family photo

Shirley Fahn supported her husband as he ran a bag manufacturing company.

Obituary: Shirley Fahn, 87, was matriarch of prominent family in business, Jewish community

Published: Thursday, Mar. 20, 2014 - 10:23 pm

Shirley Fahn, matriarch of a prominent family in the Sacramento business and Jewish communities, died Monday of a stroke, her family said. She was 87.

Mrs. Fahn was a Sacramento resident for almost seven decades. She was 19 when she arrived from Los Angeles after marrying Alex Fahn. His family operated the Sacramento Bag Manufacturing Co., which it had founded in 1923.

Like her husband, she was engaged in Jewish organizations and activities. She was a longtime member of Mosaic Law Congregation and was active in a Jewish sorority and Hadassah, a women’s Zionist organization.

While her husband was visible as a businessman, leader of Jewish groups and advocate for Israel, Mrs. Fahn served as his partner behind the scenes. Friendly and personable, she was a woman of traditional values who devoted herself to raising her family and volunteering in the community.

She enjoyed entertaining business associates and friends at home. She was active in her children’s activities as a PTA volunteer and leader in Cub Scouts and Brownies.

“She was a fabulous mother and an incredible baker and cook,” said her daughter Lori. “Her biggest job was being a mother and a homemaker.”

Born Jan. 20, 1927, in Pittsburgh, Shirley Lewis was 2 when her family moved to Los Angeles. The daughter of an auctioneer, she grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood and graduated from Roosevelt High School. She was 15 when she met 18-year-old Alex Fahn at Murrieta Hot Springs in Riverside County.

Mrs. Fahn enjoyed traveling to many places with her husband, including Israel, the Seychelles, Papua New Guinea and South America. They bought an apartment in Jerusalem to be close to their daughter Roberta Schoffman and grandchildren who lived in Israel.

“She was beloved by her children and grandchildren,” Schoffman said. “She was an inspiration to her daughters. To be able to be selfless and put family ahead of her own needs was an important lesson for us.”

Mrs. Fahn was predeceased by her husband in 2000 and by her son Hillard in 2010. In addition to her daughters, she is survived by four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A funeral is set for 1 p.m. today in the chapel at Home of Peace Cemetery, 6200 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento.


Call The Bee’s Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.

Read more articles by Robert D. Dávila



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