January 8, 2003
My Tieu Lai-Dang
My Tieu Lai-Dang, a hard-working mother of four who always made time to help others, died Saturday in a car accident while returning from her job in Hopland. She was 44.
Her husband John Dang said the one word that comes to mind in describing My (pronounced May) is "selfless."
"She was very giving," he recalled. "If anybody needed help in anything, she would give her all, especially to people who don't understand or speak the language."
Lai-Dang would help people who couldn't read or write English make phone calls or fill out forms to obtain services. It was something she did informally, on her own, for people she would come across in her day-to-day life.
As an immigrant herself, she knew the struggles of assimilation in a new country and culture. Born in Vietnam to Chinese parents, she was one of what came to be known as "the boat people," who fled persecution by Vietnam's Communist regime after the takeover in the 1970s.
Many died making the perilous journey to freedom, encountering pirates or drowning in overloaded and rickety boats. Lai-Dang's family survived, landing first in Malaysia and then making its way to the United States, where the family went first to Florida and then to San Francisco.
She attended Heald Business College and then worked for the Salvation Army. She met John Dang in 1986 and a year later they were married and she moved to Santa Rosa.
She did accounting for the California Human Development Corp. before taking time off to be home with her growing family, which came to include Alexander, 11; Benjamin, 9; Dylan, 4; and Elani, 3.
She was active in the Redwood Empire Chinese Association, performing with them in the Rose Parade and participating in fashion shows.
In 1998, the Dangs opened the Mandarin Restaurant in Bennett Valley. John Dang cooked and My Lai-Dang managed things up front. A year later, they acquired Crystal Lil's, a nearby pub, and maintained the two restaurants for several years until the demands and the hours became too much.
Most recently, she worked as a card dealer and gaming operator at the Sho-Ka-Wah casino in Hopland. She was commuting home with a co-worker when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and the car veered off the road.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in the chapel at Santa Rosa Memorial Park.
In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by her parents, Anh Tran and Ha Lai; brothers, Han Lai, Howard Lai and Brian Lai, all of San Francisco; and two sisters, Ann Lai of San Francisco and Catherine Choi of New York.
January 7, 2003
Roy Carson, a longtime Sonoma County educator who came out of retirement to run a school district, died at his Sebastopol home Saturday. He was 80.
Carson came to the county in 1960 to take over as principal at Pine Crest School in Sebastopol. Two years later, he took a post with the Sonoma County Office of Education, where he retired in 1985.
"His heart was into being a teacher," said his wife, Mary Carson.
Carson was a natural teacher during the four years he served in the Navy during World War II. Following the war, he went into teaching after graduating from college.
Born in Cedro Woley, Wash., Carson grew up in Bellingham, Wash.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served with naval construction battalion units throughout the South Pacific.
The "Seabees" motto is "We build, we fight." The Seabees built entire bases, road and airstrips and took on a variety of other construction projects.
Carson graduated from Western Washington University after the war, and his first teaching job was in the fourth grade in Ferndale, Wash.
California was growing and offered the promise of better paying teaching jobs in its rapidly expanding suburbs.
The Carsons moved to Whittier in Southern California in 1952.
His first job was teaching junior high school math. Later, he went into administration after earning a master's degree and worked as an assistant principal and principal.
Looking for a smaller town to raise their four children, the Carsons settled on Sebastopol, where the school district was looking for an elementary school principal in 1960.
Carson's first job with the county schools office was as director of math. He was director of educational services when he retired.
"He headed up all the new things that were coming across the board. He was innovative. If it was no good, he would say so," Mary Carson said.
He wasn't out of education long: He was hired as interim superintendent for the Oak Grove Union School District in the West County. He stayed two years, until 1987.
"He was the greatest. He loved it, he loved children," said daughter Mary Kipp of Sebastopol.
In retirement, Carson fished lakes, rivers and the ocean and took up abalone diving. He also played plenty of golf and his wife was his best partner.
In addition to his wife and daughter Mary, survivors include daughter Patricia Heredia of Foster City; sons Michael Carson of Sebastopol and Robert Carson of Santa Rosa; and brothers Eugene Carson and George Carson, both of Washington state.
Friends and family are invited to attend a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Sebastian's Catholic Church, 7983 Covert Lane, Sebastopol. Burial will be at Sebastopol Memorial Lawn, 7951 Bodega Ave. There will be a visitation from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Parent-Sorensen Mortuary, 301 S. Main St., Sebastopol.
