Richard J. Williams
Menlo Park centenarian
Richard J. Williams, a 10-year resident of Menlo Park, died at the home of his daughter August 17. He was 100.
Born in Depew, New York, Mr. Williams held a degree in civil engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He spent most of his career working for the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company in Poughkeepsie, New York. He married Florence Connery of Troy, who preceded him in death.
Mr. Williams served on the board of the Salvation Army in Poughkeepsie and was a member of the Kiwanis Club. He was an avid golfer and bowler, and loved to read, according to his family.
He is survived by his daughters Elizabeth and Eve; and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was held at St. Raymond's Catholic Church, with arrangements by John O'Connor's Menlo Colonial Chapel. Mr. Williams will be buried in Poughkeepsie. The family prefers that memorial donations be made to the donor's favorite charity.
Ida M. Tommei
Longtime Menlo Park resident
Ida M. Tommei, a 45-year resident of Menlo Park, died August 18. She was 87.
Born in Monsummano Terme, Italy, Mrs. Tommei was married for 54 years to Gino Tommei, who preceded her in death, as did her son Italo Tommei. She is survived by her son Alfons Tommei; her daughters-in-law Cecilia and Priscilla; and three grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was held at St. Raymond's Catholic Church, followed by a private burial. Arrangements were by John O'Connor's Menlo Colonial Chapel.
Mary Bell Wilson
Mary Bell Wilson, a former teacher and active community member, died of lymphoma at her Woodside home on August 14. She was 78.
Born in Copper Cliff, Ontario in Canada, Ms. Wilson was raised in New Zealand. She came to the United States during World War II and completed her education at Columbia University, after which she settled in the Bay Area and taught art for 29 years.
"She was a woman of great creative energy," says Kenan T. Neese, her life partner. "As well as being an innovative teacher, she was a painter, sculptor, and designer of beautiful houses, who collected antiques and was an avid gardener."
Ms. Wilson was featured in two documentary videos, "Out in Suburbia" and "Family Values: An American Tragedy," which were broadcast on PBS. In 1993, while fighting cancer, she took part in the Gay and Lesbian March on Washington in her wheelchair. She received the 1998 Pat Bond Memorial Award, presented to a woman over 60 who has made a significant contribution to the gay and lesbian community. She was a member of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Educators' Network).
Ms. Wilson is survived by Kenan T. Neese, her life partner of 27 years; and her grandchildren, Christina and Matthew Thomas.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ms. Wilson's name to the Joyce P. Fulton Memorial Scholarship, care of GLSEN, 7 Creekside Drive, Half Moon Bay, CA, 94019. A memorial service will be held in September at a date that has yet to be determined.
Robert M. Simpson
Robert M. (Bob) Simpson, who lived in Portola Valley for 46 years, died August 14. He was 84.
Mr. Simpson was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Duluth, where he was president of his senior high school class. He graduated from the University of Michigan, where he played hockey.
He worked for the Crucible Steel Corp. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for more than 30 years until retiring as national vice president of sales.
After retirement, Mr. Simpson worked part-time at Hubband and Johnson and Bruce Bauer lumber companies in Palo Alto. He was an avid golfer, former member of the Olympic Club of San Francisco, and devoted to his Australian Shepherd dogs.
Mr. Simpson is survived by his wife of 57 years, Tommy of Portola Valley; sons John of Central Point, Oregon; Peter of Union City; Jim of Menlo Park; and Chris of Livermore; 12 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
There will be no formal service at Mr. Simpson's request. Memorials may be made to The American Lung Association of San Mateo County, 2171 Junipero Serra Blvd., Suite 720, Daly City, 94014; or a charity of the donor's choice.
Wayne N. Fitch
Wayne N. Fitch, 59, died at his home in Palo Alto on August 13. Until last June, Mr. Fitch and his wife, Mayle, were residents of Portola Valley.
Born in Benton, Kentucky, Mr. Fitch was an accomplished sailor and avid golfer. He retired in 1993 after nearly 20 years of service with Pacific Gas & Electric Co., where he was construction superintendent for the Peninsula Division's Half Moon Bay office.
He is survived by his wife, Mayla; daughters Molly Fitch of Pleasant Hill and Leigh Rabold of Vacaville; stepson Mike Hunter of Tualapin, Oregon; stepdaughter Michelle Dannecker of San Diego; six grandchildren; brother Jerry Fitch of Dowell, Illinois; sister Carolyn Nielsen of Salinas; and mother-in-law Barbara Izzard of Cottonwood, California.
