 and took him home that night to meet her father. They were married a year later. Their marriage lasted 72 years until Philip’s death in 2018.

After raising her three children, Jane went into real estate, a career she enjoyed for over 40 years.

Jane and Philip enjoyed trips to Carmel, where they had honeymooned, trips to the Napa Valley and summers at Lake Tahoe. But most of all Jane enjoyed a box of See’s Candies, a game of bridge and watching “Jeopardy!”

Jane was not fond of travel until she heard that there was a lot of bridge played on cruise ships. That was all she needed to hear. She and Philip cruised the Caribbean and South America, and then to Alaska every year for 10 years.

Jane is survived by her three children, son Stephen and daughters Robin and Betsy (Brian), three grandchildren, Caroline (Matthew), Ian (Emma), and Lauren (Jon), and three great-grandchildren, Philip, Samuel and Liv, with another on the way.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Kevin Saitowitz for his kind and compassionate care of our mother for many years.


Peter K. Maier

Nov. 20, 1928–Dec. 21, 2021

Peter K. Maier
Peter K. Maier

A beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. A man respected by all who knew him.

His accomplishments were numerous: Tax attorney, law professor at Hastings for many years, on the board of Fromm Institute for 45 years and chairman for 35. He helped shape it into the successful institution it is today. Peter was brilliant in his role as investment advisor. He loved being involved in the stock and bond markets, and real estate. He took great care of his clients (as he did everyone in his life).

Born in Würzburg, Germany, moved to Bingen on the Rhine, where he lived until 1937 when he, his parents and sister fled Hitler’s Germany, first to Belgium then Holland, and on to the United States in 1938 arriving Thanksgiving Day. It became his favorite holiday. He had many jobs growing up in Chicago. He was a paperboy, a shoe salesman, a bellhop and a dance instructor at Arthur Murray’s.

He often said being in the Air Force after law school changed his life. Stationed in England, he became a lover of theater and a lover of English women. This gave him the confidence he lacked until his tour of duty. He became a terrific dancer and raconteur in those early grown-up years that he carried into mature manhood. No one could cha-cha or tell a joke like he could. As a friend said, he was the ultimate gentleman; didn’t suffer fools; and had a wicked sense of humor.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Melanie; his daughters Michele Fisher (Michael) and Diana Maier (Ethan Kaplan); grandchildren June, Jesse Kaplan-Maier, twins Max and Gabe Fisher; his sister Mrs. Eve Simon; and nieces Renee, Lori, Carol and their families.

A memorial service was held on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco. Donations can be made in Peter’s memory to the S.F.-Marin Food Bank, By the Bay Health (hospice) or a charity of your choice.


Betty Trooper Naftaly

Baruch Dayan HaEmet — Blessed be the Arbiter of Truth

Betty Trooper Naftaly passed on on Nov. 4. She was 99 years old. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1922, Betty made her way to San Francisco in her early 20s, where she met the love of her life, Richard “Dick” Naftaly. Betty was well known for her incisive intelligence and wit, her eclectic tastes in food and fashion, and her passion for dancing which she indulged throughout her long and rich life. She is survived by two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Sinai SF


Howard Louis Nord

May 4, 1966–Dec. 27, 2021

Resident of Antioch, CA

Howard Louis Nord, beloved son, brother, uncle and father, passed away peacefully on Dec. 27, 2021 at the age of 55. He was surrounded until the end by his loving family, who will miss him very much.

Born in San Francisco, Howard was the oldest of three children. From an early age, he distinguished himself with his phenomenal memory. The whole family depended on him to remind us of birthdays, remember phone numbers and addresses, solve arguments about when and where things happened, and fill in the backstory for each and every picture in our family albums.

This gift extended to his ability to memorize street maps and routes. Since he graduated from high school at age 18, he consistently worked as a delivery driver throughout the Bay Area, never once needing to use a GPS. He was known to all his employers as a steady and reliable team member who rarely missed a day of work.

Howard was an avid reader who especially loved John Grisham, Scott Turow and biographies of Hollywood celebrities. He had passionate opinions about music, movies, classic TV shows, and actors and actresses, which he enjoyed discussing during our frequent family dinners.

All who knew Howard know that he was a giving and generous person. Though he did not have much in the way of material possessions, he used what he did have to help his friends and loved ones. In keeping with this spirit, Howard is donating his organs to provide life to others.

Howard is survived by his parents, Paul and Marcia Nord, his brother Sam (Alicia) Nord, his sister Aimee (Anton) Ennik, his niece Alison Ennik, and his nephews Jordan and Nathan Ennik and Jacob Nord. He was preceded in death by his cherished son, Douglas Charles Nord.