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Death announcements for the week of March 31, 2023

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


Joan Constance Cole

Sept. 5, 1930–March 12, 2023

Joan Constance Cole
Joan Constance Cole

Joan (92 years old) passed away peacefully after a short illness on Sunday night, March 12 (20 Adar 5783). She had a long and wonderful life and found great joy spending time with her family and friends. She was a loving mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, wife, sister, aunt and friend to all who knew and loved her.

Joan was born in Detroit, MI, to Bessie and Morris Shwitzer z”l. She had two older sisters, Phyllis Plasco z”l and Diane Goldman z”l, and was always surrounded by her loving family and friends while growing up. She attended Central High School in Detroit and was a member of the glee club. In her mid-20s, Joan became the first person in her family to leave Detroit and move West to San Francisco. She worked hard as a paralegal, and later spoke about having wanted to go to law school — however, the family’s means were not sufficient for her to complete a college education though she had a tremendous aptitude for learning.

In 1960 she met Melvin Cohen of San Mateo at a Young Judaea dance at the Stern Grove Clubhouse (Trocadero). After their courtship, they engaged and married in Detroit followed by a large reception in San Francisco hosted by her in-laws, Ethel and Leonard Cohen z”l of San Mateo. During her 20-year marriage to Melvin, Joan remained very close with Ethel, a relationship that would only grow in love and understanding and frequent family celebrations until Ethel’s death in May 1999.

Joan and Melvin had two children, Craig and Bruce z”l. The family lived in San Mateo and moved to Foster City in 1973. After both her sons were in school, Joan began to work with her husband at Melcoh Travel in Burlingame. Joan contributed greatly to the success of the business, originally focusing on accounting, but soon shifted to serve customers as a travel agent. Joan developed a strong desire to travel and always enjoyed meeting new people and having new experiences, including the exploration of arts and culture.

In 1984, Joan opened Redwood Shores Travel, which provided excellent service to the burgeoning Silicon Valley companies and professionals in the region. After her marriage to Robert (Bob) Cole z”l, she sold her business so that she and Bob could focus on travel, spending more time with their children and grandchildren, and volunteering in the local community. Joan was a long-time member of the Peninsula Humane Society and worked to protect animals and support their welfare.

Joan was an unequivocal advocate for her two sons, always providing unwavering support and unconditional love. She was always proud of her two sons and their families. Craig is a physician and professor at the University of California San Francisco, and Bruce was a physician’s associate and later a full-time artist before his death in May 2017.

Though Bruce’s death became Joan’s greatest sadness, she relished spending time with her three grandchildren — Naomi, daughter of Bruce and Palma Risler z”l, and Shana and Ari, children of Craig and Elin Cohen of San Francisco. She shared something special with each of her grandchildren. With Naomi she shared her love of the arts and, in particular, ballet. Naomi is graduating from UC Irvine this June with a dual degree of dance and criminology, law & society.

With Shana she shared her appreciation of fashion and style as a means to elevate one’s experience. Shana is a freshman at UC Davis studying the biological sciences.

Ari and his grandma connected on many levels, especially their interest in professional sports — including football, baseball and basketball, depending on the season. Ari is a junior at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco and an avid soccer player.

In her late life, after Bob passed away in 2011, she moved to the Peninsula Regent in San Mateo, where she lived for 12 years. She was an avid bridge player and continued to earn masters points until a week prior to her illness. She could often be found walking her dog, Dash, often with friends who also had pets at the Regent.

Joan had a rich social life and had friends she had known for many decades and friends she just made recently. Joan was very outgoing and continued to make friends into her 90s, demonstrating her warm spirit and desire to connect and support people through challenging and easier times.

Joan is survived by her son Craig and daughter-in-law Elin, her three grandchildren, Naomi, Shana and Ari, plus nieces, nephews and many, many friends. Her family will miss spending time with mom/grandma, sharing Shabbat dinners, and enjoying traveling to far and near places.

Zichrona l’vracha — may her memory be for a blessing.

The funeral was held on Wednesday, March 15 at The Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, in Colma, and shiva was held at Craig and Elin’s home in San Francisco.

If you wish to make a donation in memory of Joan Cole and her son, Bruce Cohen z”l, please consider a gift to The Bruce Geoffrey Cohen Memorial Fund in Art Practice at UC Berkeley or to Congregation Beth Sholom.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636


Haya Rachel (Greenberg) Fried

July 19, 1930–March 17, 2023

Haya Rachel (Greenberg) Fried
Haya Rachel (Greenberg) Fried

Haya Rachel (Greenberg) Fried, BA, MA, MA, Ph.D., left us on March 17, 2023. She is mourned by her husband Louis, her children Ron Fried, Eliana Frank and Gil Fried, their children and her many friends.

Haya was born at her parent’s home in Jerusalem, Israel on July 19, 1930 and received her primary school education at Alliance Francaise in Jerusalem.

She received her BA in French Culture in 1956 from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, her first MA in Theater Arts from the University of California in Los Angeles in 1959, her second, an MA in Education in 1960 from the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, and her Ph.D. in Education and Communications in 1981 from Stanford University. Haya was the last born of seven siblings and the first in her family to earn a secular college degree.

