Obituary of Paul Zygielbaum
Paul Solomon Zygielbaum passed away on January 25, 2019, after a more than 15-year battle with mesothelioma. He was 68 years old. A long-time resident of Santa Rosa, California, Paul dedicated his life to promoting laws and regulations that protect people from asbestos exposure, advocating for American ideals of freedom, equality, fairness, and access to medical care. He is the son of Holocaust survivors, Joseph and Adele Zygielbaum (both deceased). Paul lived his early childhood in Southern California and attended Santa Monica High School. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering and Applied Science in 1972 and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1973 from the California Institute of Technology. In 1987, Paul earned a Master in Business Administration from Golden Gate University.
Paul had a rich technical and managerial career beginning in 1972 as an engineer at the NASA/CALTECH Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Focusing his early career on advanced research in electric power generation, he worked for the Electric Power Research Institute. He then became a manager in engineering methods and processes for Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies. In 2004, he helped to start a company, C8 MediSensors, working toward noninvasive technology to measure blood glucose levels for people with diabetes. Although that effort did not achieve economic success, the technology itself is still under development by companies that purchased C8 MediSensors’ assets.
Paul’s battle with cancer began, most likely, when he unknowingly ingested asbestos while helping to convert a power plant in Oregon to using coal. The major US company which supplied the electric turbogenerators had not disclosed the large amount of asbestos used in their machinery. Through a large settlement with that company, Paul became a significant philanthropist dedicated to progressive causes and funding research into the disease that eventually took his life.
He loved to travel. Paul and his wife, Michelle, visited much of the world in several trips and in a round-the-world private jet tour. Meeting, befriending, and getting to know people were key to Paul. That helped form his deep dedication to the welfare of others.
A student of early American politics, Paul developed expertise on the people who created America, its ethics and political system. A life-long Democrat, Paul actively supported candidates and took part in retreats with members and aspiring members of Congress. He was actively consulted by top leaders as well as aspiring candidates of the Democratic Party.
Paul has been a member of Congregation Beth Ami for 35 years, president of the congregation and board member for 10 years. Reflecting his interest in people, he was an active board member for more than 5 years of the Career Technical Education Foundation, an organization dedicated to attracting children to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He was a founding member and active in the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.
Paul is survived by his wife of 46 years, Michelle, three children, Samuel (and his wife Kimberly), Beth (and husband Jason Dietrich and children, Jonah, Ruby, and Solomon), Joshua (and his children, Ava, Ronen, and Asher, and fiancée Christina), his brother, Art (and wife Christine and children, David and his wife Zoe and daughter, Zia, and Kerrigan Valentine, spouse of recently deceased daughter Debby).
Funeral service will be on Monday, January 28, 2019 at 1:00 P.M. at Eggen & Lance Chapel; 1540 Mendocino Avenue, following burial at Santa Rosa Memorial Park; 1900 Franklin Avenue in Santa Rosa.
Gifts in remembrance may be sent to Career Technical Education Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Redwood Empire Food Bank.