Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months by graduates in the 1960s
Victor A. Bertolani '56, J.D. '60, an influential lawyer and educator who opened doors to the legal profession for many judges, prosecutors, and litigators, died April 5 of an aortic abdominal aneurysm, his family said. He was 80.
Thomas J. Besmer Sr. ’60, Sep. 5, 1933 to Jan. 13, 2015. Tom Besmer was a big man in more ways than one. Standing at 6’5 ½” tall, he was not one to be missed. As a young man, and from a family of nine children, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After the Navy, he married Dovaleen (Gross) and he attended Santa Clara University. During those years, they lived in the old Quonset huts. It was an era when married students attended SCU and lived on campus. He played basketball for the Broncos and graduated with a BSEE in engineering in 1960.
James Patrick Connolly '61, M.S. '72 was born in Oakland in 1938 to James P. and Mamie W. Connolly. He attended Napa Union High School and graduated in 1956 and married Sharon in 1997. James passed away in San Jose on February 2, 2015. He was a retired engineer and manager whose career spanned 49 years at NASA, managing the design and development of Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and small spacecraft payloads. He joined the Peace Corps in 1964, and spent 2 years working on road and building projects in Tanzania. He graduated from Santa Clara University with an MS in Electrical Engineering in 1972. James is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Sharon and his children Tim Connolly of Campbell, Thad Connolly of Oakland, and Michael Sommese of San Jose.
Robert B. Yonts '63, J.D. '68, who served as a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge for 13 years and spent more than two decades in private practice before that, died April 9, 2015. He was 73 and a resident of Soquel. Yonts served in the U.S. Army from 1963 until 1965 and was stationed in Germany as a lieutenant in the 7th US Cavalry, according to the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc., for which Yonts was an arbitrator.
Judge Yonts was born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in California. Judge Yonts was very proud of his duties in the army, and shared his many fond memories with family and friends. His successful private law practice in Santa Cruz led him to an appointment as a Superior Court Judge in Santa Cruz County. Practicing for more than 16 years, Judge Yonts leaves many dear colleagues who will miss his leadership and generosity. Upon retirement from the bench he remained involved in numerous civic activities and organizations including JAMS, CASA, and the Santa Cruz Rotary Club. He was member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Capitola, and enjoyed numerous activities with family and friends.
Gary Donald Cummings '66, J.D. '69 passed away peacefully and quietly at 70 years of age on January 11, 2015. Gary was born in Hayward, Calif., on July 10, 1944, the son of Donald and Alice Cummings. Though born in Hayward, he was a native of Oakland and spent all of his life here. Gary is survived by his sons Michael, Matthew, and Brian; his former wife, Raewyn of New Zealand; his sister, Kathleen Jordan (Clay); his brother, Tim Cummings (Sue), as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Gary attended St. Cyril's Grammar School in Oakland and upon his 8th grade graduation, was awarded the scholarship to Bishop O'Dowd High School. At Bishop O'Dowd, he continued to excel academically and upon graduation from O'Dowd, was awarded three scholarships to three different universities. He chose to pursue his studies in political science at the University of Santa Clara on a full four-year scholarship. After graduating from the University of Santa Clara, he was awarded a three-year fellowship to the Law School at the University. He eventually received his JD degree and passed the CA bar on his first try.
During his years at Santa Clara, he became interested In the Big Brother Organization and became a Big Brother to a little boy who did not have a father. After passing the CA Bar, Gary proceeded to enter the U.S. Army as a LT. He was ultimately stationed in Germany in Military intelligence during the Vietnam Era. He advanced to the rank of Captain and was later honorably discharged in 1972 after being awarded the National Defense Service Medal. After returning from Germany, Gary was hired as a Deputy District Attorney in the DA office in Oakland, CA. He excelled in trial work and during the next 25+ years he advanced to become Senior Prosecutor.
