Death announcements for the week of Sept. 1, 2023


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

Donato D’Esopo

Sept. 23, 1928–Aug. 15, 2023

Donato D'Esopo
Donato D’Esopo

With heavy hearts and profound sadness, we announce the passing of a remarkable man, Donato “Tony” Anthony D’Esopo on Aug. 15, 2023, at the age of 94. Tony’s life was a testament to resilience, love, curiosity, learning, teaching, and the pursuit of knowledge.

He was born in New York City, N.Y., on Sept. 23, 1928, the first of three children of Dr. Donato Anthony D’Esopo and Elizabeth Berrien D’Esopo. He studied at Wesleyan and then at UC Berkeley for his graduate degree in applied mathematics.

Tony’s journey through life was marked by exceptional achievements and cherished connections. He was married four times. His final and enduring marriage was to his beloved wife, Marian Sagan, who stood by his side with unwavering devotion. Together they shared a passion for bridge, cooking and the symphony, and they created numerous memories through their travels around the world. In addition to his wife, Marian Sagan, Tony is survived by his children, Gina Black and Joe D’Esopo, four stepchildren, including Marian’s daughters Kathryn Layne and Debra Massey, and 11 grandchildren.

He was an exceptional mathematician who dedicated three decades of his life as a staff scientist at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and another three decades at Transportation Decision Systems (TDS). Tony’s intellectual pursuits were complemented by his love for social interactions, and he greatly enjoyed finding that camaraderie within his physics study group and the Congregation Beth Am reading group.

Tony converted to Judaism and found a deep sense of community, friendship, and purpose within its teachings. As a member of Beth Am, Tony regularly attended Torah study, chanted from the Torah, learned modern Hebrew, and actively participated in community events, sharing his warmth, intellect, and open-heartedness with all who crossed his path.

Donato Anthony D’Esopo’s memory will forever live on in the lives he touched, the wisdom he shared, and the love he bestowed upon all who knew him. May his legacy continue to inspire us to embrace curiosity and learning with the same fervor that he embodied. May his memory be a blessing.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests any donations be made to Congregation Beth Am at

Sylvia Simmons Prozan

A brilliant woman who broke barriers, Sylvia Simmons Prozan passed away on Aug. 15, 2023, of cancer. Sylvia had many careers during her lifetime — loving wife, caring mother, fierce attorney — but her first passion was journalism. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Sylvia became known as “the woman with the radio voice.” This was during the 1940s, when women’s roles were limited. Through the years, Sylvia would carve out a professional path full of accomplishments that exceeded the expectations of her gender.

In 1955, Sylvia earned a bachelor of arts in American studies from her beloved Barnard College, where she became interested in law and politics. Her initial opportunity in television came from NBC as a staff member on a series, “Producers Showcase.” The following year, she had her first political opportunity serving as the Southern California office manager for the Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign. She continued her higher education and obtained a master of arts in history from Case Western Reserve University in 1959, after which she assumed her first position in television as Cleveland’s weather girl, the first in Ohio and the second in the United States. Later, she had a segment on KQED’s “World Press” and then became a television newscaster on KNTV in San Jose where she interviewed luminaries such as Ralph Nader, Dolores Huerta, Yitzhak Rabin and former President Ronald Reagan and former first lady Nancy Reagan.

In the midst of her budding television career, Sylvia’s love for the law grew stronger. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1975 — at which point she was the oldest student in her graduating class at 42 years old. She practiced as a solo practitioner, setting up her law office in Burlingame, California, and serving clients until 1988. One legal case she took involving notice of a traffic ticket led to review by the United States Supreme Court. Sylvia also taught at the John F. Kennedy University School of Law. In retirement, Sylvia worked alongside her husband, Dr. George Prozan, for the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project. She first lent her skills as an interviewer and then as the chairwoman.