Douglas Martin, who was stricken with polio at age 5 and grew up to be a successful advocate for the disabled, helping pass the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1988, has died. He was 55.
Martin, who used a portable iron lung while sleeping, died Friday night in his Los Angeles home when the device accidentally detached, said his mother, Julia.
The advocate, who spent more than two years of his early childhood hospitalized in an iron lung, used a wheelchair the rest of his life.
The effects of the polio included low stamina and respiratory difficulty, although he could breathe on his own while he was awake.
A native of Naper, Neb., Martin earned a major scholarship to the University of Nebraska but was turned away when officials saw his wheelchair.
"I made a vow then and there that I would pursue my education and use it to make sure this would not happen to anyone else," Martin once told a publication at UCLA.
He moved west to attend UCLA, where he found "the climate was milder, the barriers were fewer and the environment was very accommodating."
Martin earned simultaneous bachelor's and master's degrees in 1973 and a doctoral degree in urban affairs two years later. He became a department scholar and in 1972 was the first disabled person to be named a UCLA Chancellor's Fellow.
Martin spent years as a lobbyist for passage of legislation to aid the disabled. In 1989 he returned to UCLA as special assistant to the chancellor in charge of compliance with those laws.
When Martin took the UCLA job to enforce what had been passed, 75 percent of the campus buildings were largely inaccessible to people with disabilities. He supervised the conversion of them all.
Under his tenure as disabled affairs compliance officer at UCLA, enrollment of students with disabilities increased markedly, from 237 when he arrived in 1989, to 1,082 by 1996.
Martin considered his most gratifying achievement the decadelong effort that led to the signing of the Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act in 1986.
The act revised Social Security laws and Supplemental Security Income regulations to eliminate rules that halted benefits when disabled people were employed. Under revisions Martin helped achieve, the new rules encouraged the disabled to seek and retain jobs.
Martin was awarded the national Distinguished Service Award from President George Bush's Committee for Employment of People With Disabilities in 1990.
Jean Kerr, whose wry wit and unerring eye for life's everyday absurdities kept legions of readers and theatergoers laughing with books like "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and plays like "Mary, Mary," died on Sunday at a hospital in White Plains, N.Y. She was 80.
The apparent cause was pneumonia, her son Christopher said. She lived in Larchmont, N.Y.
Kerr, who was the widow of the drama critic Walter Kerr, was well acquainted with the glamour, grit and egocentric follies of life in the theater and capitalized on that experience. She wrote entertainingly and often about show business, musing about what to say when lunching with a prospective producer (order a drink, so you look relaxed, but don't touch it lest he think you're an alcoholic), or gloomily anticipating negative reviews of her latest work ("If I have to commit suicide, I have nothing but Gelusil").
But she had an unquestioned gift for finding the comic in the commonplace anxieties of suburbia and married life. She cheerfully acknowledged doing most of her writing in the family car, parked blocks away from the scrambling chaos of children and pets.
The Kerrs made their debut as a team on Broadway in 1946 with "Song of Bernadette," a dramatization of Franz Werfel's novel about a young French woman who was canonized after claiming to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary in a grotto near Lourdes. It was not a success, nor was her solo writing effort two years later, a comedy called "Jenny Kissed Me," about a priest who finds his household disrupted by the arrival of his housekeeper's niece.
Brooks Atkinson, writing in the New York Times, called it "pedestrian" and "a machine-stitched job."
Jean and Walter Kerr teamed up again in 1949 with "Touch and Go," a revue for which they wrote the sketches and lyrics and which Mr. Kerr directed.
Kerr scored her first really big success outside the theater with the publication in 1957 of "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," a witty and wide-ranging collection of pieces about everything from the pet dogs in her life, to the oddities of the Kerrs' home in Larchmont, N.Y.
January 4, 2003
Edward J. "Ted" Guildford, a longtime Santa Rosa resident who once delivered milk door-to-door in Sonoma County as a driver for Clover-Stornetta Farms, died Tuesday at a Santa Rosa hospital following a long battle with cancer. He was 75.
Guildford worked for Clover-Stornetta Farms for 24 years, doing home milk delivery in the early days and later driving large transport trucks filled with ice cream and other dairy products. He retired from Clover-Stornetta Farms in 1993 and enjoyed the past 10 years traveling and watching sporting events, particularly youth soccer.
"My father loved soccer. If there was a soccer game going on somewhere, he would get out and watch it," said his son, John E. Guildford of Santa Ana.
