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Class Notes | Obituaries
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Catholic theologian and professor Edward T. Oakes, S.J. M.Div. '79 died in St. Louis Dec. 6, prompting his colleagues to remember his work in Christology, his wit, and his lasting effect on students.
"Fr. Oakes was a unique scholar, largely because of his Jesuit background in Classics, where he was able to really do theology within the full richness and the full texture of the Western intellectual tradition," Fr. Thomas Baima, vice-rector for academic affairs at Mundelein Seminary, told CNA. "He was a very pleasant and gregarious personality. A little bit quirky, as scholars often are," the vice-rector continued. "I always thought him delightful. He had a great wit and was very interested in current events."
Fr. Oakes, who was elected president of the Academy of Catholic Theology in 2013, had taught at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago from 2002 until October 2013, when he entered hospice care at Jesuit Hall in St. Louis. He died of complications of pancreatic cancer, the Jesuits' Missouri Province said. The Kansas City, Mo. native was 65-years-old. Fr. Baima said Fr. Oakes was best known for the "extraordinary amount of work" he did on the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the most influential Catholic theologians of the 20th century who is widely considered to be an influence on the thought of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Fr. Oakes was involved in the ecumenical group Evangelicals and Catholics Together and was a major contributor to to the ecumenical journal "First Things."
He joined the Society of Jesus in 1966 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1979. He taught at New York University and Regis University in Denver. He had served as a scholar in residence at Cambridge University and taught English, theater and drama at St. Louis University High School. He held a doctorate in theology from Union Theological Seminary, a bachelor's and master's degree in philosophy from St. Louis University and a master of divinity in scripture from Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.
His books include "Pattern of Redemption: The Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar" and "Infinity Dwindled to Infancy: A Catholic and Evangelical Christology." Before his death he was working on a project involving the theological debate about grace and nature, Fr. Baima said. The Academy of Catholic Theology remembered Fr. Oakes as "a deeply cultured man" who "enlivened everything of which he was a part by his penetrating intelligence and warm, friendly spirit."
The Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus said in a statement that Fr. Oakes was "a joyful man" who "loved studies and the intellectual life." Fr. Baima also remembered the priest's dedication as a teacher. He recalled that one of the last public events Fr. Oakes attended at Mundelein Seminary was an Oct. 5 celebration of his book "Infinity Dwindled to Infancy." "A number of his former students, including doctoral students, came to the event," the seminary vice-rector said. "We were particularly touched by the long-term affection that they maintained for all he had done for them." "He was a teacher who was completely there for his students. He was 'all on' when it came to being a teacher," Fr. Baima said.
The Academy of Catholic Theology asked for prayers for the soul of Fr. Oakes, adding "to say that Father Oakes will be sorely missed is a profound understatement."
Edward Durkin Helms '79, born in Modesto, Calif., on May 14, 1957, to Leo T. and Maryclare Helms, passed in Roseville, Calif., September 25, 2009. The family moved to Tracy in 1963, and Ed attended St. Bernard's and Jefferson Elementary and Tracy High School where he was Student Body President in 1974-75. Ed graduated from Santa Clara University in 1979. Ed was an avid skier and hiker in his youth. He went to work and later became a principal in Helms Tractor Company, a local family farm equipment dealership. He subsequently became a Stock Broker specializing in bonds. He resided in Roseville since 1988. He is preceded in death by his father Leo T. Helms and survived by his sons Edward and Colton, mother Maryclare Helms, his brother Lee (Kathrina), sister Elizabeth (Bruce Rohrer) niece Kiley and nephew Ryan. Ed loved people and his life was his boys. He was deeply involved in the lives of Colton and Edward.
