Obituaries | July 4, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Community Pulse - July 4, 2008


Robert Irwin Berger

Danville resident Robert Irwin Berger died June 6 at the age of 76 after a valiant fight with brain cancer.

He was born July 29, 1931, in Oakland where he was raised in Piedmont. He graduated from Piedmont High School and attended the California College of Arts and Crafts. He was a long-time member of Temple Beth Abraham.

He spent his career following in his family's footsteps as co-owner of California Furniture company in Oakland and owner of Fashion Furniture in San Leandro. He was interested in serving his community and held a position on the San Leandro Planning Commission in addition to running for City Council.

Since retiring in 1993, he and his wife Dena spent time traveling to many areas of the world, playing golf and tennis, and spending time in Palm Desert. A recent pleasure was his involvement at Westover Winery and his creative woodcarvings; he entered several items in the 2006 Alameda County Fair and was awarded blue ribbons.

He dearly loved his many years of fishing, boating, tennis and skiing at Discovery Bay; over 50 years of regular get-togethers with the "potluck group"; summers (in the 1960s) at the Lair of the Bear, Camp Gold; annual trips to Alaska with his fishing buddies; and his many years of competitive tennis at the Harbor Bay Club, Crow Canyon Country Club and Shadow Mountain.

He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Dena Berger; children Sharon Berger Kinkade (Randy), Sandy Berger, Steve Berger, Wade Dishman, Lyndon Dishman (Erika) and Jill Smyth (Bill); sister Geri Monheimer and brother-in-laws Jim Barnes and Lavoice Miller; four grandchildren; and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. He was predeceased by his sister Marlene Casper.

Services were held June 11 at the Home of Eternity Cemetery in Oakland. Donation may be made to the Berger Family Scholarship Fund at Temple Beth Abraham, 336 Euclid Ave., Oakland, 94610 or Hospice of the East Bay, 6500 Dublin Blvd., Suite 100, Dublin, 94568.

Betty Saylor Keller

Betty Saylor Keller, 92, a former resident of Danville, passed away peacefully at her home in Palm Desert on May 27. Her family was present.

She was born May 15, 1916, and met Glen Keller in Berea, Ky., while doing volunteer work for the war effort. They were married in 1945 and moved to Los Angeles in 1946 where they started a family. In 1959 they moved to the Bay Area where she was active in the retail community, and owned one of the first American handcraft gift stores featuring handmade items like Blenko Glass, and Russell Stover Chocolates. She retired to the Palm Desert area in the late 1970s, where she pursued an active interest in biblical scholarship.

She is survived by her son, Glen Keller Jr. of Palm Desert; her daughter, Kitty Keller of Oakland; and long time friend, Tobye Klug of Indian Wells. A memorial service was held at her home in Palm Desert on June 14. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to the charity of choice.

Sharon Zebrack

Sharon Zebrack, a resident of Danville, died June 10 at the age of 66.

She was born June 29, 1941. She was a graduate of UCLA and former owner of Sharon's Auto Sales in Monterey. She was the beloved mother of Sara Delphine and Lisa Zebrack, sister of Art (Liz) Spander and aunt of Debbie and Wendy.

Services were held at Home of Eternity Cemetery Chapel in Oakland. The family requests donations in her memory to Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville 94506.

Gary L. Muscadine

Gary L. Muscadine, a resident of Danville, died June 7 at the age of 65 after a heroic fight against T-cell lymphoma. The family thanks the oncology staff at Walnut Creek Kaiser for their care during his last days.

He was born Dec. 5, 1942. He began his career in the Oakland Scavenger Co. and then went into the retail liquor business with his uncle. He was a member of the Colombo Club for 20 years.

He was guardian of the Iron Horse Trail and walked six to eight miles on it daily, meeting many friends and sharing experiences with his acquaintances. He also picked up litter on the Trail and asked others to help.

When his health worsened, he walked the complex where he lived, right up until about one month before he died and was joined by friends from the Trail who missed him.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 21 years, Maureen, two children from a previous marriage, Gary and Michael, and several grandchildren.

