Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories
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Tze Leung Lai
June 28, 1945 - May 21, 2023
Stanford, California

Tze Leung Lai (June 28, 1945–May 21, 2023), professor of statistics at Columbia University and Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor at Stanford University, passed away peacefully in his sleep on 21 May 2023. Lai lived a remarkable life, investing in his academic career, his students, and his family; he was proud of his accomplishments in each of those areas. Growing up in postwar Hong Kong, Lai learned at an early age the value of hard work: having skipped kindergarten, he was the youngest child in his classes and had to study harder to match his older peers, many of whom would repeat a class year to ensure good grades. He attended the University of Hong Kong, where he initially pursued economics before switching to mathematics. Graduating in 1967, Lai initially considered a career in civil service, but the local anti-government riots protesting British colonial rule that year made him reconsider. He instead decided to pursue higher education, ending up at Columbia University in 1968 in the statistics program, where he lived through the September 1968 student protests that shut down the campus. In May 1970, Lai was preparing to take his oral qualifying exam when President...

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Joan Hancock
Oct. 30, 1931 - May 14, 2023
Palo Alto, California

Joan Hancock passed away peacefully at home in Palo Alto, on Mother’s Day, May 14, 2023. The oldest child of Margaret (Meg) and Roger Egeberg, she and her three siblings were raised in Cleveland, OH and Los Angeles. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley in 1953, she lived in Grand Mere, Quebec before settling back into the San Francisco Bay Area where she taught Elementary School in Daly City and Pinole. In the late 1950’s she moved to Sherman Oaks Apartments in Palo Alto, where she met her future husband Bill Hancock, a Cardiologist at Stanford, after hearing his piano playing in the apartment building. Bill and Joan eventually settled into a house on Tennyson, where they lived together for over 50 years. Joan will be remembered by her prolific artistic output, spanning seven decades. Her portraits and landscapes, which depicted both the fantastic and the real, were filled with playfulness and joy. She saw beauty and form everywhere, which was evident even walking through her house. She showed her work at galleries across the Bay Area and opened her own Blue Skies Studio in the 1980s. She painted numerous murals in houses and businesses across the peninsula, including bo...

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Robert Campbell McGibben Jr
Feb. 28, 1937 - May 7, 2023
Carmel, California

ROBERT CAMPBELL MCGIBBEN, JR 1937-2023 Bob was a 3rd generation San Franciscan, born at Children’s Hospital on February 28,1937. His youth was spent in Menlo Park under the loving eye of his grandfather, who instilled in Bob a sense of confidence, a zest for life and a quick wit. In the mid-fifties Bob was drafted into the army. While stationed in Georgia, Bob had the enviable opportunity of serving twice as a marshal at the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta. He was also introduced to local jazz bands and developed a lifelong passion for music. After his military service he spent time in Reno as a disc jockey, playing jazz and accumulating a vast collection of vinyl records, which he later donated to Stanford University. Bob graduated from The New York Institute of Finance in 1961. He then began his successful career, launching Robert McGibben, Inc. at the Pacific Stock Exchange. Bob was active in his community, serving on the Menlo Park Fire Department Board of Directors, and later serving as a volunteer guide at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and as a marshal at the Poppy Hills Golf Course. Bob was a lifelong sports fan, a master of crossword puzzles, a...

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Theresa "Terri" Lavelle
July 22, 1947 - May 3, 2023
Menlo Park, California

Theresa "Terri" Lavelle, age 75, lost her battle with brain cancer on May 3rd, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. Born on July 22nd, 1947, in Boyne City, Michigan, Terri was the daughter of Beulah Mae Long and John Hejhal. She spent her childhood at the family farm and around Boyne City, East Jordan, and the Lake Charlevoix area. Terri graduated from Boyne City High School in 1964. After high school, she went on to Eastern Michigan University, where, in 1970, she completed a bachelor's degree in English and Education. After graduation, Terri completed post-graduate studies in Publishing at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She later attended Kennedy University, in Pleasant Hill, California, where she studied English and Creative Writing. In 1978, Terri moved to the San Francisco Bay area where she worked in Publishing at Sunset Magazine. She then spent several years at the William Sonoma Company, first working as a computer programmer and later as a project manager. Most recently she worked in the accounting department for the Sunnyvale office of Elekta Medical Systems. Terri enjoyed a close working relationship with her colleagues at Elekta and spoke fondly of t...