Guildford coached soccer in the '70s and along with Charles Slender coached one of Sonoma County's first traveling soccer teams. The two coaches would arrange soccer matches with other teams around the Bay Area.
Guildford is remembered as a dedicated family man who was kind, caring and enjoyed life.
"He would do anything for anybody. He was easy-going and always enjoyed a good laugh," his son said.
Guildford was a familiar figure as he walked his golden retriever, JD, in his Larkfield neighborhood.
He was born Jan. 6, 1927, in London. He worked on the docks during the bombing of London in World War II and helped prepare equipment for the invasion of Normandy. He served in the British Army from 1945 until 1948 and for a time was stationed in Palestine, where he did transport and guard duty.
In 1954, he married Patricia Cox, his wife of 48 years. The couple emigrated to the United States in 1957, settling in Santa Rosa because family members were living in the area. He went to work for his brother-in-law Orvan M. Berry, who owned a construction business that built many of the homes in the Larkfield area.
He worked in construction until 1969, when he got a job as a driver with Clover-Stornetta Farms. He was a member of the Teamsters Union.
In addition to his wife and son, Guildford is survived by his daughter, Beverly A. Perez of Windsor, and two grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating Guildford's life will be at noon today at the Mark West Neighborhood Church, 5901 Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa. Private burial is at Oak Mound Cemetery in Healdsburg.
The family suggests memorial contributions to the Mark West Neighborhood Church building fund, 5901 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa 95403; the American Cancer Society, 1451 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa 95401; or the American Heart Association, 1400 North Dutton Ave., Suite 20, Santa Rosa 95401.
Bea Schwartz, whose business and secretarial skills contributed significantly to Temple Beth Ami and to the Sonoma County Restaurant Association, died Wednesday at a Santa Rosa hospital.
A resident of Sonoma County for nearly half a century, Schwartz was 73.
With her husband, Norman, she was an early member of Temple Beth Ami in Santa Rosa and for 16 years was its head of operations.
"She was the right hand for the rabbis that came through. She was very well liked and a good confidante for a lot of people. She was a key part of that place for a lot of years," said her middle son, Fred Schwartz of Woodland Hills.
She later had her own secretarial business for about 15 years, and it was during that time that she became secretary for the Sonoma County Restaurant Association.
A native of Brooklyn, she attended Brooklyn College and worked for several companies in New York, one based in the Empire State Building, before meeting and marrying Norman Schwartz 52 years ago.
In the early 1950s, she moved to Petaluma with her family to be closer to her parents, who at one time operated a chicken ranch.
The Schwartzes have lived in Santa Rosa since 1960.
"She was a very positive person, and very bright," Fred Schwartz said. He recalled she was an accomplished knitter, and a familiar presence in the stands at her sons' sports games, cheering them on while knitting beautiful blankets and clothing.
She also liked to bowl and participated in a bowling league.
Services were Friday at Eggen & Lance Mortuary. Internment was in the Beth Ami section of Santa Rosa Memorial Park.
In addition to her husband and son Fred, she is survived by her sons Lee Schwartz of Santa Monica and Paul Schwartz of Corona; her sisters Sally Weitzman and Shirley Miller, both of Coral Gables, Fla.; and seven grandchildren.
The family suggests contributions to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, 3300 E. Sunrise Drive, Tucson, AZ 85718.
Mary Brian, a romantic leading lady whose memorable career began in the era of silent and early sound films, died Monday at a retirement home in Del Mar. She was 96.
Brian, a longtime resident of Studio City, appeared in more than 70 films between 1924 and 1947. She co-starred with leading men of the era including Gary Cooper, Cary Grant and James Cagney, and at different times during the 1930s was engaged to Grant and to Dick Powell.
She played Wendy in the first screen version -- a silent -- of "Peter Pan," released by Paramount in 1924. She also portrayed Molly Wood opposite Gary Cooper in "The Virginian," the first major Western with sound, produced in 1929.
December 6, 2002
Friends, colleagues and patients of the late Dr. Paul N. Lao are invited to attend a memorial service today at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa.
The 12:30 p.m. service will be held on the front lawn near the flag pole, rain or shine, hospital spokesman Carl Campbell said.
Lao, a respected and popular pulmonary and critical care specialist at the hospital, died Nov. 26 from injuries suffered in a cycling accident four days earlier.
Colleagues and loved ones are still trying to come to grips with his death.
