Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - June 21, 2013

Deaths

Barbara Decker Viand

Barbara Decker Viand, a previous Palo Alto resident, died on Friday, June 14, in Santa Barbara, Calif. She was with her daughters at the time.

Born in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 19, 1917, she went on to live in many places, including Saint Louis and Pasadena — where she was high school tennis champion — as well as the Universities of Maryland and Wisconsin. She graduated with a degree in journalism. She met her first husband, Bill Decker, while working for the Chicago Sun. They lived in Virginia, Md.; Old Greenwich, Conn.; Amherst, N.Y.; Northfield, Ill., and settled with their three daughters in 1960 in Atherton, Calif. They divorced in 1968 and she began work first as a bridal consultant at the former Bullocks and then in real estate in Menlo Park, where she met her second husband, Maurice Viand.

After living in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, they lived in La Jolla, Rancho Bernardo and Vista, Calif., before settling at Maravilla Adult Living in Santa Barbara. Barbara was preceded in death by Bill in 2005 and Maurice in 2006. She is survived by her daughter, Jan Fisher (George) of Menlo Park, and her daughters, Stephanie (Tef) Decker and Christina (Tina) Long (Jeff) of Santa Barbara, her grandchildren in Menlo Park, Mountain View, Italy, Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as five great grandchildren.

Services have been held.

Robert W.F. Jones

Robert W.F. Jones, a Stanford University graduate and Menlo Park resident, died on June 7 from complications associated with leukemia. He was predeceased by his mother, Lura, father, Tom and infant son, Thomas. He is survived by his wife, Ellen; children Marcus (Jean), Ada and Lura; grandchildren Cassius, Griffin, Calvin, Nora, Leland and Annette.

He was born in Columbia, S.C., on June 23, 1935 and moved to Hollywood, Calif. as a toddler, then to New York City and eventually Westfield, N.J.

During a stint in the Army, he was sent to the North Pole. At the time, he became a guitar and piano player. After the Army, he graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. He then went to graduate school at Stanford, where he supported himself by working at the Oasis in Menlo Park and betting on the horses at local race tracks.

After earning his master's degree, in 1960 he accepted a student teaching position at Menlo School. He did not leave until his health forced him into retirement in 2000. At Menlo, Bob became the Dean of Studies while coaching track, football, golf, wrestling, basketball, among other sports; he taught a variety of subjects including Latin, English, Spanish and creative writing; and, for many years he led the Drama Club, the annual Ugly Man Contest and was the faculty adviser to the student paper.

"Bob was and remains a legend in the Menlo community. Even today when graduates reminisce about what made their experience so memorable, Bob Jones tops the list. He was a brilliant teacher whose dedication to his students literally knew no bounds," wrote Norm Colb, Menlo's Head of School.

He was also a golfer, musician, St. Louis Cardinal baseball fan and collector of horror movies.

"We live in an age that doesn't believe in heroes and makes fun of people who do. Mr. Jones was my hero," added Paul Guay, Menlo School class of 1975.

Friends and family are invited to a memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday June 29, at Douglass Hall (aka Stent Family Hall) at Menlo School, 50 Valparaiso Ave. in Atherton.

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