Sylvia Simmons Prozan will be remembered as a vibrant woman who enjoyed a good political debate, a great sale at Neiman’s, always dressing her finest, cheering any Bay Area sports team, hosting parties for family and friends, enjoying musical theater, and drinking a stiff martini with olives alongside her beloved George. She is survived by her spouse of 67 years, Dr. George Prozan, her four children, Michael Prozan and his wife Victoria Hamlin Prozan, Larry Prozan and his wife Esther Kestenbaum Prozan, Anne Prozan and her husband Gilbert Pierre-Louis, and Rebecca Prozan and her wife Julia Adams, and three grandchildren, Noah Prozan, Nicole Prozan and Marcel Pierre-Louis. A celebration of life will be held at Temple Beth El at 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, on September 1 at 11 a.m. Gathering and remembering Sylvia will follow at the Carlyle at 1450 Post St., San Francisco. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Sylvia Prozan’s name to the UC Berkeley Prozan Family Scholarship.

Gifts to the fund can be mailed to: University of California, Berkeley, Gift Services UDAR, 1995 University Ave., Suite 400, Berkeley, CA 94704-1070.

In the memo or gift notation, please reference, The Prozan Family Scholarship FW5360000.

Kenneth (Ken) Leroy Brownell

July 23, 1947–Aug. 7, 2023

Kenneth (Ken) Leroy Brownell passed away on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023.

Ken was born on July 23, 1947, in Watsonville, California to Homer (Brownie) Brownell and Sophie Brownell.

Much of Ken’s early life was dedicated to baseball, a sport he loved and which would have a significant influence on his life. Ken attended Mintie White School for kindergarten through fifth grade and E.A. Hall School for 6th through 8th grade where he was president of the student body in 8th Grade. He attended Watsonville High School where he was president of his freshman class and went on to star on the football, basketball and baseball teams. Upon graduation, Ken was drafted by the New York Mets in the 19th round (366 overall) in the first-ever Major League Draft. Following the draft, Ken and his father were invited to Candlestick Park to watch the Mets play the S.F. Giants. Prior to the game, Ken was led onto the field by Mets coach Yogi Berra where he threw a bullpen to Berra and was able to meet Casey Stengel (manager) and Giants stars Willie Mays and Willie McCovey. Though a professional baseball career was enticing, Ken ultimately pursued a college degree and was awarded a baseball scholarship to UC Santa Barbara, ultimately transferring to UC Berkeley where he was on scholarship for his junior and senior seasons. At UC Berkeley, he met Louise Blatteis, ultimately graduating with a business degree and then an MBA from Haas School of Business a few years later. Upon graduation, Ken and Louise were married at Temple Sherith Israel in San Francisco on March 2, 1974, followed by a reception at Lake Merced Country Club.

After working for PG&E as an analyst in San Francisco, Ken entered the real estate business, initially with Ritchie Commercial in San Francisco before joining his father in law, Samuel Blatteis at Blatteis Realty, where he would serve as president for the majority of his 40+ year career. Ken worked closely with his three brothers-in-law, David, Jonathan and Daniel Blatteis, and enjoyed the collaboration of working closely with family. Ken enjoyed the art of the deal and the many long-term relationships he created as a retail leasing and sales broker in San Francisco and was highly respected amongst his peers.

Ken and Louise settled on the Peninsula, initially moving to San Mateo, then Burlingame, before Hillsborough where they raised their four children (Jessica, Sam, Noah and Sarah). Ken was active coaching his children’s sports teams and serving on the board of the Hillsborough Schools Foundation.

Ken was an avid photographer and videographer and captured decades of family trips, sporting events, birthdays and special occasions. He was especially fond of editing his videos into “feature presentations,” which he would screen at Thanksgiving each year for the extended family.

Ken was also passionate about travel and in the several years prior to his passing traveled the world prolifically visiting South America, Australia/ New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Western and Eastern Europe and the Middle East for extended trips. He documented each trip with photos and interesting history and stories from each region.

Ken is survived by his four children, Jessica Brandwein, Sam Brownell, Noah Brownell, and Sarah Brownell, six grandchildren, Mila and Charlotte Brandwein, Hannah and Hailey Brownell, and Charlie and Max Epstein. Ken is survived by his younger brother, Robert Brownell, his nephew, Chris Brownell, and niece, Brandie Brownell. Ken is survived by his dear friend, Barbara Serafin.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636

Rabbi Morris Mordecai Hershman

Nov. 3, 1931–Aug. 24, 2023

Rabbi Morris Mordecai Hershman, age 91, passed away on Aug. 24, 2023. His family was at his bedside.