At his request, no services were held. Donations in his memory may be made to Stanford Hospice, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, 94305; or the Kidney Cancer Association, 1234 Sherman Ave., Suite 203, Evanston, Illinois 60202-1375. Arrangements were by Menlo Park Chapel of Spangler Mortuaries.
76-year Menlo Park resident
Albert Carl Jacobson, who had lived in Menlo Park since he was 9 years old, died at home August 23. He was 85.
Born in Sacramento, Mr. Jacobson served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and retired from California Water Service in 1976 after 40 years.
He was a member of Utility Workers of America and an officer of the Menlo Park chapter of AARP.
Mr. Jacobson, had many hobbies, loved gardening and had a special interest in sports and photography, his family said.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Elsie; sister Helen Fallon of Menlo Park; many nieces and nephews; and special friend Michael Garibaldi.
There was a private burial service. Contributions may be made in Mr. Jacobson's memory to Stanford Hospice, 300 Pasteur Drive, Mail Code 5520, Stanford CA. 94305 or to a charity of choice.
Frederick Warren Musso, who lived in Atherton for 40 years, died July 28 at age 90. Mr. Musso and his wife, Helen, moved to the Forum retirement community in Cupertino in 1991.
Mr. Musso was born in San Jose, moving with his family to Redwood City where his father owned the Musso Pharmacy. He attended the University of California at Berkeley where he studied pharmacy. He served in the Army Air Force during World War II.
For many years Mr. Musso worked at Menlo French Laundry, which was owned by his wife's grandfather. He was a member of the Palo Alto Elks Club and was an avid fisherman and hunter, according to his wife. "He loved the great outdoors," she says.
Mr. Musso is survived by his wife, Helen M. Musso. The couple would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year.
Services were held at The Forum.
Mary Louise Egan
Sang in church choir
Mary Louise Egan, who moved to Menlo Park in 1998 to live with her niece, Patricia Heaton, died July 30. She was 91.
Mrs. Egan lived in Los Angeles for most of her life, where she was a bank escrow officer. She later lived in Sonoma.
Mrs. Egan was a soprano who sang in Lyric Opera and local productions in Los Angeles. At age 91 she was still singing in the choir at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Menlo Park. Mrs. Egan belonged to and served as an officer in several Masonic organizations.
She is survived by her sister-in-law Phyllis Hofmann of Santa Rosa; niece Patricia Heaton of Menlo Park; nieces and nephews; grand nieces and nephews; and a great-grandniece.
A memorial service is planned for October. Memorial donations may be made to the Trinity Parish Music Program, 330 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, 94025; the California Bach Society, P.O. Box 7526, Menlo Park 94026; Peninsula Habitat for Humanity; or a charity of the donor's choice.
Patricia Balestra Skees
Patricia Balestra Skees of Atherton died unexpectedly August 24 at her home.
Mrs. Skees was born and raised in San Francisco where she attended Lowell High School. She graduated from Stanford University where she met and later married Joseph Balestra. Mr. Balestra died in 1985.
A former member of the Woodside Atherton Auxiliary to Children's Hospital and a longtime member of Menlo Circus Club, she was married to Walter Skees in 1988. Mrs. Skees' interests were her antique business, traveling, and, above all, her family and wide circle of friends, says her daughter, Sherry O'Donnell.
Survivors include her son Mark Balestra and wife, Kathleen, of Atherton; daughters Sherry O'Donnell and husband, Sean, of San Francisco; Katie Walter and husband, Jeff, of Tiburon; and six grandchildren.
Services were to be private. Memorials may be made to the Ronald McDonald House, 520 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park 94304.
Barbara De Liban
Longtime resident and volunteer
Barbara De Liban of Menlo Park died May 10 at Stanford Hospital after a long illness.
Mrs. De Liban, a native of Berkeley, lived in Menlo Park most of her adult life and was active in community affairs. She was a volunteer art teacher at Oak Knoll School before the district hired an art teacher.
Mrs. De Liban was active in the Children's Health Council Auxiliary, Palo Alto Medical Research Foundation Auxiliary, and the Woodside-Atherton Auxiliary of the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Her service with the latter spanned nearly 30 years, during which she did much of the graphic art work for the Tally Ho and other fund-raising activities.
