1921-June 21, 2008
Palo Alto, California
Lee Cretarolo, 87, a resident of Palo Alto, died June 21.
He grew up in Haverhill, Mass., with short post-World War II stays in Fresno and Sacramento before settling in Palo Alto in the home where he lived for 54 years. A frequent golfer and past member of Palo Alto Hills Country Club, he spent his professional life as a senior executive of American Building Maintenance Company, headquartered in San Francisco, dealing with sales and operations across much of Northern California, frequently handling union negotiations and serving until recently as a member of the Service Employees International Union trust fund board of trustees.
Loved ones recall him as a gracious host who delighted in greeting people with a hearty andself-effacing, "Hi, I'm Lee Cretarolo; I'm a janitor".
He married Effie Cameron of Pangwich, Utah, in 1942 and spent his early post-World War II service years playing bass in small jazz groups. He and Effie raised a daughter, Sandra of Palo Alto, and sons Jon of Bainbridge Island, Wash., Marc of Portland Ore., and Eric of San Carlos.
The family now numbers eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, in addition to his older brother Mat Mathews of Berkeley; he also shared his last six years with his full-time caregiver, Fono Pouvalu.