|Larissa Keet, a longtime Palo Alto-area peace and environmental activist, died after she was hit by a truck while crossing a street in Nairobi, Kenya, on Jan. 13. She was in Kenya to attend a meeting of the World Social Forum.
Keet, 65, had lived in Los Altos Hills with her husband, Aubrey. They had been married 42 years.
Keet was a speech and language teacher in the Palo Alto Unified School District for many years. She later became a licensed therapist and a graduate of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, which she attended to obtain a graduate degree following her years as a speech/language teacher.
She was also active in many local groups, including Acterra, Hidden Villa, the Foundation for a Global Community and one of its subgroups, Valley of the Hearts Delight.
According to friends, Aubrey has traveled to Kenya to work on the difficult process of getting his wife's remains returned home.
Debbie Mytels of Palo Alto, a close personal friend, said Keet died in a hospital in Kenya several hours after being hit by a truck.
Mytels noted that Keet became a specialist in conflict resolution and participated in several international trips with the Compassionate Listening Project, bringing together people in world trouble spots such as Israel/Palestine -- where she helped with the "Living Room Dialogues" between Arabs and Jews -- and Armenia/Azerbijian, among others.
Keet was also active with the Raging Grannies of the San Francisco Peninsula and Los Altos Voices for Peace.
She attended many international conferences, including the first Beijing Conference on Women in the 1980s.
"Hundreds of people locally were touched by the life of this beautiful, vibrant woman -- and her 65 years on this Earth were simply too short," Mytels said.
A living-room memorial service was held last Wednesday, attended by about 70 friends who spilled out into the yard of a residence in Menlo Park. In their Los Altos Hills' home "she welcomed many guests and served everyone organic food," Mytels recalled.
Another service will be planned after Keet is returned from Africa, possibly at the Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, with which she also was active.
The larger service is in part prompted by the many people Keet touched in her life and practice, other close friends, Libby and Len Traubman of Menlo Park, said. Those able to attend the service last week were "only a fraction of her circle of communication" and those affected by her, Len Traubman said.
She and the Traubmans first met as part of an earlier iteration of the Foundation for Global Community, based in Palo Alto, Traubman recalled. The organization has had several names or facets, including Women to Women Build the Earth for the Children's sake, Creative Initiative, Project Survival and Beyond War. The Traubmans were founding members of the organization.
"She was in many circles, we learned in the living room gathering -- circles of relationships that brought people together.
"She traveled the world to be where there were gatherings of people, especially of women -- to be where progress was being made, to be where she needed to be to help things move forward," he said, noting that she had a strong spiritual side that complemented her Jewish roots.
"She was a woman of a new world, a world between where an old (way of) life is dying and a new world thatís not yet been born," Traubman said. "She saw herself as a midwife to the world."
She is survived by a sister, Barbara Goldblatt of Denver, Colo.; neice, Sheri Gellman of Connecticut; and nephew, Neil Goldblatt of Denver, Colo.
— Don Kazak and Jay Thorwaldson
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