Donna Jean Parsons M.A. ’79, June 19, 2013. She died at her home after a long battle with cancer, multiple myeloma. Donna was born in Dunsmuir to Art and Vera Parsons, the middle of 3 children. She attended local schools, graduating from DHS in 1961. Donna was active with cheerleading, Rainbow Girls, and academic clubs, making many life-long friends. Donna was accepted at UC Berkeley, which was as far from her small town experiences as she could get! She was grateful to all of her teachers, including Ramey Drake, Grace Harris, and Reva Coon, as well as her parents, for encouraging her academic achievements and instilling a drive for higher education. After graduating from Cal, Donna worked in the social welfare field in several northcoast and SF Bay Area counties, finishing up that part of her career as an adoptions social worker in Alameda County. By that time she had gotten her Masters at Santa Clara University and went out on her own as a psychotherapist. She loved that work, developing even more her passion and skill for helping children and families with a variety of problems. In 2005 Donna realized a dream of returning to Dunsmuir, when she, husband Jon Jeffers and son Eric Burger, bought and renovated the old Oak Tree Inn (Motel?) into what is now the Dunsmuir Lodge. She was the last of the siblings to return to Dunsmuir and was so happy she could spend her last years here. Sadly, although the number of her last years were defined by the cancer diagnosis in 2007, the quality was not. She bravely fought this disease, although she didn't consider herself brave; she just wanted to live as long and as well as she could. She continued her other passions for the piano and knitting and photography, helped nurture the success of the Lodge, and spent time with her family and friends. She was part of a support group for multiple myeloma patients, who drew comfort from each other. Her continued friendship with classmates of 1961 and adjacent years, helped to make the 50th reunion in 2011 very successful. Donna leaves behind her husband of 33 years, Jon Jeffers her son Eric Burger, siblings Carol (Dick Keiser) and Bill (Hazel) Parsons. She was a loved stepmother, grandmother, and great grandmother to Diana Jeffers Williams, Danielle Finley-Haley and Michael Haley, and an aunt to Sheryl Burger. Carol's stepchildren Lori Keiser Usher and Rick Keiser were very grateful for her love and support during their childhoods, and through the births of their children. Donna will be missed by many but our hope is that her kindness and generosity and humor will live on with all those who knew her.
Dennis Cavender MBA '79, age 63, passed away on July 28, 2014, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was the beloved husband of Gail (nee Kephart) for over 40 years; the loving father of Amanda (Elliot) Bennett, Jackie (Matt) Wild, and Elizabeth (Adam) Dreyer; proud grandfather of Stella Bennett; devoted brother of Judith (Dennis) Berg and Joyce (Keith) Bogue; and cherished uncle to four nieces and nephews. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Harlan and DeVona Cavender, of Denver, CO.
A native of the Denver area, Dennis also lived significant portions of his life in the San Francisco and Chicago areas. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Northern Colorado and a master's degree in business administration from Santa Clara University. His four-decade career in finance and management took him around the country and the globe. He loved golf, baseball, traveling, and spending time with his family. His loved ones will remember him for his strength, sense of humor, and zeal for life. He will be dearly missed.
Corazon Tamayo '79 on March 21, 2009.
Charles A. Graziani '43 on August 30, 2008. He is survived by his father, Charles Graziani.
Brigit Kathleen Whims '79, on June 1, 2014, closed her crystal blue eyes, never to to reopen them again in this life. She was surrounded by her family and friends and passed on peacefully at her home in Saratoga, Calif. She is survived by her husband Jim; children Maclane, Parker and Makena, as well as by her mother Agnes and brother Kevin. Born April 6th, 1957 to Bob and Agnes Mcwalters of San Francisco, Calif., Brigit attended Mercy high school and went to Santa Clara university on an academic scholarship. Her first job out of school was with Xerox Corporation and years later she became a stock broker at E.F. Hutton.
She lived a healthy lifestyle centered on spending time with close friends and family, and always getting to the gym. She loved to travel and did her best to never miss one of her boys' Bellarmine lacrosse games or her daughter's horse shows.
