Bernice Helen "Breazy" Rosenthal
1927 - 2021
Bernice Helen "Breazy" Rosenthal
July 21, 1927- January 9, 2021
Thoughtful and cheerful to the end, Breazy wrote in an email two weeks before her death "Do not fret, dear ones. I am an oldie and oh so lucky to be so and I have had a wonderful life!"

That wonderful life began in San Jose when she was born to Ida and Aaron Rosenthal. Her parents had met in Europe, after her mother had escaped a small village near Ukraine in 1918, fleeing ahead of Russian Army soldiers. They moved to San Jose in 1922 and a year later her father opened The Workingman's Store, "Outfitter to the valley's cowboys, hunters and working men." Breazy graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose and earned a BA in Political Science from Stanford University in 1948.

Besides exercising her sharp mind her entire life, she was also active in the world of sports. Breazy was a Yosemite Winter Club member and competed in the 1951 FWSA (Far West Ski Association) Giant Slalom Championships. During the VIII Olympic Winter Games at Squaw Valley in 1960, she was a Producer's Aide with the Olympic Radio Network. Tennis was another passion. Breazy was a Life Member in the California Tennis Club ("Cal Club"), where she also served on the Finance Committee.

She worked as a Media Director and Supervisor for local and national ad agencies in San Francisco like Campbell-Ewald and Lennen & Newell/Pacific. Accounts that she handled included Gumps, the Golden Gate Bridge Authority, Squaw Valley Lodge and Ski Area, Swissair, Chevrolet, Del Monte, and United Technology Corporation.

But determined to live that "wonderful life," in 1963 she decided it was time to embark on an extended tour (3 months) through Asia and the South Pacific, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Honolulu (including a ski-plane landing on the Tasman Glacier in New Zealand, among other exploits). She never regretted that decision. She returned to San Francisco enriched with a lifetime of memories and resumed her career in media at a new agency, with accounts like Bank of America, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Kaiser Steel, KTVU and the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.

On her resume, at the top of her list of references, was Walt Selover, her former boss. Years later, after Walt became a widower, their paths crossed again. In 2001, they decided to move in together at 2100 Green Street. They travelled to Italy in 2002 and were devoted companions until Walt's passing in 2010. Walt's children and their spouses became Breazy's family. Breazy's "step-children" include Norm Selover, Jodie Morgan, Nancy Selover and Tom Brightwell of Phoenix, Arizona and pre-deceased Craig Selover and Mike Schindler of Naples, Florida.

She was always curious and interested in her community and was an active member of several organizations. Ever a sports fan, Breazy was a member of the 49er Booster Club and Stanford Buck Cardinal Club. A few of the many arts organizations she supported were the Symphony Foundation, International Hospitality Center and National Center for Performing Arts.

At the 2100 Green Street Cooperative, Breazy is a legend. In December 1991 she moved in, and just over a year later, she joined the Board of Directors as Secretary. A great frustration of hers was being unsuccessful at eradicating the use, and ubiquitous spread, of bad grammar. For 22 years she served on the Board, "retiring" 3 times, only to be called back each time by popular demand. Breazy's passing engendered an outpouring of sadness from everyone around her who had the pleasure to witness her positive outlook on life, her smarts, her sense of humor and her dedication to her community. Over the years, Breazy inspired countless odes, lyrics, and works of art by co-workers, friends and neighbors. She will be greatly missed. But Breazy would soothe her mourners with the words, "Do not fret, dear ones… I have had a wonderful life." A celebration of life will be planned after the country heals. The family suggests donations to a charity of the donor's choice.

Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, 2021.
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3 Entries
I posted an essay on Nextdoor about my more than two decades with San Francisco artists Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen. I immediately got a response from a 93 year old woman who told me to call her Breazy. She went to college with Beth and met Mark when he was designing windows for Gumps.

I want to post Breazy's words here, to honor her: "Since there are few if any of us oldies still around, and it sounds as though you might be in need of some conversation about these special people, thought I’d check in with a private message. I’m from San Jose, when it was agricultural, when we came to the City to buy our clothes at I. Magnin's, in our hats and gloves, spending the night at the St. Francis. Then in 1948, moved to the big City, with roommates, one of whom shared a studio with Beth. I had a career in advertising and a wonderful life. We were friends all those years from the start of our careers."

Breazy and I had plans to get together after the pandemic. I was heartbroken when I called her number to find it disconnected. Accept my condolences from Breazy's newest friend. I wish she could have lived to be 100. I had lots I wanted to say and learn.
Robert Starkey
March 2, 2021
Tania Forte Massey
January 25, 2021
Carol Friedman Bennett
January 24, 2021
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