Rabbi Hershman, known to his family and friends as “Morrie,” was born in Chicago on November 3, 1931, and was raised in Phoenix. A talented musician, he led a successful dance band that played Jewish events and celebrations throughout the Valley of the Sun while attending Arizona State College.

Inspired by his teachers and following in the footsteps of generations of family clergy, Morrie enrolled in rabbinic school at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. There he continued to share his gift of musicianship, leading the school choir for two years. Morrie met Geraldine (Geri) z’’l, his beloved wife, in the summer of 1953 when he was the song leader and she was the waterfront director at Camp Union Institute at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Married in 1955, they shared 66 wonderful years until Geri’s death in 2022.

Morrie was ordained in 1957 and served as spiritual leader of Temple Judah, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Temple Beth Hillel, Richmond, California; Temple Sherith Israel, San Francisco; and Temple Solel, Woodland Hills, California.

For 25 years, Rabbi Hershman was the regional director for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations Northern California and Pacific Northwest Councils, growing the Reform movement throughout the West and providing guidance to congregants, congregations, and overseeing Camp Swig and later Camp Newman. He aided Raquel Newman in establishing Camp Newman, as the Camp Swig site could not support the expanding programming. He was committed to Jewish camping as an effective, informal avenue for Jewish education.

After his retirement from the UAHC, Rabbi Hershman and Geri enjoyed innumerable ocean voyages, where Morrie led Sabbath and holiday services and weekly discussions, and he brought his well-known sense of humor to the ship’s “Liars Club” program and Purim celebrations.

Morrie was dedicated to his family and is survived by his three children, Marc (Stacie), Amy (Sam), and Karen. He was proud of his four beautiful grandchildren, David (Meredith), Roni, Elana, and Jacob, and his great-granddaughter, Natalie.

He was caring and generous and will be greatly missed by family and friends. The burial service will be private.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to URJ Camp Newman via or to the charity of your choice.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636

Manny Hirschel

May 9, 1931–Aug. 18, 2023

Manny Hirschel of Roseville, California, passed away peacefully at his home with family by his side on Aug. 18, 2023.

Manny was the beloved father of Dana, Mark and Sandy Hirschel, father-in-law of Pamela Hirschel and Paula Dionisio, grandfather of Morgan (Ben) Thompson, Mikayla (Camarin) Stone, Sam, Saxon and Salinger Hirschel, and great-grandfather of River Stone and Reed Thompson and great-granddaughter-to-be, Lily Stone. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 55 years, Sharon. Manny is also survived by his older sister, Helga Ross.

Manny was a Holocaust survivor, having been born in Berlin, Germany, on May 9, 1931. After Kristallnacht, his parents, Sam and Leah, knew that they needed to leave Germany as soon as possible. After hiding for a time, they escaped to Shanghai in December 1938, one of the only places to accept refugees without documents. Manny lived with his family and 20,000 other Jews in the Shanghai Jewish Ghetto until the family was able to come to San Francisco in 1947. Though the conditions were difficult, Manny often said that he had a wonderful childhood and would not change anything. Through school, soccer and synagogue, he made lifelong friends in Shanghai that he cherished to this day.

After coming to San Francisco, Manny met the love of his life while working at the Bank of America. Manny retired from the State of California. A lifelong soccer fan, Manny was known as the father of youth soccer in Foster City. He and Sharon started a successful team supply business, H&H Athletic Team Supplies in San Mateo. They raised their family in Daly City and Foster City before ultimately retiring to Sun City Roseville.

Manny was very involved in his Jewish community. He was a founder of Peninsula Sinai Congregation of Foster City and was president of the Jewish Fellowship of Sun City Roseville. He was also very involved in the Sun City Veterans Club. He was an avid poker player and sports fan, especially soccer.

Manny will be interred with Sharon at Home of Peace Cemetery in Sacramento. Donations in his memory can be made to the charity of your choice, the United States National Holocaust Museum or the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.