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Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months by graduates in the
James P. Blach Sr.
James P. Blach Sr. ’50 was born May 4, 1923 and died Dec. 29, 2013. A resident of Mountain View, Jim was born in S.F. to John and Georgina Blach. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth of 63 yrs. Jim was preceded in death by his siblings, brothers John, Don Blach ’55, Mike, and sisters Georgina, Patricia and Mary. Surviving brothers Bob, Dick, Alan; sisters Betty and Joan. Also preceding Jim in death, his two children Beth and Ken. Jim was the proud father of 11: Jim Jr., Barb (Floyd), Tom (Tina), Phil (Lola), Paul (Tracy), Beverly (Nina), Steve, Dave (Christy), and Tracy. A proud grandfather of 12 and great grandfather of 2. The family moved to Los Altos in 1934 where Jim and his brothers and sisters worked on the apricot orchard, and tended to livestock. This gave Jim and family a work ethic which enabled the entire family to become reliable, responsible and successful. Jim graduated from St. Ignatius High School in S.F. and joined the Army Air Corps and as a 2nd Lt., Jim navigated B-17's during WWII. After the war, Jim attended Santa Clara University and after graduating was called back to service from 1950-53 to fight in Korea as a 1st Lt. and navigator. After his service, he went to work for Equitable and in a few years became district mgr. Later Jim became a real estate broker selling recreation property and then business opportunities. In 1974 Jim purchased Clarke's Charcoal Broiler and was still boss at 90 yrs. old. Jim had many passions and talents. He loved to play bridge, cribbage, boating, fishing and also loved taking his family camping and water skiing. Jim joined the Elks Lodge, Palo Alto and was a member since 1946, he also belonged to numerous clubs, and became Pres. of St. Joseph's Mens Club. Jim's faith in God was as strong as his will, and his success at everything he did. Jim was also instrumental in the beginning days of High School Sports Focus and hosted the show at his restaurant along with Channel 36. Jim was many things to many people and will be missed by his large family and many friends.
submitted Apr. 7, 2014 4:59P
UGRD Engineering '50
Edward A. Lafranchi
Edward Alvin Lafranchi '50 died unexpectedly on Feb. 5, 2014, of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. He was a long time resident of Livermore and one the earliest employees of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Ed was a devoted member of the St. Michael Catholic Community. A long time member of the Knights of Columbus, one of the original Lectors and later Eucharistic Ministers, he was responsible for training new volunteers in these duties until his death. At various times, he chaired the Parish Council, was President of CCD, later led the legacy fund to build the parish education center Ed enjoyed golfing, except when he couldn't hit the ball; attending the 49er games but only when they won; tasting good wines, always; deer hunting with his family; playing bridge and most especially sharing a cocktail every evening before dinner with his beloved wife Ann. He was born in Petaluma, Calif. on July 23, 1928 and raised in Nicasio on his family's dairy. He attended Nicasio elementary school, graduated from St. Anselms High School, and later from Santa Clara University with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation in 1950, he went to work for Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. He enlisted during the Korean war, spending 1951 to 1953 in the US Air Force. Upon discharge, he resumed his job at Berkeley, transferring in 1953 to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Ed held numerous positions at LLNL, eventually retiring as Deputy Associate Director of the Engineering Department in 1991. Ed is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ann (nee Rogers), his three sons Bruce (Judy) of New York, Mark of Walnut Creek and Paul (Mary Jo) of Torrance, four grandchildren Brian, Brendan, Daniel Lafranchi ’14 and Melissa, and a large extended family. He was the son of Fridolino and Zelma (nee Dolcini) and was predeceased by his siblings Estella, Wilfred, Henry, and Arthur Lafranchi ’58.
submitted Apr. 7, 2014 5:50P
Bill Riddle '51, MBA '67 passed away Oct. 29, 2013. He is survived by wife, Beverly, son Bill Jr. '76 and daughter Nancee Beals '82, and four grandchildren. We ask that any memorials be made to the Riddle Family Scholarship at Santa Clara.
Bill was born Dec. 4, 1926, to Veta Bilello Riddle and John Riddle in Welch, Okla. At age 6, Bill moved with his family to Oregon where he attended school in Bend and later graduated from Vancouver High School in Washington. Bill joined the U.S. Army in 1945 and served until 1947. He went to Santa Clara University on a baseball scholarship and earned his BA in 1951 and a master’s degree in 1967. He married Beverly Wagner of Yosemite National Park in 1954, and they moved to the Bay Area where Bill worked in San Francisco for Arthur Anderson. In 1956, they moved to Grass Valley, Calif., and he worked for Litton Engineering before returning to the Bay Area, where he worked for 32 years in various electrical industries, eventually starting two businesses of his own, Trendar and Trendcom. In 1982, Bill sold to 3M and retired, moving back to his beloved Nevada City, Calif., in 1992. Bill was an avid golfer and a member of ASCC. He enjoyed fishing and was a member of Nevada City Elks Lodge No. 518. Bill and Bev traveled extensively during his retirement years. Bill was active with Little League and Boy Scouts in his early years, and in retirement, he was a supporter locally of The Friendship Club.
