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Barbara Cohen Rosenberg
Private Service

Benjamin Alcalay Erickson


Memorial for Denise Abecassis

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Graveside: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Tuesday, July 12th, 2022
Eternal Home Cemetery
1051 El Camino Real
Colma, CA 94014

Denise Amiel Abecassis (Dina bat Rachel) passed away on July 9, 2022 at age 83, surrounded and held by her family and friends.

Denise was born and raised in Mazagan, Morocco in 1939, by her parents Abraham and Clara Amiel, and alongside her three siblings, Mesod Amiel, Solange Abecassis (nee Amiel), and Jacques Amiel. In 1967, Denise married the intelligent and dashing Simon Abecassis, and became step-mother to his two sons Jacques Abecassis and Claude Abecassis. Shortly after, the family moved to San Francisco, California. In 1968, Simon and Denise had their first child, Kathy Abecassis Bitton.

From a young age, Denise demonstrated a deep passion and keen mastery for sewing and design. In Morocco, she often sewed her own clothes and unique custom pieces for her friends and family. Upon arriving in San Francisco, Denise extended her mastery to the community around her, often taking on complex pieces for local sewing shops and establishing herself as a business woman. In addition to this work, Denise spent nearly five decades in the fine jewelry business, working with her brother Jacques and her brother-in-law Samuel Abecassis at Sam's Fine Gold. Walking into their store, it would be impossible to miss the sophisticated woman sitting behind the counter- dark hair that was always neatly swept back, charcoal that emphasized deep brown eyes, and rosy lips that gave way to a soft smile. Denise's magnetic charm evenly matched her outgoing personality and business style. Whip-smart, communicative, and funny, she took pride in the customers she serviced and the friendships that her work blossomed into.

For over 50 years, Denise donated her time, cooking-and during the occasional holiday- Moroccan ululations, to her local synagogue, Anshey Sfard. Anshey Sfard proved to be a home for Denise and her family, welcoming generations of her family upon arrival in the U.S, and serving as the family's sole place of worship to this day.

While her position as a jeweler, a volunteer, and a mother kept Denise more than busy, she still found the time to raise and love three generations of her family. Known as Meme to her grandchildren, and Tata Denise by her scores of nieces and nephews, she demonstrated the full breadth of being a grandmother and aunt- she was fierce, sassy, and generous. Everyone knew that she was not to be crossed in synagogue, nor was she unashamed to trick little ones into bringing her sweets or the older ones to take her shopping. But at the end of the day, she always made sure that everyone was fed, and then fed again, and that she could plant a soft kiss on the inside of their ear, that sent an echoing ring reminding them of her love.

She was our matriarch.

Denise will be greatly missed by her daughter Kathy and her husband Jacques Bitton, as well as her three grandchildren, Francesca Bitton, Gabriella Bitton, and Stefania Bitton, whom she spent every shabbat and weekend with. Denise's memory will always be cherished by her sister and brother, Solange and Jacques, and her many nieces and nephews, including Danielle Abecassis, Clara Abecassis, David Abecassis, Eric Amiel, Valerie Amiel, Rafael Amiel, Marco Amiel, Simon Amiel, Joelle Vinakur (nee Amiel), Ester Ofir (nee Amiel), Katia Hershkovich (nee Amiel), and Claire Amiel.

Memorial services were held on July 12, 2022.