Olga 'Ollie' Fickes
Olga "Ollie" Fickes, who operated catering by Ollie in Menlo Park for 20 years, died November 4 in Walnut Creek. She was 89.
Mrs. Fickes lived in Menlo Park for 50 years, moving to Walnut Creek last year. Born in Minneapolis, she operated the Golden Churn Coffee Shop in Menlo Park during World War II, then became a partner in the Party Givers Catering Company.
In the 1950s, she owned and managed the dining room at the Marie Antoinette Inn on Noel Drive in Menlo Park. During the 1960s, she supervised the dining room at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). During the late 1970s, she wrote a food column, "Forty Years in a Mixing Bowl," for The Almanac. She also authored a cookbook.
Besides her expertise as a good cook, she enjoyed playing bridge and reading, recalls her daughter, Sandra Mehus.
Mrs. Fickes is survived by her daughter Sandra Mehus of Oakland; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her husband, the late Raymond C. Fickes, died in 1969; her son Raymond C. Fickes Jr. died in 1975.
Services for Mrs. Fickes will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 15, at the Church of St. Matthew, S. El Camino Real and Baldwin in San Mateo. Interment will be in Alta Mesa Cemetery, Palo Alto. Memorial gifts may be given to a charity of choice.
Robert N. Ensign
Retired assistant U.S. attorney
A celebration of the life of Robert N. Ensign will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, November 18, at the Ladera Community Church hall, 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. Mr. Ensign died October 31 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 81.
Mr. Ensign was born in Champaign, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1940 and the university's School of Law in 1942. He served in the armed forces for three-and-a-half years and was decorated with a European Theater Ribbon with one Bronze Battle Star during World War II.
After returning from the war, Mr. Ensign attended Harvard Law School for one year before moving to the Bay Area. In 1954 Mr. Ensign was appointed an assistant United States attorney for the Northern district of California, handling civil cases in such fields as land management, immigration, forestry, and food and drug administration, until his resignation in 1968.
Mr. Ensign and his wife, Doris, moved to Ladera in 1958 and raised their family there. In September 1977 he was presented with an "Outstanding Community Service Award" by the Ladera Community Association. In 1997, the State Bar of California issued a certificate of recognition to Mr. Ensign for 50 years of service to the legal community and to the State Bar.
In addition to his wife of 49 years, Doris, Mr. Ensign is survived by a son, Newton E. Ensign of Portola Valley; a daughter, Melinda E. Smith and two grandchildren of Gilroy; brother, Richard B. Ensign of Tucson, Arizona; and several nieces and nephews. Private services have been held.
Contributions may be made in the memory of Robert N. Ensign to Alzheimer's Association, 2065 West El Camino Real, Suite C, Mountain View, CA 94040.
John 'Jack' Kruse
John W. "Jack" Kruse of Woodside, who designed many public buildings and homes in the Bay Area, died November 8 after a long illness. He was 82.
Mr. Kruse was born in Davenport, Iowa, and studied architecture at Cornell University and naval architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, serving in the South Pacific during World War II. After his discharge in 1945, he settled in San Francisco, developing a successful business in architecture in partnership with Henry Hill.
Mr. Kruse was a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Construction Specifications Institute. He served on the Woodside Town Council and was an avid golfer and longtime member of the Menlo Country Club.
Mr. Kruse married the late Elizabeth Cattori Kruse in 1946 and, together, they raised four children. For the past 15 years, he has been married to Miriam Sours Kruse of Carmel. He is survived by his wife, Miriam; children, Claudia and Karen Kruse of San Francisco; Karen Kruse of Burbank; and son, Walter Kruse of San Sebastian, Spain; sister, Janet Conlan; and one granddaughter.
Private family services were held November 13 at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association or to a charity of choice.
Miner's Radio and Television manager
Margaret Soest Miner, a resident of Menlo Park for 57 years, died November 6 at Stanford Medical Center. She was 85.
Mrs. Miner was born in Chicago. She was office manager of Miner's Radio and Television Service, a family-owned business, which was located on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park for more than 30 years, starting in the 1950s. She was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church and a former church and school librarian.
Mrs. Miner is survived by her son, Martin Miner of Fremont and daughter-in-law Ginger; daughters Dorothy and Laura Miner, both of Menlo Park; and four grandchildren. Her husband, Thomas Miner, died in 1993.
