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Prescott Alan Thompson
Jan. 1, 1950 - Jan. 15, 2023
Citrus Heights, CA

Prescott took pride being born on the first day of the first week of the first month of the first year of the first decade of the half century. He is the first some on Alan and Verline Thompson of Palo Alto, CA. Prescott has one younger brother, Marshall, who is married to Peggy. They have two children, Ashley and Sean, who are blessed with children, blessing Prescott with several lovely grand nieces. Prescott worked as a route driver and then worked as a checker and photo shop manager. He worked in radio for 37 years - one which were in Arizona and one in Cupertino, CA. He has always been active teaching children swimming and diving including working with the disabled. He retired to Folsom in 2010....

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Genie Laborde Griffin
Feb. 19, 1928 - Jan. 14, 2023
Palo Alto, California

Genie Zylks Laborde-Griffin, age 94, of Palo Alto, California, died peacefully on January 14, 2023. Born on February 19, 1928, in Borger, Texas, and raised in El Dorado, Arkansas, she was the first child of Floyd Weber Zylks and Molsie Lowery. She is survived by 5 of her 7 children, Cliffe F. Laborde (Margaret), Gary L. Laborde (Betsy), John Peter Laborde, Jr. (Renee), Adrienne Laborde Macgowan (Charles), and Kathryn Griffin Wong (Erik). She was preceded in death by her oldest son, John Tracy Laborde (Susan) and by Mark Lee Laborde, who died one day after his birth in 1952. She is also survived by 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her brother, Wayne Zylks. Genie spent her formative years growing up in El Dorado, Arkansas, and thereafter attended college at Louisiana State University, where she majored in Fine Arts and received her first of many educational degrees. While at LSU, she met John Peter Laborde and they ultimately married on July 2, 1949. After living in Marksville, Louisiana for a period of time, in 1950 they moved to New Orleans, where over the next 20 years Genie assisted in raising 5 children, the subject of which she wrote...

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Ann Teitler Ozer
Sept. 11, 1935 - Jan. 10, 2023
Palo Alto, California

Ann Teitler Ozer died peacefully at age 87 on January 10th at her home in Palo Alto. Ann embodied a go-getter spirit of living life to the fullest, always seeking connections with people and ideas. She will be remembered as a scholar, a social activist, a loving and supportive mother to her five children, and “Grannie Annie” to eight wonderful grandchildren. Ann loved learning, especially about politics and science. Ann was a Westinghouse Science Talent Search scholar during high school in Forest Hills, New York and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1956 with a degree in psychology. She went on to study early childhood education at Harvard, where she also met her husband of 20 years, Dr. Mark Ozer. Ann was a lifelong social activist. She worked to develop the federal Head Start program in the 1960s, helped elect progressive candidates from coast to coast, and ran for public office herself to bring attention to important issues. Ann loved Palo Alto, first living in the Bay Area in the late 1950s, returning with family in 1979 after two decades living in New York, London, and the Washington, D.C. area, and then moved to Palo Alto permanently in 1989. She was an ac...

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Marie La Barbera Zahn
Sept. 3, 1924 - Jan. 9, 2023
Atherton, California

A native San Franciscan and the only child of the late John and Caroline La Barbera, Marie attended Immaculate Conception Academy and San Francisco City College. Her last 50 years were spent in Atherton in a home she and her late husband built together. Marie would credit her life-long involvement in philanthropy to her parents. She started volunteering at age of eight, collecting dimes for the Red Cross, and her volunteerism never ceased. In her adult life, she chaired many fund raisers for various organizations, among them the Sequoia Hospital Foundation, where she served on the Foundation Board of Directors beginning in 1992 as Secretary Treasurer, and later as President. In honor of her late husband, Dene W. Zahn Jr.’s affection for his Alma Mater, the University of Illinois, Marie funded the Dene W. and Marie C. Zahn Childrens’ Learning Center at the Champaign-Urbana Campus Spurlock Museum, a Center encouraging the study of art and artifacts from all over the world, and is open to all children and adults who might not otherwise have this experience. Marie’s love of music began at an early age, leading her to participate in many school musical events and later a...

