June 15, 1946 - August 13, 2019
Andrea Saltzman died peacefully in her home early Tuesday morning, just over four years after her diagnosis with stage IV lung cancer. She was an accomplished lawyer, life-long social activist, and enthusiastic collector of all things giraffe. She is survived by her brother Selig Saltzman (Nancy), nieces Lisa and Allison Saltzman, husband Rick Marcus, and daughter Ruth Marcus.
Originally from Brookline, MA, Andrea graduated with honors from Bryn Mawr College in 1967. She promptly moved to Berkeley where she entered the University of California first as a graduate student in Sociology and then entered law school, graduating with honors in 1972. After clerking for the Supreme Court of California, she spent several years as a public defender in Monterey County where she often had to clear migrating butterflies from her green car before heading into work. She later worked for Legal Services in the Bay Area, taught at the University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and UC Berkeley. She was President of the Champaign County ACLU and was elected to the Illinois Citizens' Utility Board for her congressional district. In 1989, Andrea began a long career in municipal law, earning Appellate Specialist Status the first time it was offered by the Bar. During this time, she produced three editions of her book "Law in Social Work Practice" and numerous articles in scholarly journals.
Andrea was a force of nature with an infectious smile and a story for every occasion. She loved telling jokes, playing scrabble, and reading voraciously for various book groups and pleasure. She was also a tireless volunteer for such organizations as the Women's Cancer Research Center, Junior Center of Arts and Sciences, and the Women's Board for the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale. She demanded the best of everyone, especially herself, often spending days on end perfecting briefs. Without seeking leadership roles, she earned them through her character and natural presence. And when she was diagnosed with cancer, she intervened in a case to support of the California End of Life Options Act because she fervently believed in each individual's right to make such choices for herself. She was quoted in a court of appeal opinion in that case; it gave her great pleasure to know that her legacy is one of helping preserve the right to choose.
And the giraffes! Andrea began collecting giraffes when her daughter was young because she knew that any offspring of those parents would be tall. She wanted her daughter to know that tall is beautiful. Over the years, the collection expanded until it passed 800 giraffe items, including an 8 foot tall Steiff bought on Craigslist for $50. In 2017, she cemented her commitment to giraffes by dedicating a bench opposite their enclosure at her beloved Oakland Zoo. The inscription on the plaque reads: "A Zoo Haiku: Andrea Saltzman/ Collects giraffes of all kinds/ Now she has a bench." If you would like to donate in her memory, please do so to the Oakland Zoo.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15, 2019.