Fran Rachel: A political activist and engaged citizen

By Susan Mirsky

Fran Rachel: May 19, 1917 -June 11, 2017

Fran Rachel was born in Irvington, NJ, in 1917, and left us in June 2017 after celebrating her 100th birthday with her daughter and friends at Strawberry Creek Lodge in Berkeley.

Fran was political from an early age, demonstrating in the 1930s to support dairy farmers whose livelihoods were threatened during the Depression by crashing milk prices, and sending letters to Soviet sailors moored in New York harbor.

Her political activism continued when she organized a monthly peace rally on the corner of Acton Street and University Avenue Berkeley.

She was a member of the Berkeley Gray Panthers and Grandmothers for Peace.

Fran’s maiden name was Frances Yetta Ginevsky. Her father was from Russia and her mother was born in the U.S. of Russian parents. She was the second of five siblings. Her first job was in a factory, where she was fired after one week for attempting to organize female workers. In the 1950s she was called in front of the Un-American Activities Committee because she was on a list of possible communists.

She moved to Berkeley at age 79 so she could be in a community of like-minded people.

Fran leaves her daughter, Susan Mirsky of Newton, MA, and son Michael Ormond of Minneapolis, MN; three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Fran instilled in her daughter the conviction that everyone has an individual responsibility to every living thing, especially those in need.

Condolences may be sent to Susan at smirsky7@gmail.com