Gary loved books and was a voracious reader. And as I remember him growing up, always had a book in his hand or was studying. But he also loved sports and played baseball and basketball along with his younger brother, Tim. When Gary became a father, he enjoyed coaching his three sons - Michael, Matthew, and Brian and all of their teammates in soccer, basketball, and baseball. Matt and Mike both told me. that Gary and their morn never missed any of their games. Gary was also an avid golfer and even played golf with our enthusiastic, elderly mother who adored golf.
William A. "Bill" Sullivan J.D. '67, age 76, died Nov. 28, 2014, at his Pasadena, Calif., home. Bill was born in the San Francisco to Marian and Harry Sullivan, and earned a bachelor's from Stanford University. After serving four years of active duty with the U.S. Air Force, he attended law school at Santa Clara University then clerked for a justice of the California Court of Appeals. Following several years in the private practice of law, he joined Lockheed in Burbank and spent 28 years in its corporate legal department, retiring in 2002. He remained in the Air Force Reserve after active duty, becoming a judge advocate, and retired as a colonel after more than 30 years of duty (with the award of the Legion of Merit). Bill volunteered in the City of Pasadena for many years, including 7 years with the Utility Advisory Commission (3 years as chair) and several years with the Pasadena Police Department. He served as foreman of the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury (2003-2004) and as a member of the County Economy & Efficiency Commission (2004-2005). He joined the Quality and Productivity Commission in 2006, serving as chair for 2 years (2011-2012). He also served as a temporary judge with the Los Angeles Superior Court since 2005.
He leaves his beloved wife of 15 years, Nancy; his daughter Marian Sullivan of Arlington, Virginia, and her husband John L. Corso and their two sons, Michael and John Jr; his daughter Margaret Wise of Vienna, Virginia, and her husband, Bradley and their two daughters, Lindsay and Margaret; and Nancy's daughters Susan Strong and Linda Cantey. He also leaves his brother Robert and Robert's partner Susan Betz of Morgan Hill, Calif.
Raymond John Doudell '67 was born on June 16, 1945 and died on Feb. 6, 2015 Resident of Alameda Raymond was a native of San Jose and long time resident of Alameda. He graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory 1963 and Santa Clara University 1967. Worked as a letter carrier for the US Post Office for thirty years in San Jose, Palo Alto and Alameda. Self-taught sailor who earned the US Coast Guard License of US Merchant Marine Officer: Master Rating; proud owner of the sailboat Pony for forty years; sailed several times to Hawaii in competitive races. Preceded in death by parents Raymond '43 and Dorothy Lannin Doudell. He is survived by Girlfriend Joanne Johnson, Sisters Paulette and Charlotte Doudell, brother Tim Doudell '81 (Nancy), Nieces Christine Doudell Johnson, Kelly Doudell '14 and Great-niece Audrey Johnson.
Daniel Sullivan Mezger '68 passed away on June 10, 2015, in Woodland, California. Dan was born in Woodland in 1945, the third child of Thomas and Rosalie Mezger and was fourth-generation Californian. He attended Holy Rosary Academy and as a young boy was active in the Boy Scouts of America, attaining the Boy Scout "Eagle Rank" status. Dan was a graduate of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose and a 1968 graduate of Santa Clara University where he obtained a BA in finance.
He excelled in sports, most notably football and track and field. While in his sophomore year at Santa Clara University he was named "Rookie of the Year" for the football team. For the rest of his life, he lived "full on" in any activity he undertook. Upon graduation from college, Dan moved to San Francisco to work at the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange. He then joined his father Tom and brother Mark in their family's grain storage operation, Farmers Grain Elevator, est. 1937, and Mezger Trucking in 1971. Dan co-owned and operated the companies for the next 45 years with his brother Mark.