submitted Apr. 3, 2014 6:15A
Tony J. Mercant
Anthony (Tony) J. Mercant J.D. ’51 Resident of Los Gatos Anthony (Tony) J. Mercant, husband, father, mentor and friend died in his home after a long illness on Dec. 7, twenty-one days shy of his 92nd birthday. Tony was born 28 Dec. 1921 in Hollister, Calif. to Juan and Maria Mercant. His parents were immigrant farm workers and Tony and his predeceased siblings - Jay, Rose, Angela, Carmen and surviving sister Ann - traveled with them as they moved from crop to crop. Juan was also a sardine fisherman in Monterey, a family tradition he carried from his native Mallorca, Spain. Along the way Tony attended dozens of schools and graduated from Monterey High School in 1940. Working as a bookkeeper until World War II broke out, Tony then joined the Navy in 1942 where he was accepted into the Navy flight program and awarded his wings in 1944 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Stationed in Guam he flew battle-injured soldiers to Alameda, Calif. and carried medical supplies back to the tiny island. Discharged in 1945, he took advantage of the GI Bill and entered Hartnell Junior College in 1946 where he met his bride-to-be Margie Diaz. They married in 1950. After just two years in junior college Tony entered law school at Santa Clara University. Going to school during the day and working at Richmond Chase Cannery at night, he graduated from law school in 1951. After law school Tony was counsel for the Cannery Union in San Jose and soon opened his own law firm, Mercant & O'Brien, with Sam O'Brien, a partnership that lasted over forty years. Tony was founder and first president of Almaden Country Club and holds the title of President Emeritus there. He also served as President of the San Jose Civic Light Opera as well as sitting on the board of the San Jose YMCA. An avid golfer, he could be found on the golf course every Saturdayàrain or shine! He died exactly where he wanted, in his home, his sanctuary, a place where he and his bride of almost sixty-four years hosted hundreds of parties and events. Anthony is survived by his wife, Margie Mercant; son, Jon Mercant; daughter, Marsha Mercant; son-in-law, John Howard Swain; sister, Ann Guzman; brother-in-law, Tom Fast and numerous nieces and nephews. Gone not but not forgotten, this wonderful man has resumed his flying career
submitted Feb. 3, 2014 3:30P
Leo G. Smith
Leo Gilbert Smith ’51 July 1929 ~ Nov. 2013. Son of Leo Smith and Laura Holf Scholte, raised in Stockton, Calif. Husband to Marcia Ernest Smith M.A. ’76 and father to Matt, Mara Lee, Bridget and Leo "Rusty". He graduated from Santa Clara University and entered into the field of Hospital Management in Calif. During his time he helped pioneer the first computers used in hospitals, new advances in hospital treatments, patient care and doctors' training programs. He was a life-time board member of the Children's Home Society, a Rotarian, working to bring countries together in the Youth Exchange Program, involved in Red Cross blood drive, a Knight of Columbus and a minister at his local church, St. John Bosco. He touched lives all over the world and helped change them for the better. Even though his life was full of many giving and charitable groups, he still found a great deal of time to share with his loving wife and children. He never shied away from doing the right thing or helping others. He instilled many important values and lessons to not only his children but to others he touched. Our father was, to many, a friend, hero, and mentor all in one. He was the best father any child could ever have. Leo passed on Friday, Nov. 8. Leo devoted his life to the service of others for the betterment of all. His family, friends and those that knew him will miss him, but know that he will always be there in their hearts and close in the fond memories they have shared. We will always love and miss you, Dad.
submitted Feb. 3, 2014 3:46P
Gordon Joseph Machado '51, on March 17, 2014, lost his three-year battle with bladder cancer. He was born Nov. 14, 1929, in Los Angeles, Calif. He was raised and preceded in death by his mother Lucille Machado. After attending Santa Barbara Catholic High School, he graduated with Valedictorian Honors in 1947. He attended Santa Clara University, where he earned his bachelors degree and graduated in 1951. After relocating to Sacramento, Calif., he started a 36 year career with the Sacramento County Probation Department in 1956 and retired in 1992. In his retirement our father enjoyed helping others and once stated, "I don't understand how people can be bored during retirement when there are so many people who need help." He enjoyed volunteering at numerous events, music, photography, dancing, attending the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, sporting events, the Over The Hill Gang at the Dante Club, donating to several charities and, most of all, always being there for his family.
Read more here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sacbee/obituary.aspx?n=gordon-joseph-machado&pid=170260102&eid=sp_shareobit#storylink=cpy
submitted Apr. 3, 2014 6:08A
Robert I. “Bob” Bounds J.D. ’51, 86, of Vancouver, Wash., passed away peacefully on Monday, Jan. 17, 2014 surrounded by his loving family. Robert was born April 15, 1927 in Yakima, Wash. to Irving and Dorothy (Congdon) Bounds. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1951 with a degree in law. On June 14, 1947 he married Rose Marie Nevis in Santa Clara, Calif. Bob and Rose Marie moved back to Yakima, where he started a private law practice and later became the City of Yakima Prosecuting Attorney. Bob had a zest for life. His hobbies were traveling, music and family time. He relished his role as Santa and the Easter Bunny, a memory that all his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will cherish.