"He was sort of like the grease in our wheels. He made everything smoother and easier," said Dr. Monica Minguillon, a friend and fellow pulmonary specialist. "I think all of us still expect to see him. He was supposed to be on vacation this week, and I think all of us just expect him to come back in."
Minguillon said Lao was genuine, caring and upbeat, and had an effortless appeal. "People just sort of fell all over themselves trying to get a little closer to him," she said.
While talented and professional in his work, he also had a full life outside the hospital as a loving husband and father of two young boys, aged 8 and 10.
He was passionate about anything he got involved in, and friends used the phrase "hobby immersion" to describe his full-bore approach to various pastimes he had picked up in recent years: scuba diving, skiing, snowboarding and, most recently, cycling, going on 100 mile rides before he had his road bike a year, she said.
"I don't think there's a soul who knows him who didn't think he was a great guy, and who didn't want to spend time with him," she said.
Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., Lao attended medical school at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn, where he met his wife, Dr. Veronica Ng, who was a fellow student.
He earned his medical degree in 1989 and received board certification in internal medicine, pulmonary disease and critical care.
Lao and his wife came West in 1992 so he could accept a fellowship at UC Davis, Ng said. He was on the staff at UC Davis in 1995-96.
He accepted his post at Kaiser in September 1998 after two years at a Veterans' Administration hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla., she said.
A Santa Rosa resident, Lao frequently rode his bicycle to work and was on his way the morning of Nov. 22, when he rounded a bend on Chanate Road and collided with an oncoming big-rig as he swerved to avoid a school bus.
Besides his wife, he is survived by sons Chris and Steve Lao of Santa Rosa; parents Check and Lucy Lao of New York; sisters Dara Lao of San Francisco and Cynthia Lao of China; and brother Sinclair Lao of Boston.
A private funeral has been held.
Contributions in Lao's memory may be made to the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, P.O. Box 3088, Santa Rosa 95402-3088.
Edward M. Keyes, writer
Edward M. Keyes, a writer who followed New York City narcotics officers into the dangerous underground world of drug smuggling and helped write the best-selling book "The French Connection," has died.
Keyes, 75, died of cancer Monday. The New York City native and longtime resident of New Rochelle, N.Y., lived in San Diego's La Jolla neighborhood for the past decade.
Keyes teamed up with Robin Moore, author of "The Green Berets," to pen the story of a 1962 historic heroin ring bust by Harlem narcotics officers that netted 112 pounds of drugs worth $32 million.
Although Keyes was not credited on the book's jacket, Moore regarded him as a co-author and acknowledged his work as crucial to its publication, said Keyes' son, Stephen. The two shared the book's royalties, he added.
The book takes readers on a journey through New York City's underground drug world as officers tracked down a Mafia-backed French drug operation.
"The French Connection" inspired a 1971 movie of the same name, which won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Gene Hackman's portrayal of a New York City police officer.
Keyes is survived by his wife, Eileen; daughters Dara Keyes of New York City; Jeanine Keyes-Plante of West Springfield, Mass.; and Lisa Keyes of New Rochelle, N.Y.; as well as sons Stephen of Encinitas; Edward Keyes of San Diego; and Terrence Keyes of New Rochelle, New York.
Richard Lazarus, psychologist
Richard Lazarus, an influential psychologist who studied cognition and emotion, has died. The professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, was 80.
Lazarus, who died Nov. 24 in Walnut Creek, wrote 13 books, including his classic, "Emotion and Adaption," which showed how appraisal enters into the generation of emotions.
The book explained that a single response, such as a smile, can be used for different emotions; different responses, such as retaliation and passive aggressiveness, can be used in service of the same emotion.
Lazarus was an early champion of the study of cognition and his studies in unconscious processes in perception have been frequently cited. He also studied coping and stress.
He won a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 1989 was awarded the Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association.
Lazarus joined the Berkeley faculty in 1957.
He is survived by his wife, Bernice, two children and four grandchildren.
December 5, 2002
Gerald Joseph Skoff, a car fanatic since high school and the owner of Skoff Trucking in Petaluma for more than 40 years, died at his Petaluma home Nov. 30 from cancer of the liver and pancreas. He was 67.
When he was still a teen-ager attending Petaluma High School, Skoff and several buddies created the Pacers of Petaluma, a hot rod club that raced at a drag strip in Cotati.
