Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Frances Joy Rathmann's memorial

Frances Joy Rathmann
April 17, 1928-May 6, 2019
Palo Alto, California

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Frances Joy Rathmann, “Joy”, died of natural causes peacefully in her home on May 6, 2019, in the presence of members of her family and care staff. Mrs. Rathmann was 91 years old. She is survived by her sister, five children, thirteen grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many grand dogs, cats and cows. She and the late George B. Rathmann were married for 61 years.

Mrs. Rathmann received a BA in Biology from Skidmore College and raised her five children in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in the suburban Chicago area. In 1980, she and her husband moved to Southern California as part of the formation of the biotechnology company, Amgen, with which her husband was involved. In 1993, the two moved to Seattle, Washington, as part of the formation of the biotechnology company, ICOS. They moved to Palo Alto in 2002.

Mrs. Rathmann delighted in having an active role with young families involved with her husband’s business ventures, lending her generous heart and kind soul to helping the young scientists and their families connect to the new companies that were such a large presence in their lives. In particular, Mrs. Rathmann was the driving force behind the forward-looking, in-business daycare facility established at ICOS in 1990.

As a lifelong nature lover and environmentalist, Mrs. Rathmann, a US Fish & Wildlife licensed bird-bander, inspired her children and grandchildren as well as many other young people with her embrace of the beauty and magic of birds and the natural environment. As one of the founders of the Rathmann Family Foundation, Mrs. Rathmann helped direct millions of dollars to charities for environmental causes.

The family extends a special thank you to the many loving and talented partners in care who ensured that the last years of Mrs. Rathmann’s life were comfortable and joyful.

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