Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Joel Riff's memorial

Joel Riff
April 17, 1951-June 16, 2024
New York, New York

Isaac Joel Riff passed away on June 16, 2024, at age 73, in Manhattan, due to respiratory failure.

Joel was born and raised in Chicago (West Rogers Park), to Morris Riff and Esther (Weingarten) Riff. A son of Holocaust survivors, Joel graduated from Mather High School, the University of Michigan, and the University of Chicago Law School. He worked for more than 30 years as a lawyer in Silicon Valley, including at GCA Law Partners and Fenwick & West, where he served as chair of the licensing and online commerce group. Joel started his career as a software engineer, and spent a year on Kibbutz Ketura in Israel. In 2016, Joel returned to Chicago, and then to New York to be closer to his children and beloved grandchildren.

Joel was a lifelong lover of Yiddish language and culture, political news and discussion, folk music, and cinema. He is remembered by lifelong friends, family, and colleagues, who treasured their relationships with someone so patient, thoughtful, earnest, full of empathy, and free of judgment.

Joel is deeply mourned by his sons Adam and Daniel Riff, his son-in-law Chris Coffey, his grandchildren Will and Sona Riff-Coffey, his brother Bernie Riff, his niece Jessi Young Riff, and Judi Zyroff, with whom he celebrated many joyful occasions even after the end of their 35-year marriage.

Tags: business

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Memorial service
Joel was buried at the Hills of Eternity cemetery in Colma, on June 18, 2024.
Make a donation
Donations in Joel's memory can be made to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Link:

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