Remembering Anne Rogin Blau

Anne — intelligent, resilient, energetic and stubbornly cheerful, even under duress — loved to laugh and was able to find much humor in the world around her.

Anne Blau
Anne Blau. Photo: Courtesy family

Lifelong Berkeley resident Anne Rogin Blau passed away on Dec. 22, 2020 at age 86, with her family present.

Anne was a precocious, quick witted, athletic student at Hillside Elementary School, Garfield Junior High School (now Martin Luther King Junior Middle School), and Berkeley High School. Before pursuing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology at San Francisco State University, she attended courses at Laney College in Oakland.

Anne’s parents, Leo Boris Rogin, renowned and admired UC Berkeley economics professor, and Winifred Ellsworth Rogin, botanist and Renaissance woman, were influential in developing Anne’s deep sense of social justice. Her political activities started at an early age, including membership in East Bay Women for Peace; teaching her daughters about Cesar Chavez and the California grape boycott; involvement in the electoral attempt to gain community control of police; and countless protests and marches against many wars. Most recently Anne was a regular at the Monday night protests for economic equality in front of the Bank of America on Solano Avenue.

Anne was lots of fun. She knew how to enjoy both the grand and small pleasures of life, whether it was a freighter adventure destined for the former Yugoslavia, playing the harmonica while camping in the National Parks, or enjoying a cappuccino and conversation at the French Hotel on Shattuck Avenue with her friend Chuck Wollenberg and husband Ned. She loved going out for coffee or a meal with family and friends, especially if dessert was included; pie preferred.

Anne loved to laugh and was able to find much humor in the world around her, even in the face of many hardships. Her keen sense of humor, curiosity and insight into people and issues made for great conversation.

She loved playing tennis — at the courts at Live Oak Park with friends and her teacher Jim Edwards—especially after retirement from her employment at the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Oakland.

Anne raised four daughters with her first husband Robert Blau (d. 2015): Eva, Rachel, Felicity and Katy. She is survived by her current husband of 50 years Ned Pearlstein, and daughters Rachel, Felicity and Katy. She is also survived by grandchildren Samuel, Rustin, Jasmine, Kossisko, Zachary, Nicolas, Thomas, and great-grandson Weston (son of Rustin).  She was predeceased by her sister Catherine (Rogin) Ratner, brother William Rogin and sister Ruth (Rogin) Anspach.

Among the enjoyable memories Anne’s daughters have are many wonderful excursions to Stinson Beach along with Ned’s five daughters. Several generations of her family enjoyed summers at Camp Tuolumne, Berkeley’s family camp.

Anne was an artist: She designed and made jewelry, drawings and etchings, some of which were inspired by her stance against the Vietnam war. Eventually her primary art focus became painting.

Following her mother’s love and knowledge of botany — and using her artistic eye — she created beautiful gardens in each of the many houses she lived in throughout Berkeley.

Anne was definitely her own person and remained so until the end of her life. Above all, she was a very critical thinker; she was intelligent, resilient, energetic, and stubbornly cheerful, even under duress. She is missed immensely.