Mrs. De Liban is survived by her son, Paul of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and one grandson. Her husband Robert and her son Richard preceded her in death.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Woodside-Atherton Auxiliary of the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.
Cornelis H. Ruyter
Menlo Park resident for 50 years
Cornelis H. Ruyter, a native of Hilversum, Holland, died at his home on May 16 at the age of 79. He was a retired meter reader for PG&E, and had lived in Menlo Park for 50 years.
Mr. Ruyter is survived by his wife of 53 years, Anna Ruyter; his daughters, Marianna Taylor of Campbell, Francisca Pacheco and Renee Ruyter, both of Menlo Park; his sons, Dirk Ruyter of Clear Lake, Pierre Ruyter and Casey Ruyter, both of Menlo Park, Marinus Ruyter of Holland, and Maurice Ruyter of Campbell; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A funeral service was held at Woodside Chapel of Crippen & Flynn. Burial was at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto.
Longtime Woodside resident
Eleanor Puccinelli, a longtime resident of Woodside, died May 13 at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City. She was 89.
Mrs. Puccinelli is survived by sons Ronald and Philip, both of Redwood City; daughters Nancy Timinsky of Caldwell, Idaho, and Katherine Shapiro of Roseburg, Oregon; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Elio Puccinelli, and her great-granddaughter, Jessica Timinsky.
A funeral service was held at Woodside Chapel of Crippen & Flynn. The family prefers memorial contributions to the Peninsula Humane Society, 12 Airport Blvd., San Mateo, CA 94401.
Richard Edwin Blackman
Menlo Park resident for 52 years
Richard Edwin Blackman, a resident of Menlo Park for 52 years, died at his home on May 13 at the age of 74.
Mr. Blackman is survived by his wife, Margaret; his sons Richard, Bruce and David; and three grandsons.
A memorial Mass was held at the Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to MidPeninsula Hospice Foundation, 65 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025.
Rose M. Baleri
Former longtime resident of Woodside
Rose M. Baleri, a native of Portola Valley and a former longtime resident of Woodside, died May 17 at the age of 77.
Mrs. Baleri was a homemaker who prior to her marriage had worked for Southern Pacific Railroad and the San Mateo County Health Department.
Mrs. Baleri is survived by her husband of 53 years, Frank of Redwood City; her son, Mark Baleri of Carson City, Nevada; her daughter, Monica DiSanto of Redwood City; her brother, Jack Mangini of Portola Valley; and one granddaughter.
A funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of the Wayside Church in Portola Valley. Memorial contributions may be made to MidPeninsula Hospice Foundation, 65 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025.
Thomas William Murphy
Retired comptroller of Stanford Research Institute
Thomas William Murphy, a native of New Jersey and resident of Menlo Park for 35 years, died on May 15 at Lytton Health Care Center in Palo Alto. He was 87.
A graduate of New York University, Mr. Murphy was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. He did graduate work at Columbia University in New York and earned his certificate of public accountancy in Denver, Colorado.
After retiring from Stanford Research Institute as comptroller in 1977, Mr. Murphy taught business courses at Menlo College and consulted for several local firms. In his leisure, he enjoyed travel, tennis, music and books.
Mr. Murphy is survived by his wife, Rita; his daughters Joan Murphy of Menlo Park, Barbara McCarthy of Milpitas, and Carole Murphy of San Jose; and one granddaughter.
A funeral Mass was held at the Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations be made to St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room, 3500 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 or Catholic Relief Services, PO Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090.
Emma Ruth Huber
Menlo Park resident
Emma Ruth Huber, a Menlo Park resident and longtime member of the Peninsula Volunteers, died May 16 at the age of 79.
Mrs. Huber is survived by her husband Paul Huber; her son Geoffrey Chambers of San Francisco; and her stepsons Jay Huber and Lance Huber.
Dorothy Haas Dwight
Menlo Park resident for 50 years
Dorothy Haas Dwight, a member of St. Raymond's Catholic Church, died May 5 at Julia's Health Care Center in Mountain View. She was 91.
Mrs. Dwight, a homemaker, was a native of Peru, Indiana. In her younger days, she enjoyed playing the piano. She is survived by her sons Kenneth Dwight of Palo Alto and Randall Dwight of Portola Valley, and four grandchildren. She was the widow of Ward A. Dwight.
Donations may be made to the MidPeninsula Hospice Foundation, 65 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Funeral services are pending. Arrangements were under the direction of the Menlo Park Chapel of Spangler Mortuaries.