Tag Archives: Obituary
Stubbornly, Frederic Brunke, who died on Nov. 19, never learned to drive. Walking one end of Berkeley to the other with his signature hat and rucksack, Fred knew more people than most of us. In earlier years he carried a beautiful wooden Japanese umbrella to shade his delicate exposed skin from the sun. I learned of his death from a mutual friend — Fred was one of the first people we met when we moved to Berkeley in 1968.
Fred was a born bookman: owner of Myths & Texts next to the old Serendipity Books on Shattuck Ave. in the early 70s; small press publisher, Shaman Drum; even one of the early copy shop workers at Carbon Copy on Solano Avenue, next door to our Sand Dollar Books, where the newness of copy machines became a vehicle for making art late into the night. … Continue reading »
Frank Moore, June 25, 1946 – October 14, 2013, Berkeley, California
Frank Moore, shaman, performance artist, teacher, poet, essayist, painter, musician and internet/television personality, who had experimented in art, performance, ritual, and shamanistic teaching since the late 1960s, died on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 in Berkeley, California.
Moore is perhaps most well known as one of the NEA-funded artists targeted by Jesse Helms and the GAO (General Accounting Office) in the early ’90s for doing art that was labeled “obscene”. Frank Moore was featured in the 1988 cult film Mondo New York, which chronicled the leading performance artists of that period. He is well known for long (5-48 hours) ritualistic performances with audience participation, nudity, and eroticism. But he had also become well known for his influential writings on performance, art, life, and cultural subversion, for his historic influence on the San Francisco Bay Area music and performance scene, and, more recently, for his performance/video archive on Vimeo.com that has been viewed by over 7 million people worldwide. … Continue reading »
On Saturday, around 200 people gathered at Berkeley’s Cragmont Elementary School to remember Joe McClain, a much-loved art teacher who died of cancer Aug. 22. He was 58 years old.
Numerous speakers shared their memories of McClain at the event, including Cragmont Principal Evelyn Tamondong-Bradley, Cragmont After-School Program Director Sara Rosenfeld, and Cragmont’s Black History Program and co-creator of S.O.C.I.A.L. Dean Woods. Several Cragmont graduates, former administrators, current students and a parent also told anecdotes about McClain, who for 15 years ran the art program at the school.
“Oh my goodness, he was the most gregarious guy,” said his fiancée, Julie Anna Bautista, speaking to Berkeleyside. “Everywhere he went he had friends. He treated everybody in the same respectful, warm and compassionate way.” … Continue reading »
Sydell Lemerman: October 19, 1921 – August 16, 2013
Sydell’s journey started in Jersey City, New Jersey as the middle child of Isadore and Sadie Borsky, progressed to Berkeley, where she spent 52 years, and ended in Santa Monica where she moved to be closer to her daughters, Gail and Barbara.
We can tell the details of her life: she worked for the Federal government for almost 30 years, not even counting her work during World War II. At the USDA she helped administer food stamps, school lunches and free cheese giveaways for the Western Region. After she retired, she did what she had always wanted to do: retail. She worked at the Gudrun Sjoden store in Berkeley where she loved engaging with the customers and buying and wearing the product. She worked for her dear friend, Elaine Ensler, at Ensler Lighting for many years. She and Ray, her husband of 55 years, traveled with his walking group around Europe and she did volunteer work. … Continue reading »
Jeanne Howard, a resident of Berkeley for over 70 years, died on September 9 in Oakland.
A graduate of Berkeley High, Jeanne subsequently earned her bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley. She taught in Alameda County elementary schools for a number of years and, upon retirement, was an active volunteer in numerous community organizations, including Los Amigos de Codornices Park and Berkeley’s Humane Commission.
An avid hiker, she could be found on most days along the trails of Tilden and other local parks.
Jeanne is survived by her daughter, Suzanne Jones of Berkeley, and son, Tino Plank of Santa Rosa. … Continue reading »
Science education advocate and community volunteer Karen Marie Meyer died in her West Berkeley home on Wednesday, Aug. 14, after battling brain cancer. She was 45.
Karen graduated from UC Berkeley in 1991 and soon after began working with Dr. Isabel Hawkins of UC Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory. While at SSL and in partnership NASA, Karen co-founded and served as manager of the Sun-Earth Connection Education effort and the project manager for the Energy from the Sun project. Most recently, Karen worked as an education project manager for MAVEN, the spacecraft satellite slated to arrive on Mars in November 2013. … Continue reading »
Barbara Oliver, the founding Artistic Director of Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre and an instrumental figure in Bay Area theatre for more than 40 years, passed away peacefully from complications of a stroke on Monday at her Berkeley home. Her family was with her, as they have been throughout the duration of her recent illness. She was 85.
A veteran actress and director, Oliver co-founded Aurora Theatre Company in 1992 and was its Artistic Director until stepping down in 2004.