Haya Rachel (Greenberg) Fried
Haya Rachel (Greenberg) Fried

Haya came to the U.S. as a foreign student intent on returning to Israel after graduation with a master’s degree. She did return to Israel, but soon after was pursued by Louis, who convinced her to marry him. Haya’s father, a rabbi, officiated at their marriage in Israel in 1961, whereupon they took up married life in Los Angeles.

After working in television program production, she moved on to a career in education. Haya was fluent in Hebrew, French, Spanish and English, as well as familiar with two other languages. Among other accomplishments, she wrote a radio series for foreign students who planned to study in the U.S. The radio series, done for her UCLA master’s thesis, “The International Student Mailbox,” was recorded and broadcast in several countries.

Haya was key in provoking Louis’ education and subsequent career in computing and operations research. Ultimately, they moved to Palo Alto, CA in 1975 and remained there.

After receiving her Ph.D., Haya taught at Stanford, Foothill College, Congregation Kol Emeth and at a Northern California branch of Elderhostel.

She and her family remained members of Kol Emeth, where she had been instrumental in women’s influence in religious practice.

Haya made friends easily and they remained friends. She will be sorely missed.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636


Ruth Opper

May 21, 1925–March 13, 2023

Ruth Opper
Ruth Opper

Ruth Opper died quietly on March 13 at her care facility where she was known for her gracious smiles. She was born Gertrud Ruth Friedmann in Vienna, Austria. Shortly after Kristallnacht in 1938, she escaped to England on a train along with other Jewish children in the Kindertransport program. She moved to the United States in 1940 and, after time in N.Y. and Chicago, moved to San Francisco. In 1948, she met artist Jerry Opper and married him three weeks later. They remained inseparable until his death in 2014.

She worked various clerical jobs, including at radio station KPFA, as a sheet music wholesaler and at the Academy of Sciences library. After retirement, she volunteered at Project Open Hand, the Jewish Bulletin and the Strybing Arboretum library.

Before dementia robbed her abilities, she enjoyed reading, baking, long walks, travel, museums, classical music, volunteering for liberal causes and spending time with family, especially with her beloved Mr. O.

She is survived by daughters Jody Opper Reiss and Erika Opper (James Horton), granddaughter Naomi Opper Horton-Vienna (Rocco) and great-granddaughter Lucy Vienna.

Thank you to Daisy Dizon and her caregiving team as well as to Dr. Daniel Pound for their compassionate care. Remembrance donations may be made to S.F.-Marin Food Bank. Memorial gathering was held March 26.


Scott Schlesinger

March 26, 1957–March 16, 2023

Scott Schlesinger
Scott Schlesinger

On Thursday, March 16, 2023, lifelong Bay Area resident Scott Schlesinger, 65, passed away with loved ones by his side. Scott was passionate about baking for family, friends and his community. His delicious cookies were exceptionally beloved, winning first place at the San Mateo County Fair. He was a diehard Bay Area sports fan, held Warriors season tickets, and began each day studying the sports section.

Scott loved music and attending concerts with his wife Irene, especially the Grateful Dead and RatDog. He traveled with his friends, played poker, tended to his vegetable garden and pitched for his softball team.

He worked at San Francisco’s Mission Jewelry and Loan for over 30 years. Always fun to talk to and hang out with, to know Scott was to adore him.

He is survived by a loving wife, daughter, two sons, two sisters and a large extended family. Per Scott’s wishes, no funeral will be held. In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations may be sent to the B’nai Brith Youth Organization, a local animal shelter or food shelter. May his memory be a blessing.


Robert (Hershel) Warwick

Sept. 23, 1926–Oct. 27, 2022

Robert Warwick, a loving husband and father of two, passed away at age 96 after a long illness. He was born in San Francisco on Sept. 23, 1926 and died on Oct. 27, 2022. He was born to Mayar and Miriam Goldberg, the second of five children, and was raised in Oakland, Calif.

He attended Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, New York, and went to the University of California in Berkeley, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology. He received a master’s degree in art education from the California College of Arts and Crafts and a teaching credential from California State University Hayward. He earned a degree in horticulture and landscape from Merritt College in Oakland.

Robert was a philanthropist and supported the San Francisco Foundation, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU and many other charitable foundations. Robert had a teaching career and taught in Orinda, Calif., and then went on to another career in commercial real estate.

Robert was a member and past president of the Montclair Greater Oakland Democratic Club. He was also a long-time member of the Great War Society and served in many positions.

Robert and his wife Shirley were active members of Temple Sinai for many years, attending Torah study groups, book clubs and other activities through the temple.

Robert had many varieties of interest and enjoyed gardening and travel.

Robert was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who leaves his family with many special memories because of his fine character, his loving kindness, his upstanding ethical nature and his devotion to his wife Shirley.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mayar and Miriam Goldberg, and his dear brother Benjamin Warwick.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley; his daughter, Dr. Susan Warwick; his son, Steven Warwick; his sisters, Rachel Landis and Eve Gordon; his brother, David Warwick; three grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Robert will be sorely missed by his family and the wonderful friends who knew him and loved him very much.