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

Deaths for the week of April 29, 2022

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

Barbara Ann Babow

May 29, 1938–April 19, 2022

Barbara Ann Babow
Barbara Ann Babow

Barbara Ann Babow (née Weiner) was born in May 1938 in San Antonio, Texas, where she was raised. However, her life changed when her parents urged her to go on a blind date with a nice Jewish soldier from California stationed briefly at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Their words: “It’s just one date; you don’t have to marry the guy” proved to be so very wrong. She went on that date. A few months later, while Larry Babow was stationed in Germany, Barbara transferred to UC Berkeley, close to Larry’s family. After Larry’s return from Germany, they got engaged. They were married in the fall of 1958, shortly before Barbara’s graduation, a marriage that thrived for more than 63 years, until her passing on April 19, 2022 at her home in Sonoma.

Barbara was a giant ball of energy packed into a small body. During her life in Marin County, Barbara raised two children, Brent and Barri, and was a top salesperson for Transworld Systems, winning numerous awards over decades. She had a wide network of friends and colleagues, but would also frequently strike up conversations with complete strangers, who soon would be pulled into her orbit.

She and Larry traveled the world, were subscribers to several theater groups and

symphonies, and participated in many local lecture and educational programs. She was an active member of the Jewish community, and gave time to several charities and organizations. Typically, she and Larry were busy five or six nights a week, between events and social engagements. Barbara loved bright clothes, eclectic fashion and large jewelry. She and Larry were known for their lively themed parties. Barbara also stayed in constant contact with her family and friends in Texas and around the country.

Barbara passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by family. She is survived by husband Larry; her two children and their spouses: Brent Babow (Kristin Prentice) and Barri Babow (Mike Kirkland); her two granddaughters Shira and Maya Babow; her brother and sister-in-law Sig and Jo Weiner of Virginia; her niece and nephew, and their families; and her many cousins and relatives, most still in Texas.

Barbara was a true people person, always asking questions, engaging in conversations and looking for ways to help others. She will be missed by the many people whose lives she touched. A celebration of life service was held at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael on April 29.

Eldon B. Cherniss

Sept. 21, 1944–April 16, 2022

Eldon B. Cherniss
Eldon B. Cherniss

Eldon Brian Cherniss, after a long life of laughter, sarcasm and amazingness, passed peacefully at age 77 in his home in San Jose on April 16.

He would want everyone to know that he was never afraid of death, but was always afraid of his family scaring him when he came out of the bathroom. Eldon would probably tell people that he died from everyone’s stupidity, but he died after fighting a valiant three-year battle against cancer. His family kept him comfortable in his final days with copious amounts of Coca-Cola and chocolate.

Eldon was the middle child of five kids (and acted like it). He was born in Omaha to his predeceased parents Joel and Lillian (Babe) Cherniss, his mother whom he admired and missed very much. It is from her that he learned and preached the saying that you could do whatever you set your mind to doing.

He is survived by his equally sarcastic children, Larry and Karen, his daughter-in-law Kim, his son-in-law Robert and his wonderful grandchildren: Heather, Ryan, Riley and Romi. They will miss their dad and papa more than any words could convey.

Eldon is also survived by his wife, Nancy, who was the first and only love of his life (despite not taking her to prom). They met at 15 years old and have been in love ever since … ignoring that whole prom incident. It’s a tale as old as time: She was a BBG and he was an AZA, and the rest was history. They have been together for 62 years and married for 56 years. In his final days, he would say that his only fear of death was leaving behind his wife. As much as he tormented her with his sarcasm, he truly and emphatically loved her.

Eldon was a wild and witty soul that never took life too seriously. He enjoyed cheating at games, traveling, photography, gardening, reading, chess-playing (chess-cheating), See’s Candies, investing in real estate and spending time with his family (i.e. teaching the kids how to hide their chocolate and lie about it).

Eldon was a masterful salesman, and in 1984, he left the company he was working for and started his own company: Amazing Packaging Supplies, Inc. Although his son Larry now runs the company, Eldon will always be regarded as Mr. Amazing.

The family will be holding a private service to celebrate Eldon’s life. But in honor of Eldon, please enjoy a piece of chocolate with a loved one or make a donation to Hospice of the Valley, 4850 Union Ave., San Jose 95124.

And finally, to Eldon/Dad/Papa, the most Amazing man we have ever known: We love you, and we will always have your back.

Sinai Memorial, Palo Alto

Carol Emerich

June 10, 1950–March 22, 2022

Carol Emerich
Carol Emerich

On March 22, a beloved sister lost her long battle with cancer, and the world lost a shining light. She always believed that the best life is to have made the world a better place for having lived and being known for her kindness, which she accomplished and was pleased to know she was much loved by many.

