Esther Hatoff

Esther G. Hatoff

December 19, 1918–

November 19, 2013

Longtime East Bay resident and Midwest transplant, Esther Gross Hatoff, passed away peacefully on November 19, 2013 with her children at her side. Born on a farm in a German-speaking community near Ann Arbor, Michigan, she moved with her family to nearby Saline in 1925. There, she excelled in school and graduated from the University of Michigan, Phi Beta Kappa. On completing her studies, she joined the psychology staff at the state hospital in Traverse City where she met her future husband, Alexander Hatoff, a visiting pediatrician in residence.

Their marriage in 1942 took Esther and Alexander to Richmond, California and the war effort at Kaiser Shipyards. There, Al served as Kaiser Hospital's first pediatrician. Ann Elizabeth was born in 1945, followed by David Edward and Brian William. During this period, many lifelong friendships were forged in Berkeley, Oakland, Piedmont, Walnut Creek, and Alameda, many of which continued to Esther's death just before her 95th birthday. After her children were in school, Esther attended CSU, Hayward (now East Bay) to earn a Master's degree in psychology. Thereafter, she would serve as a psychologist for Oakland Public Schools.

Passionate for the underdog, Esther supported equal rights for all and tolerance for individual beliefs-values she instilled in her offspring. Her life blended modernity and tradition. A person who savored reading The New Yorker, traveling the world, exploring ideas, and discussing a wide range of topics, she delighted in friends and family, serving meals they appreciated and entertaining with flair.

Esther found her greatest joy in time shared with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Daughter Ann (John Hammerman); son David (Julie Hatoff); son Brian (Linda Reynolds); grandchildren Megan, Alison, Jillian, Quinn; and five great-grandchildren will miss her deeply and strive to live her legacy.  Esther was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Bertha Gross, and her sister, Ruth Marion, and her husband, Alexander Hatoff.

The family suggests donations in Esther Hatoff's memory be made to the Salvation Army, St. Anthony's Foundation, or any organization providing for children.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 1, 2013