Death announcements for the week of Oct. 27, 2023
Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.
Sam Lincoln Ebersman
Sam Lincoln Ebersman died on Sunday, Oct. 22 in Orlando, Florida. He was 22. Sam is survived by his mom and dad, Michelle and David, and two brothers, Max and Theo. Sam’s life was tragically cut short when he was hit by a truck while riding a scooter.
Sam was born in San Francisco in 2001. He graduated from San Mateo High School in 2019. He was attending the College Internship Program in Melbourne, Florida, where he was enjoying making new friends and studying new subjects.
In his short life, Sam touched all who knew him. Sam was kind, sensitive, and quiet. And quirky. His antics and theories made others laugh. Case in point, bowling. He was not a great bowler, nor did he bowl often, but was convinced that if he had the proper ball, he could excel on family outings. So he went out and purchased a bright blue ball that he brought to lanes; it only improved his score by a few pins, but he did not abandon his optimism for future domination of family nights. Sam loved ice cream, but didn’t care for milkshakes. His favorite food was anything with octopus. He enjoyed well-timed memes – pictures from movies or TV to illustrate an emotion – and was an amateur creator of them. Sam lived for roller coasters, the higher and faster the better.
Sam made his parents laugh. His brothers looked up to him. His grandparents adored him. The highlight of his California grandparent’s weekends was Sam’s weekly visits on Friday night for Amici’s pizza. Sam could wolf down his pizza – and chocolate cake – in record time. All who saw the speed in which he ate were entertained, impressed and slightly puzzled. Sam devoted years to studying martial arts and self-defense with his teacher, and friend, Buddy Walker.
Sam was a gamer – he enjoyed many video games, but particularly all-things Mario. He even listened to the soundtracks of video games. He also built complex adult Legos of the Mario characters. He was a great cook and enjoyed preparing food for his family and new classmates in college. His specialties were fettuccine Alfredo and chicken parmesan.
Every December, the Ebersman family vacationed in Maui. Sam would spend hours each day in the ocean, body surfing or just letting the waves rock him back and forth. That was his happy place. Sam was a considerate, honest, and caring young man who will be missed by many.
Alan Hafter, DDS
March 20, 1938–Oct. 15, 2023
Alan Hafter, D.D.S., born March 20, 1938, died October 15, 2023. He is survived by Brian Hafter (Joanna) and Sandie Weinzimmer (Mike), children of Alan and Barbara Hafter; and grandchildren Talia, Joshua, Jake and Lexi.
Alan was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey and graduated from Atlantic City High School, Rutgers University and Temple University’s dental school. After serving as a dentist in the Air Force in Reno, he served patients for decades at his private practice in San Bruno.
He later worked as the box office manager at Hillbarn Theater and served his community through the San Bruno Lions Club.
Donations in his memory may be directed to:
- Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010
- San Bruno Lions Club, P.O. Box 242, San Bruno, CA 94066
- Hillbarn Theater, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, CA 94404
May his memory be a blessing.
Fred Lewis Karren
Oct. 17, 1936–Oct. 4, 2023
Fred Karren passed away peacefully in his sleep on Oct. 4, 2023.
Fred possessed an unparalleled capacity to be interested in people and for friendship. He cared deeply for people, and he positively affected countless lives and organizations. His interests were wide-ranging, particularly travel, and the visual and performing arts. He will be greatly missed by his family and his countless friends.
Fred was born in San Antonio, Texas. When he was 2 months old, he moved to Oakland, CA with his parents, the late Joe and Mildred Karren. He graduated from Oakland High School in 1954. He then attended UC Berkeley, where he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He earned a B.S. in business in 1958 and a B.S. in architecture in 1968.
In 1963, he was introduced to the love of his life, Beth Davis Karren. They were married in 1964 in Toledo, Ohio and enjoyed 53 wonderful years of marriage until Beth passed away in 2017. Their daughter, Leslie Karren, the apple of Fred’s eye, was born in 1967. In addition to a wonderful father-daughter relationship, they enjoyed working side by side in the family real estate business. Fred, Beth and Leslie enjoyed many family trips throughout the world and spending time in their vacation homes in Napa and Palm Desert.