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Marshall S. (Mike) Smith
Sept. 16, 1937 - May 1, 2023
Palo Alto, California

After a battle with cancer, Mike Smith passed away at home early on May 1, 2023. He was an influential figure in American education and social policy for over six decades. He was a mentor, teacher, leader, and friend in every sense of the word as he moved back and forth between roles in government, Academia, and philanthropy. His leadership style was deeply personal as well as informal, believing that ideas, particularly actionable ones, were more important than appearances. Mike held important positions in several federal administrations, served as a professor and dean at research universities and worked in philanthropy. In each domain, he worked relentlessly to increase educational opportunities and outcomes for historically underserved students by means of policies and practices that focused on systemic reform, equality, and useful data. Mike was a loving family man whose pride in and commitment to his family was evident to all those around him. He is survived by Nicki, his wife of 59 years; their four children Adam (Elizabeth), Jennifer (Kevin), Matthew (Carolina) and Megan (Matthew); six grandchildren Emma (Thomas), Mira, Zoey, Isadora, Elena, Lucas; one great grandchil...

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Kathy Trabue Weiss
April 9, 2023 - April 29, 2023
Kapaau, CA

Kathy Trabue Weiss, age 64, of Kapaau, Hawaii, passed away unexpectedly on April 29, 2023. Kathy was born on April 9, 1959, in Dublin, Ohio. Her parents, Jerry and Beverly Trabue, welcomed Kathy as their first daughter and Teri as their second. The Trabue family made many happy memories at their vacation home in Big Pine Key, Florida, where Jerry taught them to swim, fish, and care for nature. Kathy had two children, Ally and Shane Weiss, with Warren (Bunny) Weiss. The Weiss family lived in Minnesota, Georgia, Texas, and California, where the kids were raised. While living in California, Kathy fell in love with Yosemite, Half Moon Bay, Tahoe, and all that the Golden State has to offer. She lived a life filled with laughter and adventure; to call her curious would be an understatement. Kathy enjoyed gardening, road trips, music, and most importantly animals. She had many dogs throughout the years: Mowgli, Ron, and Baloo, to name a few. The family knows Kathy is in heaven with all of them, along with her loved ones who have passed. In recent years, Kathy fulfilled her dream of moving to Hawaii, where she tended to over 100 fruit trees, donated to her local church, made improv...

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Ze'ev Wurman
Jan. 19, 1950 - April 29, 2023
Palo Alto, California

Ze’ev Wurman, a software engineer and influential participant in educational content standards debates, died on Saturday, April 29, 2023, from complications of lymphoma. He was 73. Ze’ev (Polish name Wlodzimierz) was born in 1950 in Warsaw, Poland. His father, Leon Wurman (born in 1911 in Kurów), had been a house painter before World War II and then a self-taught engineer. His mother, Irena Wurman (née Perel, 1914 in Warsaw), was a government official in Poland who also completed a law degree. The family fled Poland in 1939 for Russia, and returned to Poland in 1946. In 1957, Ze’ev, his older brother, and their parents left Poland for Israel. Ze’ev thrived in school. One friend who grew up with Ze’ev in Israel said that “in many eyes he was a genius.” In 1968, he graduated from Hahashmonaim high school in Bat Yam. That year he won the annual award of the Israeli Chemical Society. He then enrolled in the Israeli Institute of Technology (“Technion”), where he graduated with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 1972. In 1972, Ze’ev reconnected with his childhood friend from Poland, Grazyna, in Vienna. She tells the story of how they “...

