Irvin Pressman

Irvin "Ernie" Leonard Pressman

Irvin "Ernie" Leonard Pressman died Peacefully on September 9, 2013, in the presence of his children. He was 87. He is remembered as a devoted husband, a loving father, and a generous friend.

Ernie was born on November 24, 1925, in San Francisco. As a young boy, he moved with his family to Oakland, where he worked in his uncles' Jewelry shop during the depression. As a teenager, he met his future wife, Annette, at Temple Sinai. Ernie frequently spoke of Annette, whom he cherished, as his best friend. The two were happily married for 65 years.

When he graduated from Oakland High School in 1943, he enrolled at UC Berkeley. But his studies were interrupted by World War II. In 1944, Ernie was sent to Europe with the 398th infantry regiment. He marched through France and Germany as a heavy machine gunner and a sharpshooter. For his bravery in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

After the war, Ernie intended to study optometry, but his father-in-law, Charlie Spats, coaxed him into the family dry cleaning business. Ernie spent over 60 years as a leader in the industry, first as an executive with Payless Cleaners and Marshall Steel, and later as the beloved owner of Dollar Cleaners in Oakland and San Leandro.

Ernie's thoughtfulness earned him a devoted family and loyal friends. They called him "Captain E," in reference to his love of Salmon fishing in the Pacific. He played a weekly game of bridge with the same three friends for over 50 years.

He loved a good story. He commonly told of his role in bringing Levi's prewashed jeans to prominence in the 1970s, inspired by his sons' attempts to attain the desired look by leaving their pants in a chlorinated pool. He won a contract to wash 100,000s of jeans after he showed up to a meeting with Levi's executives dressed head-to-toe in prefaded clothing.

He is survived by his wife Annette; his three children, Scott, Stuart and Stephanie; his two daughters-in-law, Jona and Leslie; his six grandchildren, Eric, Andrew, Daniel, Jacob, Chloe and Sadie; and his great-grandson, Emmett. He is also survived by innumerable nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends who he loved.

As per Ernie's request, there will be no funeral.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 11, 2013