In 1977 Dan married Elizabeth Heenan of San Jose and had two children, Dan Jr. '99 and Meara. Throughout his life, Dan was active in the community, founding member of the Woodland Sunrise Rotary Club and a past president of the Yolo Fliers Club. He also took time to help kids in the local community further their education by tutoring them in mathematics. He never retired but took time off, as he was an avid and skilled golfer and enjoyed doing so in the company of his son, Dan Jr., daughter, Meara, and with numerous lifelong friends from high school, college and business associates. Dan took the greatest delights in his family, children, grandchildren, friends, and Ellen Burriss his partner of the last 15 years.
He is survived by his partner Ellen Burriss, son Dan Mezger, Jr.(Sonia), daughter Meara Wallace (Justin), grandson Jake Wallace, granddaughter Quinn Wallace, brothers Tom Mezger (Mary Lynn) and Mark Mezger (Kerry), sisters Muvvie Marks (Steve) and Michelle Wark (Brett) along with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Thomas B. Mezger, brother, Matthew S. Mezger, MD, Matt's wife, Mary Patricia Hughes and his mother, Rosalie S. Mezger.
Daniel Conrad Harrington '68, age 68, a resident of San Jose, passed away surrounded by his loving family on February 23. Dan is survived by his devoted wife of 46 years, Patricia Ann '68, M.A. '91 (Wright) Harrington; children Jennifer Harrington (Chris Derossi), Brigid Shaheen (Rodger), Colleen Fleming (Mark), Teresa "Tracy" Partridge (Craig); grandchildren Grayson and Miranda Derossi; Coleman and Casey Shaheen; Owen, William and Maeve Fleming; and Scarlett Partridge. He is also survived by his brothers, Michael Harrington and Tim Harrington, brother-in-law Michael Wright '69 and nephew Ryan Wright '99. He was pre-deceased by his sister, Kathleen "Katie" Hosford and his parents Walter and Teresa Harrington.
Dan was born in Salinas, California and raised in Redwood City. He attended elementary school at St. Joseph School in Menlo Park. A proud graduate of Bellarmine College Preparatory (1964), Dan led the Bells to victories both on the football and baseball fields. He was inducted into the Bellarmine Athletic Hall of Fame for baseball in 1999 and was a member of the Hall of Fame 1963 football team. From Bellarmine, Dan went on to attend Santa Clara University during the heyday of Bronco baseball, where he continued to excel on the baseball field before graduating in June 1968. Dan cherished his Jesuit education and truly embodied the Jesuit philosophy of being a "Man for Others."
In September of 1968, he married Patti and they embarked on two years abroad in Germany where Dan served as First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Air Defense Artillery division and Commanding Officer of the Hawk Missile Site in Bamberg. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service in recognition of his outstanding leadership and dedication to duty. Upon returning to the Bay Area in 1971, Dan began a 43-year career in commercial insurance, most recently as Vice President at National Financial Partners (Thoits Insurance) where he dedicated 22 years of service.
Dan was a compassionate, faith-filled man with a quick Irish wit and an unforgettable smile. He taught us to love, to believe, and to laugh. His creative spirit shone through in his humor and his talent for writing. Dan had a way with words and he filled many a birthday card and valentine with heartfelt poems and sincere sentiments – all with beautifully perfect penmanship! Throughout his life, Dan was an active athlete, an avid San Francisco Giants fan, a car and music aficionado and a beach lover. He had a photographic memory – people, places, batting averages – he remembered it all.
Dan's family was his greatest joy. He had an adoring and unwavering devotion to Patti, his best friend and the love of his life. He patiently raised a house full of daughters, and especially loved now being Papa to his eight grandchildren. In recent years, Dan could often be found cheering on the sidelines of their games, applauding them as they performed onstage, or simply enjoying their company at home. He was his kids' biggest fan.
A dedicated husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, Dan is deeply loved and will be greatly missed. And just as he remembered everything, we will remember him. We will carry his legacy with us every day. As his three-year old grandson so poignantly said, "Papa left his heart here."
Dan was a long-time member of St. Martin of Tours Parish in San Jose.