Ham radio enthusiast
Roy "Larry" Bunker, who lived with his daughter and family in Menlo Park for the past four years, died November 23. He was 94.
Mr. Bunker was born in Richmond, Michigan, and was raised in that state. For many years, he worked as a test driver for General Motors. He was married to Ealeen Wilmot in 1937. During World War II, he built Liberty ships in Long Beach.
In 1945 the Bunkers settled in Pomona, where they lived until his retirement in 1974. After retirement they lived in the town of Lucerne on Clear Lake.
Mr. Bunker had many friends with whom he kept in touch by letter and ham radio. He was most at home with Morse code, and through his call sign WD6CTQ he maintained contacts all over the world.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Carol and John Higham, a granddaughter, and many friends and relatives. At his request he will be cremated and his ashes placed on the grave of his late wife, Ealeen, in the cemetery at Upper Lake, California.
Cori Donn Welch
Cori Donn Welch, 48, a resident of Menlo Park and Palo Alto for over 20 years, died October 23 at her home in Menlo Park.
Mrs. Welch was born in Joliet, Illinois. She moved with her family to Southern California in 1968, where she received a BS degree in biology from California State University, Fullerton, in 1973. Over the next six years, she worked as a research assistant at the City of Hope in Duarte, California.
In 1979, she moved to Palo Alto and started work at SRI International as a research analyst and consultant.
Forced to resign when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1993, she endured two surgeries and more than 30 chemotherapy treatments over the next six years. During this time, she formed Questor Information Services, a home-base business providing information retrieval and analysis.
She is survived by her husband of 20 years, James Welch; her father, Donald Koelling of Gravois Mills, Missouri; and her sister, Kam Flores, of San Bernardino.
As requested by Mrs. Welch, no services will be held. Contributions may be sent to the Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, Virginia 22203; and to the MidPeninsula Hospice Foundation, 65 El Camino Real, Menlo Park 94025.
Sacred Heart employee
Vidal Gonzalez, an employee of Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton for 13 years, died of an apparent heart attack on November 1 at the school. He was playing basketball after hours with his brothers, who are also employed at the schools. He was 33.
Mr. Gonzalez, well known to students at both Sacred Heart Prep and St. Joseph's elementary school as a maintenance supervisor, was a friendly man who remembered everyone's name. Each school held prayer services November 2, attended by students and faculty. A Mass of Christian Burial was held November 5 in the chapel at Sacred Heart School with interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park.
Mr. Gonzalez leaves his wife, Maria of Menlo Park, and three children, Andrew 14, Jessica 12, and Sandy, just over one year. He is also survived by his father Gabriel, four brothers, Gabriel, Valentin, Jesus and Jose, all of Menlo Park; three sisters, Herlinda Gonzalez and Maria Gonzalez, both of Menlo Park, and Teresa Moreno of Mexico, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial fund has been established by Sacred Heart Schools. Contributions may be made to the Vidal Gonzalez Memorial fund, c/o Sacred Heart Schools, 150 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton, 94027.
Joseph 'Joe' Bettar
Almanac ad representative
Retired advertising account executive for the Almanac, Joseph "Joe" Bettar, died in his Capitola home on December 29. He was 78.
He had been a member of the newspaper staff from the mid 1980s to 1993.
A longtime resident of Redwood City, he has born in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.
His four-decade ad sales career took him from the San Mateo Times to the now-defunct Sunnyvale Standard, and to the Los Altos Town Crier.
Mr. Bettar came out of a retailing background, including a stint as a Walgreen drug store manager.
According to former Almanac Publisher Mort Levine, he spoke the language of retailers, which resulted in strong, loyal relationships between businesses and the newspaper.
"His energetic and optimistic approach to sales contributed greatly to the success and growth of the Almanac", Mr. Levine added.
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Rose; their son and daughter-in law, Brian and Isabel Bettar; a daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Dan Steingrube; daughters Jody and Vicki Silva; and a sister, Sadie Skinner. There are six grandchildren.
Woodside resident, volunteer
Olga Williams died at her home in Woodside on December 26 at the age of 79.
Born in Warrington, England, Mrs. Williams and her family emigrated to Ontario, Canada, shortly after her birth. On a family visit to England when she was a teenager, World War II was declared, effectively trapping the family in England for the duration of the hostilities. Mrs. Williams joined the American Red Cross, where she met and then married Collis "Cy" Williams, a young G.I. from California.
