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Memorial for Pierre Michel Hahn

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Pierre Michel Hahn

April 9, 1928 - May 24, 2024

Pierre Michel Hahn, born in Paris, France, on April 9, 1928, passed away on May 24, 2024, at the age of 96. A loving husband, father, grandfather, and a man of remarkable resilience and intellect, Pierre's life was a testament to perseverance and adaptability in the face of adversity. He is remembered for his ardent commitment to his family and community.

Pierre was born to Jean Pierre Hahn and Therese Esther Leonie Levy and grew up with his younger brother, Roger. Despite being a self-proclaimed "difficult child," he maintained a close bond with his family, even as he spent his early years in boarding school from age seven to eleven. His early childhood was marked by summers spent in Switzerland until the upheavals of World War II.

In 1939, as the war escalated, Pierre's family relocated from Paris to the south of France to escape the impending dangers. In 1941, the family managed to emigrate to the United States, where they settled in New York City. Pierre attended the Lincoln School and quickly adapted to his new environment, learning English and excelling in his studies.

Pierre pursued his passion for engineering at Syracuse University, where he also met Deborah Sherman. They married on February 11, 1951, and soon started a family, welcoming two daughters, Danielle and Suzan.

Pierre's professional journey began at Piasecki Helicopter, where he specialized in measurements and testing, contributing significant innovations to the field. After a brief stint in his family's diamond business, Pierre returned to his engineering roots, working at Lockheed and later at Varian Associates in California.

In his later years, Pierre transitioned to research, working on groundbreaking projects at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Brain Research Institute, where he managed significant space research projects. Notably, Pierre oversaw the joint UCLA /NASA Biosatellite program, which included sending a monkey into space to study the effects of weightlessness on biological systems. Pierre considered the Biosatellite program the greatest moment of his career.

After his tenure at UCLA, Pierre moved back to New York to establish a sleep lab at Stony Brook University, where he worked as an adjunct professor of psychiatry. His work contributed significantly to the understanding of sleep patterns and their impact on human health.

Upon retirement, Pierre settled in San Francisco, where he pursued passions in Jewish genealogy, computers, stamp collecting, and library and information science. Pierre was active in several organizations. He volunteered as a cataloger at the Alliance Francaise library.

He was a member of the French Jewish Genealogical Society and co-contributed to a comprehensive database of Jewish marriages in France. (found on and "For the past 20 years I have honed my genealogical capabilities on finding data in France where a great part of my family lived".

He was also a prominent board member of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society from 2006 until his death where he co-organized the Transcription Committee and was responsible for submitting over 40,000 names to the Jewish Genealogy online Worldwide Burial Registry obtained from various Jewish cemeteries within the San Francisco Bay Area.

He also served as the president of the San Francisco Personal Computer Users Group for many years. Of significance is that it was also in San Francisco where Pierre met his second wife Suchada Nilchan after Deborah passed away. They were married on December 26, 2013.

Pierre's life was characterized by his dedication to his family, his innovative spirit, and his desire to contribute and teach others. He leaves behind a legacy of love, wisdom, and strength, as a man cherished by his family and friends.

Pierre is survived by his loving wife, Suchada Nilchan, daughters and sons-in law Danielle and Rick Jones, Suzan Hahn and David Donnenfield, and his grandchildren, Kyle Jones and Zachary, Jonas, and Zoe Donnenfield.

A private memorial to celebrate Pierre's life is pending. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the San Francisco Jewish Home for the Aged.