A resident of Cupertino, she taught elementary school there for over two decades and was an outstanding teacher who kept in touch with quite a few of her students over the years, with many who truly adored her.

She was passionate about writing, singing, listening to music, her students, nature, horses and the beauty of the world. Her writings were vivid, expressive and colorful, giving readers the sense of being there. She was also passionate about her causes and her belief in fundamental fairness, social justice and the commonalities of all people, although she heralded and appreciated their cultural differences.

She had a passion for horses that began with a pony ride when she was a toddler.  However, she had stopped riding for many years until she met another cancer survivor in a support group, who encouraged her to get on a horse again. After that meeting, she continued to ride and groom horses at Garrod Farms in Saratoga, where, over the course of 12 years, she developed many strong friendships, both two- and four-legged.

Carol grew up singing and enjoying music. She studied hard, worked hard to fine-tune her voice and developed into a wonderful soprano. She obtained an A.A. in music from Foothill College, along with her B.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State and her teaching degree from San Jose State.

A lifetime member of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, she sang in the synagogue youth choir and later the adult choir, developing lifelong friendships there, as well, including with the late Cantor David Unterman, who had led the choir. After her illness forced her to retire from teaching, she joined her mother, the late Barbara Emerich, in Cantor Unterman’s spirituality class, taking over for the cantor when his health failed. She later became involved in other synagogue activities, sang in a talent show and joined HaShirim, a Jewish community choir with roots at Beth Am, and became a soprano soloist. Through the choir, the spirituality group and Rosh Chodesh activities, she continued to develop lifelong friendships that helped sustain her.

With a great affinity for the natural world, she loved McClellan Park and Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino and watching the birds in both places, as well as around her home, where she put out feeders and knew all the species.

Carol is survived by her brothers, Melvin Lee Emerich and Rene Ralph Emerich, and beloved nephew Robert Rene Emerich. She also considered her dearest friends JC Dill, Carol Holdengraber and Suzanna O’Sullivan her sisters. She is also left by her “adoptive nieces,” daughters of Carol Holdengraber and two others she considered part of her family. Carol also considered her friends from Congregation Beth Am, HaShirim, Garrod Farms, former students and online activities to be family, as well.

She supported the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, NPR, KQED, Planned Parenthood and women’s rights. Donations to any of those causes in her name are appreciated, as well as to Congregation Beth Am, any horse rescue fund, the American Cancer Society and other cancer support groups, and teacher support organizations.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 1 p.m. at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022.

Janet Gordon

Sept. 10, 1932–April 13, 2022

Janet Gordon
Janet Gordon

Janet Gordon passed away April 13, 2022, at the age of 89, at home surrounded by a large, loving family. She lived all but 11 years of her life in Piedmont. Daughter of Clarence and Helen Markus, she graduated from Piedmont High and attended UC Berkeley for a short time until she married the man who would be the love of her life for 68 years, Murray Gordon.

Janet and Murray had three girls, and she had her hands full as a stay-at-home mom, an excellent homemaker. She never relied on others to do the heavy lifting in life. She was involved in several charitable endeavors throughout the years and a lifelong member of Temple Sinai.

She was fiercely protective of her family and lived life in constant contact with her sisters Reba and Lois, who predeceased her. Janet raised three daughters to be close, connected, equally bound to family, and spoke to them every day. She was proud of the different paths her daughters chose in life. Janet arranged for the family to take vacations together every year, even as the family grew over time from the original five to 28 people. The close-knit group spent holidays, impromptu dinners and countless random visits together.

Janet and Murray traveled extensively around the world until it became too difficult with age, but adored spending winters in Palm Desert and La Quinta for over 25 years, playing tennis, making friends, enjoying the sunshine and desert life.

Janet loved mahjong, and had a steady group of dear friends who played together weekly for decades. She did not consider herself an athlete, but was a terrific bowler as a young mother with a high score of 217! Janet and Murray both took up tennis when their girls left home, and found many friends through the sport. Janet loved watching tournaments on TV and knew the names and careers of all the great players. She was a voracious reader all her life.

Janet was an avid gardener, and took great pride in every aspect and aesthetic of her family home. She was always impeccably dressed, made up and had her hair done weekly until a week before she passed away. She battled health problems through her later years and managed to recover time and time again. It’s hard to believe she’s finally gone, but she was at peace knowing she’d be reunited in spirit with her husband and sisters.