After the war, the Williams and their young son Curt moved to the Williams family ranch in rural Santa Clara, where their second son, Mark, was born. In 1950, the family moved to Woodside, where daughter Pam was born.
Mrs. Williams was very active in her children's lives, participating in their schooling as well as extra-curricular activities such as 4-H, scouts and community fundraising. More recently, she volunteered at the Filoli Estate's gift shop and was a member of the Women's Fellowship of Woodside Village Church.
Family members remember her as a woman of style and grace who remained loving and positive despite losing a husband and a son at an early age. She valued the love of her family, friends both near and far and the natural beauty of the hills in which she lived, family members said.
Mrs. Williams is survived by her son Curt Williams of Woodside; her daughter Pam McReynolds of La Honda; and her grandchildren Katie and Jeff Williams and Scotty McReynolds.
Services were held at Woodside Village Church. The family prefers memorial donations be made to the Northern California Leukemia Society or a local hospice organization.
Jack F. Bowley of Menlo Park died at Stanford Hospital on December 28. He was 82.
Mr. Bowley lived in Atherton from 1966 to 1987, then moved to Menlo Park.
Born in San Francisco, he graduated from Balboa High School, then served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946.
Mr. Bowley worked as a public accountant before joining Argonaut Insurance Co., where he served as treasurer, president and chairman of the board. He retired in 1974.
An avid golf and domino player, he was also a member of Brotherhood Lodge, Scottish Rite, Islam Temple, the Jesters and the Eldorado Country Club. He was a charter member of Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club.
Mr. Bowley is survived by his wife, Margaret Bowley of Menlo Park; his daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Richard Landauer of Atherton; his son and daughter-in-law, John and Adele Bowley of Menlo Park; three step-children, Gayle Hart, Keith Davenport and Anne Hampton; four grandchildren; and three step-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Wilma Bowley.
A memorial celebration was held at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton. Burial was at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Colma.
The family prefers that memorial donations be sent to That Man May See Inc. (UC-San Francisco vision research foundation), 8 Kirkham St., San Francisco, CA 94143-0352.
Gertrude Elizabeth Cutter
Former Menlo Park resident
Gertrude Elizabeth Cutter, a former longtime Menlo Park resident, died December 6 in Folsom, California. She was 92.
Born in Gas City, Indiana, she was the youngest of eight children. Besides living in Menlo Park, Mrs. Cutter resided in Chicago, Cincinnati and in Columbus, Ohio, where she was a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and a volunteer for the Children's Hospital Auxiliary. She spent the last two years of her life at Willow Creek Assisted Living in Folsom to be near her family. Family members say they will miss her bright smile, kindness and joyful spirit.
Mrs. Cutter is survived by her husband William J. Cutter; her daughter Judy A. Jones of Folsom; and her grandchildren Kristopher E. Jones and Damon C. Jones of Portola Valley.
Services will be held in Folsom on January 15. The family requests that memorial donations be made to either the Make a Wish Foundation of Sacramento and North-east California, 1401 Halyard Drive, West Sacramento, CA 95691; or the Sacramento Audubon Society, P.O. Box 160694, Sacramento, CA 95816-0694.
Mae Ruby Mather
Retired insurance agent
Mae Ruby Mather, a Menlo Park resident of 10 years, died December 12 at the age of 90.
Mrs. Mather was born in Laytonville, California, and worked as an insurance agent for 30 years. She is survived by her step-son Fulton Mather of Penryn, California; and her brother Richard Bowman of Laytonville. Private funeral services were held.
Services for Julia Chupack
A memorial Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 15, at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 751 Waverley St., Palo Alto, for Julia Chupack of Menlo Park, who died December 21.
Kevin David O'Brien
Menlo developer, former Planning Commissioner
Kevin David O'Brien, a 45-year Menlo Park resident and former member of the city's Planning Commission, died December 7. He was 63.
Born in San Francisco, Mr. O'Brien attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory and graduated from Stanford University, where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He worked as a real estate developer in Menlo Park, where he lived for 45 years.
In 1993, he moved to Hailey, Idaho, where he lived until his death. Mr. O'Brien was an avid sportsman who enjoyed skiing and tennis and was active in the support and development of rugby in the Bay Area, according to family members. He was a benefactor to many organizations, including Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, family members said.
