Community group honors accomplished seniors | February 12, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 12, 2010

Community group honors accomplished seniors

'Lifetime of Achievement' awards recognize outstanding, long-term community involvement

by Martin Sanchez

A former Los Altos mayor, a physicist for HP and the U.S. Navy and a philanthropic husband-and-wife team are among six local seniors honored with "Lifetime of Achievement" awards from the nonprofit group Avenidas last evening.

This year's honorees are community volunteer/philanthropist Elizabeth Wolf, venture capitalist Gordon Russell, former Mayor Marge Bruno, physicist Emery Rogers and philanthropists Fred and Marcia Rehmus.

Avenidas, a Palo-Alto based organization serving local seniors and their families, presents the annual awards to seniors who distinguish themselves through outstanding contributions to their communities.

There were 39 nominees for this year's awards, Kari Martell, Avenidas' director of marketing and communications, said.

The honorees "exemplify the successful traits of remaining active, involved and committed to the causes they care about, helping to make a difference in our community," Avenidas CEO Lisa Hendrickson said.

The award recipients were announced at a private reception Thursday at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto. A May 16 garden party will be open to the public and hosted by Avenidas, the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online.

The nominees were drawn from a broad spectrum of community service.

Wolf has participated in a wide variety of local and national service projects. She established a charitable foundation with her late husband, Hans, in 1966 and has contributed funding to Eastside College Prep School in East Palo Alto and other schools across the country.

Wolf also housed foreign graduate students and Gunn High School exchange students for more than 20 years and volunteers at her church.

A Palo Alto resident, she served on numerous boards, including Adolescent Counseling Services, and currently serves on the board of Abilities United (formerly C.A.R.).

Rogers had been working at HP for 12 years when, in 1979, he launched the company's charitable foundation at the request of its founders. Rogers has also served on the boards of the Children's Health Council, Stanford Convalescent Hospital and Castilleja School.

He received his bachelor's degree and doctorate in physics from Stanford University. He also worked at the U.S. Naval Research Lab, where he served on a research team dedicated to improving radio functionality during heavy storms.

He lives in Palo Alto with his wife, Nancy.

Bruno served two terms as mayor of Los Altos and two more as a member of the Los Altos City Council. Her additional government service includes chairing the boards of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Santa Clara County Paratransit committee.

She received her M.B.A. from San Jose State University in 1977 and founded the Adobe Financial Group in 1980.

Bruno lives in Los Altos with her husband, Mike.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Russell was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater in 2005. He is a member of Dartmouth's Native American Visiting Committee and President's Leadership Council and chaired the Dartmouth Medical School Board of Overseers.

Russell has held senior management positions in the biomedical and health care industries and was a general partner at Sequoia Capital, a venture-capital firm, for more than 20 years.

Russell has also contributed to local health care initiatives as a volunteer, serving as a trustee for the Palo Alto Medical Center and the Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto. The latter is a nonprofit health center that treats recent immigrants and the uninsured.

Russell lives in Portola Valley.

The Rehmuses have directed much of their service and philanthropy towards the growth of the arts at Stanford, where Fred received his M.B.A in 1961. The couple endowed a faculty position in Stanford's Humanities program and donated several works of art to the Gallery of Native American Art at the Cantor Arts Center.

Fred Rehmus also chaired the Cantor Center's membership board and is currently on the board of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Marcia Rehmus is a co-founder of Avenidas Village, a service providing transportation, health and legal advocacy and community activities for local seniors living at home.

She has also served on Avenidas' board and fund-raising committees and worked with various committees of Menlo-Atherton High School and the Menlo Park School District.

The Rehmuses recently moved to Palo Alto after living in Atherton for many years.

Tickets for the May 16 garden party can be purchased online at or by contacting Avenidas at 650-289-5445. Proceeds from the event help fund the programs offered at Avenidas.

Editorial Intern Martin Sanchez can be e-mailed at


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