Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - November 12, 2010

Philanthropist Rosemary Hewlett dies at 91

Benefactor to education was wife of HP co-founder William 'Bill' Hewlett

Rosemary Kopmeier Bradford Hewlett, the second wife of Silicon Valley pioneer William "Bill" Hewlett, died Oct. 29 after a short illness, according to a statement by Menlo College, where she had been a longtime board member. She was 91.

Hewlett died at her Atherton home surrounded by her family and loved ones, according to the statement.

She graduated from Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and met her first husband, Robert Adam Bradford, of Boston, Mass., while on a ski trip in Sun Valley, Idaho, according to her obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The couple married in 1942 and lived in Milwaukee until they moved to Atherton in 1957. Bob Bradford died in 1969. They had five children.

She married William R. Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company, in 1978. The couple was married in Palo Alto and was together for 22 years, traveling and dividing their time between their homes in Portola Valley and Sun Valley, according to the statement.

William "Bill" Hewlett died in 2001.

"Rosemary leaves a long legacy of contribution and accomplishment. That legacy will live on through her generosity of spirit, the love of her family and friends, and her many philanthropic endeavors," a Hewlett-Packard Company spokesperson said on Thursday.

Rosemary Hewlett was an active board member of Menlo College where she was the sole donor of the Hewlett Visiting Faculty/Student Exchange with Harris Manchester College at Oxford University in England, from which she received an honorary fellow degree, according to Menlo College.

One of her favorite projects at the college was the library. She funded its program for innovative technology resources. Because they loved her, the library staff named its information system ROSIE (the Resource for Online Services and Information Electronically) after her.

The interactive system supported the scholarly work of Menlo's students and faculty and connected them to information resources from around the world, according to the college release.

Hewlett was a founding board member of the Peninsula Bridge Program. She also endowed a scholarship for a deserving high school student to attend college through the program, the college said.

"Rosie was intelligent, caring and has a wonderful sense of humor. Her touch was common and her personality was real. She was very approachable and if she didn't like something, she would just say so, which I found very refreshing," Les DeWitt, a founder of the Bridge Program and its executive director, said in a Fall 2002 interview for Menlo Magazine.

Hewlett also commented then on her own perspective of leadership: "A leader is a person who puts herself out to make a point, to care about a subject, who guides everyone else along the way to follow. It's wonderful and it's terrible, for you must be responsible for where you lead, for the mistakes you make. Those following are looking to you to take them to the right place.

She is survived by her children: David Bradford and his wife, Diane, of Tiberon; Robert Bradford of Woodside; Peter Bradford and his wife, Betty, of Portola Valley; Deborah Bradford Whelan and husband Gabe of Atherton; and Jeffrey Bradford and his wife Casey of Kauai, Hawaii, and Sun Valley, Idaho. She also is survived by eight grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Private services were held Nov. 6. She will be buried in Sun Valley. Donations may be made to the Peninsula Bridge Program, 457 Kingsley Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301, or through www.peninsulabridge.org/support.

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