In Memoriam Ruth Callmann

Ruth Callmann, longtime member of B'nai Emunah

Ruth Callmann, longtime member of B'nai Emunah

Ruth Callmann Nov. 5, 1918 – Oct. 15, 2011.

Ruth Callmann was born in Berlin. Growing up in Germany she enjoyed the exciting life of a Jewish child before the reign of terror began there. Her memories are that she was a happy child with many friends and experiences that provided the grounding that served her well in the future. With her family she moved to Shanghai, China for refuge in 1940. Her passport from that time reflects the “J” that marked her membership in the Jewish faith. That membership was the bedrock for the remainder of Ruth’s life. In 1947, Ruth came to America and settled in San Francisco along with many others from the Jewish community in Shanghai. Shortly thereafter she took a position at Letterman Army Medical Center, where she served for more than 50 years. In addition to her duty position in the Legal Office, she was a leader in the program for Jewish personnel on the post. Ruth lived in an apartment in the Marina District and could walk to work at the Presidio. Ruth’s service for our government and service members lasted until the Presidio of San Francisco as a military facility was closed. From the time of her arrival in America, she has been an active, vocal, energetic, fiercely independent and opinionated member of Congregation B’nai Emunah. Apart from those she met, worked with, and served at Letterman, Ruth’s life revolved around the B’nai Emunah family. She led the march of the children at services, she served on the Board, she volunteered in the office, and she in general was always around to help and participate. Ruth loved the singing and the dancing, and the onegs. Ruth was an enthusiastic participant in the synagogue’s annual Rabbi Kenneth Zwerin Memorial Retreat in Sonoma. On several occasions Ruth went for a midnight swim in the pool there, even in the rain. She reveled in travel most recently to Israel and a return trip to China with fellow congregants. She loved children, good food, happy people, and an occasional martini or bottle of beer. Ruth was fun and embraced life, and that is how she will be remembered. Ruth served for many years on the Jewish Community Relations Council as the B’nai Emunah representative. She was particularly thrilled to be involved in the 2010 Jews in Shanghai exhibit at the Officer’s Club in the Presidio, where she happily led tours and gave interviews about her time in Shanghai Ruth is survived by her brother Erich, and his children, Clarissa Bencan, Luther Callmann, Eric Callmann and Ingrid Callmann. Ruth’s parents were George Callmann born in Poland and Edith Glaser Callmann who was born in Berlin.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at 10:00AM at Sinai Memorial Chapel, 1501 Divisadero St., at Geary, SF, followed by interment at Salem Memorial Park, 1171 El Camino Real, Colma.

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About Gabriele Lange

Multi Media Consultant in SF Bay Area WebDesign at City College 2008-2011 Professional Photographer since 1998 Lived in Berlin, Germany between 1987-1994
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4 Responses to In Memoriam Ruth Callmann

  1. Ruth Callman inspired loyalty in many congregants. The dedication of her friends were admirable.
    No blood relatives could do a better cluster of deeds. When we say Bnai Emunah is friendly
    this was an understatement. The love, duty and care of the congregants moving her possessions,taking her to doctor appointments, counseling her with end of life issues came
    so naturally to them. I am proud to be among such fine people…with you, through anything.
    Chaya Roberts, congregant

  2. Ruth Callman inspired loyalty in many congregants. The dedication of her friends were admirable.
    No blood relatives could do a better cluster of deeds. When we say Bnai Emunah is friendly
    this was an understatement. The love, duty and care of the congregants moving her possessions,taking her to doctor appointments, counseling her with end of life issues came
    so naturally to them. I am proud to be among such fine people..people who are.with you, through anything.
    Chaya Roberts, congregant

  3. Sharon says:

    We miss you, Ruth!

  4. I only just found this article, as I had mentioned Ruth in a recent posting on Facebook and decided to look her up. I worked just down the hall from Ruth at Letterman (I was the deputy Public Affairs Officer). She always had a smile on her face, and it was a real pleasure to have known her. Thank you for this beautiful memorial article.

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