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Hiroko Mukuda
Nov. 10, 1926 - Jan. 8, 2023
Menlo Park, CA

Hiroko Mukuda passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family. She was one of four children born to Tatsumi Ujihara and Shikae Morioka in Kochi, Japan. Her family had samurai heritage of the Taira clan in the 11th century. Her father worked in the early days of modern structural engineering and traveled extensively with his family. From an early age, Hiroko developed a passion for calligraphy and studied under the master woman calligrapher, Machi Shunso. She also earned her certification in floral art design through the Miyuki Art Flower Studio. Her husband of over 45 years, Shiro Mukuda, was an airline executive for Pan American. Hiroko accompanied her husband around the globe and was as comfortable living overseas as well as at home in Tokyo. In 2000 after her husband’s death, Hiroko moved to Menlo Park to be near her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed life to the fullest even in the weeks before her passing. She loved to cook, regaling her family and friends with home-style Japanese cuisine. She also loved gardening and caring for her orchids. Her family drew strength from her zest for life and indomitable spirit. She is very much missed....

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Iraida Buso Espinosa
Feb. 22, 1918 - Jan. 5, 2023
Stanford and Los Altos, California

Iraida Busó Espinosa, a longtime resident of Stanford, passed away peacefully in her Los Altos home on January 5, 2023, a month shy of her 105th birthday. A musician, mother, teacher, and community volunteer, Iraida had boundless energy, loved spending time with family and friends, and believed in taking full advantage of the opportunities that life presented. Iraida was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on February 22, 1918, the youngest of five children born to Monserrate Carrasquillo Martinez and Francisco Busó Cabrero. At nineteen, she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with majors in French and Spanish. As she later described herself, she was “an overachiever with limited social experience, no lipstick, no dating, no heels, and still in pig-tails.” Iraida’s musical talents led her to study piano with Jesus Maria Sanromá, the pianist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra who would spend summers in Puerto Rico teaching promising students. Sanromá encouraged Iraida to continue her education in Boston, as her older sisters had done, and Iraida leapt at the opportunity. In Boston she thrived, taking classes at the Boston Conservatory, studying with Nadia Boul...

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Cora Scheel
May 23, 1933 - Dec. 31, 2022
Palo Alto, California

It is with great sorrow that we announce that Rev. Cora Scheel of Palo Alto passed away on December 31, 2022, at the age of 89. Cora was born on her family’s farm outside of Enderlin, North Dakota, and after completing nursing school in Fargo, Cora moved to Palo Alto where she worked as a nurse at Stanford Hospital. Later, she joined Syntex as a clinical research nurse, and completed a master’s degree at San Jose State. In her 50’s Cora made a third career change and became an ordained minister at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto. Cora was passionate about connecting with people. Her travels took her all around the world—India, South America, the Galapagos Islands, East Africa, and more—but she always made time to make her annual drive across the country to visit her family in North Dakota. She formed and maintained decades-long friendships with many dear friends in California and was active in the lives of her great-nieces and great-nephew. Cora was predeceased by her brother Paul (Lois) and is survived by her brother Roy (age 100), his wife, Marie, and her nieces Sally, Sandra, Janet, and nephew Pete....

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Joan van Gelder
Dec. 28, 1936 - Dec. 25, 2022
Palo Alto, California

Joan Richardson van Gelder passed away on Dec. 25, 2022 at the age of 85 at home in Palo Alto after lung complications following hospitalization for the flu. She was with family in her final days and at the time of her passing. Joan was born and raised in Boulder, Colo. where she attended Boulder High School and then went on to receive a degree in Medical Technology from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1959. The daughter of educators, Robert IV and Viola Richardson, she was academically inclined and had a passion for learning. After her college graduation from CU Boulder in 1959, she moved to California to pursue a career in medical technology. While living in San Francisco, Joan met her husband, Richard van Gelder, through their church youth group. The two were married in Boulder, Colo. in 1961. They started their family a few years later with their daughter Julie and their son John. Joan spent the majority of her life living in Palo Alto, Calif. with her family. Drawn to the city’s prioritization of education and good school district, she and her family settled into their home there in 1968. Throughout her life, she was a very active member of the Palo Alt...