Albert A. Agresti, S.J. M.Div. ’79, ThM ’81 December 13, 2013 in Lebanon, N.H. Al was born in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 5th, 1949, the son of Michael and Evelyn Sera Agresti. The family home was in Quincy and Al attended local schools there, graduating from North Quincy High School. He studied history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and when he received his B.A. degree, in 1971, he entered the novitiate of the New England Province, St. Andrew House, on Newbury Street in Boston. After first vows, in 1973, he did collegian studies at Boston College, earning an M.A. in philosophy. He spent a year as a regent, teaching English at the Cranwell School, Lenox, Mass., in 1974-75. From 1975 to 1979 he studied theology at JSTB, Berkeley, Calif., interrupting his studies there for 18 months of Clinical Pastoral Education at Bon Secours Hospital in Methuen, Mass. He was a campus minister at the University of San Francisco from 1979 to 1981 and was ordained to the priesthood at the College of the Holy Cross, in 1980. From 1981 to 1986 he studied counseling psychology at Ohio State. With his doctorate in hand, he taught psychology at several universities: Boston College, Loyola University Chicago, the University of San Francisco, and San Jose State University. He was associate dean at St. Louis University and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Creighton University. From 2005 to 2007, he engaged in retreat ministry, at Gloucester and then at Campion Center, including serving as director of the Renewal Center there. From 2007 to 2011, he was Catholic chaplain at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, N.H. His administrative talents led to his being invited to become senior manager of operations for graduate medical education at the medical center, which is affiliated with Dartmouth Medical School. He belonged to a number of professional and scholarly associations. Quite recently, he received a diagnosis of a serious medical condition and he was making plans to step down from his position. Friends became concerned when he failed to keep appointments. He was found dead in his apartment on Friday, Dec.13. Al is survived by two brothers, Joseph Agresti (of Naples, Fla.) and Carmen Agresti (of Stoughton, Mass.); his nephews Jason, Paul, and Adam Agresti; two aunts, Enes Centofanti and Adela Contrada; and several cousins and grandnephews and grandnieces.
Stephen Louis Pessagno Sr. ’80 , 55, of Salinas, passed away peacefully in his home on June 9, 2013. He was born May 26, 1958, in San Francisco to Aldo and Anita Pessagno. Steve was an active member of and advocate for the Monterey wine industry, founding family-owned Pessagno Winery in 1999 to fulfill a 20-year dream of producing high-quality, exclusive local wines. Inspired by crushing over-ripe Zinfandel grapes for the first time at his grandfather's ranch in 1974, Steve pursued his passion for winemaking as assistant winemaker and vineyard manager for Kirigin Cellars, and then as vice president and winemaker for Jekel Vineyards and Lockwood Vineyard. His deep love for winemaking and the Monterey area culminated in Pessagno Winery, where he crafted full-bodied wines from distinctive local vineyards and engaged the community with countless social events and paella feasts. He was a leader of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association, the Knights of the Vine, the Monterey County Planning Commission, and numerous other organizations. He graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University in 1980, and a B.S. in Enology & Food Science from California State University, Fresno in 1986. At Santa Clara and during a short stint as an engineer, he conducted innovative research on using alternative fuel sources for combustion engines and facilities. He also will be remembered as a proud baseball coach for his four sons, an avid hunter and fisherman, and a talented engineer and craftsman. Steve is survived by his four sons, Anthony, Stephen, Robert, and John; his mother, Anita; his sister, Elaine Offenbach (Randy); his companion, Jeri Crittenden, and the mother of his sons, Janet. He was preceded in death by his father, Aldo and his best friend in duck hunting, black Labrador Keno.
Roberta T. Kuguenko J.D. '80 on June 18, 2009.
Ricardo Ivan Ramirez '80 on Oct. 25, 2008. A native of San Cristobal, Venezuela, he earned a bachelor of science degree in finance at SCU. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and two children.
Randal Dean Stiles ’80, 55, passed away July 11, 2013. He was born in Berkley, Calif., on May 29, 1958. Randy graduated in 1976 from Redwood High School in California. He received his Business Degree from the University of Santa Clara, Calif. He was a meat cutter for Price Chopper. He served in the Army, was an avid runner, bicyclist and loved to sail. Randy is survived by father, Dean Stiles and wife Patricia of Belton, Mo. mother, Jean Stiles, Placerville, Calif. brother, Jeffery Stiles San Jose, Calif. sister Jennifer Rutherford, Eldorado, Calif. step-brothers, Gerald Vandervort, Topeka, Kan., and Merlyn Vandervort, Brumley, Mo. step-sisters Gloria Vandervort, Slater, Mo., Cathy Rand and Valerie Littrell, both of Lake Ozark, Mo. and many loving nieces and nephews.
Patricia Marie Boyd ’80 died on March 18, 2010 at the age of 76. Born November 28, 1933, she was a resident of Berkeley, Calif.
Maude D. Hunt '80 died May 12, 2009.
Margaret Saal Blatner, MBA ’79, J.D. ’80 passed away in January 2013 after a short illness.