Memorial services are pending. Contributions may be made to Bethany Lutheran Church's Music Fund, 1095 Cloud Ave., Menlo Park 94025, or the American Cancer Society, 1650 Amphlett Blvd. #110, San Mateo CA 94402.
Teacher and clubwoman
Jessie Gertrude Amos, a resident of Menlo Park for the past eight years, died October 24 at Stanford Medical Center at age 90. She lived at the Glenwood Inn and, most recently, at Canyon House in Menlo Park. A family memorial will be held November 19.
Mrs. Amos lived in Fresno for 82 years before moving to Menlo Park to be nearer her children. Her husband, J. Dean Amos, died in 1997. She was a graduate of Fresno State University and a teacher in the Fresno city schools for most of her life. She was a founding member and past president of Fresno Emblem Club #25, as well as past president of both the state and supreme Emblem Clubs.
Her family recalls that Mrs. Amos was devoted to her family and enjoyed baby sitting with her grandchildren. "She was always willing to help others," says her daughter, Deanna Tarr.
Mrs. Amos is survived by her daughter, Deanna Amos Tarr and son-in-law Dr. William H. Tarr of Menlo Park; a son, Dr. Arthur Allen Amos and daughter-in-law Nathalie Amos of Orinda; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
The family prefers donations to the Visitation Ministry of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, 950 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 94025, or Rosener House, c/o Peninsula Volunteers, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park 94025.
Mary Griffiths Sox
Devotee of the arts
Mary Eleanor Griffiths Sox died November 9 at The Sequoias in Portola Valley, her home for the past 25 years. She was 95. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 18, at Christ Church in Portola Valley.
Mrs. Sox was born in Suisun, California, and grew up in Napa. She graduated from Stanford University in 1927 where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and earned a bachelor of arts degree and teaching credential.
Mrs. Sox lived most of her life in Atherton and Portola Valley where she was active in the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Committee for Art at Stanford. She was a founding member of St. Marks Episcopal Church in Palo Alto and a member of Christ Church in Portola Valley. Mrs. Sox was also a member of the Century Club of San Francisco.
After her marriage to Harold C. Sox ended, she returned to teaching. Up until her mid-80s, Mrs. Sox continued to spend summers at the family cabin at Fallen Leaf Lake and travel extensively to every continent. She periodically audited classes at Stanford University, and enjoyed reading about the arts.
She is survived by three sons: Harold C. Sox of Hanover, New Hampshire; David G. Sox of Pleasant Hills; and Jonathan W. Sox of Scripps Valley; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Burial will take place at the Fairfield-Suisun Cemetery.
James 'Butch' McClure
Probation department supervisor
James Calvin "Butch" McClure, who served as a juvenile group supervisor with the San Mateo County Probation Department for 19 years, died unexpectedly of leukemia November 5. He was 48.
Mr. McClure, who lived in San Francisco, grew up in Menlo Park. He attended Menlo-Atherton High School and San Francisco State University, where he received his degree in social welfare. An outstanding high school and college football player, he was inducted into the Menlo-Atherton High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
In 1981, after working with foster care children, Mr. McClure began his career with the probation department. In 1999 he was promoted to institutional services manager. He established a number of programs and activities, and did the Christmas shopping for children at Juvenile Hall each year. He helped establish the department's defense tactics training program and was the department's primary trainer for the past 10 years.
Mr. McClure was active in Pop Warner football with his oldest son, James. He was a coach with the Seahawks organization and later became a coach with the junior 49ers, coaching his youngest son, Maurice. He also served as an assistant coach for the Lincoln High School junior varsity football team in San Francisco.
His family said he enjoyed camping, fishing, football and annual trips to the Christmas tree farm in Napa.
Mr. McClure is survived by his wife, Dori Greggs McClure of San Francisco; his mother, Marie Ray of San Francisco; step-mother Joyce McClure; his children, James Woodruff, Talia, Marcus, Maurice and Mia McClure, all of San Francisco; his brothers, Chris McClure of Mountain View, Carl McClure of Stockton, Mark McClure of San Jose, and Derrick Ray of San Francisco; his sisters, Valerie Kendricks and Homa Olude of San Jose; and one granddaughter.
