Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted anytime by graduates in the
William E. Daniels ’50, resident of Sunnyvale, passed away on July 3, 2012, in Mountain View. He was born in Chicago, Illinois in July of 1926 to Frank and Ottilie Daniels. His family moved west during the Depression and settled in San Francisco in 1938. He enlisted in the Army in 1946, serving in Korea in the postwar occupation army until 1948. Upon his return to the United States, Bill resumed his studies at Santa Clara University and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1950. He met and married his wife Violetta in San Francisco in 1954. The marriage lasted 58 years until his death. His legacy includes a daughter, four sons (including Peter ’81 and John ’85), and ten grandchildren. Bill was an active member of the Church of the Resurrection. He served as a volunteer for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, participated in the Men's Faith Sharing Group, and served with the Building and Grounds Committee. He will be missed.
William Albert Staats '50 on Jan. 1, 2009. A native of San Jose, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1942, served in the Pacific and was discharged Valentine's Day 1946. After graduating from SCU, he joined Bank of America, from which he retired after 39 years in 1989. In recent years he enjoyed travel to such places as Italy and the Galapagos Islands. He was an avid nature photographer, sports fan, and chef. He was also an active member of Saint Martin's church and treasurer of the Santa Clara Valley Bank of America Retirees' Club. He is survived by his wife, Jean, and son, Eric.
William A. Wright '50, born January 26, 1929 in San Leandro, Calif., died peacefully March 24, 2011. Survived by Dolores, his loving wife of 58 years; his children, Randy Wright (Linda), Mary Frances Wright (Lee Bartholomew), and Nancy White (Larry); his grandchildren, Christopher, Alexander, John, Ayala, and Caleb; his great-granddaughter, Staley; and his brother, James Wright (Bev). Bill became a Seattleite upon moving to Mirabella in 2009. His warmth and friendliness endeared him to many.
Vincent Lyon Guise, Jr. '50 passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on April 15, after a long illness. Vince was born in Oakland, attended St. Anthony's grammar school, and graduated from St. Joseph's High School in Alameda. He entered the Navy during World War II as an Aviation Radioman and was honorably discharged on Aug. 6, 1946. Returning to the Bay Area, he attended both St. Mary's College and Santa Clara University. He worked with his father at Guise and Son Masonry Contractor in Oakland and did the masonry work at the Richmond City Hall, the Hall of Justice in San Francisco as well as other major landmark buildings in the greater SF Bay area until an opportunity arose in 1962 to purchase Brentwood Furniture at 613 First St. Vince owned the furniture business for 45 years with his wife Barbara. Vince was an active community volunteer and Rotarian for over 48 years with perfect attendance. He enjoyed golfing, hunting with his sons, attending Oakland A's and SF Giants games, and sailing in the San Francisco Bay. For over 50 years his favorite activity was following Russ Morgan's "Big Band" all over the country and abroad, dancing the night away. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara Guise; son, Vincent Guise III, son, Robert Guise, daughter, Mary Halter; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and brother, Lou Guise. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Linda Wilson; son, Frank Guise; grandson, Jesse Guise; and grandbaby, Christina Guise.
Preston J. Blither Jr. '50 died Dec. 12. 2009. Raised in Redwood City, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served in World War II before being honorably discharged in 1946 as a petty officer second class. He had a 33-year banking career with Bank of America and later was vice president of the Bank of Idaho. He later graduated from the Pacific Coast School of Banking at the University of Washington and eventually retired as executive vice president of the First Interstate Bank of Idaho. He was a member of St. John's Cathedral Parish as well as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is survived by six children and eight grandchildren.
