Phyllis Koshland Friedman
July 6, 2019
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Phyllis Koshland Friedman, UC Berkeley alumna and wife of Howard A. Friedman, former chair of the architecture department.
Born on August 27, 1923, Friedman spent most of her life in the Bay Area. In 1944, Friedman earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley as one of the first graduates from the Social Welfare program.
“Cal was a great place,” she said in an interview with the Jewish Senior Living Magazine. “I was there in ’41, during the war.” She was a big fan of the Bears and remembers sitting out in the rain to watch their football games.
Influenced by her parents, Friedman went on to practice social work and establish a program that helped elderly Russian Jewish emigres to acclimate to life in the Bay Area. “My father was very socially conscious, and he felt anti-Semitism when we were growing up in the 1920s and 1930s,” she said. “That led to his interest in fighting for civil rights.” (According to JFCS)
Friedman returned to Berkeley in 1971 to complete her Master of Social Welfare.
Friedman, her late husband, noted architect Howard Friedman (B.Arch ‘49), and other family have been involved with Cal in numerous philanthropic and academic ventures. Phyllis and Howard’s son, David Friedman, a principal and emeritus CEO of Forell/Elsesser, helped lead the remodel of Cal Memorial Stadium and David was also a former member of CED’s Dean’s Advisory Council.
Friedman, herself, was a donor for over 50 years; even so, she never called for recognition and considered donor recognition walls to be “philanthropic graffiti”.
After the passing of her husband in 1988, Phyllis Friedman established the Howard A. Friedman Visiting Professorship in the Practice of Architecture Fund, an annual program that invites distinguished practitioners of architecture to teach at CED. The visiting professorship intends to promote Professor Friedman’s philosophy of “humanistic architecture” and the necessity to garner an understanding of how various aspects of design relate to the building delivery system.
Howard Friedman began with CED as a student, and as he developed his private architecture firm through the 1950s and 60s he also served as a lecturer and professor. The EDA houses a collection of photographs, projects, and papers, among other items belonging to Friedman, who was responsible for notable works such as his firm’s award-winning corporate headquarters complex on Battery Street.
Phyllis Friedman’s obituary speaks of her dynamic character and legacy. “Phyllis lived the values of thoughtfulness, integrity, justice, kindness, empathy, love, humor.”
"She read widely, thought deeply, and cared about the larger community and world. She was a feminist dedicated to social and economic justice, civil liberties, and a caring and humane society with equal opportunity for all."
Friedman died on July 2, 2019 at the age of 96.