Bob is lovingly survived by his wife, Rose Marie Bounds and his children Terry Rawson, Jerry Bounds, Sue Lowry, Karen Iroala, Debra Carlson, Jim Bounds, and Jeff Bounds, in addition to 17 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren.
submitted Feb. 3, 2014 4:22P
Edwin M. McMahon
Edwin M. McMahon '52 May 28, 1930 - Dec. 6, 2013 The Rev. Edwin M. McMahon died Dec. 6 at his home in Sonora. He was 83. Mr. McMahon was born in Sonora to Anna Mae and Edwin Fremont McMahon. His father was a superintendent of the Mary Harrison and other gold mines in the Sonora area. Mr. McMahon graduated from Sonora High School in the late 1940s. He attended Santa Clara University before entering the Jesuit order in 1953. He earned a master's degree in philosophy from Gonzaga University in Washington and a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Ottawa in Canada in the early 1970s. Mr. McMahon founded the Institute for BioSpiritual Research with Pete Campbell in the 1970s. He was interested in researching the psychology of religion and creating workshop formats for integrating psychological studies into programs for pastoral care. They co-authored several books and offered workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland and the Czech Republic. He and his colleague lived in Greeley Hill for a number of years before settling in Sonora eight years ago. Mr. McMahon was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his companion and colleague of 60 years, Pete Campbell M.A. ’66, of Sonora; his sisters, Sally Ann Quaglino, of Morro Bay, and Judith Shimer, of Sonora.
submitted Feb. 3, 2014 3:28P
UGRD Arts & Sciences '52
Dr. Carroll Arden Heffernan Jr. ’52, former Nev. resident, 82, passed away unexpectedly on April 22, 2014 at his home in Carson City, Nev. Arden was born May 12, 1931 in Reno, Nev. to Wanoma and Carroll Heffernan Sr. He met Kay Howeth, at Porterville High School. After their graduation they married and started a family. He was a graduate of Santa Clara University and UOP Dental School in San Francisco. He was a dentist and Colonel in the California National Guard while at the same time working in private practice in San Jose, Calif. The family moved to Southern California in 1963. He obtained an orthodontic degree at USC and subsequently maintained an orthodontic practice in Torrance, Calif. retiring in the late '80s. Arden then moved back to the state of his birth, and at age 76 reinstated his Orthodontic License and started working again. He was employed with "Western Dental" for three years, travelling and practicing at various offices throughout Calif. before retiring a second time. Arden could accomplish anything he set his mind to. At age of 15 he made a dark room and taught himself photography and was a very talented amateur photographer. But, his number one passion was flying airplanes. He became a private pilot in the 1950s. He was a member of LIGA in the '70s, a charitable organization of flying doctors, and flew to Mexico on many occasions donating his time and dental expertise. He was a respected flight instructor who mentored many young pilots. He continued to stay connected with aviation until his passing, serving as "Wing Commander" with the Northern Nevada Civil Air Patrol and an honored member of the "QB"s. Carroll Arden Heffernan, Jr. is survived by his brother, Patrick; children, Lynn, Lori, Stacey and Kasey; three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He has "Gone West And Is Now Flying With God." He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.
submitted May. 22, 2014 11:16A
Bob Koester '52 passed away suddenly on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 of kidney and heart failure just a week before his 86th birthday. He lived an active life racing bicycles, deep sea fishing, snow skiing, and flying aircraft. Bob was born in Pasadena to Louis and Anna Koester in 1928. and attended St. Elizabeth Elementary Catholic School, Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, and graduated from Pasadena Junior College High School Division in 1946. He won a football scholarship to Santa Clara University, but lost it his second year due to injuries. He worked and attended semesters alternately until he graduated in 1952 with a major in history. At this time the air force was on campus recruiting for enlistees into the pilot training program. He immediately signed up and went into the service. He went directly into the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant and completed F-89 training as 1st Lieutenant before being sent to Iceland for 2 years. He was assigned to a jet fighter interceptor squadron to patrol the North Atlantic and keep "enemy" Russian airplanes from invading our borders. He was later assigned to Presque Isle Air Force Base, Maine. From Maine he participated in "Operation High Flight" which was ferrying single engine jets to Europe. He delivered them to England and Germany for final destination to Pakistan. While there, he enjoyed the sights of London and skiing in Germany. In 1956 the airlines were in need of qualified pilots, particularly with military experience. He had a choice of many major airlines, but went with United Air Lines. He was discharged in the spring, but elected to delay assignment with United so he could play football that summer and fall with a pick-up group in Pasadena. He hired on with United in January 1957. At United Air Lines Pilot Training School he met his wife, Frieda Eitzen, who worked for the Flight Instructors. They began courting in March 1957 and were married July 1957. His first assignment with United was in Newark, NJ, but as soon as something opened up on the west coast, the two headed for Los Angeles. They bought their first home in Rossmoor. After 18 years they bought a home in Huntington Beach and made it their permanent home. In his early forties he took up cycling because his knees couldn't take jogging anymore. He became hooked on bicycle racing and trained up to 300 miles a week on weekly Sunday rides with fellow cyclists. This led to bicycle trips with other bicycle zealots to New Zealand, Italy, Germany, New England, Oregon, California Coastal rides and several Century rides. It also led to competitions in the Senior Olympics - he won in 1974. While employed with United he and his wife travelled frequently. They explored Ireland, England, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Rhine River, Panama Canal, South America, Alaska, Australia, and many parts of the US. He loved snow skiing and hit almost all of the mountains with ski lifts in the US. He also loved deep sea fishing and brought home many pounds of tuna and yellowtail. He volunteered with the 1984 Olympics as an assistant with the cycling events. He took that expertise to the Orange County Performing Arts as Chairman of the Triathalon. He was chairman of Flying Dutchman, a fund raising group, and president of the Wanderlust Ski Club. He attended many of the opera and organ concerts at Segerstrom Center. He had a deep love for classical music and was an avid book reader which filled all the bookcases and walls of the house. He spent many weeks in the summer with the family in Hawaii at a second home. He was a natural on the beach reading a book, body surfing, snorkeling, and having a beer. He even enjoyed the thrill of a catamaran or hanging ten on a surfboard in his younger days as a member of the San Onofre Surfing Club. He enjoyed talking about all of his experiences on the bicycle or skis and reliving events with friends. He leaves behind his wife, Frieda, son Steve, daughter-in-law Yanira, daughter Karen Starich, son-in-law Chris, and son Brian, daughter-in-law Laura, along with seven grandchildren: Jessica Hobbs, Kayla, Ivy, Dexter, and Ella Koester, Nicholas, and Alexa Starich. He is also survived by his sister, Ann Cross and brother, Bill Koester and many nieces and nephews.
