By Amberly Richardson
“An inspiration to all who knew her” is how colleagues described
chemistry professor emeritus Dr. Elisheva Goldstein, who died from
pneumonia on Jan. 15 at 59 years old.
Goldstein, known to everyone as Chevy, was diagnosed with a
brain tumor in the early 1980s. Doctors removed the bulk of the
tumor with two surgeries, but could not remove everything. She went
on to survive four more surgeries.
“Through it all she kept teaching and doing research. I called
her a walking miracle,” said chemistry professor Dr. Philip
Beauchamp, a long time colleague and friend.
“When she lost her hair because of chemo, she just put on a
little bandanna and kept going,” said Beauchamp.
On June 2, 2004 the Academic Senate bestowed the emeritus title
to Goldstein and said: “She has for many years been a model for all
on being a warrior in the face of life’s adversities.”
In her 25 years at Cal Poly, Goldstein made many contributions
to both the University as well as the chemistry department.
Her research brought esteem to Cal Poly and she presented her
research findings at meetings around the world.
“Chevy was very energetic. She had lots of good ideas and was
always interested in yours,” said Dr. Patrick W. Mobley of the
chemistry department. “Even at the end of her career, when she was
ill, she would often take the 5:30 a.m. shuttle to UCLA to extend
Goldstein impacted not only research on campus but students
options for finding a new field that was most interesting to
“She was instrumental in establishing the Molecular Modeling and
Simulation Option to the chemistry major at Cal Poly,” said Mobley.
“In addition to teaching general and physical chemistry, she
developed new courses in molecular modeling.”
Goldstein was a physical chemist who specialized in
computational studies of molecular structures and reactions.
“She was a true teacher (and) scholar and she filled that role
with great elan,” said Mobley.
Her retirement in 2003 was bittersweet.
With retirement she left behind the students and research she
was dedicated to, but Goldstein was delighted to find that she had
a new role as a grandmother. Just after her retirement her daughter
Danielle and son Elon each announced they were making her a
grandmother. According to Beauchamp, Goldstein thought the role
could not have come soon enough.
“Her kids were having babies after she had been telling them to
for years,” said Beauchamp. “Above all, she was a mother. Her kids
were huge in her life.”
Goldstein is also survived by her husband, Damon, a veterinarian
“Chevy and her husband had a fantastic marriage,” said
Beauchamp. “When I spoke with her husband, Damon, he said they were
constantly doing everything together for the past three years.”
Goldstein’s memorial service was held at Mount Sinai Memorial
Park in Hollywood Hills on Wednesday, Jan. 17.
“The service was really nice,” said Beauchamp. “Her son and her
father spoke and others were invited to speak and a number of us
did. She was very exceptional and a really neat lady.”
Goldstein had many travels in her early life. She was born in
Romania, moved to Israel before the age of ten, and moved to New
York in her early teens.
She met her husband in college and was married in her early 20s.
In the early 1970s her travels brought her to California where she
and her husband raised their family.
Amberly Richardson can be reached by e-mail at
email@example.com or by phone at (909) 869-3747.
Beloved Professor Dies of Pneumonia
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