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Death announcements for the week of April 28, 2023

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

Dr. Myrna Lea Osoff Goodman Ph.D.

May 4, 1942–Jan. 5, 2023

Dr. Myrna Lea Osoff Goodman
Dr. Myrna Lea Osoff Goodman

Dr. Myrna Lea Osoff Goodman, Ph.D., 80, Professor Emeritus Sonoma State University, passed away peacefully on Jan. 5, 2023, surrounded by her family.

A longtime resident of Glen Ellen and Sonoma, she is survived by her wife of 49 years, Susanne Otteman, their children Susan Gorman, Leeanne Hall, Julanne Lorimor, Stephen Goodman, and Leslie Dakroob, and their grandchildren Ben and Harry Gorman, Cameron and Caitlyn Hill, Lauren and Westley Hall, Elliott and Carden Goodman, and Vanessa and Carson Dakroob.

Born on May 4, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, to Sam and Florence Osoff nee Gordon, Dr. Goodman graduated from Sullivan High School and matriculated to the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana until she married and moved to California.

In mid-life she completed her education, earning a BA in Sociology from Sonoma State University in 1988. She then completed a Master’s (1990) and Ph.D. (2002) in Sociology from the University of California at Davis. Her dissertation, “Resistance and Rescue: German-Occupied Denmark 1940-1943: Ideology, Politics and Culture” (2001) contributed significantly to the firmament of scholarship documenting the unique response of the Danes to the threat placed upon Jewish citizens by the Nazi regime in German-occupied Denmark during WWII.

Appointed as an adjunct professor at SSU in 1990, Dr. Goodman taught Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Counseling prior to her tenure-track appointment to full professor.

Dr. Goodman served as Director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide as well as Chair of the Holocaust Study Center Faculty Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2012. Her leadership led the Center to national significance, exposing thousands of students to a deeper understanding of this chapter in history. As Coordinator of the Holocaust & Genocide Lecture Series from 1997 to 2012, she also helped give voice to and create lasting connections between SSU and the community of genocide survivors, both locally and across the world.

Her many awards follow:

  • 1986-87, The Associated Students, SSU Student Resource Center, and the Student Club Action Network Award in Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to Student Life through Leadership in the Women’s Union.
  • 1988, Sonoma State University recipient of the Ambrose Nichols Presidential Scholarship for Distinguished Academic Achievement.
  • 2006, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey Certificate of Special Recognition to Dr. Myrna Goodman and the Center for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide, for Increasing Awareness of the Holocaust and Honoring the Survivors of Nazi Tyranny.
  • 2008, Faculty Emeritus Status, awarded by Sonoma State University in Recognition of Distinguished Service to Students and Colleagues.
  • 2008, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey Certificate of Special Recognition of Distinguished Alumni Faculty Award-Sonoma State University.
  • 2008, California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition of Distinguished Alumni Faculty Award-Sonoma State University.

Notably citing the proposal “inspirationally” crafted by Dr. Goodman and others, in 2009 the Anne Frank Center USA together with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam chose Sonoma State University’s Holocaust & Genocide Memorial Grove to receive one of only 11 saplings grown from the horse chestnut tree that lived outside Anne Frank’s family’s Secret Annex.

Motivated by her deeply held commitment to creating a vibrant educational understanding of the prevention of genocide, Dr. Goodman devoted her time and energy generously and without regard for personal recognition. It is an accomplishment reflective of the most authentic parts of who she was: given in service to others that we may all understand what it means when we say, “Never again.”

Beginning with the shifts created by the civil rights movement and second-wave feminism, she was a trailblazer for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights. Her children and grandchildren continue to be inspired by her legacy of brave choices and are fundamentally shaped by her belief in equality for everyone, including income, marriage, and opportunity.

Her passion for good cooking was equally matched by her skill as a cook. An avid collector of cookbooks, she was broadly interested in how food functions in cultures across the globe. She was an avid and prolific reader across many genres and especially loved Scandinavian mysteries.

We imagine that her spirit’s repose includes plenty of sunlit rooms full of rows and rows of “what I call” books, where the sound of the Los Angeles Women’s Community Chorus sings in the background, and where the shoes and butter are always Danish.

For our part, we celebrate the hope she left in her wake and honor the legacy it inspires, but no less than we cherish the person our Myrna, our Mom, and our Grandma Moo was to her family, students, and friends. She was friendly in ways that showed you what true friendship was. We who have experienced this consider ourselves truly lucky that she was our biggest fan.

We will miss her so very, very much.

In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations be made to the Center for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide at Sonoma State University, 1801 East Cotati Ave. Rohnert Park, Calif. 94928-4151.

Ralph Mead

May 16, 1932–April 11, 2023

Ralph Mead, of blessed memory, passed away suddenly on April 11, 2023. He was 90.

Ralph was a native of New York City and grew up in Brooklyn during the cultural

Golden Age. He attended Forest Hills High School and his beloved Meadowbrook Camp, before graduating from Yale, serving in the army and then attending law school at Harvard.

Ralph moved with his wife to California to study city planning at UC Berkeley and was a longtime member of Beth Shalom in San Francisco under Rabbi Saul White.

Ralph served San Francisco as an attorney in various capacities–city planning, Air Pollution Control District and as an environmental attorney–before moving with his wife and two daughters to Marin. Ralph was a connoisseur of both film and classical music. He will be deeply missed.

A memorial will be held in mid-May. Please contact [email protected] for details.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636

Marcel Schurman

March 2, 1926–Oct. 2, 2022

Marcel Schurman was born on March 2, 1926, in Zurich, Switzerland. Marcel left us on Oct. 2, 2022, and is interred at Gan Shalom Cemetery, Briones. Marcel attended high school in Switzerland. He was the founder and owner of the Marcel Schurman Company, which opened in 1950. His interests included sculpture, swimming, studying French, and his family.

A resident of Berkeley, he is survived by his wife, Margrit Schurman, and children Michele Ross (Petaluma), Philip Schurman (Berkeley), Kim Schurman (San Francisco), and Dominique Rhodes (Orinda).

Marcel also leaves 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Marcel was preceded in death by his parents, Israel and Mina Turkavka, brother Rafael Kafka, and sister Ann Edwardson.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636