Pioneer family member
Phyllis Ann Stanford, a 42-year resident of Portola Valley, died December 25 at the Sequoias retirement community in Portola Valley. She was 96.
Born in San Francisco, Ms. Stanford was a member of a pioneer family whose great-grandparents came across the plains to Mission San Jose in 1846. They had originally traveled with the Donner Party, but separated and went ahead of them to beat the winter.
Ms. Stanford graduated from Berkeley High School and worked for several years as a secretary at the Southern Pacific Railroad in the confidential department, where she remembered the secret planning for dangerous or valuable shipments, including moving gangster Al Capone to Alcatraz from an Illinois prison.
She married Eric M. Stanford, who later became executive vice president of I. Magnin & Co., and chairman of the board of what is now called Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
Ms. Stanford was active as a social services representative for the American Red Cross and a 50-year member of the Woodside-Atherton Auxiliary to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
She had a lifelong passion for growing and arranging flowers, which she had done for the last 20 years as a resident of the Sequoias, say family members.
Ms. Stanford is survived by her sons, Alan of Napa and James of Portola Valley; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
The family prefers memorials be made to a charity of choice. Private family services will be held.
Former Atherton resident
Robert Gerber Starkweather of Reno, the first business administrator for the Menlo Medical Clinic, died of heart failure in Reno on November 27.
Mr. Starkweather was born in 1913 in Pacific Grove. He met his bride, Dolores Spamer, when they were students at Stanford University. They married in 1938 after he earned his MBA at the university. During World War II he worked for Sperry Flour Mills.
In 1949, Mr. Starkweather became business administrator of Menlo Medical Clinic, a new concept for doctors. He worked with the doctors in planning, building, and administering the clinic, which he managed for more than 20 years. Mr. Starkweather was president of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce in 1955-56, active in the Rotary Club of Menlo Park, and president of the Medical Group Management Association in 1966-67.
The Starkweathers traveled and hiked California, Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand and Mexico. Mr. Starkweather also enjoyed piloting a Cessna Piper Cub.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Dolores; children, Joan Zenan of Reno, Rich Starkweather of Reno, Cindy Peterson of Rohnert Park, and Bruce Starkweather of Sacramento; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Harold E. Wilcoxson of Sonora, who lived in Portola Valley for 30 years and practiced dentistry in Menlo Park, died December 29 at Stanford Medical Center. He was 78.
Dr. Wilcoxson was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. He served in France at the headquarters of the 13th Armored Division's Surgeon's Office during World War II.
Dr. Wilcoxson is survived by his wife, Winifred; two children, Grant Wilcoxson and Nancy Court; and a granddaughter.
Native of Finland
Albert Erik Helsing of Menlo Park died December 24 at Kaiser hospital in Redwood City. He was 96.
Mr. Helsing worked as a carpenter in residential construction for most of his life. He enjoyed making violins and playing old-time Scandinavian music, as well as salmon fishing, say family members.
He is survived by his son, Nils of Oroville; a daughter, Alice Chapman of Menlo Park; five grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. His wife, Elna, preceded him in death.
Arrangements were under the direction of Roller Hapgood & Tinney, Palo Alto.
A remembrance gathering for noted bookbinder Joanne M. Sonnichsen will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 31, at the Stanford Faculty Club. Ms. Sonnichsen, a resident of Menlo Park, died December 25. She was 70.
Ms. Sonnichsen's bookbinding work has been displayed in museums, universities, private collections and exhibits around the world. She was one of the nine founders of Air Neuf, an international bookbinding organization in Paris.
She was commissioned to design a special binding for the AIDS Name Project Book, on permanent display at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
Ms. Sonnichsen was born in Omaha and raised in Palo Alto, where she graduated from Palo Alto High School. She studied watercolor and oil painting at Stanford University, graduating in 1958 with a major in art and design.
She married Darrell "Deke" Sonnichsen in a Danish ceremony in 1954, and worked for Hiller Helicopters in Menlo Park, and for Skidmore Owings and Merrill in San Francisco.
Ms. Sonnichsen served as treasurer and president of the Committee for Art at Stanford in the 1960s and was one of the founders of Treasure Market. In the 1970s she began to studying bookbinding, in the French tradition, and founded her own studio in Menlo Park.
Ms. Sonnichsen served as president of the Book Club of California, which honored her in February with the Oscar Lewis Award for her achievement in the book arts. She was also a member of the Hand Bookbinders of California, the Colophon Club of San Francisco, the Roxburghe Club of San Francisco, Bancroft Library Associates, Stanford Library Associates, the Guild of Bookworkers, Pets in Need and Amnesty International.
Ms. Sonnichsen is survived by her husband, Deke, of Menlo Park, and a son, P.J. Sonnichsen, of Bodie, California. The family prefers that memorials be made to the donor's favorite charity.
Former resident of Portola Valley
Barbara Boon Hollingsworth, who lived in Portola Valley for 15 years, died December 4 in Neenah, Wisconsin. She was 73.
Ms. Hollingsworth was born in Appleton, Wisconsin. She attended Downer Seminary and graduated from Lawrence University, where she was a member of Delta Gamma sorority.
She married John Hollingsworth in 1953, and they relocated all over the United States due to his career in the restaurant industry. They spent 15 years in Portola Valley, where Ms. Hollingsworth was a volunteer at Stanford Medical Center in the late 1970s.
After their children were grown, the Hollingsworths divided their time between Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, and Laguna Hills. They enjoyed traveling to such destinations as Vietnam, China, Korea, Bhutan and Nepal. They also collected antiques and Metlach steins, say family members.
Ms. Hollingsworth is survived by her children, Karen H. Lucian of Portola Valley, Laura A. Wilkins of Lake Oswego, Oregon, and Steven G. Hollingsworth of Clear Lake, Minnesota; and 11 grandchildren. Her husband, John, died in 1999.
A memorial service for Coline Cuthbertson will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 5, 2004 at First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto. Ms. Cuthbertson, a resident of Portola Valley, died October 20, 2003.