submitted Apr. 7, 2014 5:46P
Manlio "Mel" John Micheletti '53 April 8, 1930 - May 7, 2014. Resident of Los Altos Hills. Mel Micheletti died peacefully on May 7, 2014 in the presence of family in his home in Los Altos Hills where he resided for 53 years. Mel Micheletti is survived by his brother Art Micheletti '50, his wife of 62 years, Lorna Micheletti and their six children: Dave Micheletti, Diane Stevenson, John Micheletti, Rob Micheletti, Joane job, and Jim Micheletti '88. Mel and Lorna endured the loss of their son, Paul Micheletti '81, in 1991. He was 32 years old at the time. Additionally, Mel and Lorna have 17 grandchildren and 5 great Grandchildren.
Mel graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in 1949 and remained faithful to the "Bells" his entire life. He is in the Bellarmine Hall of Fame with many years of service in the Dad's Club and on the Board of Trustees. He attended Santa Clara University and the University of San Francisco. He owned and operated Micheletti Insurance in San Jose, Calif , which he bequeathed to his sons, Dave, Rob, and John.
Mel was known for his generosity and loyalty. He contributed lavishly to a number of charities and was a lifelong 49er fan going back to Kezar Stadium. More recently he was known for leading large groups of fans to "The Stick.'" For years he vacationed in Twain Harte, Calif., sharing the Micheletti cabin with countless friends and family. He and Lorna traveled much of the world together.
submitted May. 14, 2014 1:52P
UGRD Engineering '54
Wilson Kwong Sung Wong ’54, Dec. 27, 2010. He was 79, of Honolulu, a retired GTE Hawaiian Tel engineer and an Army veteran. He died in Honolulu. He was born in Wailuku. He is survived by son Edward A., daughter Lynn L.K., brothers Mun King and Raymond K.F., sisters Jane Y.J. and Joan Y.H., and two grandchildren.
submitted May. 22, 2014 11:44A
William F. Caro
William F. Caro '54, J.D. '73. Feb. 26, 2014. Born in San Jose in 1932, Caro inherited his father's devotion to SCU's fabled football history and loved to recount, play-by-play, Santa Clara's heartbreaking 7-6 loss to Stanford in the very first college game he ever attended, as an eight-year-old, on Oct. 12, 1940. Athletic loyalties notwithstandng, he did graduate work at Stanford, earning his M.B.A. in 1960 with an emphasis in marketing. His subsequent career as an advertising media director brought him to agencies in San Francisco and Los Angees and Eventually to Coakley-Heagerty in Santa Clara. He later taught advertising at San Jose State University. Caro spent his retirement years in Santa Clara, not far from where the palm and olive mingle. He occasionally enjoyed an idle hour in the university library researching the glory days of Bronco football. He is survived by his brothers, Robert, S.J. '58, M.Div '70 and Paul '62.
submitted Mar. 25, 2014 10:43P
Theodore "Ted" William Connolly '54, former All-Pro San Francisco 49er right guard, peacefully passed in his Gardnerville, Nev., home, on Feb. 24, 2014 from acute mylocytic leukemia. He was 82.
Ted was born the youngest of five children on December 5, 1931 in Oakland, Calif. to parents William Eugene Connolly and Dora Ray Waterman. He attended Piedmont High School 1946-49 where he was All-Alameda County for 3 years in football and track, and lettered in baseball and basketball, hence was inducted into the Piedmont HS Sports Hall of Fame. He attended University of Santa Clara where he was All-Catholic All American tackle in 1951. When Santa Clara dropped football he transferred to Tulsa University, Okla., and graduated in 1953. Ted married his high school sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth Heidt, on April 19, 1954, in Tulsa, Okla., and had five children which they raised in Oakland, Calif.
