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Roni Peskin Mentzer Age 68, died July 3, 2013 after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer. She will be greatly missed by her many friends and family who cherished her radiant smile, infectious laugh, and warm personality. Her adventurous spirit led her to explore many of the the more exotic regions of the world such as Bhutan, India, China, New Guinea, Egypt, Morocco, Madagascar, and Tanzania, as well as more frequently visited but equally fascinating destinations, both here and abroad. Her wonderful artistic sense was expressed through her multimedia fiber art creations, through the beautiful sanctuary she made of her home, and, most particularly, through her garden of succulents. As a longtime friend said "Roni lived life, loved life, and especially loved her life." Roni was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up there. At Madison High School she excelled, serving as class vice-president, becoming captain of the cheerleaders, and playing the lead role in the school play. She then graduated from Brooklyn College, married her first husband, Mitchell Goldstein, and taught kindergarten in New York, Denver, and ultimately in the Bay Area. Her daughter, Candice, was born in 1969. She studied decorative arts at the New York School of Interior Design and, with her cousin, designed a number of dental offices in the New York City area. The family moved to Santa Cruz in the 1970s. Roni became divorced in 1979 and not long afterward moved to San Francisco where she took a job in the sales department of the Fairmont Hotel, working to bring corporate clients to the hotel. In 1983, she took a 6 month trip around the world with a friend, which whetted her lifelong interest in travel. On her return, she developed a career in office design, working with the Advent Furniture Company to create new quarters for Birkenstock, Austin Knight Advertising and other local companies. In 1992 she married William Mentzer M.D. just prior to initiating treatment for breast cancer. They were together until her death, and while the specter of cancer loomed over them periodically, for the most part they were able to ignore it. The disease focused their attention on making the most of each day, and in that way made their life together richer and brought them closer together. Roni and her husband shared many interests including tennis, golf, and swimming as well as reading, travel, and friends. In her later years, Roni became an activist, supporting increased research to understand the origins of breast cancer. She was an early member of Marin Breast Cancer Watch (now Zero Breast Cancer) and ultimately became chairman of the board of that organization. She and her husband played a role in the renovation of the Lark Theater in Larkspur and she subsequently served on the board of the Theater. Roni's artistic temperament flourished after her retirement in 1992. Her fiber-art works were shown in many public exhibitions. She won an award at the 2010 Marin County Fair as "best of show" for her full sized wedding dress made entirely of 2000 San Francisco Chronicle plastic bags woven together. In recent years, she was an active member in the Plexus Art Group, a group of local fiber-artists with similar interests. Roni is survived by her loving husband, Bill, her daughter, Candice, three stepchildren (Michaela, William, and Peter) three grandchildren (Maya, Emma, and Grayson), her brother, Steven, his ex-wife, Myrna, and their daughter, Susannah. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Donations in her honor may be made to the Hope Rugo Breast Cancer Research Fund at the University of California San Francisco or to Zero Breast Cancer in Marin.
Published in Marin Independent Journal from July 11 to July 17, 2013
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