"He didn't actually race them, he just liked working on them," said Gayle Skoff, his wife of 40 years, who met her husband in high school. "They would work on the car as a group during the week and then they would go to the drag strip. They would be the pit crew."
His passion for cars never faded, his wife said. Skoff was an avid racing fan and owned a '35 Ford Street Rod that he liked to bring to car shows, especially the annual Hot August Nights show in Reno.
Skoff was born and raised in Petaluma, graduating from Petaluma High School in 1954. He joined the Army in 1959, driving tanks at Fort Lewis, Wash. Skoff had hoped to travel overseas in the Army, his wife said, but he never left the country.
In 1961, Skoff and his father started Skoff Trucking with just four trucks and the two of them as drivers. But over time Skoff became more of a truck broker, specializing in hiring drivers to haul rock, sand and gravel. The business is now run by Skoff's wife and a son.
Skoff enjoyed traveling around the country in his motor home, his wife said. He was especially interested in visiting Gold Country sites, she said, and he knew all about the tools miners used to search for gold.
In addition to his wife, Skoff is survived by a daughter, Wendy Lee Mauvais of Santa Rosa; two sons, Martin Skoff of Rohnert Park and Daniel Skoff of Petaluma; four aunts, Dolly Atkinson of Sebastopol and Mary Ronsheimer, Jane Monticello and Anne Zala, all of Petaluma; three grandchildren and one step-granddaughter.
A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Parent-Sorensen Mortuary and Crematory, 850 Keokuk St. in Petaluma. Visitation is 5-8 p.m. Friday at the mortuary. Inurnment will be private.
Donations may go to Memorial Hospice, 821 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa 95401; or the American Cancer Society, 400 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma 94954.
Former Myanmar dictator Ne Win
YANGON, Myanmar -- Gen. Ne Win, Myanmar's former military dictator who dragged his country into poverty during his 26 years in power, died today while under house arrest, family members said. He was 91.
The family members said he died at 7.30 a.m. at his lakeside villa, where he had been confined along with his daughter since March 7 following the arrest of his three grandsons and son-in-law on charges of attempting to overthrow the military government. The family members spoke on condition of anonymity.
No other details of the circumstances of his death were immediately available.
His enormous behind-the-scenes clout began to wane a few years ago and he stood totally discredited earlier this year with the arrest of his relatives.
His son-in-law -- Aye Zaw Win, 54, the husband of Ne Win's daughter Sandar Win, and the couple's three sons -- Aye Ne Win, 25, Kyaw Ne Win, 23, and Zwe Ne Win, 21 -- were sentenced to death Sept. 26 after being convicted of treason on the coup charges. They have appealed the verdict.
The barbed-wire fence that had blocked the road to his house since his arrest was opened slightly today, making enough space for cars to go through. Three soldiers stood near the barricade.
There was no sign of unusual activity at the house. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known, and the government did not make any announcement.
Ne Win had suffered a heart attack in September 2001 and had a pacemaker attached. He was last seen in public in good health March 21, 2001, when he offered lunch to 99 Buddhist monks and more than 500 friends, most of them his socialist cronies.
Ne Win was at the forefront of Myanmar's struggle for independence from Britain, achieved in 1948. He seized power in a bloodless coup in 1962, starting an era of authoritarianism that would sully his reputation as a national hero.
He also achieved notoriety as a playboy and a reclusive eccentric.
A deep belief in numerology prompted him once to issue bank notes in 45- and 90-kyat denominations because the numbers were divisible by his lucky number, nine.
He retired from politics in 1988, just before a popular uprising for democracy triggered by his quarter-century of misrule that catapulted Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the late independence hero Gen. Aung San, to political prominence.
Thousands of civilian protesters were gunned down in the military crackdown that followed and many more fled into exile.
SHELBURNE, Vt. -- Henry Chauncey, the man credited with turning the SAT into an admission standard used by thousands of colleges and universities, has died. He was 97.
Chauncey died Tuesday at his home in Shelburne.
Chauncey founded the Educational Testing Service to administer the SAT out of a belief that access to the nation's colleges should be decided through merit, rather than through family connections.
"Henry believed that higher educational opportunity should not be limited to the children of the wealthy," ETS President Kurt Landgraf said.
A former assistant dean at Harvard University, Chauncey started Princeton, N.J.-based ETS in 1947 and served as its president until 1970. He also was a director of the New York-based College Board, the organization that sponsors the SAT.
During his tenure with ETS, higher education embraced standardized tests as a determining factor in the college admissions process.