Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 at 08:54:38 :
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, July 9, 2001
Viola Cole, started Bellach's Leather Furniture Store
by Suzanne Herel, Chronicle Staff Writer
Viola Henrietta Attell Bellach Cole, who with her first husband opened the original Bellach's Leather Furniture Store in San Francisco in 1939, died June 27 at the age of 88 after a lengthy illness.
Mrs. Cole was the youngest of six children. She was born Oct. 8, 1912, to prominent San Franciscans Coleman and Julia Fisher Attell. Her father owned Coleman Attell Jewelers on Fillmore Street, and her uncle, Abe Attell, was the world featherweight boxing champion from 1901 to 1912.
She graduated San Francisco's Galileo High School and in 1938 married Charles Herman Bellach.
The Bellach family first went to Marin in search of a summer home to escape the fog of the city's Sunset District, where they lived. When parking meters began to be installed in San Francisco -- and the couple feared their customers wouldn't be able to shop leisurely -- the Bellachs decided to expand with a branch store in Marin.
They eventually closed the San Francisco location and built their 16,000- square-foot dream store across the bay in 1954. Three years later -- on Mrs. Cole's birthday -- that building burned to the ground. Not to be deterred, the family rebuilt.
Mrs. Cole was active in the business and accompanied her husband on all international buying trips. Once, she was asked to appear on a Japanese television program for women to express her views on several matters as a U.S. mother and businesswoman.
For many years, Mrs. Cole wrote a column on decorating tips for the Marin Independent Journal. She also was known throughout the Bay Area for her interior design expertise and was instrumental in redecorating the Corinthian Yacht Club as well as the officers' clubs at the Presidio and Hamilton Air Force Base.
She was a member of the Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco.
Mr. Bellach died on Oct. 15, 1982. Mrs. Cole later married C. Arthur Cole, a retired Air Force colonel, on Nov. 4, 1984.
She is survived by her husband of San Rafael; daughters Carole Joyce Falcon of Magalia (Butte County) and Sandra Jewell Ayeroff of Los Angeles; sons Jerome Attell Bellach of San Rafael and Darryl Gary Bellach of Sonoma; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Cole died at the Guardian of Greenbrae convalescent home, where she had lived for the past few years. A private service is planned through the Neptune Society.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Hospice of Marin, 150 Nellen Ave., Corte Madera CA 94925.
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