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Class Notes | Obituaries

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Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months by graduates in 1954

1954

UGRD Engineering '54
Wilson Wong

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
'54
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
'54
Ted Connolly

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
'54
John Vasconcellos

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."
 
HUMAN POTENTIAL
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."
 
TOP SCHOLAR
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."
 
KINDNESS, CARING
 
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
'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
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

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