Members We Remember

This is a page is a memorial for members who have passed – may they live on through their work!

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1c48a1aAL Levenson

AL (never Al) was an energetic and beloved leader of CWC-Berkeley, personally associating with the Club’s motto, “Sail On,” as a yachtsman, whose Write Angles column “A View From the Helm” provided an inspiring and welcoming message to members every month, and he inaugurated this blog. He left Alameda to travel the country in his “Land Yacht,” chronicling his adventures in his blog, A Year on the Road… which took him many years down the road, to the greatest adventure of all.

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Deb-at-BotanicalDeborah Susan Frisch

Deborah Frisch ran our 5th Grade Writing Contest for many years, and will be missed. During her time with the club, she published A Mango for the TeacherRunning the Beach and Running a School in Cancún’s Early Days about her adventures teaching English in Mexico.  Her blog is: Latinofile – ¿Qué Pasa? with author Déborah  Frisch

“A Mango” is a delicious dish…a memoir of dreams, hopes and learning….” — Rene Colato Lainez

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Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.22.49 AMCharlie Russell

Ebony magazine  recognized Charlie’s Five on the Black Hand Side as one of the ten best African-American films of all time. At the time of his death, Charlie was working on a historical fiction novel about Haiti.

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Wagele photo Elizabeth Wagele

We lost an amazing talent when Elizabeth Wagele left us, but she went out in style and prepared, having written The Enneagram of Death. Her books are a wonderful resource.

The Enneagram Made Easy  • Are You My Type, Am I Yours?  • The Enneagram of Parenting • The Happy Introvert  • Finding the Birthday Cake • The Career Within You  • The Beethoven Enneagram (CD) • The Enneagram of Death  • The Career Within You   (Psychology Today blog)  Enneagram…Exploring Your True Self  (blog) • The Enneagram for Teens

Most of her books were published by HarperCollins publishers on the Enneagram personality system. Reviews can be found on her web site under the titles of her books.

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Helen Madelyn Sullivan

Helen is the author of a Memoir, “Teaching In The Flatlands, A Three Decades Odyssey in Title 1 Schools.” obituary

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Marianne Ingheim Rossi

Was a member of our club in 2011. Article: What Feminism Means to Me on Left Coast Voices.

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Dorothy V. Benson 

A long-time member of the California Writers’ Club of Berkeley who served as Secretary for a number of years on the Club’s Central Board, passed away at age 93 as a Member Emerita in good standing.  Sheloyally attended the biannual CWC Writers Conferences and loved to attend the Annual Club Picnic at Joaquin Miller Park.

Dorothy was particularly active with poetry groups in the East Bay, namely the Ina Coolbrith Circle (Poetry Section) and the annual Poet’s Dinner held at Spengers. She was an award-winning poet and often shared her expertise at a poetry group called The Renegades.

In 1989, when the California Writers’ Club published “West Winds Four; An Anthology,” included was one of Dorothy’s poems, “Toward What Bethlemen.” By then a number of her prize-winning poems were published. Due to her activism in the Woman for Peace Movement, Dorothy was interviewed for an oral history about this, which is part of the oral history collection at The Bancroft Library in UC Berkeley.

In her son Eric Benson’s words, “Dorothy Benson was born of Portuguese and Slavic descent to immigrants that settled in Santa Maria, California out on a farm with a one room house that had dirt floors, and had an illiterate, slaughterhouse butcher father and a doting mother named Anna, who was guided by her Bible. The Great Depression came and they made do with raising all their food and poultry, and traveling to town in a horse-drawn cart for supplies. She became a hard working, industrious person who was able to sustain a family on a meager income with her three sons. When her youngest son Aksel Benson died of cancer at age 12, she went on with courage but wore more somber clothing for years later…

“She was a mother, bookkeeper, writer, editor and your sharpest critic whether grading her son’s paper or giving feedback to a hopeful poet who requested her help. She spoke freely and often ‘shot from the hip’ not always endearing herself to others. From the Women for Peace Movement and other groups including the California Writers’ Club, the Ina Coolbrith Circle, and the Poet’s Dinner, Dorothy was someone you could count on, and the deadline was to be carried out…”

Dorothy Benson had a life well lived and blessed many with her generosity and love. She will be missed by all who knew her.

—Therese Pipe

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Phyllis Smith

Phyllis was an active member of the California Writers Club/Berkeley Branch, a Lifetime member of the Club. She and her husband Otto were close friends of Dorothy Benson, and also attended The Renegades poetry workshop regularly in Berkeley. She was an interesting and versatile writer. Many of her poems were read at her Memorial, to everyone’s delight. She had a fetish with dragons and wrote some delightful poems about them. As a wordsmith, she indulged in writing limericks, even more recently.

Among her other writings was her translating of the poems of Jorge de Sena for the bilingual edition of “The Evidences: Poems”  (Center for Portuguese Studies, UC Santa Barbara, 1994). Among her science fictioni stories that appeared in pulp magazines in the 1950s were “What Is Posat?” in the September 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine; and “The Quaker Lady and the Jelph,” in the August 1952 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. One of her non-fiction articles appeared in Catholic Digest in 1989. Then in more recent years, Phyllis did some online publishing. For example, her 556-page novel, “Ai Is a Three-Toed Sloth,” came out through Xlibris in the year 2000. And her “Notice of Intent,” a 20-page story, appeared via eStar Books in April, 2012, also online.

—Therese Pipe

 

Please feel free to comment with your thoughts or memories of any of these members!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Colleen Rae
    Aug 10, 2014 @ 16:38:10

    AL Levenson was the reason I joined the Berkeley branch of the CWC when he was the President. He had been my friend for months. I belonged to the Marin branch of the CWC and he wanted to interview me about my latest book. AL was a wondeful, sensitive and skilled man of many talents. He was an excellent writer and could enchant you with his words on the page as well as he could selling you a yacht. He will be greatly missed. Rest lin Peace, AL.

    Reply

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