Fellow workers at the San Mateo County Probation Department are raising money for Mr. McClure's widow and children. Checks made out to Dori Greggs McClure may be sent c/o Rhonda Collins, San Mateo County Probation Department, 21 Tower Road, San Mateo 94402.
Harold H. Pomeroy
Harold H. Pomeroy, a 40-year Atherton resident, died on November 9. He was 78.
Born in Bakersfield, Mr. Pomeroy attended Menlo Junior College and Stanford University before embarking on a career as a chemical engineer. He eventually ran his own consulting firm, Pomdel Co., in Menlo Park, and he retired in 1990.
He also worked at Merco Centrifugal Co. in San Francisco and Chemical Process Co. in Redwood City.
Mr. Pomeroy is survived by his wife of 53 years, Betsy, and five children: Leigh of Mankato, Minnesota; Steven, of Los Altos; Katherine of Seattle; Peter of Montara, California; and David of Los Altos. Other survivors are seven grandchildren; four daughters-in-law; and his brother Charles Pomeroy of Arvin, California.
A family service is scheduled. Gifts in his memory may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 901 Middlefield Way, Mountain View, California, 94043. They may also be made to the charity of the donor's choice.
Hardware store owner
Richardt Solbeck of Menlo Park, retired owner of Builder's Hardware in Mountain View, died November 10 at Kaiser Hospital, Redwood City. He was 81.
Mr. Solbeck was born in Humbolt, Iowa, and grew up in Elgin, Illinois. A veteran of World War II, he fought in the European Theater in four major battles: Northern France, the Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland and Central Europe.
After his retirement, Mr. Solbeck was a self-employed cabinet maker. He was a member of the Coronet Dance Club for 25 years, a member of the American Legion, and an avid bowler. He also enjoyed golf and coin collecting says his family.
Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Ada, of Menlo Park; son Russell and daughter-in-law Linda Solbeck of Redwood City; daughter Nancy Chaput of Newark; sister Hilda Brandt of Geneva, Illinois; five grandchildren; and two nephews.
Services were held under the direction of the Menlo Park Chapel of Spangler Morturaries.
Peninsula Optical manager
Barbara (Bobbe) Whitsett of Los Altos, whose husband at one time owned optical stores in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Sharon Heights, died November 12 at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. She was 79.
Mrs. Whitsett was an "army brat" and grew up in the Presidio in San Francisco where her father was stationed. She began working as bookkeeper and office manager of Palo Alto Optical in 1957 and continued until her death. She was the widow of Newell F. Whitsett, whom she married in the late 1970s. Mr. Whitsett died in 1996.
Mrs. Whitsett is survived her son, Jack Hewton of Hollister, his wife Joanne; stepdaughter Judith Cresap of Aptos; sister Mary Landis of Redwood City; brother William Birmele of Colorado Springs, Colorado; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Private family services will be held.
Ann W. Brockhoff
Ann W. Brockhoff, a Woodside resident, died September 16. She was 99.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Mrs. Brockhoff was the wife of the late Lewis Paul Brockhoff. She is survived by a daughter, Dr. Lois A. Brockhoff of Woodside; sisters Lillian O'Nan of Louisville, Kentucky, and Selma Ambrosia of Clarksville, Indiana; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services were held at Bethany Lutheran Church in Menlo Park with a graveside interment at the St. Paul Lutheran Church Cemetery in Perham, Minnesota.
The family prefers donations to the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, c/o of Bethany Lutheran Church, 1095 Cloud Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025.
Engineering company president
Vito Vincent Marchi of Menlo Park, who was president of Marchi Associates for 30 years, died September 19 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 76.
A native of San Francisco, Mr. Marchi served as a fighter pilot in World War II. His name is included in the Air Force Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs. Mr. Marchi continued his interest in flying throughout his life and kept his Citabria at the San Carlos Airport.
After the war, Mr. Marchi graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where he received degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering.
He founded his own company, Marchi Associates, designing, among other things, instruments for space projects, including the shovel that scooped up dirt on Mars for NASA during the 1978 Viking trip. His family noted he also developed equipment for measuring the temperature inside Mt. Saint Helens. He sold the business several years ago, due to ill health.
