August 15, 1948 – December 2, 2021
Chris Puccinelli was born August 15, 1948. She was a native San Franciscan and spent her entire life in the City. She died peacefully at home on December 2, 2021. She is survived by her wife Roz Brandstein; her sister Char Suda; her foster son Dennis McWilliams; her dog Kepler; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and many friends. She was preceded in death by her brother Wayne Puccinelli.
Chris was a leader in the LGBTQ community in her early years, and was the owner of Awards by Chris, an advertising specialties company. After retirement, she spent her time lovingly caring for her dogs. She gave so much of herself to so many people and asked for so little in return. She will be sorely missed by her family, neighbors, community, and lifelong friends. A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the San Francisco SPCA.
May 18, 1945 to August 8, 2021
Bonnie Sherk, an artist and landscape architect who pursued unusual art projects that explored humanity’s relationship with nature, died on August 8 in hospice care in San Francisco, according to her sister, Abby Kellner-Rode. She was 76. Ms. Kellner-Rode didn’t specify a cause.
Ms. Sherk spearheaded the Crossroads Community, often shortened to the Farm, which transformed a six-acre parcel that tangled the Army Street – now Cesar Chavez Street – highway interchange into what she described as an “environmental sculpture,” with crops, livestock and educational elements. Schools would bring students to learn about agriculture.
“In the city, things tend to be very fragmented, and the freeway is a symbol of that fragmentation,” she told The Associated Press in 1977, two and a half years after the founding of the Farm, which lasted for years. “We’re attempting to reconnect people and humanize environments.”
Ms. Sherk saw growing vegetables and creating art as closely related.
“Learning to be a farmer is sensitive, like learning to be an artist,” she said. “The growth process in life is like the creative process in art.”
Bonnie Ora Kellner was born on May 18, 1945, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She grew up primarily in Montclair, New Jersey. Her father, Sydney, was area director of the American Jewish Committee and a lecturer in art and archaeology. Her mother, Eleanor (Lipskin) Kellner, taught first grade.
She studied art at Rutgers University, where the artist Robert Watts, a professor there, schooled her in the avant-garde Fluxus movement. In the late 1960s, after graduating, she moved to San Francisco with her husband at the time, David Sherk. The marriage ended in divorce.
She created one of her early art series in 1970 when, at the Army Street interchange she’d later help transform, she noticed a plot strewn with water, soggy with storm runoff, an overstuffed armchair plunked amidst the debris.
“I immediately realized that this was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how a seated human figure could transform the environment by simply being there,” she said in an interview with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. “I went home and changed into an evening gown and came back, waded into the water and sat in the chair for some time, facing the audience of people in the passing cars.”
There was serious thought behind her work, especially regarding ecological themes. In the 1980s she began developing what she called Living Libraries and Think Parks, small parcels and nature trails in San Francisco and elsewhere that invited passersby to learn about the past of a particular place and help cultivate its future. Many people, she said in a 2013 interview with the journal SFAQ, “don’t have the sense of wonder about the richness that surrounds them. We have to learn how to uncover it.”
Ms. Sherk is survived by her sisters.