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SITKIN, Peter Edward

SITKIN, Peter Edward[1]

Male 1941 - 2017  (76 years)

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  • Name SITKIN, Peter Edward 
    Born 14 Jul 1941  President Street, Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    • Sitkin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1940 on President Street, “the widest one-way street in Brooklyn,”
    Gender Male 
    Education Cornell (undergrad) + Columbia Law  [4
    Obituary From SF Chronicle, 17 Jan 2018

    A celebration of life is planned for Saturday for Peter Sitkin, a pioneer of welfare rights and public interest lawyer, who died Dec. 29 at his home in Sonoma at age 77.

    Sitkin became a public interest lawyer when the practice of public interest law was relatively new. He worked for the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, a predecessor to Bay Area Legal Aid, serving people who couldn’t afford legal assistance, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Sitkin was also a co-founder of the influential Public Advocates Inc., one of the nation’s first public interest law firms serving the poor.

    His early specialty was welfare rights, and he worked to expand those rights throughout the U.S. In 1969, while at the Legal Assistance Foundation, Sitkin successfully argued the case of Wheeler vs. Montgomery before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case helped to establish the right of welfare recipients to receive a hearing before their benefits could be terminated.

    Sitkin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1940 on President Street, “the widest one-way street in Brooklyn,” he said, in an oral history. It was perfect for baseball; there was a sewer that made a good home plate. Sitkin was a lifelong baseball fan, heartbroken by the Brooklyn Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles. When he moved to San Francisco, he transferred his allegiance to the Oakland A’s.

    He graduated from Cornell University and Columbia Law School with honors, and then moved to California to serve in the domestic Peace Corps in San Jose. His work with impoverished communities inspired his public advocacy, and led to his joining the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation.

    Sitkin was deeply involved in the practice of meditation for many years. So much so, that he became the general counsel for SYDA Foundation, a nonprofit organization that preserves and promotes the teachings of Siddha yoga.

    “I was impressed with his overall legal philosophy,” said Robert Gnaizda, co-founder of Public Advocates Inc. “He had a different perspective, permeated by a Buddhist-like philosophy.”

    His daughter, Lisa Sitkin, said he was also known to be a bit of jokester, who would dress up as Santa Claus around Christmas, despite not celebrating the holiday. “He was exuberant, exasperating, kind, and wonderfully silly at times,” she said.

    She remembered him as a distracted driver who was inept with technology and in the kitchen (his specialities included steamed vegetables with melted cheese and grilled cheese with ketchup), but was deeply dedicated to serving others.

    “He really helped so many people,” she said.

    Steve Antler, a friend since just after law school, remembered building a house with Sitkin, when they both decided to move to the rural Mendocino County town of Comptche. “It was really the blind leading the blind, let me tell you, but Peter designed a whole house without really having a basis on how to build a house,” Antler said. “It turned out to be really nice.”

    Sitkin lived there for many years before moving back to the Bay Area and eventually to Sonoma County, where he lived with his wife, Barbara Strader Sitkin, until his death.

    In addition to his wife and his daughter, Lisa, he is survived by another daughter, Jennifer Sitkin Morgan; stepsons Brian Webb, Jason Strader and David Strader; two grandchildren, Benjamin and Alexandra; and Emily Loeb, his first wife and mother to Lisa and Jennifer.

    Saturday’s celebration of his life will begin at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, 2727 College Ave.  [1
    Occupation Lawyer Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 29 Dec 2017  Santa Rosa, Sonoma, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I804  Hugh Byrne and Nanette Asimov Lines
    Last Modified 26 Mar 2018 

    Father SITKIN, Louis,   b. 3 Feb 1911,   d. 1 Sep 2005, New York City Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 94 years) 
    Mother MALY, Beatrice,   b. 19 Mar 1913, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Jun 1976  (Age 63 years) 
    Married Abt 1938 
    Photos
    Leon, Minnie and Beatty
    Beatty Maly Sitkin and Lou Sitkin
    Lou Sitkin, Eric and Stan Asimov, Harold Sheinaus
    Family ID F312  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family MALSIN, Emily 
    Children 
     1. SITKIN, Lisa
     2. SITKIN, Jennifer
    Last Modified 6 Sep 2019 
    Family ID F334  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 14 Jul 1941 - President Street, Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 29 Dec 2017 - Santa Rosa, Sonoma, CA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    petersitkin
    Peter Sitkin_70th birthday
    Peter-Sitkin

  • Sources 
    1. [S664] Peter Sitkin, pioneering lawyer who fought for welfare rights, dies at 77.

    2. [S664] Peter Sitkin, pioneering lawyer who fought for welfare rights, dies at 77, Sitkin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1940 on President Street, “the widest one-way street in Brooklyn,”.

    3. [S75] Judith Sitkin Porzel.

    4. [S664] Peter Sitkin, pioneering lawyer who fought for welfare rights, dies at 77, He graduated from Cornell University and Columbia Law School with honors.




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