Mr. O'Brien is survived by his former wife of 32 years, Alberta Petri O'Brien of Redwood City; his five children, Timothy, Peter, Lisa, Michael and Christopher; his sister, Brenda Lydecker of Stamford, Connecticut; and nine grandchildren.
The family prefers that memorial contributions be made to the charity of the donor's choice.
Esther H. Williams
Failure analysis pioneer
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 29, at Avenidas (the Palo Alto senior center), 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto, for Esther H. Williams, the first woman inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.
A resident of Menlo Park since 1973, Mrs. Williams died of a brain tumor December 11. She was 86.
Mrs. Williams was a metallurgist for nearly half a century and worked for more than 30 years in the aerospace industry, diagnosing why spacecraft materials fail.
Born in Viola, Oregon, Mrs. Williams attended Washington State University, and receive her bachelor of science degree in physical metallurgy from the University of California at Berkeley.
Her career in failure analysis began during World War II at Hunters Point Naval Dry Docks where she evaluated storm and battle damage on warships returning from the Pacific.
In 1958, after four years with Lockheed Aircraft Company, she joined Lockheed Missiles and Space, where she was an expert in failure analysis until her retirement in 1992.
Among projects she worked on involved the Polaris missile, the Hubble Space Telescope, and various Strategic Defense Initiative projects. One of her first Lockheed assignments was to direct the failure analysis team for Lockheed Skunk Works.
She was the first person to suggest that titanium replace steel in aircraft and the first to apply material analysis to microelectronic devices.
Mrs. William founded both the Santa Clara Valley and Los Angeles sections of the Society of Women Engineers.
In 1991, Mrs. Williams was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. Other inductees that year were William R. Hewlett, David Packard and Dale L. Compton.
She was also honored as one of 100 Women of Achievement by the international women's fraternity, Alpha Omicron Pi.
Mrs. Williams, who worked at Lockheed until age 79, is survived by daughter, Denise Gillen of Mountain View; sons Douglas Holmes of Huntsville, Alabama; Michael Williams of Boulder, Colorado; Terry Williams of Redmond, Washington; sisters Mildred Hull of San Leandro and Evelyn Bush of Palmer, Alaska; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Donations may be made to the Society of Women Engineers, Santa Clara Valley Section Scholarship Fund (specify that the gift is in memory of Esther Williams), P.O. Box 61333, Sunnyvale, California, 94088.
Charles Searles, who had lived in Menlo Park since 1953, died at home December 7. He was 75.
Mr. Searles was born and raised in Altadena. He joined the U.S. Navy at age 18 in World War II and became a pilot assigned to the Roosevelt aircraft carrier. After the war, he attended the University of Southern California, graduating with a degree in business administration in 1949.
He was employed by Uarco Business Forms until 1976 when he retired for health reasons. He was active in SIRS and an avid golfer.
Mr. Searles is survived by his wife, Marcella; daughters Sally and Melinda; son Scott; and four grandchildren. At his request, no services were held.
William Charles Holding
Prison guard, school district employee
William Charles Holding, a Menlo Park resident for over 50 years, died December 27. He was 94.
Born in Salt Lake City, Mr. Holding spent his youth living and working at the Salt Air Resort on the edge of the Great Salt Lake. He spent three years on the big island of Hawaii on his Mormon Mission.
Following his missionary work, Mr. Holding worked as a guard at the McNeil Island Federal Prison in Washington State. He transferred to Alcatraz when it opened as a federal prison and worked as a guard there during a time when Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and the Touhe brothers were inmates, according to family members.
During World War II, Mr. Holding was chosen to head the police force inside the Tule Lake War Relocation Center, where Japanese-Americans were interned. It was there he met his future wife Rosemary.
While working for the Las Lomitas School District, he helped his father-in-law build the Menlo Park home where he raised his family. Mr. Holding retired from the school district in 1971.
He had a lifelong interest in geology and minerals, and at one time owned a uranium mine on Sonora Pass. He was a founding member of the Palo Alto Geology Society and was active in Little House's lapidary program.
Mr. Holding is survived by his wife Rosemary; his daughter Catherine Thompson of La Honda; his sons William Holding Jr. and Hal Holding; and four grandchildren.
The family prefers that memorial donations be sent to the VNA and Hospice of Northern California, 700 S. Claremont #220, San Mateo, CA 94402.