Parmly Martin '50 died on Sept. 2, 2009 at Twin Oaks after a lengthy illness. He was 83 years old. He was born on July 23, 1926 to Cecil and Frances Martin. In 1937, the family moved to Burlingame, Calif., where he grew up. He entered the Coast Guard during World War II and the Army during the Korean conflict. He re¬turned to Santa Clara University and earned a business degree and teaching credentials. He was proud of his part in organizing the Sea Scouts San Francisco Bay Chapter for disadvantaged boys, whom he taught for five years. Mr. Martin is survived by his wife of 45 years, Maxine; daughters Barbara, Judy, and Marian; sons Ted and Rob; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Malcolm Neil Stephens '50 died on February 3, 2010 at Napili Bay, Hawaii, at the age of 84. Malcolm was born August 30, 1925 in Oakland California. He was the beloved husband of 57 years to Mary Jo Felion Stephens. Greatly missed by his children Ellen (Michael Zatopa) of San Francisco, son Douglas (Kathleen) of Davis, son Gregory (Adrienne) of Fremont, daughter Anne (Eric Hoedt) of San Carlos, and daughter Mary Jeanne (Diego Bermudez) of Pacifica. Forever remembered by his grandchildren Alex, Nicholas, Valerie, Bradley, Kyle, Max, Erinne, Olivia, Sara, Diego III. Also survived by his sister Betty Claire (Robert Johnstone) from Lodi, his brother Robert (Jan) of San Rafael, and his brother William (Marilyn) of Austin, Texas, and his cousins Donald Kennedy (Diana) of Orinda, David Kennedy (Peggy) of Moraga, and Neil Kennedy of Alameda, and his sister-in-law Shirley Felion Eller of Dallas, Oregon. Preceded in death by his mother and father, Elizabeth (Betty) and Alfred (AJ) Stephens. He served our country in WWII in the 14th Armored Division in Alsace and Germany and was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries in combat. He returned home and completed a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering at Santa Clara University in 1950. His career with the State of California began then and spanned 38 years, while also earning a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1972. He retired from the Dept. of Water Resources as a Supervising Engineer in 1988. In retirement, he enjoyed landscaping and woodworking projects as well as volunteering in the Our Lady of Assumption parish, and taking vacation trips with Mary Jo to many parts of the world. He will be forever missed by his loving family and all who had the good fortune of knowing him.
Maitland Paul Stearns '50 on October 19, 2009 in Monterey. A longtime Monterey Peninsula resident, Maitland passed away peacefully at home. Maitland was born in Honolulu to William and Adelaide Stearns. He played football for Punahou High School in Honolulu. In 1941, he witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor and served in the Navy during World War II. In 1949, he received his political science degree from Santa Clara University. He was manager of their basketball team. In 1951, he married Jonette Gertrude Lynde, who has preceded him in death. From 195-69, he was a sales executive for Tidewater Oil and Phillips Petroleum. Thereafter, for many years, he owned and operated Stearns' Mobil Oil in downtown Monterey and later worked for First National Bank of Monterey County. A community leader, he was on the Board of Directors for SCRAMP and the Elks Lodge Board of Trustees. He participated in Meals on Wheels and the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs. He was a member of the San Carlos Cathedral and Italian Catholic Federation, a Cub Scout leader and a PTA president. He volunteered for the AT&T tournament and Scottish Highland Games. He enjoyed bowling, square dancing, morning coffee with the BRB's and Fun Chaser outings. An avid traveler, Maitland went around the world with two of his sons and traveled frequently to Alaska and Saipan. He also traveled to Bali, Greece, Palau, and Europe. Maitland fondly remembered surfing with Olympic swimming legend, Duke Kahanamoku, and teaching Jimi Hendrix to swim in Seattle. He is survived by Charlene Jackson, his companion; children, Paul, Tony (Janet), Mark (Meg), Andrea (John); grandchildren, Katelyn, Tyler, Cassandra, Amelia, Emma, Conor, and Clay; and adopted grandson, Travis Clifton.
Lloyd F. "Scotty" Scott '50, beloved husband of Audrey (Kelly), passed away April 9, 2011, surrounded by his loving family. Scotty was born Aug. 26, 1925, in Milwuakee, Wis., the son of the late Lloyd F. Scott Sr. and Genevieve (Savage), and later grew up in San Mato, Calif., where he attended Bellarmine Prep HS and graduated from Santa Clara University in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in commerce. Scotty joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 and flew with the 426th Night Fighter Squadron in China. He was again called to serve with the Air Force in 1951 where he flew with the 344th Bomb Squadron in B-29s over Korea. After returning to the states he went to work for the Crown Zellebach Corp, later the James River Corp., from which he retired in 1990. Scotty resided for the last 35 years at the Lake Barrington Shores in Lake County, Ill., with his wife Audrey to whom he was happily married for almost 59 years. Scotty had been a member of Rotary International while living in Texas and president of his Toastmasters International Local while living in Connecticut. Besides his wife Audrey, Scotty is survived by his sons, Timothy (Pamela) and Terrence (Janice) and his daughter, Elizabeth (Mark) Fitzgerald and also his grandsons, Christopher and James and granddaughters, Kathryn, Kelly, Emily and MaryLi.