Janet was predeceased by her beloved Murray in July 2020 and she is survived by daughters Kathy Burge, Shelley Gordon and Claudia Felson, sons-in law Michael Burge and Richard Burge, grandchildren Jason Burge (Rachel); Adam Felson (Leah); Blake Felson (Ashley); Kari Burge (Michael Lampert); David Burge (Julia Feldman) and Joseph Burge (Cara) and great-grandchildren Dylan, Owen, Jeremy, Mia, Ally, Wesley, Lev, Kylie, Asher and Freya. She was also loved by her nieces and nephews.

Janet was generous, loving, always very direct and honest and will be mourned, missed, loved and remembered forever.

Donations in Janet’s memory may be made to the Alameda County Food Bank or the Oakland Zoo.

Sinai Memorial, Lafayette

Judith Levy

Sept. 12, 1926–April 14, 2022

Judith Levy
Judith Levy

Mom was born to Lillian (Lubin) and David Bentoff in Cleveland, Ohio. A graduate of the Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University with a degree in microbiology, she moved to San Francisco, falling in love with the city as the sun set over the skyline while her ferry boat crossed the bay. As consolation after the loss of Adlai Stevenson in 1952, she and Al Levy married on Thanksgiving later that month. She was a lab technician doing science research in several different places, working part-time as she and dad had three sons. A mid-life career change led to a degree in library science, and several different library jobs, notably at the Bureau of Jewish Education in S.F., UC Berkeley, and the San Mateo County Library system. Throughout her life, she was a frequent concert-, play-, and class-goer, and voracious reader. These activities continued well after her retirement.

Mom mourned the loss of her parents, her brother Saul and her daughter-in-law Sue. But most of all, she grieved the death of her beloved husband Al in 2002. She is survived by her sons Marc, of Eugene, Oregon.; Gary, of Fairfield; and Steven (wife Mary), of Alameda. She is also survived by her grandchildren Rachel, Ben, James and Bea, as well as four great grandsons. We will all miss her greatly.

Donations in her honor can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center or a charity of your choice. A memorial service will be held at Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California St, S.F., on May 18 at 11:00 a.m.


Hilda Richards

Nov. 21, 1917–April 18, 2022

Hilda Richards
Hilda Richards

On April 18, our beloved Hilda Richards passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 104, and joined her husband of more than 59 years, Paul, who predeceased her in 2007. Hilda was also predeceased by her parents, Paul and Nellie Collin; her beloved grandmother, Rosa Kauffmann, who was sent to the concentration camp in 1939; her sister Gerda Rau; her brother-in-law Fred Rau; and her niece Edy Rau Schwartz.

Hilda was born on Nov. 21, 1917, in Frankfurt, Germany, to Paul and Nellie Collin. In June 1938, due to the German Holocaust, Hilda was granted entrance into the United States and joined her sister and brother-in-law, Gerda and Fred Rau, in San Francisco. Hilda met the love of her life, Paul Richards, in October 1947, and they were married on April 18, 1948 (passing on the date that would have been their 74th wedding anniversary). Hilda and Paul were inseparable for the next 58 years until Paul’s passing.

Hilda is survived by her nephew Ronald Rau; niece Judy Puckett; nephew Jeffrey Schwartz; and her beloved grand- and great-nieces and nephews.

Hilda will be missed by her friends at the Sequoias, where she resided for more than 27 years, her family and the many friends she made over the more than 84 years she resided in San Francisco. Hilda was named the Sequoias’s volunteer of the year in 2015.

Hilda was known for her love of people, generous manner and communication skills. Hilda was employed by San Francisco–based clothing company Koret of California for 25 years, starting as an order clerk and rising to the position of director of merchandise distribution for the corporation. Following Paul’s death in 2006, Hilda once again showed her strength and indomitable spirit, spending the next 16 years living life to the fullest. Proving that age is just a number, Hilda traveled extensively, took up pottery and organized events at the Sequoias.

Hilda will be interred in a private family ceremony, next to her husband, Paul, at the Eternal Home Cemetery Colma. A celebration of Hilda’s life will be held at the Sequoias, 1400 Geary St., San Francisco, on Sunday, May 1. Hilda requested that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Sequoias or your favorite charity.

David Henry Schwartz

May 27, 1965–April 18, 2022

David Henry Schwartz, a resident of San Jose, California. David was a cherished son, loving brother, beloved nephew and caring cousin, who is gone from our lives much too soon.

David always brought a bright light and a mischievous smile with him to all those who knew and loved him. David is survived by his parents, Joel and Myrtle Schwartz; brother, Joseph Burton Schwartz (Michelle); nephews, Jason and Blake Schwartz; along with uncles, aunts and cousins.

Funeral services were held at Los Gatos Memorial Park, 2255 Los Gatos Almaden Road, in San Jose, CA. Donations in David’s memory may be made to Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga, CA 95070.

Sinai Memorial, S.F.