“Like many people in the Bay Area, my life has been irrevocably changed for the better by having met Barbara Oliver,” said Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross. “Little did I know that our initial meeting, a job interview 22 years ago, would take me, and hundreds of Aurora Theatre artists, staff, Board members, and patrons, on such a long and significant journey, one that will no doubt continue for many years to come. Trying to distill the legacy that Barbara left as founding Artistic Director is difficult, as she created such a vast foundation, but ultimately, I think that she instilled the belief that we should move forward and grow steadily with absolute integrity, and to show unequivocal fairness to all. Barbara not only preached these messages but personified them. It goes without saying that she was a talented actor, director, and teacher as well. Her passion was endless and she could inspire nearly anyone.” … Continue reading »
Berkeleyans are mourning the loss of Estelle Jelinek, who died April 22 at the age of 78. We republish this obituary, written by Becky O’Malley, editor of the Berkeley Daily Planet, where this first appeared on April 26:
Estelle possessed a fine intellect and considerable skill as a writer and editor, and she used these gifts on a wide variety of projects and causes, prompted by a strong social conscience and a kind heart.
Those of us who worked on the printed Berkeley Daily Planet remember with gratitude that she donated her time as a volunteer copy editor for many years. She believed in the importance of a free press, and acted on her belief by coming in on deadline days to help us get the paper out on time — or sometimes late at night — with a rare combination of precision and a sense of humor. In all the time that she was there, we had only one complaint about her work: from a guy who used to enjoy finding ludicrous errors in the pre-Estelle Planet, who said she’d spoiled his fun. … Continue reading »
David Morris, whose Bread Garden bakery on Domingo Avenue in Berkeley was the one of the first to offer fresh, handmade croissants and baguettes when it opened in 1973, died on April 3 of cancer. He was 65.
Morris, who operated The Bread Garden for 39 years, shut it down in 2012 because of dwindling sales. In the summer of 2012 he opened a similar bakery in Paso Robles to much acclaim and appreciation from the community.
“Amazing breads!” wrote one customer on Yelp! “Will certainly be going back often. Picked up a couple of goodies too. Yummy. Just what Paso needed!”
Morris bequeathed the bakery to his longtime manager, Sandy Luong, who lives in Emeryville. Luong had assisted Morris in getting the Paso Robles Bakery open.
“I do have full intention of keeping it open and seeing David’s dream of starting a new bakery in a new location followed through,” said Luong, who plans to commute back and forth between the Bay Area and Paso Robles. … Continue reading »
Les Blank, regarded by many as one of the best documentary makers in the country, died on Sunday at his Berkeley home. He was 77. The cause was bladder cancer, according to his son, Harrod Blank.
Blank lived in Berkeley for 35 years and his company, Flower Films, is based in El Cerrito.
His friend, Berkeley Councilwoman Susan Wengraf, described Blank’s films as “very, very full of life” and said he had a knack for getting people to reveal themselves. According to his former wife, Chris Simon, Blank did not think of himself as a documentarian, but rather as “a filmmaker whose work happened to be about real people.”
Many of Blank’s films, such as The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1970) and Chulas Fronteras (1976), focused on American traditional music and its cultural context. He covered the blues, Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, polka, tamburitza, and Hawaiian musics. … Continue reading »
Bill Bennett, the Principal Oboist with the San Francisco Symphony, who lived in Berkeley with his family, passed away on Thursday Feb. 28. He was 56.
Bennett suffered a brain hemorrhage during his performance of the Strauss Oboe Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall on Saturday Feb. 23, and never recovered.
“I am heartbroken by the tragic death of Bill Bennett, which has left a terrible, sad emptiness in the hearts of the whole San Francisco Symphony family,” Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas said in a statement. “Bill was a great artist, an original thinker, and a wonderful man. He was very generous with his attention and affection for his friends, colleagues, students, and audience members. We all experienced his sunny enthusiasm for music and life. I am saddened to have lost such a true friend.” … Continue reading »
James H. Clark, director of the University of California Press for 25 years (1977-2002), died on January 14 after a long battle with cancer. He was 81.
Jim Clark was born in Chicago on August 30, 1931, the son of James and Millie Clark. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War, went to college on the G.I. Bill, and graduated from UC Berkeley.
Clark had a lengthy and distinguished career in publishing, starting in 1960 when he began his life’s work as a sales representative for Prentice Hall in Northern California. Five years later, he was promoted to editor in the company’s New Jersey office. He acquired books in anthropology, sociology, drama, music, and art prior to his subsequent appointment in 1969 as editorial director of the College Division at Harper and Row. One year later, he was named the Division’s vice president and publisher. … Continue reading »
Webb Gustafson — surfer, cyclist, skier, adventurer, comedian, public transit enthusiast and man about town — passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, December 30, 2012.
Born in Kodiak, Alaska on June 2, 1989, Webb grew up in Berkeley and was known around town for his frequent power-chair trips down College Avenue and rides on BART and AC Transit. Webb graduated from Berkeley High and enjoyed taking French and bodybuilding classes at Laney College. … Continue reading »