Kelley Ann Farrell '80 passed away on May 1, 2011 at age 53. She was preceded in death by her beloved father Joseph '51 and leaves behind her loving mother Margaret, best friend and sister Shannon Farrell-Hart '81, caring brother-in-law, Jamie and very special nephew, Joey. She is also survived by numerous cousins and cherished friends. Kelley graduated from Santa Clara University and University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. A lifelong resident of Sacramento, Kelley began her law career at Hanna, Brophy, Maclean, McAleer, and Jensen, then worked in private practice for over a decade. Most recently she was staff counsel at the State of California, Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. She was an active member of the Junior League for many years and served with great passion on the board of Wind Youth Services.
Jon A. Riesberg MBA '80 passed away on August 23, 2010.
James Conrad Ciardelli '68, MBA '80 June 9, 1945 - May 9, 2014 A resident of Walnut Creek, James (Jim) Conrad Ciardelli died peacefully Friday of an aggressive bladder cancer after being diagnosed in January. His family was in town for his final days to offer him comfort and to enjoy his big personality one last time. He will be missed and remembered for his sharp sense of humor and for his love of tennis, music, football, travel and cooking.
Mr. Ciardelli was born in San Francisco and raised in San Jose. He graduated from Bellarmine College Prep and University of Santa Clara, where he also earned an MBA. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968-72 and was stationed at Beale AFB in Marysville and Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque. He had a career in international finance, working for J.A. Jones Construction Co. in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 1975-78; Louis T. Leonowens (Thailand) Ltd., in Bangkok, from 1986-92; and for many years in San Francisco for Castle & Cooke, Getz Corp and Infac India Group. In recent years he worked as a commercial appraiser.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Dolores Fox Ciardelli; son Joseph Pepe Ciardelli of Berlin, Germany; daughter Zoe Ryan, son-in-law Jeff Ryan and granddaughter Camille Ryan, 2, of Lake Forest; sister Sue Martin of Pleasanton; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Diane and George Lechner of San Jose; and nieces and nephews.
Edward H. Atwell '80 on January 16, 2010, at the age of 53. He lost his courageous, 2 1/2 year battle with brain cancer. Born in San Luis Obispo, California on November 23, 1956 and raised in Sunnyvale, California. Ed was a graduate of Archbishop Mitty High School, class of 1974 and Santa Clara University class of 1980. For the last ten years Ed had been residing in Portland, Oregon until he became ill and returned to Sunnyvale. Ed was a Certified Public Accountant and was employed at Cascade Microtech, Inc. Ed enjoyed watching spectator sports and followed them with a passion. Ed is survived by his mother and father, James and Nellie Atwell of Sunnyvale, three brothers, Jim, David and Wayne Atwell, one sister, Moreen Belong, three sister-in-laws, Mary, Diana and Peggy Atwell, one brother-in-law, Dan Belong, two nieces, Ashley and Katie Atwell, four nephews, Jimmy and Matthew Atwell, Daniel and Joshua Belong, and his girlfriend Debra Delgado.
William Thomas Prewett '76, M.B.A. '81 died Monday, July 6, 2009 at his home in San Jose, Calif., following a protracted illness. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 23 years, Carol Ann Prewett; three children, Scott Prewett, Kit Prewett and Sherri Acri; and six grandchildren. Born in Calvin, Okla., in 1929 to Harold Andrew Prewett and Johnie Elizabeth Lockmiller, William attended the US Naval Academy and graduated with distinction in 1953 as first in his class in mathematics. He received two graduate degrees from Santa Clara University; an MBA in 1976 and a Masters in Economics in 1981. He spent most of his career working for 32 years with IBM and lived with his family around the world including Austria, Virginia, Arizona, and New York.
Steven Schauf ’81 Feb. 14, 1959 - Dec. 3, 2013 Resident of Los Gatos, Calif.
Steve passed on Dec. 3, 2013 at home. Born in San Francisco, graduated Blanchet High School in Seattle 1977 and Santa Clara University 1981 with BA in Philosophy. Survived by sisters, Melissa Edmunson ’82 and Jennifer, brother Michael, nieces (Megan, Sarah, Emily and Kate) and nephews (Greg and Jack). Worked at Joseph Schauf Company entire career. Long time resident Los Gatos, enjoyed traveling, cars, collecting and was especially fond of Ronald Reagan. Steve was loved and will certainly be missed.
Stephen Michael Sack '81 on Oct. 31, 2008. The San Francisco native worked in the spirits and wine industry for more than 25 years. He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Lynne; and two sons.