Interment was at St. Mary's Cemetery in Oakland. Donations are appreciated to the American Cancer Society, Blue Star Moms of Danville, or the charity of choice.

Robert Gehrmann

Robert Gehrmann, a resident of Danville, died June 12 at the age of 71 after a long struggle with heart complications.

He was born Jan. 4, 1937. He grew up in San Francisco in the Excelsior District and was a graduate of Balboa High School. He worked many years in the meat industry. He resided in Danville for the past 40 years.

He was a beloved husband to Mary for 51 years and loving father to Lori. He will be dearly missed by his brothers and sisters-in-law and 15 nieces and nephews.

A vigil service was held June 17 at Wilson & Kratzer, followed by a Mass the next day at St. Isidore Church in Danville and a reception. Interment was private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the heart or diabetes foundations.

Irene Fee Smiley

Irene Fee Smiley, a resident of Diablo for more than 40 years, died June 8.

Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1922, she was the beloved wife of the late Robert R. Smiley for 40 years. She is survived by her son, Brian R. Smiley of Palo Alto; daughter-in-law Amy; three grandchildren; two stepsons, Robert R. Smiley III and Malcolm J. Smiley and their wives, Luanne and Barbara.

In accordance with her wishes there was no funeral. Contributions in her memory may be made to St. Anthony's Dining Room, 121 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco 94102.

Dorothy Tornheim

Danville resident Dorothy Tornheim died June 11 at the age of 94-1/2.

She was a native of Chicago. She moved to Pittsburg, Calif., in 1941, then to Rossmoor in 1974, and resided at the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville for the last five years.

She and her late husband William owned and operated the Antioch Men's and Boy's Store for 29 years. She was a founding member of Temple Isaiah and B'Nai Israel in Rossmoor; a lifetime member and past president of Hadassah and B'nai Brith Women; member of ORT, Contra Costa JCC, and NCJW; plus an avid bridge player and member of many Rossmoor dance clubs.

She was the loving mother of Mark (Bonnie) Tornheim and Tina (David) De Stephen; devoted grandmother of five and great grandmother of two. Services were held June 13 at Oakmont Memorial Par in Lafayette. Donations can be made to Temple Isaiah and Congregation B'nai Tikvah.

Milton C. Gelling

Milton C. Gelling, a resident of Danville, died in his sleep May 20 at the age of 93.

He was born Dec. 9, 1914, in Detroit, Mich., and he lived in the Bay Area for 83 years. He served in the military for four years during World War II, and worked 30 years for Pacific Telephone Co. He was a member of the Lutheran Church, Tel. Co. Pioneers, Retired Tel. Men's Club, organists' associations and Valley Spokesmen Bike Club. He enjoyed golfing, traveling and photography.

He is survived by his stepsister Carolyn Zimmerman and her children, and nieces and nephews. Family members gathered to remember him. The Neptune Society in Walnut Creek carried out his requests.

Scott Alan Rogers

Alamo resident Scott Alan Rogers died June 15 at the age of 17, two days after he graduated from Monte Vista High School. He had planned to go to Chico State in the fall.

He was born Aug. 2, 1990, and left an indelible legacy of humor, compassion and service. His senior year was the exclamation point on his time at Monte Vista, as he was Co-Rally chairman, Homecoming King and April's entry in the "Mr. Mustang" competition, where he won the talent portion.

He loved the outdoors and spent as much time as he could hunting or target shooting with his family and friends. He also enjoyed coaching and umpiring Little League baseball.

He is survived by his parents, Ken and Pam Rogers; his older brother Will; his grandmother Virginia Smith; aunts Linda Hammer, Yvonne Peter and husband Friedhelm, Linda Barnwell and husband Stan, and uncles John Menges and wife Janet, Rich Rogers and wife Judy, George Meamber and wife Tammy, John and Margie Erman, and Rick and Nancy Muto. He is also survived by his loving cousins, Ray and Chris Hammer, John and Alison Menges, Jeff and Carolyn Barnwell, Kyle, Blake and Dylan Rogers and Joe Erman. There was a celebration of his life at Creekside Community Church in Alamo. Donations can made to a memorial fund being established in Scott's name through Monte Vista High School.


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