He had an over 50-year career as an architect. Fred designed or remodeled many homes and retail stores throughout the Bay Area. He served on the Piedmont Planning Commission for many years and chaired it twice. His architectural expertise was called upon when realtors had a home to sell, and they would seek Fred’s advice on how the home could be remodeled to benefit the new owners.
Fred kept active until the very end. On his last night, Fred went to the opera, and had a nightcap with his daughter at her home, kissed her goodnight and said, “See you in the morning, and we will go for coffee.”
He enjoyed weekly bridge and dominos games with his friends. He was a big supporter of the arts. He had season tickets and supported the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theater and many other institutions.
He loved animals. He adopted his dog Bentley, an adorable terrier-chihuahua mix, in 2018. He encouraged his friends to do the same because so many dogs, especially senior dogs, need a good home.
Over the years, he was involved with many clubs and organizations. He was a member of the Pacific Union Club, the Family Club, Claremont Country Club, El Dorado Country Club, Marrakesh Country Club and Temple Sinai in Oakland. He had served on the boards of Sinai Memorial Chapel, Jewish Community Federation of the East Bay, Oakland Ballet, Oakland Symphony, Goodwill Industries and the 100 Club.
In addition to being survived by his daughter, Fred is survived by his sister Ann Karren Gitlis; his brother-in-law Sam Davis and his wife Joanne Cuthbertson; his nieces Sara Gitlis Schneider (Michael Schneider), Hadley Davis Reierson (Lee Reierson) and Carrie Davis (Michael Lebovich); step-niece Jennifer Thomas (Michael); step-nephew Alex Cuthbertson (Elizabeth Meriwether; and five grandnephews, two grandnieces, three step-grandnephews and one step-grandniece. He is also survived by many extended family members and friends. He was a loyal and great family member and friend.
A celebration of life will be held at Claremont Country Club, 5295 Broadway Terrace in Oakland on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland, CA 94609; San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., San Francisco CA 94102; or a charity of your choice. A private burial was previously held.
Jonathan Hugh Mann
Oct. 10, 1961–Aug.15, 2023
Jonathan Hugh Mann, historian, collector of political Americana, avid Lincoln scholar and documentary filmmaker, died unexpectedly on Aug.15, 2023.
Jon was born Oct. 10, 1961, in San Francisco, California. He is a graduate of the Cate School and Vassar College, where he earned a BA in history, writing his thesis on Nazi saboteurs who landed on Long Island during World War II. After graduation, he managed to track down and interview the last surviving saboteur. This youthful adventure as historian-detective drew on Jon’s investigative talent, persistence and innate curiosity about people and things, igniting a lifelong passion for gathering and documenting the stories and collections of ordinary people living extraordinary lives.
Temporarily putting his passion on hold, Jon moved to New York City to earn an MBA from NYU Sloan and to work in finance. In 1991, he created a PBS roundtable on business ethics, featuring luminaries including Walter Cronkite. But his interests lay in historic pursuits, interviewing and learning from others, finding and curating historic and political ephemera, memorabilia, antiques.
Much like his hero Abraham Lincoln, an autodidact, Jon taught himself archival skills, immersed himself in historical research, and became an expert in Lincoln and his era. Jon founded The Rail Splitter, an annual journal written by and for worldwide collectors of Lincoln artifacts and memorabilia. On the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, he curated, designed and built a popular exhibit on the president at Federal Hall in New York City.
Jon’s exploration of the adopted city he loved — he was a zealous walker and consummate New Yorker who could lead a tour of almost any corner of the five boroughs — inspired him to return to filmmaking. In 2010, he co-founded Provenance Productions and began producing documentaries. All have appeared on PBS, and many have garnered awards at film festivals. His films often highlighted people or places he discovered on his rambles. Provenance Productions’ first feature-length documentary, “The Oratorio,” focused on a historic church Jon regularly passed. It had been Martin Scorsese’s childhood parish, and Jon managed to charm Scorsese into narrating the film.