Roy Gerard Mytinger '81 passed away on April, 16, 2011. Roy was born the fourth child and only son to LeRoy and Flora Mytinger in Newport, Rhode Island. He attended Middletown High School and Santa Clara University where he majored in civil engineering. He was a devoted son to his parents, a loving and caring brother, and an amazing uncle to Natalie, Joel, Jeri, Rico, and Troy. Roy was a special uncle and father figure to his nephew, Troy. He taught Troy how to be a respectful and caring young man. To his sisters, Marianne, Paula, and Wanda he continued to display a sense of humor and taught them how to find bright spots during his darkest days. One of Roy's passions was cars. He enjoyed restoring cars to their original pristine shape, the most famous being his 1967 Shelby GT 500. He was considered a perfectionist and his cars were premier examples. He was a member of the Saddleback Mustang Association and the Cobra Owners' Club of America, where he grew close with many friends. Another passion of Roy's was watching hockey. He started watching his nephew and was hooked, wondering why he ever enjoyed baseball. He has been an Anaheim Ducks season ticket holder since 1993, and despite his illness, continued to enjoy Ducks' games with friends and family. Determined to continue his fight, Roy attended a Ducks' playoff game the evening preceding his death. Roy was hired by Foundation Pile, Inc. as a civil engineer in 1981, where he worked for 23 years until Lou Gehrig's disease forced his retirement. Foundation Pile, Inc. will always be endeared in the hearts of the Mytinger/Dufault family for their never-ending love and support to Roy in his journey battling Lou Gehrig's disease. Roy will forever live in our hearts as a son, brother, and friend.
Read more about Roy and his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the Winter 2006 issue of Santa Clara Magazine.
Page Humphrey Vernon J.D. ’81 died Wednesday, February 20, 2013, in her home. It was a beautiful sunny morning, much like Page herself.
Page was born in Warsaw, NY, April 30, 1952 where she grew up with her parents Harriott Page Humphrey and Wolcott J. "Bud" Humphrey Jr., both deceased, and five brothers, Wolcott J. "Jay", deceased, Peter, John, Tom, and Mark Otis. In a house with five brothers, who called her "Princess", she learned to hold her own and was known for her sharp elbows.
Page loved her brothers, their wives, and families. She was the beloved "Aunt Page" to her nieces and nephews whom she loved deeply: Wolcott, Jamie (husband Todd and her children), Chris, Page, Katie, Thomas, Joe, Arielle, Haley, Jessica, and Danielle. She was overjoyed to spend time with these and her Summerlin kin, John, Tina, and John, Jr., at their family reunion in January 2013. Page and her husband Jim were married October 10, 1981 in Warsaw, NY. They have resided at their home in northern Chatham County since 1983. Their children, Benjamin Tyler and Amos Alexander were born in 1984 and 1985 respectively and attended Chatham County schools through graduation. Ben is a law student at the University of Colorado-Boulder Law School. Amos is an actor and writer in Brooklyn, NY. She was a loved member of the Vernon family, a daughter to Jim's mother Nancy and his father Charles, a friend and sister to her husband's siblings Eleanor, Catharine, Fox, and Patrick and their spouses. She cherished her time with her nieces Allison, Susanna, and Kate. Page enjoyed countless wonderful days with her family at their mountain cabin, "Sandy Bottom," in Celo, NC. Over the course of more than thirty years in and around Chatham County, NC, Page built a large community of friends, with whom she enjoyed music, dancing, food, and the outdoors. She especially loved her time spent at the beach, in the mountains, and in the yard with the "Five Families." Page graduated from Trinity College in 1974, and Santa Clara University School of Law in 1981. She began her career in Chapel Hill in 1981 as assistant district attorney for Orange and Chatham Counties. While raising a family, she wrote for the UNC School of Government before joining the law firm of Barber, Bradshaw and Vernon in 1991 where she practiced until 2002. Her special interest in children and education then led her to the Juvenile Criminal Law Clinic at the UNC School of Law and later Duke University School of Law's Children's Education Law Center. After several years as a volunteer guardian ad litem, Page was elected District Court Judge and served from 2008 through 2011. The judge's robe fit Judge Vernon perfectly and she wore it with dignity, grace, and professionalism. Even her closest friends found it easy to call her "Judge".