Ted achieved his childhood dream and was drafted in the 9th round in 1953 by his home town team - the San Francisco 49ers. He played for the Forty Niners until 1962 - his NFL All-Pro year. After holding out from signing his 1963 49er contact and being fined $100 per day, he showed up to his contact negotiations with his lawyer, Ray Bolton – an unheard of scandalous move for a professional athlete at that time. He was blackballed by ownership and the NFL, but prevailed and was traded to the Cleveland Browns. Ted is credited as one of the first professional athletes to retain legal player representation, opening the door for future athletes. During his one year 1963 season with the Browns, Ted blocked for the legendary running back, Jim Brown, the year Brown broke the all-time 1900 yard rushing record when the NFL schedule included only 14 games. Ted played 92 games in his nine year NFL football career.
Taking time off from football career, First Lieutenant Connolly served 18 months in the Air Force Reserve at Hamilton Air Force Base in the military police and as coach of the Air Force football team, ending his active service with a huge win over Army in the Penrose Bowl in 1956. Ted was Honorable Discharged from Air Reserves as Captain on July 1, 1966.
“Not being able to support my family of 5 kids with an NFL salary”, he retired from football, and shortly after became Vice President of Development for Grubb & Ellis Real Estate. In 1966 he started Connolly Development, Inc., which developed over 40 shopping centers in California and Nevada. His first shopping center, Bonanza Square in Las Vegas, Nev., is still owned and operated by his family.
Equally committed to civic and community activities, Ted’s service included the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid of Department of State’s Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. ; President and Commissioner of the Port of Oakland for 12 years where he participated in completion of numerous international trade agreements and the expansion of the Oakland Airport; Airport Operations International Council; Director of the Alameda County Real Estate Board; Oakland Planning Commission; the Founder of the Oakland’s Mayor Sports Committee; and a founding director of the San Antonio Youth Project.
Pursuing his passion for gourmet food and wine, in the early 70’s he developed Sky Hill Farms ranch in Napa Valley producing gourmet cheeses and yogurts from Nubian goats, and organic produce for local restaurants – one of the first “farm to market” providers in California.
TC, as he was known to friends and family, will forever be remembered for his gregarious nature and love of people - best signified by his very firm, sometimes painful, handshake (taught to him by his Irish father) as he pulled you towards his smiling gray-blue eyes warmly welcoming you into his world.
Theodore William Connolly is survived by his children Mark, Cary Byers (Jerry), Matthew (Sally), Chad, and Amy Katsanos; his grandchildren Wesley, Cole, Bryce, Austin and Dimitri; their supportive mother Mary Connolly, good friend Marjorie McGee, his siblings Francis Alexander and husband Ernie (deceased), Larry and wife Barbara, Norman (deceased)and his wife Deletta, and many loving nieces and nephews. He is also preceded in death by his sister Betty Spivey and husband Bill.
submitted Mar. 24, 2014 11:26A
John Vasconcellos '54, J.D. '59, the famously rumpled bear-of-a-man who served 38 entertaining and volatile years in the state Legislature representing the heart of Silicon Valley, died May 24, 2014. He was 82.
Friends said Vasconcellos, whose kidneys had been failing, died at 12:15 p.m. at his Santa Clara condo.
Vasconcellos gained national fame after Republican Gov. George Deukmejian in 1986 signed legislation that created the Democratic Vasconcellos' pet project: The California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem, Personal and Social Responsibility.
A few months later, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau spent three weeks mocking the task force, imagining what went on inside flaky-sounding meetings.
While many politicians might have wilted under such enormous teasing, Vasconcellos -- colorful, witty, brilliant, angry, intellectual and elegantly foul of mouth -- turned the insults into a spread in People magazine and countless guest spots on TV and radio discussing the serious value of self-esteem.
"I've gotten more attention in the last several weeks than in the (previous) 20 years," he beamed in a 1987 Los Angeles Times profile.
"He had two sides: the legislator who was masterful of money flowing in and out of the Legislature and masterful in getting bills he wanted passed -- even if it took five to six years to get them done," Larry Gerston, a San Jose State political-science professor, said Saturday. Then there "was the humanitarian side. People viewed it as quirky, but he was dead serious.
"This was a person of two interesting, different minds, but both thrived."
Vasconcellos, who retired from politics in 2004 after serving 30 years in the Assembly and eight years in the state Senate, never married or had children but was widely revered and surrounded by friends at the end.
Lee Quarnstrom, a retired San Jose Mercury News journalist and longtime friend of Vasconcellos, said: "His friends knew him as a truly decent man who always based his politics on the notion that humans are basically good and that public policy that stimulates and encourages the good in humankind -- he called it the politics of trust -- should be the guiding principle for those who make the laws and develop governmental programs and policies."
Many who admired Vasconcellos said he always remained a hard-charging, idealistic liberal who considered himself both a student and teacher of all things political.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen recalled one vital lesson from the year she was a rookie in the Legislature and was trying to sponsor bill that put legislative information online. Capitol players kept calling meetings about the proposal but strategically did not invite Bowen.
She asked Vasconcellos what she should do about her disrespectful colleagues. His recommendation: Find out when the meetings are planned and just show up.
"I don't think I would have done that without John's advice," said Bowen, suggesting she might have resorted to a nasty war in the Capitol's back halls. "John showed me that I was perfectly entitled to be at those meetings -- and showing up forced the others to realize that too."
Bowen said the secrecy halted immediately.
Almost from the day of his 1966 election to the state Assembly, Vasconcellos was a thunderous Capitol presence. He was always searching for ways to salve his tempestuous inner demons. And he publicly employed an array of "human-potential movement" therapies, including psychosynthesis and gestalt, hoping to release rage, tension and fear. He was a devotee of the teachings out of Esalen, the Big Sur center of "New Age" consciousness.
In 1970, Vasconcellos began 13 years of practicing bioenergetics with Stanley Keleman. At one point, the therapist told the politician that if he continued the therapy, his inner rage might end up "blowing your entire political career!" But Vasconcellos would not stop the discovery process.
"It caused such a fallout that the state Assembly created a team of colleagues who rushed to his side when he and his rage erupted," according to a biographical profile by Vasconcellos' legislative staff. The fellow legislators "held his hands while he blew until he settled down. Eventually, he outgrew both his rage and his need for such support."
John B. Vasconcellos Jr. was born May 11, 1932, in San Jose. His father was Portuguese, his mother German. Family lore has it that his dad was among the early Portuguese men who jumped ship in Hawaii to find work. That is how young John came to cherish Maui and build a large, extended family on the Hawaiian island.
For high school, he boarded at Bellarmine College Preparatory and graduated with top honors. He then trekked minutes up The Alameda to Santa Clara University, where he graduated magna cum laude. After serving two years as an Army lieutenant, he went to law school, also at Santa Clara, graduating in 1959 at the top of his class.
During the one year he spent on Gov. Pat Brown's campaign staff in the early '60s, politics were injected into his heart. And from the moment he finally took his first Assembly seat, Vasconcellos was a passionate, quotable and unique character.
"People are basically decent -- and given the right kinds of recognition, nurturance, love and support -- will live in constructive ways," he once said.
Throughout the 1970s, Vasconcellos actively lobbied for community-based nonviolent conflict resolution projects and university peace-study programs. He also promoted student representation on all the major governing boards in California higher education, according to the enormous cache of Vasconcellos papers, housed in a special collection at UC Santa Barbara.
Vasconcellos left the Assembly in 1996 when he was elected to the state Senate. In 1997, at age 65, he expressed an interest in running for governor, saying: "I'm better prepared than anyone else in terms of knowledge of the issues."
He was unapologetic about wanting a more expansive, generous government -- even when he was a budget wonk as chairman of the powerful Assembly Ways and Means Committee. That expertise, plus his devotion to "human potential," made it easy for him to sell himself as a political unifier.
"Over the years, I've worked with hundreds of Californians on thousands of projects, bringing people together, from the homeless to high-tech executives," he said at the time. "I have a unique record on that."
But perhaps it was all that high self-esteem that led him to soon drop out of the race. "I didn't have the stomach to get on the phone and beg" for money, he admitted after a few months. "My life is too precious."
When term limits ended his Assembly run in 1996, Vasconcellos was also chairman of the ethics committee. After winning the Senate seat, he soon chaired the Public Safety Committee. His "Tough & Smart Public Safety Program" took a preventive approach to public safety, but without making Democrats look soft on crime.
In the Senate, he also chaired committees on K-12 and higher education and the Subcommittee on Aging and Long-Term Care. He was known for guiding them both with equal shares of fiscal responsibility, kindness and savvy.
"John was the sort of man whom many, many Californians thought of as a dear friend," Quarnstrom said. "He despaired ... about the state Capitol, a place he truly loved. And yet, it was a place that he always knew needed to get better and do better."
Bowen said Vasconcellos taught politicians on both sides of the aisle many important things about doing the job earnestly, while striving for personal growth.
Even when he was done with politics, she said, he humorously laid out a thoughtful plan for a positive retirement.
"I have three requisites," Bowen remembers Vasconcellos telling her. "I don't want to be cold. I don't want to have a schedule. And, most of all, I don't want to deal with assholes!"
Bowen laughed and said, "That answer was just so John."
submitted May. 30, 2014 4:10P
UGRD Leavey Business '54
Charles A. Quinn Jr.
Charles Alexander Quinn Jr. '54 May 28, 1933 - May 24, 2014 A resident of San Jose, Charlie Quinn entered into rest on Saturday, May 25, three days shy of his 81st birthday.
Charlie was born at the old San Jose Sanatorium in downtown San Jose to Charles and Helen Quinn. Charlie's early years were spent at the family ranch in Los Gatos where they grew fruit trees and eventually strawberries. He attended and graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory and Santa Clara University and remained close to his many great friends from those years.
Charlie Quinn was a self-starter. His mother Helen often recounted that his favorite phrase as a 2 year old was "feed self peaches". From that point on he charted his own course from starting school a year early because he wanted to be with his best pal Ed Nino to starting his own concrete product manufacturing firm, Mission Concrete Products, before he even had a single customer. In between, Charlie was a loving Husband, Father and fiercely loyal friend. In particular, Charlie enjoyed a 50 year love affair with his wife Dawn.
Charlie was a member of the San Jose Country Club for over 56 years and he belonged to Desert Island in Rancho Mirage, Calif. for over 26 years, which allowed him to enjoy the other love of his life, golf. Charlie enjoyed many friendships through the game and played some of the greatest golf courses in the world with his pals from the Gang of Eight.
Charlie Quinn is survived by his loving wife, Dawn, their faithful dog Bogey, his brother Tim (Trudy) Quinn of Loomis, Calif. and six children: Charles Quinn of Mendocino, Calif., Dr. Mark (Debbie) Quinn of Bozeman, Mont., Dr. Eryn (Julie) Quinn of East Grand Rapids, Mich., Patrick (Susan) Quinn of San Jose, Calif., Steve (Suzanne) Wardwell of Auburn, Calif., and Terry Wardwell of Santa Cruz, Calif. Charlie and Dawn are also proud Grandparents of 11 wonderful grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
submitted Jun. 6, 2014 4:01P
Jack Valentine Singer Jr. ’56, a longtime Marin County resident, passed away peacefully following a long illness on March 20, 2014 on Maui, Hawaii with his wife of 42 years, Anna-Liisa Singer by his side. Jack was 79. Jack was born in Ross to parents Jack Valentine Singer and Gretchen Singer, both of whom practiced public accounting and maintained an office for many years in San Francisco. Jack graduated from Sir Francis Drake High School and attended the University of Santa Clara where he majored in accounting. Jack followed the footsteps of his parents and entered the accounting profession, maintaining an office in San Rafael and later in Petaluma. Jack loved life and he lived it fully. His interests were broad and included dancing, photography, golf, gardening, wine and carpentry. But none was greater than his desire to travel the world with his loving wife and with his children and grandchildren. Jack's grandchildren have a lifetime of memories, practical jokes and witty "grandpa-isms". Jack's sense of humor was a hallmark. Jack had many loyal clients whom Jack served with devotion. Those who knew Jack found him to be a bright light, an adventurer, fun, engaging and witty. Always looking for new beginnings, Jack and Anna-Liisa built or renovated numerous homes and ultimately moved to Meeteetse, Wyo. where they built a home on the Greybull river, from which Jack continued his accounting practice with his son Jack V. Singer, III ’77. Jack is survived by his daughter Doreen (Robert), son Jack V. Singer, III (Andrea), daughter Christine and six grandchildren.
submitted May. 22, 2014 11:40A
GRD Law '56
Arnold Berwick J.D. '56 was born on Aug. 18, 1920 and passed away on Dec. 27, 2013 peacefully at home at the age of 93. Born in Belle Plaine, Iowa, he moved to San Francisco at the age of four with his parents, Andrew and Sophie Berwick, and sister Mildred (Bauer). He graduated from Lowell High School and U.C. Berkeley. At the age of 15 he met the love of his life, Dorothy Howse, to whom he was forever devoted. Arnold and Dorothy married in 1941 and later moved to Saratoga where they raised their three children, Laurie, Bruce and Duane. Arnold began his career following in the footsteps of his father as a carpenter, then went on to earn a law degree at Santa Clara University. He practiced law in San Jose for 25 years. He was a proud member of the Norwegian Club and Sons of Norway. He is survived by his daughter Duane, granddaughters Catherine, Claire, Anna and Gwen, and 11 great grandchildren. Arnold loved his life and had an extraordinary talent for relating his favorite memories and adventures into wonderful stories that everyone loved to hear, and that he loved to tell.
submitted Apr. 7, 2014 4:56P
UGRD Arts & Sciences '58
Vincent T. Burns Jr.
Vincent T. Burns Jr. '58 of Santa Paula and Carpinteria, Calif., passed away from heart failure on June 11, 2014 at his ranch in Santa Paula after a brief illness. Vince was the first child of an Irish family, born September 19, 1936 in Utica, N.Y., to Vincent T. Sr. and Helen (nee Farmer) Burns. Vincent grew up in Pasadena and Coronado, Calif., where his father was assistant manager at the Huntington and del Coronado hotels.
Vince was a member of the class of 1954 at Loyola High School in Los Angeles and of the class of 1958 at Santa Clara University. With his wife of 56 years, Debby, Vince devoted his energies and passions to the Santa Paula Boys Club beginning in 1974. Under Vince, the club was one of the first in the nation to accept girls as members, becoming the Santa Paula Boys and Girls Club. The club enjoyed increased membership and programs under Vince, and was nationally recognized for its after-school programs and role in improving life in Santa Paula. To further the club and his community, Vince was active in Santa Paula's service organizations, including Kiwanis.
Beginning in 1984 Vince devoted himself to the family's orange ranch on South Mountain Road, irrigating, pruning, spraying, and making sure the fruit was picked on time. Since 1996 Vince and Debby have split their time between Santa Paula and their home on Rincon Point Road in Carpinteria. Exacting and imbued with a strong spirit of competition, Vince was always proud of his family's achievements.
He is survived by his wife Debby of Santa Paula and Carpinteria; brother Anthony Burns of Arcadia, Calif.; sister Darcy Williams '70 of Sacramento, Calif.; son Vincent T. Burns III (wife Ann) of Ventura, Calif.; daughter Laura Burns Brown of San Diego, Calif.; and grandchildren Nicholas John Burns, Ventura; Amy Nicole Brown, San Diego; Eric Brown, San Diego; and Emily Laura Burns, Ventura. A family remembrance of Vince's life will take place at a later date. Donations in Vince's name to the Santa Paula Boys and Girls Club or Alcoholics Anonymous of Santa Barbara are appreciated.
submitted Jun. 12, 2014 4:30P
John J. Collins
John Joseph Collins '58, 77, passed away on Dec. 26, 2013. He was born Dec. 13, 1936 in Los Angeles, Calif. John was a pillar of the legal community in Southern California from the time he passed the bar until his death. He was a former president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a former president of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, a former president of the Los Angeles County Bar, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He was a proud father, grandfather and a loving husband. John is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughters, Cynthia, Pamela and Lauren; sons, James, Robert, John and William. His daughter, Andrea predeceased him.
submitted Feb. 3, 2014 8:41A
UGRD Arts & Sciences '58
James Leininger '58 was a skillful Santa Clara County defense attorney, a crusader for social justice and a member of a family with deep roots in San Jose. But as a recovering alcoholic, he was known just as well for helping others emerge from the shoals of substance abuse -- be they lawyers, nurses, cops or Hells Angels.
Leininger, 78, of Gilroy, died March 19, 2014 of leukemia at Stanford Medical Center, where he had been undergoing an experimental treatment for his illness.
"He loved what he did, and what he did was to help people. And that's what made all the difference,'' said Jim Gleason, the executive director of the Santa Clara County Independent Defense Counsel Office.
As a lawyer, Leininger enjoyed taking the toughest cases, ones other lawyers shunned. In the 2010 trial of the men accused in the killing of Los Gatos restaurateur Mark Achilli, Leininger represented middleman Miguel Chaidez, who was accused of paying the triggerman.
"He was confident, but he wasn't arrogant,'' said his son, Michael Leininger. "He would dissect a jury and find the most appealing way to get to them.''
Leininger was a member of "The Other Bar,'' a confidential lawyers' recovery group. And he helped found the organization now known as We Care, which has helped more than 3,000 nurses with substance abuse problems.
For much of his 45-year career as an attorney, Leininger had to balance work with the demands of caring for his wife, Helen, who suffered from chronic illness. The two had met at the Sears store on San Carlos Street in San Jose, where both worked as clerks. Helen Leininger died in 2009.
Leininger was born at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose on January 23, 1936, the son of Carl Leininger, who became San Jose's city engineer, and Mary Leininger, a homemaker. The third of seven children, Leininger came from a family devoted to public service and social justice. A brother, William, was a Catholic priest. Another brother, Robert, became a ranking official in San Jose's redevelopment agency.
A 1958 graduate of Santa Clara University, Leininger worked in War on Poverty programs in the mid-'60s, graduated from Lincoln Law School and served as executive director of the Catholic Council on Social Justice.
In that job, he shamed the San Jose City Council into rejecting a bid from the Elks Club, which at the time discriminated against nonwhites, to sponsor a circus at the Civic Auditorium. Leininger pointed out to a wavering Councilman Norm Mineta, later a mayor and congressman, that he would not be able to join the Elks because of his Japanese descent.
Leininger is survived by his son, Michael, Gilroy; two daughters, Kelly Douglas, Los Gatos; and Trish Loughnane, Woodland Hills, and seven grandchildren.
submitted Mar. 24, 2014 12:22P
see year 1954
John F. Quirk III
John "Jack" F. Quirk III J.D. '59, 86, passed away in Bakersfield, Calif., on Feb. 19, 2014. Jack was born in Oakland, Calif., on June 22, 1927, to his parents Loretta Josephine Bowen Quirk and John Francis Quirk ll. Jack graduated from Salinas high school in 1945. He then attended San Mateo Junior College. While attending San Jose State College, Jack met his wife, Ann Virginia Page. They were married in 1952 and enjoyed 61 years of marriage together. Jack was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War, served at Far East Command Headquarters and reported directly to NATO commanders Gen. John Hull and Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor. Upon discharge from the army, Jack resumed his education at Santa Clara University, earning his J.D. in 1959. He and his family moved to Porterville, Calif., in Oct. of 1959, where he went to work in the Tulare County District Attorneys office under his mentor and friend Hon. Jaye Ballentine. He then transferred to the Public Defenders office. In 1961, Jack went into private practice and also served as the city attorney for Porterville for 17 years. He was appointed to the bench by Gov. George Deukmejian in June of 1984. Jack was predeceased by his wife Ann in Sept. of 2013. He is survived by his brother, James Patrick Quirk, his son John Quirk and wife Donna, daughter Diane Varner and husband Bob, daughter Erin Buell and husband Gary, and daughter Kelley Rockfellow and Keith Fullerton. He is further survived by grandchildren Shannon Knop and husband Carl, Katie Quirk, Grant Rockfellow, Mason Rockfellow, Connor Buell, and one great granddaughter, Clayton Knop.
submitted Apr. 22, 2014 9:45P