Goldie, the only daughter of Benjamin Benas and Frdericka Wilzinski, was born December 10, 1864 in Vallejo, California. Goldie had three brothers – Isaac (1863-1951), Max (1867-1928), and Morris (1872-1929). I don’t know much about Goldie’s early years, other than that she lived with her family in Vallejo until she married Herman Levy in San Francisco in September, 1883. The Fresno Republican from September 22, 1883 (page 2) states that the marriage occurred on September 18, 1883 by Rev. Dr. Vidivar and the Oakland Tribune from September 18, 1883 (page 4) states the marriage occurred on September 15, 1883. I do know that by December 23, 1884 the family was almost certainly living in Fresno when their first child, Herbert Levy, was born. The next two children, Leon and Sigmund (my grandfather), were born in Vallejo – family interviews said that Goldie went back to Vallejo in the summer of 1886 and 1888 to have her sons in order to escape the hot summers in Fresno. I’m sure she stayed with her parents as they were still living in Vallejo at the time. The story of “too hot in Fresno” makes sense as the Fresno Republican reported on June 21, 1884, page 3, that Goldie was spending the summer in San Francisco with Miss Sopha Sachs. Who was Sopha and why did she accompany Goldie to San Francisco? Maybe a nurse or housekeeper?
I don’t have many pictures of Goldie but I’ve been able to come up with a few.
Levy Family Home, built 1887
846 or 946 K Street (later Van Ness Avenue), Fresno
Youngest son Benjamin (1892-1965) showed a picture of the family in his autobiography.
Back row: Leon, Sig, Ben, Herb Levy
Front row: Goldie Benas Levy and Herman Levy
Here’s Goldie with her four grandchildren who were living in about 1922-1923.
Left to right: Herb Levy Jr. (son of Herb), Hermina Levy (daughter of Benjamin), Goldie Benas Levy, Barbara Levy (daughter of Herb), Robert Levy (son of Sig), c. 1922-1923
And Goldie by herself.
Goldie Benas Levy
February 22, 1922
Taken at 647 N. Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, California
Based on 1920 census, home of Herb Levy and family
Goldie died January 19, 1926 at Stanford Hospital in San Francisco County from Chronic Myocarditis. She was just 61 years old and was never able to meet her two additional grandchildren, my father, Gordon Levy, and Benjamin’s youngest daughter, Gilda Levy. Interesting to note that my mother told me that based on Jewish custom, children were often named with the first letter of their first name matching that of a deceased loved one. My father and Gilda were both born in 1927, just a year after Goldie’s death, and while I know that Gordon was named with a "G" in Goldie's honor, I would guess Gilda was, as well.
MOTHER OF LEVY BROTHERS IS DEAD
Pioneer Fresno Citizen, Active in Community Affairs, Dies, Aged 61
Mrs. Goldie Levy, 61, mother of Herbert, Leon, Sigmund and Benjamin Levy of this city and a resident of Fresno for the last forty-three years, during which she had taken a prominent part in social club and civic affairs, died late yesterday at Stanford University Hospital in San Francisco. She was the widow of the late Herman Levy.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 P.M. tomorrow in the Stephens and Bean Chapel, followed by cremation.
The service will be conducted by Fresno Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star and Rabbi Alexander Segel. The pallbearers will be S.B. Goodman, William Glass, S.L. Platt, Maurice Rorphuro, F. L. Simons and Curtis Ballard.
Mrs. Levy was born at Vallejo, December 10th, 1864. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Benas, were pioneers of the state. She came to Fresno soon after her marriage and lived for twenty five years in the 800 block of Van Ness Avenue.
For several years of late, Mrs. Levy had made her home at 1509 North Van Ness Avenue with her son, Leon Levy. She belonged to the Order of Eastern Star and the Parlor Lecture Club, taking an active interest in both organizations. Besides her four sons, she leaves three brothers, Isaac and Max Menas [sic] of San Francisco, and Morris Benas of Oakland, and four grandchildren who live in Fresno.
I wish I knew which paper this obituary was printed in but I have just the clipped article above and haven’t yet located the source.
Goldie is interred with Herman at Chapel of the Light Columbarium in Fresno, California.