Margel Foote Kaufman
February 8, 1941 to June 3, 2020
Margel Foote Kaufman, 79, a force of nature, natural leader and fierce advocate for truth and fairness, passed away peacefully in San Francisco on June 3. Originally from Butte Montana – the best place to grow up – she moved to San Francisco after college and then again in 1972.
With her children in public schools, Margel, who received a Masters in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University, fought to increase school funding, working with Friends of Public Education and Parent’s Lobby. She ran for the School Board in 1980, garnering 57,000 votes but falling short of being seated.
Margel and her husband, Stephen, moved from Merced Manor near Stonestown, where they’d lived for 20 years, to Potrero Hill in 1996, enticed to the neighborhood by the late Linda Clark, a friend and fellow realtor. Once settled on 18th Street Margel and Stephen felt they’d found their community. Margel’s favorite places included Pera, where she was a regular at Bottles of Wine Wednesdays. She and Stephen became close to Jess of Ganim’s Market, with Margel honorary auntie to Jessie’s daughter.
Margel remained civically engaged throughout her life, running political campaigns and serving on the Health Commission. She had stints as the local president of the American Association of University Women and National Women’s Political Caucus, a Regent of Gonzaga University, and a board member for San Francisco School Volunteers, KQED, and Stern Grove Festival. Because of her commitment to service in San Francisco her portrait was included in “The People of San Francisco: Lives of Accomplishment,” displayed throughout the City.
Margel was a successful realtor with Coldwell Banker, taking pride in teaching people how to buy their first homes, selling houses at all price points. Her integrity and willingness to share her knowledge was well-known. She was a founding member of the Northern California Connection real estate networking group.
She loved the theater, starting a theater company, serving on the board of Z Space, donating generously to her alma mater, Gonzaga’s, theater department and accomplishing her dream of being on the London stage, for one night.
She’d always “work a room,” making sure to meet everyone. She changed people’s lives with her generosity and commitment to making the world a better place.
She’s survived by “the best man she knew,” the love of her life, her husband of 52 years, Stephen; daughter, Rachel of San Francisco; son, John of Oakland; and sister Jean Foote Mercer of Green Valley Arizona. She’ll be missed by family, friends and all those who knew her. Internment is at the Columbarium in San Francisco. A celebration of Margel’s life will be held when conditions allow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gonzaga University’s Friends of the Theater Fund, 502 E Boone Avenue, Spokane, Washington 99258 or www.gonzaga.edu/give.