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Jill Mellick
Aug. 29, 1948 - Dec. 20, 2022
Palo Alto, California

Jill Mellick, Ph.D. (Letty Jill), author, multimedia artist, Jungian psychologist and Professor Emerita, passed away December 20, 2022. Born in Brisbane to Dr. JSD Mellick, OAM, ED, and Letty Katts, pianist and composer of iconic Australian ballads. Jill attended Somerville House, a private school for girls, where she excelled in academics and leadership. When admitted to the University of Queensland, she aspired to cross-disciplinary studies of cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, English, French, languages and music. Those ambitions were squashed by an advisor, so she chose English Literature and Language and French. She earned a scholarship for her Honours degree (i.e. graduate degree) which took her to New Guinea, to live with the Foré and Atzera tribes. She was invited to be Editor of “Makar”, the university’s literary magazine, and taught Creative Writing to elementary students in the summers. There she discovered her love of using multimodal ways to awaken creative expression in others. After graduate studies, she accepted a senior teaching position at Clayfield College, where she transformed the English and French curriculae with i...

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Nancy Sallaberry
April 16, 1955 - Dec. 18, 2022
Menlo Park, California

Nancy Williams Sallaberry April 16, 1955-December 18, 2022 After a courageous, nearly eight-year battle with ALS, Menlo Park resident Nancy Sallaberry passed peacefully in her home on December 18, 2022. Her devoted husband of 38 years Paul Sallaberry; her three sons Marc, Luc, and Daniel Sallaberry; daughter-in-law Brittany Sallaberry, and grandson Chase, were by her side. Nancy is survived by her three treasured siblings: brother Ron Williams and his wife Joyce; sister Victoria Evans; and brother Reese Williams and his wife Fran. Nancy also was the beloved sister-in-law of Denise Sallaberry and her husband Peter Wilk, and Jack Sallaberry and his wife Sue, as well as a wonderful aunt to many nieces and nephews. Nancy was born in Marin County in 1955 to the late Reese and Marge Williams; the family later moved to Saratoga, Calif. where Nancy and her siblings grew up. At Saratoga High School Nancy excelled at five sports, reigned as homecoming queen, and made dear, lifelong friends. She then attended the University of California, Davis, where she played intercollegiate volleyball and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics, complementing her already outstanding...

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Richard "Ben" Karrol Bodding Jr.
Aug. 26, 1947 - Dec. 9, 2022
Rocklin, California

Richard “Ben” Karrol Bodding Jr. passed away December 9, 2022 in Roseville, California at the age of 75. Ben was born and raised in Palo Alto where he attended Fairmeadow Elementary, Wilbur Junior High, and graduated from Cubberley High School with the class of 1965. He went on to earn an AA degree at Foothill College in 1967 and a Bachelor of Science degree from Sacramento State College in the fall of 1970, with an emphasis in broadcasting and journalism. Ben’s love for sports began when he was five, with baseball as his favorite pastime. His passion was nurtured by his baseball loving parents. He played Little League, Babe Ruth League baseball, and then continued with the sport throughout his college years, leaving his mark as a record-setting pitcher. He was part of five straight championship teams, one at Foothill and four with the Sacramento Hornets (two as a student assistant coach). Ben started his newspaper career at age 14 as a student intern for both the Redwood City Tribune and the Palo Alto Times sports departments. While at Sacramento State, he became a member of the Sacramento Bee staff for 10 years, serving as the high school sports editor before lea...

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Betty Watkins Gerard
Feb. 23, 1925 - Nov. 16, 2022
Palo Alto, CA

Betty Watkins Gerard died peacefully at her home of 61 years in Palo Alto, CA on November 16, 2022, at age 97. Born in Seattle, WA on February 23, 1925, she was the only child of Flora and Alva Leland (A.L.) Watkins. Both sides of her family included pioneers who’d arrived in Washington by covered wagon. She and her former husband, the late Gary Gerard, had four children: Erica (Vin Di Bona), Annie (Gary McKee), Steven (Carol) and the late Kitty Sanford. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Jamie Goldstein, Ian McKee, Reid McKee (Julie), and Kuuleilani Sanford. Working with words was a key part of Betty’s life. She started out writing poems and short stories, edited her eighth-grade newspaper and petitioned successfully to become the editor of the Columns humor magazine at the University of Washington. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from UW, she earned her MBJ at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 1948. (As one of just five women in her class, Betty was flattered when a professor praised her by saying she “wrote like a man.”) Betty’s working career included public relations/writing positions at Westinghouse, Sunset ...

