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Leonore Buchwald

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Leonore R. Buchwald

(née Reva Leonore Levitan) born June 10, 1920, in Evanston, Illinois, died November 30, 2013, at home in Aptos, California. A small memorial service, for family and close friends, will be held in late December. 

Born to Rose and Michael Levitan, she was raised in Chicago until the late 1920's. In North Hollywood, CA, where she grew up, her family resided in her father's neighborhood market, the only one not destroyed by the devastating floods of the 1930s. Leonore attended Hollywood High School and subsequently UCLA. She then transferred to UC Berkeley, where she graduated with Honors, in June 1941.

During college, she met her beloved Charles Buchwald (1919-1990), whose family owned and operated a locally famous bakery supply company. They married in June 1941 and remained married for nearly 50 years. Leonore was able to accompany Charlie, working in post exchanges, when he served in the US Army Air Corps in WWII. After the war, the couple happily lived out their days together in the San Francisco area.  

Leonore worked in the Buchwald family's commercial real estate business, J&R Realty, and was its President for many years. Following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the family's company donated a site for National Guard emergency food distribution and other recovery efforts.

Leonore was progressive for her time, as she encouraged her sons to seek their own vocations outside the family business. Today, Gerald is a California State Superior Court Judge (San Mateo County), and Alan is a Physician, practicing ER medicine and toxicology (Santa Cruz County). Leonore enjoyed a wide variety of interests and pastimes, including taking walks through the streets of downtown San Francisco, the symphony, Asian art and travel, golf, needlepoint, and anything and everything having to do with her five grandchildren. She was an avid reader of novels and perpetual student of history and politics. Special occasions that the family celebrated at Trader Vic's in San Francisco were a Leonore favorite.

Facing a decade-long illness, Leonore always displayed incredible patience, grace, courage, and a relatively light heart under difficult circumstances. The family is thankful for the heartfelt care Leonore received from her primary caregivers: Yolanda Moya, Marisol Ruiz, Teresa Mena, and Maria Mayorquin. She is survived by two sons – Gerald Buchwald, of Hillsborough, CA and Alan Buchwald, of Big Sur, CA; five grandchildren – Julie Buchwald, of Santa Monica, CA; Mike Buchwald, of Washington, DC; Joseph Buchwald, of San Jose, CA; Alexandra Buchwald, of Boston, MA; and Grant Buchwald, of Aptos, CA; as well as her first great-grandchild, Lukas Anthony Buchwald, age 21 months.

Contributions can be made payable to: the "Keck School of Medicine of USC"; memo line designate: "gift for Michael and Rose Levitan Memorial Fund." Send to: Molly M. Gervais, Director of Development; Keck School of Medicine of USC; 1975 Zonal Avenue, KAM 300, MC9026; Los Angeles, CA 90033.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 8, 2013
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