In addition to his writing, collecting and films, Jon leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the nation’s top Lincoln experts — a “walking encyclopedia” of everything about the 16th president.
Equally rich are indelible memories of Jon as an eclectic, charismatic, and consummately kind and generous friend. Small treasures he found while hunting for Lincolniana would turn up in the mail: a theater playbill or matchbook cover from your hometown; a 1920s guide to hosting ladies’ luncheons; a rare bottle of bourbon for a major birthday.
His singular, often outrageous, humor could hold any audience. Jon’s tales and pranks have become well-recited legend among friends and family: the time he ordered a pizza to be delivered just as he accepted his college diploma; or the fake historical association he created to convince a group of gauche newcomers to back off from trying to rename his neighborhood NoPeSta (north of Penn Station).
Jon lived fully in the present. No connection was too weak, nor relationship too circumstantial, to forfeit his interest or care. He believed every person and every historic object had a story to tell, and one way or another, he would probe until the stories emerged.
Any five-minute walk with Jon was likely to become an hour-long adventure, as he paused every 20 paces to strike up a conversation with someone he recognized, or whom he felt might be interesting; to explain the architectural provenance of any building — and to admire every dog.
In a cruel irony, Jon was taking one of his regular walks one August afternoon, chatting with passers-by, when a stranger approached and assaulted him, leaving him with injuries that led to his death.
Jon is survived by his father and stepmother, Bruce and Naomi Mann; brother Andrew Mann; stepsiblings Joshua Rattner and Jessica Rattner; niblings Uma Channer and Tobey Channer; and mourned by hundreds of friends whose lives he touched.
For information about a memorial celebration, or donations in Jon’s memory, please email: [email protected].
July 13, 1941–Oct. 3, 2023
Ellen Sandler was born on July 13, 1941, and passed away on Oct. 3, 2023 at the age of 82. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, and after spending many years first in New Rochelle and Scarsdale, NY, and then Foster City, CA, she was a resident of San Francisco, CA, for the past 20 years. She died of complications due to a stroke.
Ellen was born to the late Mark and Edythe Sandler. She is survived by her sister, Nancy Gavrin (David Gavrin); daughters, Barbara Cohen (Peter Zwerling) and Joanne Cohen (Michael Shapero); and her grandchildren, Jake and Sam Cohen and Talia and Avi Shapero — the lights of her life.
She graduated from Scarsdale High School in New York, and Wheelock College in Boston, and taught early childhood education before having children. She had a long and varied career, ranging from selling real estate to substitute teaching, marketing and sales, managing a podiatric office and leasing computers. She eventually used her myriad talents to launch her own business, ESP Meeting Minders, first as a conference and event planner and later to recruit, train and place meeting professionals in corporate and nonprofit settings.
Ellen volunteered widely, and served on many different boards and committees, beginning with her own childrens’ PTA. She was a board member at Peninsula Temple Beth El, Peninsula Civic Light Opera and Meeting Planners International. She was an active member of the Wheelock alumni association, Foster City Rotary Club and Jewish Singles Over Forty. Most notably, she chaired committees with the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary, the Caring Community at Congregation Emanu-El and San Francisco Village. During the pandemic, she joined forces with friends and neighbors to form a political action committee dubbed Turn the Tide, devoted to fundraising for social justice and progressive political candidates.
Ellen was known for her authentic warmth, quick wit, legendary organizational skills, direct communication style, and incredible memory for names, faces and details. She was a lifelong lover of ballet and Broadway musicals, international travel and July in Cape Cod. Ellen was fiercely independent, prioritized her family and friends above all else, and exemplified a life well-lived.
Donations in her name can be made at sfvillage.org/donate to the San Francisco Village, a nonprofit membership organization that connects older San Franciscans to the community, resources and expertise they need to live independently in the places they call home.