The Honorable Leighton Hatch '50 passed away in Sacramento on April 13, 2011. Born in Oakland on January 11, 1929 to F. Oliver Hatch and Clarice Leighton Hatch and raised in Martinez, Calif., he is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Lynn Fjelstad Hatch and his children: Katherine '81, Maury (Kristen), and Bruce, and beloved grandchildren Nathan and Lindsay. He was preceded in death by his son Francis Hatch. He is also survived by his brother Richard Hatch (Carol), his sister Katherine Smith (Clarke), and many nieces and nephews. He was an Eagle Scout (1945) and a graduate of Alhambra High School (1946). He graduated from Santa Clara University (1950), and then received his law degree from the University of San Francisco (1954). He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for 'Bravery in Action.' After admission to the State Bar in 1955, he worked as a research attorney for the Court of Appeal in San Francisco, served as an assistant district attorney in Contra Costa County, and later established a private practice in San Francisco. An appointment by Governor Reagan in 1967 moved Leighton and his family to Sacramento. He served as Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings. Other appointments by Governor Reagan included a 1969 position as Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs and then to the bench in 1972. In 1988, he retired as Colonel, JAG, U.S. Army Reserve, and in 1989 retired as Judge of the Sacramento Superior Court. His many and varied interests included a lifelong love of history with an impressive knowledge of Civil War and general military history. He was an avid tennis player, loved riding his bicycle, hiking and backpacking, and was very faithful to his Catholic beliefs. He traveled extensively in his retirement years, infamously sending his one-line postcards to his close friends and family. He was a kind, humble man with a noble dedication to the Catholic Church, volunteerism and community service, and he had a great sense of humor. He was a staunch supporter of his beloved Santa Clara University and was named Santa Claran of the year in 1978. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors and longtime volunteer for Father Dan Madigan's Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, and was a member of the Sacramento Downtown Rotary Club. In his post retirement years, he continued his judicial work in the Assigned Judge Program with the California Judicial Council. He was awarded the 2005 Alba Witkin Humanitarian Award in recognition of his work.
John R. Kennedy Sr. J.D. '50 died on October 31, 2007.
John Maurice Laxalt '50, beloved son, brother, uncle, great-uncle and loyal friend, passed away peacefully in his Carson City residence on September 15, 2011 at the age of 85. Laxalt had recently moved to his original home town after having lived in Las Vegas for the past several years. At the time of his death, he was with his sister, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Laxalt was born Aug. 23, 1926, in Reno. He was the fourth of six children of Therese and Dominique Laxalt, immigrants from the Basque region of France who came to the United States in the early 1900's. John's siblings were Senator Paul Laxalt '44 (born in 1922), the late Robert '45 (1923), Suzanne (1925), Marie (1928) and the late Peter '52 (1931). The children were raised in Carson City. John attended Carson High School where he received a marvelous education under the tutelage of educators like English teacher Grace Bordewich. John, being a fabulous athlete, took time from his studies to play all manner of sports, including tennis, football and boxing. John's contemporaries say that it was in basketball that he excelled in particular. In the summers, he and his brothers caddied at Glenbrook Golf Course near the south shore of Lake Tahoe. He graduated from Carson High in 1944, whereupon he entered the United States Navy. World War II was raging, and before he knew it, John was in combat action in the Pacific, including a stint in Okinawa. At the conclusion of the war, John entered the University of Nevada-Reno and joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. After one year, he transferred to Santa Clara University, where his brothers, Paul and Robert, had attended and where little brother, Peter, would later enroll. After graduating from Santa Clara, John travelled to Washington, D.C., to attend Georgetown University Law School, where he eventually earned his law degree. While in law school, he worked for the legendary Nevada Senator Pat McCarran who was then co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation (and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee). John travelled the world extensively on behalf of the senator and the committee. Senator McCarran was an immensely respected figure in the Laxalt household, having frequented Momma Laxalt's Basque restaurant in Carson City at the height of his power. Throughout his adult life, John maintained an avid interest in politics, government and international affairs. When Paul ran for lieutenant governor in 1962, he admittedly knew virtually no one in Southern Nevada. John, who was practicing law at Lake Tahoe at the time, selflessly (and courageously) volunteered to move to Las Vegas for the campaign. John resigned from the Democrat Party in June 1962 after Paul had filed for the office. He said at the time: "In the Laxalt family there are Republicans, Democrats and nonpartisans. We have always respected each other's right to our own political beliefs. But in this instance, my first loyalty is to my brother, Paul." John returned to Washington, D.C. in the 1970's and 1980's, the period during which Paul served in the U.S. Senate. John opened a government and business consulting business, where he advised domestic and international clients on how to navigate the treacherous waters of Washington, D.C. Paul was grateful to have John in the same town, as he always considered John to be a source of sage advice and as someone whose judgment he trusted and valued. One of John's favorite occasions was attending Senator Laxalt's annual Lamb Fry dinner in Georgetown, where about 100 Nevadans and Washingtonians joined together to celebrate the Laxalts' Basque and western heritage. Although John was a man of the world and had travelled to every corner of the Earth, it was appropriate that he passed from this world in his hometown, Carson City. From the day he was born until his final breath, John was, first and foremost, a son of Nevada. He will be dearly missed. He was preceded in death by his father, Dominique (1971); mother, Therese (1978); and brothers, Robert (2001) and Peter (2010). John is survived by sisters, Suzanne of Carson City, and Marie Bini of Santa Clara; brother, Paul of McLean, Va.; and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
John Francis Ennis ’50, of Redding, Calif., passed away at home on December 4, 2012 due to natural causes. Known as Jack, he was born December 17, 1919 in San Jose, Calif. to John and Fannie (McClintock) Ennis, and grew up with them on their ranch near Cedarville, in Modoc County, Calif. He graduated from Surprise Valley High School at the age of 16, worked for the United States Postal Service and Bank of America, and earned his airplane pilot's license before enlisting in the US Navy in 1941. He served as a radio operator onboard the USS President Adams in the South Pacific during World War II, including the Battle of Guadalcanal. After the war, he earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Santa Clara and returned to Modoc County and Cedarville. In 1952, he met and married Angela Cooke of San Francisco, Calif., and they eventually moved to Redding to raise their family. Jack made his career with the California Division of Highways (now Caltrans), coordinating road design with local cities and counties, ultimately landing his dream job as Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, and retiring in 1981. As a member of the Knights of Columbus, he was active at St. Joseph Catholic Church and served the parish in many capacities. He was also active in the greater community; as a Boy Scout scoutmaster, as a youth baseball coach, and as a volunteer at the food bank. An accomplished public speaker and humorist, he was a member of the local chapter of Toastmasters International. He was a long-time member and volunteer with both the Whiskeytown Sailing Club and the Shasta Wheelmen bicycle club, continuing to ride his bike beyond the age of 90, and serving as a volunteer after that time. He was preceded in death by Angela, his wife of 60 years, and earlier by his sisters Mrs. Emma Fogalsang of Colusa, Calif. and Mrs. Carmen Schlatter of Wyckoff, N.J. He is survived by his son Tim Ennis and daughter-in-law Kathy Brock of Portland, Ore.; son Tom Ennis, daughter-in-law Donna Ennis and granddaughters Meredith Ennis and Colleen Ennis of Carmichael, Calif.; son Chris Ennis and daughter-in-law Lisa Ennis of San Francisco, Calif.; and son Ted Ennis, daughter-in-law Nancy Steel and granddaughter Alyson Ennis of Placerville, Calif.
Joe Vargas '50, born Dec. 23, 1919. A resident of San Pablo, Joe, lovingly known as "Papa Joe," passed away on November 13, 2011, surrounded by his wife of 70 years and his five children. Joe was born in Oakland and raised in San Pablo, CA. He graduated from Richmond High School and went on to attend the University of Santa Clara. After serving in W.W.II he returned to his home and attended Stanford University earning his Master's Degree. Joe had a passion for playing all sports, but his true love of football gave him the opportunity to play for Richmond High School and Santa Clara University. Joe was fortunate to play in the Orange Bowl in 1950 where he kicked the winning field goal. Joe's amazing abilities as an athlete gave him the nickname "Joe the Toe". Continuing his passion for sports, Joe coached many young athletes at Richmond High School, El Cerrito High School, and Pinole Valley High School. Joe loved his family with unconditional love. He was survived by his wife Emily, and his five children, Jo Ann Whitson (John), Sherry Carpenter (Russell, deceased), Sandi Rios (Ruben), Kim Jerge (Jeff) and John Vargas (Anthony). Grandchildren include Kari (David), Ricky (Shawn), Donnie (Carol), Jeremy, Miranda and Abraham. Great grandchildren include Darren (Denise), Jason, Vanessa, Veronica and Jessica, and great great grandchild, Darren Jr.
James Philip Lovely '50 on April 19, 2009. Loving husband, father, and grandfather, after a long, courageous battle with lung and heart disease. He was born in San Jose, Calif., on October 7, 1928, to Dr. James and Louise Lovely. Jim was the eldest of three children. Jim was a student at the University of Santa Clara then graduated from San Jose State University. Upon graduation in 1950, he then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force serving overseas as an F86 jet pilot during the Korean War. In 1952, he married Jean Jorgensen, the love of his life. They had two children, Lisa and Rick and resided in Los Gatos, Calif. for 5 years. Jim was transferred by Guardian Life Insurance to New York where he and his family lived for 2 years. In 1961, they returned to Saratoga, Calif. Jim worked in the life insurance business for both Guardian Life and E.F. Hutton until his retirement in 1987. He was a member of Sainte Claire Club of San Jose and served for many years on the Saratoga School Board and on the Board of San Jose Hospital. Jim never lost his love for flying, always keeping in touch with his Air Force friends and treasured the opportunity to fly whenever he had the chance. He was an active outdoorsman, looking forward every year to the hunting seasons. Jim dearly loved the mountains and skiing. Jim always wanted to reside in the state of Idaho where he and his wife built their dream home in Sun Valley, Idaho. In 1995, they moved to Bend where Jim also enjoyed the beautiful mountains, golf and skiing. He belonged to the Hackers golf group at Widgi Creek Golf Club where he spent many wonderful days on the course with his pals. Jim is survived by his beloved wife, Jean; daughter, Lisa Lovely of San Francisco, son, Rick Lovely and his fiance, Shelly Jasper of Bend, granddaughter, Logan Lovely of San Francisco, sisters, Diane Lovely of Sacramento, Calif., Susan Donohue of Santa Clara, Calif., and many nieces and nephews, all in California. The most important part of Jim's life was his family and friends, and was especially brightened by his new one year old granddaughter, Logan. He always loved raising his glass, toasting life which he lived to the fullest. Jim was a man well loved and respected by all who knew him. He will be so missed. Contributions may be made to Partners in Care of Bend, Ore.
James E. Doyle '50 passed away peacefully on May 5, 2011. Born Aug. 17, 1924 to Mary Jesse and O.E. Doyle and raised in Redwood City, Jim graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in 1943. He lettered in baseball and football and in 1999 humbly accepted his induction into the Bellarmine Sports Hall of Fame. Upon graduation, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Army-Air Force and served proudly as an aerial gunner (398th bomb group). In 1949 he married his beloved wife, Jacklyn Palm (deceased 2004). Jim received his B.A. from Santa Clara University in 1950 and his Masters in Education from Stanford University in 1951. Jim began his rewarding career in education in 1951 with the Redwood City School District and continued with the Eastside Union High School District as an Educator and Administrator of Special Education until his retirement in 1984. We will always remember his profound love of baseball & sports, summers at Seacliff Beach, going to Hawaii and our Sunday morning ritual of mass, breakfast and a drive to S. J. Airport. Jim is survived by his children Megan Rhodes, Peter (Shiela) Doyle, Mary Anne (Chuck) Wall and Maureen (Steve) Gembala, 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren with 2 more on the way.
James M. Dowling '50 on April 12, 2009 at a care center in Brentwood, Contra Costa County. He was 81. He was born in Alameda, the second son of Thomas and Alice Dowling, and was raised in San Jose. He attended Bellarmine Prep High School, where he was active in sports. Family members said he dabbled in boxing and basketball, but his favorite sport was football. He was a starting fullback at Bellarmine from 1942 to 1944, and played for Santa Clara University from 1946 to 1949, playing in every game during that period. In 1950, he played on Santa Clara Orange Bowl team. He was named to the football Hall of Fame at both Bellarmine and Santa Clara. After college, he was drafted to play for the Cleveland Browns, but turned down the offer to marry his wife, Jane, in 1951. After their marriage, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he also played football. They lived in Southern California for several years, then moved to Walnut Creek to be closer to friends and family, where they lived for 30 years. In 1996, they moved to Twain Harte, where they had spent many summers vacationing. Mr. Dowling was preceded in death by his wife, Wilma Jane Close Dowling; his brother, Thomas Lawrence Dowling Jr.; and his infant son, William Thomas Dowling. He is survived by three children; Michelle Huddleston and her husband, Mark, of Twain Harte; James Dowling Jr. and his wife, Melinda, of Morgan Hill; and Catherine Gomes and her husband, Wade, of Brentwood; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and his brother, Austin Dowling, of New Jersey.
John "Jack" M. O’Keeffe ’50, Nov. 6, 2012. Born February 18, 1927 to John M. Sr. and Lou O'Keeffe in Stockton, Calif. Loving husband to Audrey Jean O'Keeffe who preceded Jack in death this year. Adoring father of John M. "Spike" O'Keeffe III (Joan), Cynthia Nelson, Carolyn Chvosta (Bill), Rebecca England (Jack), Clark O'Keeffe (Elise) and Patricia See (Dave). Proud grandfather of Bryan and Chris Nelson, Kelly Bassett and Megan O'Keeffe, Jennifer Teresinski and Emily Moses, Malissa Crowder, Carly and Molly O'Keeffe, Joe and Drew See. Eleven adored great grandchildren with three more on the way! Survived by his brother David O'Keeffe ’53 and his wife Janelle of Colorado Springs. Uncle and In-law to many whom he loved dearly.
Jack grew up in San Jose, Calif., across from the Rose Garden. He graduated from Bellarmine High School and Santa Clara University. During both of these experiences, and with his father's guidance, he was a devout Roman Catholic. It was a devotion that he took seriously every day of his life. Following his graduation from Santa Clara University in 1950, (after a stint in the Maritime Service at the end of World War II), he began a lifelong love for the SCU athletic program. The first song his children learned growing up was the Santa Clara fight song and many family events, even weddings, were culminated with a rendition of "All Hail to SCU!" He attended the 1950 SCU Orange Bowl victory and could sing the “SCU Fight Song” up until his death.
While attending SCU he met Audrey Jean Alexander at a dance with Dominican College. Years later he swore the first time he saw her she had a bright light and a halo over her head. They were married in 1950. That same year he went to work for IBM and his first promotion was as branch manager in Richmond, Calif. In 1963 he became a key account manager at the Oakland IBM branch. At this time he moved his family to Lafayette, Calif., and his Crofton Court home became the center of activity for his children, their friends, nieces and nephews. Special times were spent in the family Lake Tahoe home that he helped build.
As his children were growing up he volunteered at the St. Paul's Parents Club, Kiwanis Club, The Salvation Army and Knights of Columbus and coached both basketball and baseball. He attended nearly every game, recital, and horseshow that his children participated in. He encouraged this development and was eager to learn of their experiences.
In the Maritime Service he developed a love of ships and the sea. In 1983 and after his retirement from IBM, he and Audrey built the home of their dreams in Bethel Island. He was able to fulfill his love of the sea owning many boats and enjoying all the adventures a boat on the Delta waters could offer. Three of his daughters owned floating homes on his marina property. Every summer brought celebrations and his grandchildren spent cherished time in and around the water and at their home.
In retirement, he sold real estate for Boyd Realty in Bethel Island, volunteered with Audrey at the Bethel Island Lions Club, belonged to the Bethel Island Chamber of Commerce, the San Joaquin Yacht Club and St. Anthony's Church in Oakley . He announced the "Frozen Bun Run" on New Year's Day for many years. In 1977 he started a golf tournament with two of his son-in-laws. For Jack this was a life changing event. The "Little Crosby", named for many years the JOK and eventually the JO'KN Golf Tournament, benefited many worthy causes including Bethel Island Jr. Golf, Scout Hall, St. Anne's Catholic Church in Rossmoor and eventually Stand Up 2 Cancer. He spent months planning the tournament and his family used the event as a vehicle for yearly reunions with their friends. Every family member was involved in the tournament, either playing in it or planning the events of the day. As a Real Estate agent he invited many clients and potential clients. The tournament dinner and awards party was held at Jack and Audrey's Bethel Island home. He and Audrey were gracious hosts and he ended each tournament, "Hope you had a good time, see you next year."
So we say "goodbye" to Jack O'Keeffe, Dad, Brother, Uncle, Father-in-Law, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. We are comforted to know he is now reunited with his wife Audrey. She is introducing him to all heaven has to offer and next time you see hail the size of golf balls know that is a sign that a JO'KN foursome has teed off at Heavenly Fairways. Invitations are pending, heaven sent.
Ignazio A.Vella '50, owner of Vella Cheese Company and an outspoken leader in Sonoma County politics in the last half of the 20th century, died June 9, 2011 at his home in Sonoma after a prolonged illness. He was 83. Vella became an iconic figure in the artisan cheese industry after assuming leadership of the family business in 1981. In the 1960s and '70s he was a larger-than-life figure in county politics, both as supervisor from the Sonoma Valley and later as manager of the Sonoma County Fair. Easily the most colorful and controversial of county officialdom in his political years, he was known for his colorful vests, wide-brimmed hats and his gift of oratory. In his signature white-paper cheesemaker's hat, Vella was a familiar figure at the landmark stone cheese factory on Sonoma's Second Street East. As heir to his father, Gaetano "Tom" Vella's craft, he built a cheese empire in California and Oregon with the same intensity he brought to the board room in the '60s. Vella, a Sonoma native, was a magna cum laude graduate of Santa Clara University and an Air Force officer in the Korean War. He had a style all his own, a self-confidence sometimes taken as arrogance. He could be abrupt with those who disagreed with him and once told a reporter, perhaps as a joke, that he kept a copy of Machiavelli's writings on his bedside table. "He was one of a kind," said Janet Nicholas, a Vella appointee to the county planning commission who was elected supervisor in 1984. "And there's no question that he truly loved politics." He told a reporter in the '70s that the county arena was his favorite—the level of government with the largest scope and closest to the people. Vella was elected supervisor in 1964 and served three terms before resigning to become fair manager where he served with a distinction that earned him a Best Manager title for the California fair circuit in 1980. He served as president of the newly formed Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in the early 1970s, when Sonoma County's participation in this new regional body was in question. But his time as fair manager also brought controversy. In 1981, members of the fair's board of directors bought up most of the tickets to a Willie Nelson concert, resulting in public outrage and Nelson's cancellation. Vella's handling of the crisis came under fire from the directors, and the episode known as "Williegate" cost him the manager's job. Vella served on the Sonoma City Planning Commission for 12 years after his county tenure, and as a charter member of the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission. In 2006, his hometown honored him by naming a new span over Sonoma Creek the Ig Vella Bridge. "You always knew where Ig stood," said daughter, Chickie Vella, who has run the company for the past several years with son Gabriel Luddy. He did everything his own way. Having grown up in the cheese trade, from washing vats to delivering cheese in his father's Model A in the early 1930s, Vella championed local dairies and small-production artisan cheeses. In the late 1990s, he turned his sights to the family's operations in Oregon. Despite initial skepticism, his commitment to making world-class blue cheese in the Rogue River Valley garnered him legions of cheese-making fans, including the current co-owner of Rogue River Creamery, David Gremmels, who took over operations from Vella with a handshake deal in 2002. "He will be remembered for so many things, so many of us respect and think of him as a pillar," Gremmels said. He affected so many cheesemakers in a positive way that will be felt for generations. In 2006 Vella was given the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Cheese Society. His hobby was old clocks and watches and he was often asked by collectors for help in repairing and restoring old timepieces. He was also a dedicated baseball fan, coaching Babe Ruth League for several seasons. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Sally Vella; daughter, Ditty Vella; son, Thomas Vella, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Howard McMahon '50 died on Oct. 1, 2008.
Howard Martin McMahon '50, 81, passed away the morning of October 5, 2008. He was a professor of aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech for 25 years after receiving a Ph.D. from CalTech. Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada on July 29th, 1927, Howard became a US citizen in 1969. A beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Howard loved entertaining friends with fine wine, good banjo music, political savvy and a sharp wit. He was very active in Catholic education, serving on the Archdiocesan Board of Education and the Our Lady of the Assumption school board. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Fran; his daughter, Pat; daughter, Helen; son, Paul and wife, Laura; son, Michael and wife, Becky; son, Sean and wife, Tabatha; as well as six grandchildren. They will miss him dearly.
Howard J. Lindekugel '50, Jan. 3, 2010.
Herbert E. Clark '50 died in Tucson, Ariz. on August 31, 2011. He owned and operated Clark Office Products while also serving as president of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau. He was preceded in death by Mary Clark, his wife of 46 years.