He was born in Israel to an American mother and Canadian father, and moved to New York City at the age of 4. He grew up in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he became a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees. He received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College and his master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan, where he met his wife of 38 years, Barbara Weinstein. After a stint at Bell Labs in New Jersey, he was recruited to work in Silicon Valley and moved to California in 1986. He and his wife raised their three children in Los Altos while building careers in the tech sector.
In the early 2000s, he made the decision to step back from corporate life. He continued to engage in independent tech research while turning much of his focus to political activism, and especially efforts to protect marginalized communities. As head of the Santa Clara County Democratic Volunteer Center, he led thousands of volunteers in some of the most prolific "Get out the vote" efforts in the country. As a member of the international board of Amigos de las Americas, he sought to empower young people and promote multicultural exchange between the U.S. and Latin America. As president of Fools Mission, he worked to cultivate friendships and build support for the Latino immigrant community in the Bay Area. He also served on the boards of directors of Los Altos Robotics, Move to Amend, Indivisible South Bay and the Peninsula Democratic Coalition.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara Weinstein of Los Altos; his three children, Zoe Fenson and Dana Fenson of Mountain View, and Derek Fenson of Los Altos; and his sister, Pnina Levermore of Tampa, Florida. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto located at 505 E. Charleston Road. Memorial donations may be made to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (bit.ly/2GdpE0g).
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