Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - April 2, 2010

Deaths

Rachel Feferman

Rachel Feferman, 55, a former resident of Palo Alto, died 14 after a long, struggle with breast cancer.

She grew up in Palo Alto and Stanford and lived in San Francisco and Seattle before settling in Port Townsend, Wash.

She attended Stanford Elementary School, Terman Middle School and Gunn High School. She did her university studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and Lone Mountain College, and graduate work at the University of Washington. She also worked as a cook at Castilleja School and the Djerassi Foundation.

An intrepid experimenter in many forms of art, she had numerous solo shows in Palo Alto and Seattle and other venues. She was a major award winner at the 1989 Northwest Annual held in the Seattle Center on Contemporary Art. In 2009, her book "Golden Hands: Drawings and Reflections" was published.

Loved ones recall her as a gifted artist, writer and teacher.

She is survived by her parents, Anita and Solomon Feferman of Stanford,; her sister Julie Feferman-Perez and two nieces.

Elinor Smith

Elinor Smith Sullivan, 98, one of the world's earliest and most renowned female pilots, died of kidney failure at Palo Alto's Lytton Gardens March 19.

She was born in New York, N.Y., and grew up in Long Island, N.Y. She took her first flight, as a passenger, at age 6 and began taking flying lessons at age 10.

In 1927, at age 16, she became the youngest licensed pilot on record in the world and completed daring tricks such as flying under New York City bridges, along with setting endurance, speed and altitude records, according to a report in the Washington Post.

"She was known for the records she broke and her showmanship. She did a lot of daring things," International Organization of Women Pilots historian and Menlo Park resident Verna West said.

In 1930 she was named female pilot of the year by fellow pilots, over rival Amelia Earhart.

Smith married Patrick Henry Sullivan II in 1933 and retired from flying to focus on raising her family. After her husband's death in 1956, she resumed her flying career and took her last flight in 2001.

Twenty-five years ago she moved to the Bay Area to be near her son and a close friend. As her health began to decline, she moved into Lytton Gardens nursing home a few years ago.

She is survived by her children, Patrick Sullivan III of Santa Cruz, Patricia Sullivan of New York, N.Y., Kathleen Worden of Grand Junction, Colo., and Pamela Sullivan of Glen Cove, N.Y.; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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