Ann Judith Chandler: Served city with infectious smile

Ann Judith Chandler served on Berkeley City Council from 1984-1992

Update, Jan. 13, 2013: A celebration of the life of Ann Chandler will be held Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St, 1-3 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m., celebration, including songs, begins at 1:15 p.m. Refreshments will follow the program.

Original article: Ann Judith Chandler (Aug. 6, 1941 – Nov. 17, 2012) passed away peacefully at 9:24 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17. She is mourned by her children, Dr. David Eli Fish and Michael Paul Fish, her daughter-in-law Ami Fitch, her grandchildren Maalik and Noah Fish, her sisters Elaine Hoffman and Nada Chandler, her brother Dr. Joseph Chandler, as well as family members and friends from Rhode Island, Maine, Quebec, Massachusetts, Texas, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, Oregon, California, and Florida.

Ann was laid to rest on Wednesday, Nov. 21 in a family plot in Rhode Island.

Many Bay Area residents remember Ann as a compassionate public figure, dedicated to public health issues, particularly as concern the elderly and HIV/AIDS activism. She strove to see every side of an issue, both scientifically and emotionally, and to connect with and understand the people involved before choosing a course of action. Steadfast in her belief in civility and kindness, Ann determinedly maintained an open dialogue as she pursued what she saw as the best path.

Anyone who ever met her will remember her smile — open, loving, infectious, brilliant.

Ann was born in Bath, Maine to the late Irving and Marcia Libby (Petlock) Chandler. She graduated from Classical High School in 1959. She attended the University of Rhode Island, majoring in biology, and was a member of Sigma Delta Tau. She married Dr. Richard Fish in 1962 and transferred to the University of New Hampshire, graduating the following year.

The family relocated to Anaheim in 1965 and to Berkeley in 1969. Ann earned her Master of Science in Public Health from Cal-Hayward in the mid-1980s. She was the Director of the Public Health Laboratory of Alameda County for 25 years and retired in 2006. In her retirement, she worked for the California Department of Public Health as an Examiner for the Facility Licensing Division.

She served on Berkeley City Council from 1984-1992, sharing her compassion and communication skills to resolve local issues regarding economic and social justice. Additionally, she was an active member of many organizations during her 43 years in Berkeley, including: the Berkeley Public Library (Board Member); Berkeley Citizens’ Action (BCA—Board Member); National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) local and statewide; American Public Health Association (APHA); PD Active (Board Member); Community Conservation Centers-Berkeley Recycling (Board Member); Novartis Diagnostics (Board Member); and a Committee Member on Building a New Home for Health: LifeLong West Berkeley Capital Campaign.

She will also be remembered for her love of ginger cookies, red wine, music, theater, travel, gambling, Butter Brickle ice cream, and her benevolent mercilessness at games of Scrabble. She leaves a legacy for all those who knew her, including those multiple generations of family and friends who shared her home and her heart as they passed through Berkeley to find their place in the world. Ann Chandler changed for the better everyone she touched.

Ann requested that any donations in her honor be given to the PD Active Group (helping people impacted by Parkinson’s disease in the Oakland/Berkeley region), or the Berkeley Public Library. A celebration of Ann’s life is being organized for January 2013.

Berkeleyside is always honored to publish, at no cost, obituaries of members of the Berkeley community. Please email text and photo(s) to

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  • AnthonySanchez

    I know i’m not supposed to comment anymore on Bside, but I think Jesse will forgive me on this one.

    This is so sad! She lives just done the street on Cedar. My heart goes out to her family this Thanksgiving, but I’m sure they will be thankful for the amazing life she lived.

  • Stephanie Allan

    Ann was my Council Member and friend.  She was truly representative of what was best about Berkeley.  RIP Ann. We’ll miss you.

  • guest

    Berkeley Citizens Alliance = actually Berkeley Citizens ACTION

  • Sdinkc

    I was Ann’s appointee to the Landmarks preservation Commission. Each year she hosted a potluck for all her appointees to Berkeley’s commissions. I later understood that this is not a common practice, but these gatherings are my most memorable memory of being a commissioner appointed by Ann.  These gatherings helped us all realize how complicated running a city is–– how many issues must be dealt with. I am saddened so hear of her passing.  

  • Maha

    Thank you, Ann, for everything you taught me.

  • Sustainablemcleod

    I have heard and read about Ann many times over the past two decades, but never met her.  As I read this tribute to her, I felt a strong affection for her and for her contribution to the community!  Thanks, Ann!

  • Charles_Siegel

    I knew Ann, and I am very sad to hear about her passing.

    Here is a piece of trivia that most people don’t know.  She once told me that her family name was originally Siegel, but they changed it to Chandler when they immigrated to America.

  • Igor Tregub

    This is a tremendous loss to all of Berkeley. Ann left a tremendous legacy through her years of service to Berkeley and Alameda County, which cannot be replaced. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

  • Guest

    Simply put, Ann Chandler was the best. So warm, tolerant, and giving. The embodiment of a public servant. Smart, shrewd, and full of love and goodwill. 

  • Scott Becker

    I worked with Ann through her leadership in public health laboratories in California but also nationally. She was one of the first lab directors I ever met and her infectious smile and positive attitude won me over from the start. I was honored to know her and now see all the impact she made in Berkelely – what a legacy! Scott Becker, Executive Director, Assn of Public Health Laboratories, Silver Spring MD.

  • Barbara Hill

    Condolences to Ann’ family. I am so sad. I worked for Ann when she was a lab director. She became my mentor and friend. She was an example of integrity, strength and compassion. I carry with me today many lessons she taught me. She will always be remembered.

  • David E. Gilbert

    Ann was also founding board president of the former Berkeley Biotechnology Education, Inc. now Biotech Partners: