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1944

'44
Herbert W. Roberson

Herbert "Herb" W. Roberson ’44, 92, passed peacefully March 29, 2014, after a brief stay in Modesto Kaiser Hospital. A decedent of the Choctaw Tribe, he was born in 1922 in McAllister, Okla., to Arthur L. and Maggie (Belcher) Roberson.

Herb came to California with his parents during the dust bowl era and married in 1943, raising his family in Salinas. After serving in the Army during WWII, he began his law enforcement career in Watsonville, where he developed the Department's Juvenile Delinquency Unit before moving on to the Salinas Police Department in 1951. He rose through the ranks to become the Police Chief from 1967 to 1977. 

His affiliations were numerous, both local and state-wide, having served on the Board of Directors for the California Delinquency Control Association, Peace Officers Association, Council for Criminal Justice, Attorney General's Advisory Committee, the Salinas Chamber, Rotary, Salvation Army, YMCA, Monterey County Chiefs' Association, Gavilan College Police Academy and Hartnell College Advisory. His police exploits were featured in several magazines and books. 

He worked for the MGM Grand Hotel, Reno, as their Chief of Investigations. Later, he worked as General Manager of Ace Parking Management, San Diego, before full retirement from Butler Uniform as General Manager. He earned his solo pilot's license to travel to the many stores in California and Nevada. He settled in Sacramento in 1987 until three years ago when he relocated to the Samaritan Village in Hughson. 

He loved the outdoors and was an avid fisherman and camper. He was fond of Lake Tahoe and the company of his family. At the request of his family he was writing his life story. He was an altruist, a mentor to young people and his colleagues, and a true gentleman. 

In his last conversation he said, "I've had a good life." When he was told that we all love him he replied, "I love you, too." He was bright and in good humor to the very end. 

He is survived by his six children: daughters, Sandy (Paul "Skip") Morris of Pittsburg, Kan., Laura (John Stavely) Roberson-Giusta of Medford, Ore., and Leslie (Russell) Hancock of Prunedale; as well as sons, Tim (Elaine) of Salinas, Michael (Barbara) of Oakdale, and Dan of Jacksonville, Fla. He also is survived by 11 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren and his previous wife, Carolyn White of Escondido. 

He was predeceased by his first wife, Lucy T. Roberson, the mother of his children.

submitted Aug. 26, 2014 12:08P

1950

'50
John Bower

John Joseph Bower '50, after four years of failing health, and having received the comfort and consolation of the sacraments, at age 93, died peacefully on Friday, July 18, 2014, at Pacific Coast Manor, Capitola, California, where he had resided since 2010.

John was born on April 20, 1921, in Kentland, Newton County, Indiana where his family had settled in the 1860s. He was the sixth child of eight children of the late John and Kathryn (Clark) Bower. Never married, he outlived all of his siblings. He was preceded in death by his only brother, James W. Bower (Mary) and his sisters Mary Freiling (Syl) ,Florence Puetz (Ray), Helen Brouillette (Arleigh), Rita Brunette (Jay), Dolores Esposito (Leo) ,Grace Garavaglia, and nephew Michael Bower.

John attended elementary school in Newton County, Indiana and began his studies for the Roman Catholic priesthood at St. Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, Indiana in 1935. After two years of philosophy, he entered the novitiate of the Benedictine Abbey at St. Meinrad. He left the seminary in 1946 but remained a loyal and generous alumnus. John served in the United States Army for two years and for one year was stationed in Alaska. He began his studies at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California in 1946 and graduated in 1950. That same year he began a very successful career at IBM which would last 30 years.

Known for his keen intellect, razor sharp wit and quick repartee, he was a welcome guest with his many friends and extended family. During his long career at IBM as an industrial engineer, he traveled extensively throughout the United States and enjoyed travel in his leisure time as well. Because he was single, he was able to visit his siblings and their children on a regular basis and enjoyed keeping family members informed about one another. Generous to a fault, he was active in many not-for-profit organizations. No matter where he was stationed with IBM, he was active in the local Catholic parish, the Knights of Columbus and Alcoholics Anonymous. He was grateful that through the years he was able to help countless others become involved with AA and he was proud of the fact that at the time of his death, he had obtained over 60 years of sobriety. Always a faithful Catholic he assisted at daily Mass after his retirement insofar as he was able and was a faithful St. Vincent de Paul worker as long as his health allowed. He is survived by 20 nieces and nephews and several great-nieces and nephews, and brother-in-law, Albert Garavaglia. 

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 2:52P

1953

'53
Raymond Bettencourt

Raymond "Ray" Bettencourt '53, born August 23, 1931, and a resident of Fremont, with great sadness we say goodbye to Ray who passed away on July 16, 2014. He was preceded in death by his parents Raymond Sr. and Anna Bettencourt and his loving wife Harriet Bettencourt. Ray was a brother to Donna Shoults, a loving father to Jeff (Sandi) and Greg (Liz), and a wonderful caring grandfather to Daniel, Renee, Eric, and Jenna.

Ray was born and has spent his whole life in Fremont where he graduated from Washington High School and played football. He then extended his education and graduated from Santa Clara University. Following this he served two years in the United States Army. He then earned his teaching credential and later taught Social Sciences for 30 years back at his alumni of Washington High School.

He was known for his great humor and sarcasm and was very well-liked by his students. After graduation many of his students would stop by to visit Ray, return several times and grew to really adore Harriet, who was a magnet to the neighborhood teenagers. In addition, he had an after school session known as "detention" which he actually enjoyed and derived great pleasure in conversing with the participants who were a captive audience for his wit and humor.

He was an avid golfer. He coached golf at Washington High School from 1961-1965. With only one family car his wife and eldest son would come to the school to load up the entire golf team in the station wagon and drive to the local golf course. To the end of his life he remained in contact with some of the members from these teams. He shared his love of golf with the neighborhood kids and inspired them by teaching them and giving them clubs and golf balls that he fished out of ponds at various golf courses to develop their own passion for golf.

In recent years he became very involved in genealogy. He traced back his family origins with the help of like minded relatives to the 1863 arrival of his Great Grandfather John to the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result of this interest he was very much involved in collecting, taking, and organizing photos of family and friends he had known throughout his life.

He also had a great passion for movies and has a vast collection of miniature movie posters which are displayed throughout his house. His love for movies is evident by his book and movie collection. Growing up in Fremont, Ray kept in touch with many friends from grammar school days through Monday morning breakfast, reunions, and frequent visits to each other's homes. He will be greatly missed by his friends as he missed those who went before him. Two of his many great qualities were his generosity and progressive thinking which allowed him to share and grow both spiritually and intellectually to the very end of his life. When you spent time with him, you felt as though you were growing along with him. 

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 2:48P

1954

'54
George C. Fotinos

George Chris Fotinos '54, born March 11, 1933, died peacefully at home in Sonoma on August 6, 2014 surrounded by his loving wife and daughters. A native of San Francisco, George was born to the late Christos and Angelina Fotinos. He graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He then served in the US Army Corp of Engineers administering the construction of radar bases in Iceland and Canada after which George continued his education earning a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from U. C. Berkeley.

George worked for many years at Ben C. Gerwick Company in San Francisco on several major bridges including the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the San-Mateo Hayward Bridge, the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and waterfront structures throughout the San Francisco Bay. Other structures include the Northumberland Crossing in Eastern Canada, Jamuna Bridge in Bangladesh, Bahrain Crossing in the Persian Gulf and the Seven Mile Bridge in Florida. In latter years, George worked as a consultant and was serving on the Caltrans State Seismic Advisory Board until the onset of his illness.

He is survived by his beloved wife Vivian and his three beloved daughters and their cherished husbands, Angela and Ted Koros, Margaret and Mike Morearty and Elaine and Jim Burrell. He adored and was adored by his eight grandchildren, Elaina, Peter and Ava Koros, Paulina and Maria Morearty and John, George and James Burrell. He is survived by his sisters Christine Kolaites and Mary Anagnostou and predeceased by his brother Tom Fotinos and sister Katherine Fotinos. A devoted Greek Orthodox Christian, George enjoyed a life filled with the love of family and was most often found happily working on his Napa Carneros vineyard where he grew premium pinot noir grapes for nearly 50 years.

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 2:57P

1957

GRD Law '57
Marshall W. Frazier

Marshall W. Frazier J.D. ’57 was born in Fraziers Bottom, W.Va. in 1921. During and after WWII he served in the U.S. Navy for eight years. After earning a law degree, he established and maintained a private practice in San Jose for 33 years.  He enjoyed fishing and traveling. Survivors include his wife of 71 years, Faye, his son Thomas, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

submitted Aug. 19, 2014 10:42A
'57
Bill Horne

Billie "Bill" Horne '57, a friend to all who knew him, died May 27, at age 79 in Twain Harte, California. Bill was born in Mountain View, Oklahoma, and was active in ROTC at Santa Clara University. He served in the U.S. Army as a pilot for 4 years, earning the rank of Lieutenant. Professionally, Bill was active in real estate, including residential and commercial sales and property management. He served on the California Association of Realtors Board of Directors, as president of the Sacramento Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Property Managers, Sacramento Chapter and was active in the Tuolumne County Association of Realtors. He operated his own property management business until his passing. He wrote and taught property management courses and was always an enthusiastic cheerleader for others, providing encouragement, advice and assistance. He will be remembered for his intelligence, professionalism and warm smile. Bill is survived by Jhonnie Horne, his wife of 32 years; sister, Noma Horne; sons, Steven Horne and Chuck Horne; daughter, Janice Horne; stepsons, Duke Darling and Marc Crum; and preceded in death by stepson, Scott Darling. He has 12 grandchildren and 1 greatgrandchild. 

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 4:06P

1959

'59
Raymond Welch

Raymond L. Welch '59, 82, passed away on July 12, 2014. He entered the world on May 9, 1932, in San Francisco, California. His parents were Elinor Nemis and Roy Wade who gave him over to be raised by William R. Welch and Ann C Welch. He grew up in San Francisco attending St. Anne's Grammar School. At the age of 14, he moved with his parents to Salinas where he attended Salinas High. He played on the tennis team and graduated in 1950. He went to college at Santa Clara University, and was on the college tennis team. He majored in economics. He served in the Army, attending Fort Ord and a year later served in Wertheim, Germany. Upon his return he went to work for his father in the men's clothing business called" The Hub" in Salinas.

In 1957, he married Carolyn J Fodrini from Alameda, California. They had three children: Suzanne M., Patrick M. and Steven D. Carolyn was a legal secretary for a while in Salinas. In 1960, they left Salinas and moved to Marin County where Ray went to work for UARCO in San Francisco. They lived in Mill Valley, Fairfax and later moved to Alameda, and then bought a home in San Leandro, California, where they lived for several years. They left their home in San Leandro, to move to Napa, California, in 1970. Ray went to work for Valley Business Forms in Calistoga. He remained there until 1985 when he went into business for himself starting the Welch Co. After 44 years of marriage his wife, Carolyn, passed away in 2001.

Ray later married Virginia L. Gomes from Maryland in 2002 and they resided in the Napa Valley and were members at The Silverado Country Club. Ray and Ginny loved playing golf among many other interests. Ray was a member of the Morning Napa Rotary Club, and had belonged to Napa Valley Country Club and Green Valley Country Club. In 2007, they moved to Chewelah, Washington, to build their "dream" home on the Chewelah Golf & Country Club where they currently reside. Ray leaves behind his wife, Ginny; his three children: Suzanne (husband Stephen), Pat (wife Kelly) and Steven (wife Kate); and three grandchildren: Morgan and Austin (Pat) and Chloe (Steven).

During Ray's young life he was a Boy Scout, an Eagle Scout and an Explorer Scout. Later, he was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Salinas, Mill Valley and San Leandro. He also worked with young teens in the Junior Achievement Program. He was also a member of the Salinas Elks Club. He also managed a Little League baseball team in Napa. 

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 4:28P

1960

UGRD Leavey Business '60
Daniel Lester

Daniel E. Lester 60, age 75, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Aug. 15, 2014, the day that commemorates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.

Dan was born on Oct. 8, 1938 to proud parents Ed and Willa Lester, residents of Santa Cruz, California. The family moved to Watsonville where Dan attended Freedom Elementary School and Watsonville High School – where he met his only love and lifetime soulmate, Patricia Copriviza.

Inspired by the popularity of rock and roll, Dan learned to play the guitar and recorded four original songs – making him a popular local musician. He decided, however, that a career in music would not become his life's pursuit. After graduating from Santa Clara University in 1960, Daniel and Patricia were married at St. Patrick's Parish in Watsonville on June 11 of that year. After settling into their first home on Green Valley Road, Watsonville, Patricia gave birth to five children in the first six years of their marriage. The children attended Moreland Notre Dame in Watsonville, followed by Aptos High School before moving on to various colleges and careers.

Dan launched his career in the home sales industry and eventually formed a partnership with trusted colleagues Richard Roach and Don Gardiner, with a focus in commercial development. William Locke-Paddon later joined the firm known as Lester Roach & Gardiner, which currently owns and operates residential and commercial property in Santa Cruz County.

Dan was always full of life and adventure, and he relished worldwide travel – collecting art and antiquities along the way. He loved to share his lust for life with his family and friends, and often traveled with them on trips to places such as Asia, Africa and Indonesia. His worldwide travels inspired him to create impressive paintings with Aboriginal, Asian and Pre-Columbian influences – recognized by many as superb works of art. He was intensely interested in the history and culture of the places he visited, and loved to collect relics of the past and display them with pride and knowledge, always ready to answer questions about the ancient artifacts he had collected.

Saltwater and freshwater fishing was a great source of enjoyment to Dan, and he recently won a world-class fishing tournament in Mexico. As a testament to his achievements, his family office, Lester Company, is adorned with many of his trophy fish. Following his lifetime dream of owning a ranch, Dan purchased land in the Aptos hills, planted a successful vineyard that has produced many award-winning wines. He and Patricia later built their dream house on the ranch – always a welcoming venue for family, business and charitable gatherings. 

Dan was a unique man who was well loved by all his family. He had the rare ability to make people feel intensely important in his presence, and built bonds of friendship with almost everybody he encountered throughout his life. As a successful man, he was generous to those in need and always ready to give a helping hand. He was moved by the inequalities he observed throughout his life and travels and made a habit of being generous to others and helping them pursue their dreams. 

In the passing of Dan Lester, the community has lost a true renaissance man who will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife Patricia, sons Mark Lester 83 (Suzy), Sean (Lori) and Joseph his daughters Lori Johnson ’85 (Steve) and Kelly Armstrong also his grandchildren Megan and Logan Johnson, Jackson Armstrong, Tobin and Annie Lester and great grandson London Johnson. He is also survived by his first cousin Steve Benson (Evette). 

submitted Aug. 28, 2014 3:03P

1968

'68
James Heyburn

James M. Heyburn '68, born September 23, 1946, entered into eternal rest on April 14, 2014, after a very brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. Jim died peacefully surrounded by loving family members. He leaves behind his heartbroken family and friends from across the United States and around the world. He is survived by his sons George and Michael. Also survived by his sisters Liz Millier ’70, Susan Molumby, Mary Maro, Julie Keller, Tess Heyburn, and Ann Lane, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.He was predeceased by his parents, Eugene Heyburn ’49 and Melba Heyburn.

Jim attended St. Joseph's Seminary and graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in 1964 and graduated from Santa Clara University in 1968. He went to Liberia, West Africa in 1968 as a Peace Corps volunteer and remained in West Africa for 40 years working in the international shipping industry until his retirement in 2011 from Maersk Lines.

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 4:03P

1969

'69
Warren Garrison

Warren Vaughn Garrison M.S. '69, a resident of Mountain View, born February 3, 1941, in Long Branch, NJ, died July 30, 2014, in Mountain View, CA with his loving girlfriend, Carol Guanella of Santa Rosa, by his side. He attended U.C. Berkeley and graduated with a BA degree in Mathematics in 1963. He earned his Masters in Applied Mathematics in 1969 from Santa Clara University. He worked at Lockheed-Martin in Sunnyvale from 1963 - 1998. He retired and taught graduate math at Santa Clara and De Anza Community College. He was an avid Oakland A's fan and a member of Lefty O'Doul's Chapter of Society for American Baseball Research and the Pacific Coast League Historic Society. Warren traveled to many minor league parks and almost all of the parks in the major leagues. It was on one of those baseball tours eight years ago that he met Carol.

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 3:00P

1972

'72
Bernard Leitner

Bernard Leitner M.S. '72, Sept. 30, 1927 - June 14, 2014. A resident of Palo Alto, Bernie grew up in Wayzata, Minnesota. At the University of Minnesota, Bernie fell in with a crowd of sci-fi fans, studied physics, and also fell for Jane Tynan. The two were married in China Lake, California. Bernie's work as an aerospace engineer at Lockheed-Martin took the family from the island of Oahu, to a year exploring Europe, then to Palo Alto, California, where Bernie and Jane settled in for the next fifty years. Bernie earned a master's degree in Applied Mathematics from Santa Clara University. His career culminated with his work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

An outdoor enthusiast, Bernie bicycled the California coast, and across the Sierras, the Rockies, and the Nevada desert. He hiked over Hawaiian volcanoes, through Kings Canyon, and up to the Continental Divide. Together, Bernie and Jane globe-trotted from New Zealand to Greenland. Bernie died at his home in Windsor, California. He is survived by his wife, Jane, his son and daughter-in-law, Kam and Valerie, his daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Daniel, and his grandson, Kyle. Bernie's warmth, humor, intelligence, friendship, his love and the spark that is him will be forever missed. 

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 4:09P

1974

'74
Daniel Dietsch

Daniel E. Dietsch '74, August 15, 2014, Age 62, of Homewood, Ill. He was 62.

It has been said that the works and deeds and the example one sets are how one is remembered. Dan's reflection can ben seen in many ways.
 
In 1996, Dan and his wife, Thelma '74, had moved from Houston, Texas, to the Chicago area because of a job transfer. New to the area, they walked in to St. Joe's at the end of a Saturday mass looking for a bulletin when they met Fr. Jim Sayers. "This is the place you want to be," he told them, and so they became parishioners and Dan joined the parish lectors.
 
Over time, Dan and Thelma stepped forward to work on a number of parish activities and ministries. Having moved numerous times for work, the couple knew that being active parish members was a great way to get to meet people, and they found the St. Joseph community very welcoming.
 
Dan accepted an invitation to become a deacon after Fr. Richard Kozak took Dan and Thelma to an orientation session for deacon couples. Thelma recalls Dan had been asked to be a deacon twice before, but work obligations kept him from accepting.  This time, he was ready to commit to the three principles of deaconate work: serving on the altar, preaching and outreach. He was ordained a deacon of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2007 and assigned to St. Joe's.
 
In the past seven years as deacon, Dan has left his imprint on the parish.  His sermons for the Wednesday morning mass and various Sundays presented a pithy message in short form. Serving on the altar brought him great joy.  What most of us didn't see were the numerous things Dan did behind the scenes-everything from helping prepare children for Confirmation to working on the parish bulletin to joining the organizing committee for the parish Centennial Celebration and getting the parish directory published.
 
And, he was especially grateful for his special ministry at Zacchaeus House, a deaconate home for men in transition. It allowed Dan to do outreach and bring peace to men who were overcoming their bad habits and sorry influences. By the time Dan's counseling and support work ended, he had newly established friendships.

Beloved husband of Thelma C. Dietsch nee Silvio. Dear father of Simon (Jeanne Robinson) Dietsch and Robin (Jadi Roberts) Dietsch. Cherished grandfather of Carlo, Fox and Evelyn Dietsch. Loving son of Sue and the late Richard Dietsch. Mr. Dietsch is an ordained deacon with the Archdiocese of Chicago serving St. Joseph Parish and a member of Marian Council # 3914 K. of C.

submitted Aug. 26, 2014 12:51P

1978

UGRD Arts & Sciences '78
Teresa Bugella
Teresa Bugella ’78 passed away Aug. 21, 2014, in Menlo Park surrounded by her family. Her cancer was diagnosed less than a year ago, however the last week caught us all by surprise. Little did we know that when she walked to the hospital on Friday that she would leave us the following Thursday. The only beauty in this was that she suffered only a short while.
 
Teresa was the perfect hostess. We think even in her last few days she was making sure every one else was okay and comfortable…a giver to the last minute. Teresa loved each and every one of us with all of her heart, generously showering us with kindness and love. Never a harsh word or a negative thought but always with those brilliant blue eyes shinning down and her endless smile greeting us as she moved closer to give a ready hug.
 
Teresa would want us to remember her with love and her endless kindness. We are pretty sure that each of us will remember and love her forever, and yet miss her on a daily basis. Since we all seem to have had an amazing relationship with her, a connection between all will bind us together in friendship, just as she would have wanted it to be. So please hug each other, raise a glass if so inclined, and count ourselves blessed that we loved someone so wonderful and as importantly that she choose to love us.
 
She leaves behind husband Michael and children Colin and Alessia.
submitted Aug. 26, 2014 1:06P

1984

'84
Jonnie Herring

Jonnie L. Herring J.D. '84, a resident of San Jose, passed away peacefully on July 26 after a two-year struggle with brain cancer. She was born to the late Alfred and Dorothy Johnson on Sep. 27, 1941, in Oklahoma City, Okla. She was a proud older sister to the late Donald Johnson of Milwaukee. Jonnie earned her bachelor's degree in English from Rice University and a master's degree in the same subject from University of Houston. She was married to the late Robert (Bob) Herring, whom she met at Rice, for 49 years. After leaving Texas, Jonnie lived in Boston, Mass., and Scottsdale, Ariz., before settling in San Jose, Calif. A resident of San Jose since 1974, Jonnie was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Saratoga for many years. She was a stay-at-home mom and active member of the Dilworth Elementary PTA before earning her law degree from Santa Clara University in 1984. Jonnie practiced family law for almost 30 years, and developed a specialization in mediation. She was proud to have helped pioneer methods to minimize the strife of divorce proceedings. In 2000, she received the Henry B. Collada Memorial Award from the Family Law Section of the Santa Clara Bar Association for her many years of representing children. In 2011, she received the Justice Byrl R. Salsman Award from the Santa Clara County Bar Association. Jonnie was a voracious reader who filled her home with books. She loved music and listened to recordings every night. She enjoyed traveling and attending concerts with her husband, Bob. She is survived by her daughter, Katherine, her son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Christine, and her granddaughters, Virginia and Andria. She will be missed by all who knew her.

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 4:00P

1985

'85
Virginia Mirrione

The world lost a beautiful, generous soul when Virginia "Geeg" Mirrione M.A. '85 slipped peacefully into eternal rest on July 22, 2014. Born in San Jose, CA, on February 15, 1938, to the late Edna (nee Santos) and Vincent Mirrione, loving niece of Florence Morrison, sister to Vincent, Peter (Barbara), Charlie (Linda), Helen (Pete, deceased) Ostrander, and Freda (Bud) Hudson, Auntie to 8 nephews, 7 nieces, 9 great-nephews, 13 great-nieces, 3 Godchildren.

Geeg graduated from Santa Clara High in 1955 and coached girls' volleyball at St. Clare's School. In 1958, she received her calling to serve her Lord, becoming Sister Vincent de Paul, SND. She taught in Hawaii and in California (Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo and Yuba Counties). Upon leaving the order, her service to educating young minds continued as a teacher /principal at Franklin-McKinley and Mt. Pleasant School Districts, and in Van Buren, ME. She earned her Master's in Education Administration at Santa Clara University, and continued her career in education. In 1994, she retired from Franklin-McKinley School District, then Geeg became principal of Resurrection Catholic School in Sunnyvale, CA until 2003. She continued her involvement in the ICF Branch 408 and the Santa Clara Senior Center. She enjoyed day trips to the casinos, visiting friends and family, and watching the 49ers and Giants. Geeg was blessed to have a large network of friends who were there to share her journey. But most important to her were her family and thousands of students, whose laughter brought her the most happiness, and whose lives have been forever changed by her kindness, humor, generosity, and "happy pills" (a.k.a. donuts). 

submitted Sep. 9, 2014 4:23P

Faculty & Staff

'ff
Victor Vari

Dr. Victor B. Vari died on Aug. 20 at the age of 94 after having lived a full and generous life. As a professor, he touched hundreds of students with his passion for languages and cultural studies, particularly Italian. As a colleague, he will be remembered for his generosity and dedication to teaching. As a friend of the University, he leaves behind a legacy that has helped the arts and humanities program at Santa Clara thrive and grow. 

Santa Clara's longest-serving professor, Dr. Vari and his wife, Julia Botto Vari, for decades were among the most passionate and integral figures in humanities and cultural education at Santa Clara. As a young married couple in the midst of a mostly Jesuit faculty, they soon took their place and relished the role of extended family.  
 
The couple nurtured hundreds of students Dr. Vari taught over the decades, many of whom became lifelong friends. The Varis donated their time in countless ways, including conducting student tours of Europe, chaperoning dances and other activities, and hosting dinners at their home.
 
Over a lifetime Dr. Vari and his wife have made significant donations to the University out of a deep love for Santa Clara and its students.  Their most recent gift was an estimated $8 million bequest from their estate, to fund an endowment for the arts and humanities, to name the arts and sciences building, and to support other projects .
 
“Victor Vari devoted himself wholeheartedly to Santa Clara University for nearly 70 years,” said President Michael Engh, S.J. “We are deeply saddened by his loss, and we are grateful for the ways in which he has enriched this campus. As heaven’s newest arrival from the Santa Clara family, may he rest in peace.”
 
Dr. Vari was born in San Francisco in 1920, moved with his family to Italy when he was 1 year old, remaining there until he was 16, when he returned to the Bay Area to attend Galileo High School. He graduated from San Francisco State University and enlisted in the Army, serving as a linguist and military intelligence agent in England and France during World War II before pursuing graduate studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and Lausanne University in Switzerland.
 
Before Dr. Vari joined SCU in 1946, he also had spent time as an Olympic fencing coach, journalist, actor, radio announcer, and elementary school teacher. He received his master’s degree from Stanford University in 1952 and completed his Ph.D. (summa cum laude) at the University of Madrid in Spain in 1961. He began his academic career as a student teacher at Stanford before joining SCU.
 
Dr. Vari joined the faculty of Santa Clara University in 1946 and taught until his retirement in 2012. While at SCU, he taught all levels of French, Spanish, and Italian language, culture, and literature, and served as chair of the Modern Language department for more than 20 years. He led many student tours through Europe and initiated and taught at the Assisi summer program, 1982 to 2004. As the longest-serving faculty member for many years, Dr. Vari was the ceremonial mace-bearer at commencement and at other important events from 1969-2012.
 
“Dr. Vari’s contributions to campus academics, culture, and student life are immeasurable,” said Atom Yee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We will celebrate his life and legacy for decades to come.”
 
Dr. Vari is survived by his wife Julia, cousins Don and GeorgeAnn Proia of Oakland, as well as the Proia family in Italy, and hundreds of former students--the children the Varis never had--who now live around the globe.
 
Notes of condolence may be sent to Julia Vari, c/o the Dean's Office.
 

 

submitted Aug. 26, 2014 12:35P

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