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Suzanne MacMeekin Mitchell
Jan. 18, 1954 - Nov. 6, 2022
Walnut Creek, California

Suzanne MacMeekin Mitchell, passed peacefully from this life on November 6, 2022, surrounded by her family in her home at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, California. Suzanne, a long-time resident of Ladera, California, is best known for her unswerving commitment to others. Her family lovingly referred to her as a “Force of Nurture.” An elementary educator by training, Suzanne spent four decades in teaching, student advocacy and education technology. After moving to California in 1986 from the Mid-Atlantic, she taught grade school and became technology director for the Los Lomitas school district in Menlo Park. One of her workmates remarked that Suzanne singlehandedly moved Los Lomitas from the blackboard to the Internet. During her tenure, she was active in California computer education and presented at national conferences. As a community organizer, Suzanne served as Ladera council president, during which she spearheaded the renovation of Ladera’s community center and installation of modern playground facilities. She was also an active volunteer with the Haven House Shelter Network for decades. Her tireless passion and energy leaves a legacy of love and a constant remi...

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Bobbe Jordan
March 2, 1936 - Sept. 23, 2022
Portola Valley, CA

She was born and raised in Piedmont, CA with 3 younger brothers. After Piedmont High, she went to UCSB and earned a degree in Biology. While there she met the amazing Bob Jordan who claimed to have ‘saved her from drowning in the shallow end of the pool .’ As his wife she became mother of four lucky children, Tim, Kevin, Jill, and Becky. She raised her own kids along with running an in-home daycare that opened her home and heart to all of Portola Valley’s children. Bobbe rarely sat down, hosting athletes and students from abroad. Bobbe also had a strong love for the outdoors. She enjoyed traveling near and far, whether in Lake Tahoe, Sedona or visiting state and national parks. She loved tapping into her imagination influenced by the work of Muir, Steinbeck, and Bob Jordan. Bobbe shared her limitless love of life with close friends, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She lived by her values shaped by faith and love of nature. Step lightly on the earth. Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Leave a place better than when you arrived. We will meet again Bobbe , maybe on Windy Hill....

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Gina Marie Oliveira
Dec. 26, 1956 - Nov. 16, 2020
Palo Alto, California

Gina Marie Oliveira, age 63, passed away on November 16, 2020 in Kihei, Hawaii on the island of Maui. Gina was born in Berkeley, California on December 26, 1956 to Nathan and Ramona (Mona) Oliveira. As a child, Gina had an infectious personality and was adored by her friends and classmates. Gina attended Stanford Elementary (formerly on Stanford University’s campus), Terman Middle School (now Ellen Fletcher Middle School) and graduated from Gunn High School in 1975. Gina attended Arizona State University. From a very early age, Gina showed a keen interest in athletics. She was a gifted athlete and excelled in almost every sport she played. She was a superb diver and gymnast. In the early 1970s, she qualified for the Junior Olympics in gymnastics. After spending her childhood and early adulthood in Palo Alto, Gina moved to Maui, Hawaii in the 1990s and thrived there for many years. Maui’s warm, tropical weather and Aloha spirit was particularly fitting for Gina’s vibrant, spirited demeanor. Gina’s creative and entrepreneurial personality drove her to open her own salon in Kihei, Cut, Style & GO!. Her business was successful for many years and she touched many pat...

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Most recent memorials

Donald E. Ryan
April 19, 1929 - Jan. 6, 2023 Palo Alto, California

Donald Eugene Ryan, custom home builder, apartment builder, land developer and accomplished tennis player passed away on January 6, 2023 at the age of 93. Beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather to 6 children, 17 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, all of whom are grateful to hav...

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William H. Orttung
June 16, 1934 - Jan. 5, 2023 Menlo Park, California

William “Bill” Herbert Orttung passed away on January 5, 2023. Bill died of a brain tumor at the age of 88, surrounded by his wife, two sons and one of his daughters-in-law. He was born in Philadelphia on June 16, 1934. His father, Elmer H. Orttung, was a stock broker and his mother, Rosalind...

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William B. Blankenburg
Feb. 10, 1932 - Jan. 1, 2023 Palo Alto, CA

William Burl Blankenburg, professor emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism, died Jan. 1 in Palo Alto, Calif., at the age of 90. In his nearly 30-year academic career at the UW, Prof. Blankenburg instructed thousands of undergraduate journalism students, advised countles...

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Thompson L. Sako
Sept. 20, 1952 - Dec. 29, 2022 Menlo Park, California

Thompson Sako, known as “Tom” to his friends, passed away December 29, 2022 following a long, courageous battle with Frontotemporal Dementia. He was 70. Born at Stanford Hospital in 1952, his family resided in Mountain View. A graduate of Los Altos High School in 1970, Tom went on to attend Foo...

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