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Dorothea Emily Collins
March 12, 1933 - April 25, 2023
Santa Rosa, CA

Dorothea passed away on April 25, 2023, after a short illness. Born in 1933 in Boston, Massachusetts, Dorothea and her mom, Dorothy, moved to the home of her Grandparents after the passing of her father when she was three. Her grandparents treated her like she was their own child. She grew up in a house filled with loving aunts and uncles and is fondly remembered by her cousins as “Bunny”, which was given to her as a small child. Since Bunny was the oldest, she did a lot of babysitting for her cousins. They all remember her reading them stories. Most of all they remember her singing voice. Broadway music was her favorite and throughout the years she performed in several local musicals, once singing at the Boston Pops. In 1954, Dorothea graduate from Regis College in Weston, MA. Upon graduation she became a teacher, a career that would last her over 35 years. In 1960 Dorothea married Robert “Bob” James Collins, also of Boston and bought a small house in Westwood, MA. Within a year, their first son, Robert Joseph was born, followed 17 months later by the birth of the second son, Daniel John. The new parents had little time to settle in when Bob’s company...

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Robert Reynolds Wood
Dec. 6, 1926 - April 21, 2023
Menlo Park, California

Robert Reynolds Wood. 1926-2023 Robert Wood passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on April 21, 2023. Robert Reynolds Wood (Bob) was a remarkable man who touched many with his kindness, generosity, and grace. He was intelligent, caring, optimistic, and always excited for new experiences. Bob was born on December 6, 1926 in Portland, Oregon. Robert Wood Sr. was a theater manager, and his wife, Bob’s mother, Margaret, had been a performer in the local traveling theaters. After Bob and his beloved sister, Margaret were born, the young family lived a nomadic life, landing in Oregon, Buffalo, New York, Kansas City, Hammond, Indiana, Southern California, and eventually, Cambria Pines, where Bob attended 3rd grade. In 1939, the family settled in Palo Alto, where Bob thrived. At Jordan Junior High School he was on the track team, excelled as a student, and was elected “Student Manager.” In 1941, he was chosen to announce to the student body that Congress had declared war after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Bob attended Palo Alto High School .He was a winning sprinter on the track team and graduated with an A average and multiple aw...

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Charles Reese Probst
March 8, 1989 - April 19, 2023
Los Altos, California

Charles O. Probst, previously named Reese J. Probst, died at home by accident on April 19, 2023. Born March 8, 1989 in Mountain View, Reese grew up in Palo Alto. He attended Gunn High School, where he competed on the wrestling team, served as president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Male Student when he graduated in 2007. Reese graduated with honors from San Francisco State University in 2011. At SF State he discovered his deep connection to Christianity and felt called to the medical profession. After working as a nursing assistant at Stanford Hospital, he enrolled in the University of San Francisco graduate nursing program, but was forced to drop out by chronic illness. Later, illness in remission, he became a pharmacy technician, working at Walgreens pharmacies in Palo Alto and Mountain View. He faced his hardships with grace and courage. His friends knew him as a sweet bear of a man who was always there to listen. He’d lived in Los Altos with his family since 2014, but he never lost his love for San Francisco and its gay and transgender communities. In 2022 he changed his name to Charles, after his grandfather. Charles (Reese) is ...

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Robert William Campbell
May 8, 1941 - April 8, 2023
Redwood City, CA

Robert William Campbell passed away peacefully on the 8th of April, 2023. Bob, as he was known to family and friends, was born and raised in San Francisco, fostering a lifetime love of both the San Francisco 49ers and Giants. Bob attended Niner’s games at Kezar Stadium, before the “new” Candlestick Park was constructed. Upon his graduation from Abraham Lincoln High School, Bob worked for the summer in a local ornamental iron works. With this experience, Bob knew that his path would follow education; he enrolled at San Francisco City College that same fall, with the goal to transfer to UC Berkeley. He would go on to earn a degree in Electrical Engineering from Cal, a Master’s in Computer Engineering from The George Washington University, an MBA in Engineering from Stanford University, followed by a Masters in Computer Engineering from The University of Santa Clara. Bob’s incredible intelligence and unwavering determination was recognized with numerous professional accolades during his career, at Control Data and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Loral. If he wasn’t watching his beloved Giants and Niners, Bob was following his other life passion: running. He ran co...

