Sandra Kahn died quietly in hospice care from complications related to Lewy Body dementia. While the last few years of her life were difficult, she did have many moments of laughter and intimacy with her family and new friends she made at the homes she stayed in. Her final days were peaceful, attended to by her daughters and caregivers. Sandra was strong, forthright, and amazingly compassionate to the end. These virtues never left her even as the disease took her down. Those who knew her, knew well her fiery spirit, her commitment to social justice, her deep love of art, books, children and her garden. She had lived for 28 years on 29th and Castro where her neighbors were also her dear friends. Sandra loved to talk with people, always engaging in conversation, always concerned about the state of the world and how we're going to change it. She shopped at Rainbow Grocery for decades and always spoke with workers there about the structure of collectives, about bargaining and workers' rights, pesticides and organic food. She practiced Tai Chi for nearly twenty years, continuing daily until she couldn't.
While she held a Bachelors degree in Philosophy from Boston College and almost finished her MA in Art History at Columbia (which she decided to put on hold to raise her family), Sandra spent 18 years working as an electrician in the Bay Area's shipyards. She had many friendships throughout her career there and walked many picket lines as a conscientious pro-labor worker. She eventually returned to school and earned a certificate to teach ESL. She taught immigrant adults at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco (JCCSF) until she couldn't work anymore. Sandra adored her students and always spoke about them with great enthusiasm and tenderness. Sandra's work always stemmed from her political concerns. Her radical activism in the 1970s was solidly rooted in anti-war, anti-racism, anti-capitalism and anti-colonialist struggles. She also participated in the prison movement, was a member of the Peoples' Press collective and a vocal feminist to the end. Her favorite novelist was Toni Morrison, her favorite poet June Jordan, her favorite painter Vincent Van Gogh. She admired Studs Terkel, Paolo Friere, Fidel Castro and was intensely inspired by the Black Panthers and the black power movement of the 60s and 70s.
Sandra married Hal Kahn in 1961 and they had two children, Annika and Stanya Kahn. Although divorced in the late 70's, Sandra never remarried. She was long-time partners with Frank "Buffalo" David Santiago, who passed away in 1986. Sandra was a caring and generous grandmother to her grandsons Kourosh Kahn, and Adle and Lenny Dodge Kahn and a loving friend to her neighbors' children as well, especially Rosalie and Sophia and Elsa and Esmé.
Sandra is buried at Fernwood Cemetery in Mill Valley, with the trees and the deer and quiet of the hills. She is missed and loved forever by her family and friends.
Sandra Kahn Obituary, SFGate, November 23, 2015. Link