Mr. Marchi is survived by his wife of 20 years, Gloria; children Mike, Chris, Suzanne, Deanna, Jeanine and Tim; two stepchildren, Chris and Wendy Ann; sister and brother-in-law Alice and Sergio Baldocchi.
Services were held at St. Denis Catholic Church in Menlo Park, followed by a graveside service with military honors at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto. Memorial donations may be sent to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., honoring Mr. Marchi, who is listed in the Registry of Remembrances, Combat category; telephone 1-800-639-4992.
53-year Portola Valley resident
Pearl Dixon of Portola Valley died at her home September 14 shortly after being diagnosed wtih acute myeloid leukemia. She was 79.
Mrs. Dixon, born in 1921, married Joe Dixon in 1938 in San Francisco. The couple built their home in Portola Valley in 1947. Mrs. Dixon was active in the local Parent Teacher Association and in scouting. She also worked for many years at the Valley Pharmacy.
Mrs. Dixon enjoyed crafts of all kinds, especially ceramics, knitting and crocheting, family members said.
She is survived by her husband Joe; daughter JoAnne of Riodoso, New Mexico; and sons John of Pescadero and Don of Albany, Oregon.
Margaret Louise Lewis
Real estate agent, 'soccer mom'
Margaret Louise Lewis, a longtime real estate broker in Portola Valley, died peacefully September 3 in her Portola Valley home after a long illness. She was 78.
Mrs. Lewis and her husband, Robert, moved to Portola Valley in 1960, where they became very much involved with the community as they raised an active family of six children.
A native of Ostrander, Ohio, Mrs. Lewis was a supply sergeant for the Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor before World War II. She left just weeks before the bombing, according to her son Scott, who still lives in Portola Valley.
Scott Lewis remembers his mother as active in the network of moms that guided a generation of kids through Portola Valley schools in the 1960s and 1970s. She was "a proud soccer mom," during the Portola Valley school team's legendary 106-game winning streak under former coach Chris Miller, he recalls.
Mrs. Lewis worked at the Portola Valley Hardware Store before founding and working as a broker for Portola Valley Realty. She also enjoyed playing Bingo around the Peninsula, he recalls.
Her daughter, Connie Lewis, says "Louise" will be remembered for her devotion to her family, her enjoyment of people from all walks of life, and her generous, indomitable spirit.
Mrs. Lewis is survived by a sister, Flo Freeman of Delaware, Ohio; children, Connie Lewis of Dillon, Colorado, Dan Lewis of Seattle, Washington, Tom Lewis of Shingle Springs, California, Janet Nystrom of Palo Alto, and Scott Lewis and David Lewis of Portola Valley; and six grandchildren.
The family suggests contributions to the Mid-Peninsula Hospice, 65 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025.
W. Keith Cole
World War II vet, photographer
W. Keith Cole, an Atherton resident for 44 years, died at his home in Redwood City October 9. He was 82.
Mr. Cole, who served as a U.S. Marine Corps photographer in China during World War II, owned Keith Cole Photography in San Carlos, Redwood City, San Mateo, Minneapolis and Baltimore for 40 years. He was also a partner in the Woodside Village Mobile Home Park in Auburn and owned property in Baja California. He was born in Lanesboro, Iowa, and was a Bay Area resident for more than 60 years.
He was active in community service. During the 1940s, as a trustee with the Sequoia Union High School District, he was instrumental in purchasing property for many of the high schools, according to family members.
He also was a member of the Redwood City Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, Professional Photographers of America, the Suburbans Club, the Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club, among many others.
Mr. Cole loved to golf and travel, and his family recalled his kindness, generosity to his employees, sense of humor and his enthusiastic devotion to whatever project he was working on.
His wife of nearly 60 years, Geraldine Evans Cole, died in January. Mr. Cole is survived by his daughters Geralyn Potter of Redwood City and Cammy Fuller of Auburn; his sisters Marilyn Sommer of Placerville and Bobbie Mathisen of Washington; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and his friend and caregiver Maria Kivalu.
A memorial service was held at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo. The family prefers that memorial donations be made to Carrington Hall at Sequoia High School, the American Red Cross, the Ecumenical Hunger Program of East Palo Alto, or a charity of the donor's choice.