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Clement Smith
April 7, 1952 - Feb. 2, 2023
Aptos, CA

Clem grew up in Palo Alto and developed an interest in world travel when he spent part of his youth in Europe. Later as an adult, he fulfilled much of the urge to travel by becoming an adventurous camper and hiker. When he lived in Palo Alto, he was a brilliant teenager who liked to play in chess tournaments at Stanford and liked to help Phd students that he met at the Stanford AI Lab. Clem also had many hobbies, and with much musical influence from his parents, he learned to play guitar and played music with his friends. In the 1970s, Clem taught himself computer science and developed the first robotic arm used in car manufacturing assembly lines. He worked as a computer engineer on many projects for Microbot, Inc. and also enjoyed tinkering with various other computer science and robotics based projects throughout his life. This included virtual worlds, such as Second Life and attending board meetings of international computer scientists, influencing AI and virtual reality development. In the 1990s, Clem pursued becoming a business owner and a mineralogist. After raising his children in Portola Valley, he worked as the Chief of Mineralogical Intelligence at Jewel Tunnel Im...

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Pamela Mary Castle
July 15, 1926 - May 23, 2022
Palo Alto, California

Pam Castle, a Palo Alto resident for 55 years, passed away on May 23, 2022, in Claremont, California with her family by her side. She was 95 years old. Pam was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the only child of Mary Montgomery Rowbotham, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and Robert Neville Rowbotham, born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Neville was a rubber tree planter and Pam spent her first five years near the village of Udugama, in the district of Galle. Fifty years after departing the island country, Pam returned to Sri Lanka to retrace her roots. The highlight was locating her remote bungalow home up in the jungle. In 1931, Pam’s family relocated to southern California to manage a citrus ranch. Thus began her time in San Dimas, nestled along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and surrounded by acres of orange and lemon trees. She attended San Dimas Grammar School and graduated from Bonita Union High School in 1944. She went on to attend Pomona College in nearby Claremont, earning a B.A. in history in 1948. Following college, Pam worked as a secretary at Caltech in Pasadena in the biology department. While at Caltech, she was introduced to a gradu...

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Most recent memorials

JoAnn L. Schmidt
Aug. 8, 1938 - April 21, 2023 Palo Alto, CA

JoAnn Lois Schmidt passed away April 21, 2023 in Palo Alto, California surrounded by her loving family and compassionate caregivers. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 8, 1938 of Agnes and Lester Staab, JoAnn graduated from Lawrence University, BA (French & Education, magnum cum laude) in 1960....

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Anastasia D. Rutenberg
May 16, 1943 - April 19, 2023 Woodside, California

Anastasia passed away peacefully in her home in Woodside, CA very early on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023. She was born in Long Beach, CA on May 16, 1943 to Theodora Andersen, and Charles Anderson. She graduated from Burlingame High School, and worked at the Burlingame Wells Fargo; where she met her be...

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Susan H. Pollock
Jan. 17, 1953 - April 15, 2023 Palo Alto, California

Susan Hansen Pollock, beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother and daughter, passed peacefully attended by her family on Saturday April 15 having received superb care at El Camino Hospital, finally succumbing to the cancer which forced her withdrawal from her medical practice in 2014. Susan was...

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Sharon A. Bower
Dec. 9, 1932 - April 9, 2023 Stanford, CA

Sharon Anthony Bower was born in Minneapolis to Lorenzo Anthony and Lois Dahl Anthony on December 9, 1932—the year that Laura Ingalls Wilder began publishing the Little House on the Prairie series. Three years later, Sharon’s father joined a law firm in the prairie town of St. Peter, where she g...

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