California Avenue salon owner found dead

Business was an Ash Street fixture for decades

The owner of a hair salon in Palo Alto's California Avenue business district was found deceased in her shop Tuesday morning, just weeks before she planned to retire, according to nearby business owners.

The woman, identified as Maureen Forbes by several merchants, owned The Other One Hair Styling on the 2400 block of Ash Street. She owned the business for more than 30 years, clients and merchants said.

Forbes died of natural causes, the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office said on Wednesday.

A client who came for a haircut found Forbes lying on the floor by the front window, and the door was locked, said Carole Brunning, owner of Alexander's Dog Grooming down the street. She and groomer Denise Souza ran to assist her. Brunning then ran to the back of the business in search of another entrance and Souza called 911, Souza said.

Souza, who often arrives at around 7 a.m., said that Forbes could often be seen early in the morning sitting by a round wooden table near the window while going over her paperwork. She would often be at her shop before Souza arrived, she said.

Brunning said she was probably deceased when they arrived.

"She was laying on the floor by the window and she looked like she was unconscious. She was not moving, and she didn't seem to be breathing," Brunning said.

Palo Alto Fire Department paramedics arrived at about 8:12 a.m. Palo Alto police investigators secured the scene for several hours, but they found nothing suspicious, Sgt. Rich Bullerjahn said.

Forbes' salon was open by appointment only, and it was known for its quirky decor, which included vintage hair-styling tools and old photographs.

Mary Cudahy, a longtime client, said that Forbes spoke about being in the business since the 1970s. Cudahy frequented the salon until moving away in 2000. She was visiting Palo Alto on Tuesday and had stopped by to say hello to Forbes as she was passing by, she said.

"She was very detail oriented -- she was meticulous," Cudahy recalled. "She took her time; she was never rushed like in other places. She never pushed any products on you."

Forbes was planning to retire and close her business at the end of March, Brunning and others said.

"She was here before me, and I've been here for 33 years. It's very sad. To think that somebody's worked hard all these years and they get ready to retire and they die. She was a very nice lady. She was well liked in the area," she said.


2 people like this
Posted by CA Ave Patron
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:12 am

I'm sorry to hear of her passing. May she rest in peace.

To the editor, on grammar in the above article, Web Link
In the direct quote from a person, of course you don't change their wording, but earlier in the piece, the reporter uses the same incorrect form of lay versus lie.

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Posted by Digress
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

True, only hens "lay" eggs. Otherwise it's "lie".

Sad story about the owner. May she rest in peace.

2 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:21 am

Honestly...are we so self=absorbed that in one sentence we express sorrow and the next we are picking apart grammatical errors and talking about hens?

A person died here. How about a little sensitivity...If it were your mom, sister, aunt would you really be wanting to read about grammar right now on this thread?


Condolences to her family.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:40 am

Such a sad story for all concerned.

The grammar issue is important. The standards of a news article are how the newspaper is judged. Obviously the journalistic integrity is one important factor, but if the journalists are not able to write good English then it is also lowering the integrity of a newspaper.

For the majority of those of us reading the article, we have no connection to the deceased and so this is just a news item, a sad item, but a news item nonetheless. To those who were customers, friends, family who were close to the deceased, they probably aren't reading the comments to see condolences. There are many obituary sites where condolences can be left for the family to read. This is just a report on the news.

Perhaps the Weekly could start an obituary section where condolences could be left separate from the news section. Just a thought.

2 people like this
Posted by Ronna Devincenzi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm

This is such sad news. What a wonderfully kind and classy lady she was, consistently warm, engaging and interesting too.

When I would go around to first-floor retail shops on California Avenue for events and other happenings over the many years, she would always take time to greet me, to chat and show gratitude for our volunteer group. It never failed that a faithful client would then come for an appointment, a person that seemed like a long-time friend, treated like family.

I have not seen her in the last few years, having lost touch. So it is so pathetic to learn she planned to close her shop at the end of this month, and now, this.

Both she and her business are from "molds" that made Palo Alto a better place to live and to visit. Throughout the world and in every age, kindness and goodness are noted, at least by the majority, and appreciated; in fact, the name "Cudahy", as I recall, would also be in that category, albeit from many years ago. Another Palo Alto institution to be remembered fondly.

Thank you, Sue, for writing this story about a life well lived. As the Weekly is in the Cal Ave district, I would like to add that I am sorry for the loss of your business neighbor too. My condolences to her family, her close friends, faithful clients, and to her other business neighbors, especially the good people at Alexander's Dog Grooming and the few other businesses that are within the Hotel California building area. Sad day.

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Posted by lindaloo
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

This is so terribly shocking and sad! I was a patron of her's years ago when I lived closer to the area; my mother and many of our neighbors had her as their stylist as well.

RIP Maureen.

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Posted by Grammar
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Actually, I believe that "lying" the present participle of "to rest or recline," is properly used here.

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Posted by jeanne
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Oh my gosh... Leave it to Palo Alto people to tear apart an article re; grammar. The poor woman passed away...

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Posted by Clancy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm

So often, the big changes that retirement will bring are heavy upon one's mind and body. When my father retired after 35 years as a letter carrier, within a month his hair had turned white ....

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Posted by Cary Wyant-Schairer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm

One reason that grammar matters is that using poor grammar is distracting---the meaning of the writer's article is clouded if only momentarily, and in this case the reader may have a vision of a hen laying eggs instead of a woman having died just as she was about to retire. Good writing should be clear, and in journalistic writing it should be invisible.

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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:42 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

I'm sorry that I never even knew about this shop or tried out the services, and I've hung out on Cal Ave for over 30 years. With all the other glitzy salons that have sprouted up in the area, her place must have been a breath of fresh air. As for the grammar issue, I am the pickiest grammarian you'd ever meet, and even *I* wouldn't have commented on the grammar in this article. Get a grip.

Like this comment
Posted by Her Dear Friend
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:27 am

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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