Deaths | April 30, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - April 30, 2010


Ma Boukaka

Ma Boukaka, musician and former Stanford employee, 76, died March 21.

He was born and raised in The Republic of Congo. At a young age he left his village to work as a cook in Brazzaville. There he met his first wife Makelola Louise and together they had daughter, Regine. He then took a job as a pisteur (guide, hunter, and cook) for a French safari company operating in Northern Congo and Gabon. He met Alan Baer, a young American who offered to bring him the United States. He accepted and came to the Peninsula in 1959 to work as a housekeeper and cook for Baer's mother.

He joined a church in San Mateo and eventually ended up at Stanford Medical School in the department of psychiatry working with research animals. He remained at Stanford for 38 years until he retired in 1999.

Most important to him was his family, his culture and his music. When he came to the U.S., he brought his talent and music to people by playing drums in the park, leading drum circles and building Tanawa chairs. When Malonga Casquelourd came to East Palo Alto in 1976, he, Paul N'Goumba and Ma Boukaka together formed the dance troupe "Fua Dia Congo." When his daughter Regine came to the U.S. later that year, she became lead dancer and together they helped bring East Palo Alto to the forefront of African culture in the United States.

In 1982 he began teaching weekly drum classes at Peninsula School in Menlo Park. He also formed a Congolese rock band, Bole Bantu.

He joined the Congolese Dance and Drum Workshop as cook and drum teacher, where he met his second wife, Nancy Edelson, with whome he had two more daughters, Miayuku and Makela.

Loved ones recall him as upbeat, strong, forgiving, and loving.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Edelson Boukaka; daughters Regine Boukaka Ndounda, Miayuku Boukaka and Makela Boukaka; one grandchild; and many other relatives and friends.

Marthe-Hermance Cohen

Marthe-Hermance Cohen, 95, Palo Alto Weekly Board of Contributors columnist, died March 20.

She was born in Vernon, France. As a child she traveled with her parents in North Africa with the French cavalry, as chronicled in her 1988 book, "Mamie." This engendered a lifelong interest in travel.

With a masters' degree from the School of Journalism in Lille, she intended to pursue a writing career. In 1936, while attending the Sorbonne, in Paris, she met American Karl Paley Cohen. They married in 1938 and immediately sailed to New York to avoid the start of WWII. Their three daughters were born in Manhattan.

Marthe taught herself to cook in the French style, and became an accomplished cook and lifelong, gracious hostess of dinner parties and large gatherings for family and business acquaintances.

In 1956 the family moved from Bayside, New York, to Palo Alto, California, when Karl took a job with General Electric in San Jose.

When her children grew up she returned to writing full-time, and attended writers' workshops at Lake Tahoe, Asilomar, and other venues. She was chairperson and contributing member of the Writers Group of the Palo Alto branch of the American Association of University Women. She researched and wrote The Parks of Palo Alto for the Palo Alto Historical Association. As a member of the Board of Contributors of the Palo Alto Weekly, she wrote a monthly column for years.

She was the editor of The Tall Tree, the Palo Alto Historical Association's monthly bulletin; the RSVP newsletter, published by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program; the Unitarian Church newsletter, and the American Jewish Women's ORT newsletter.

She loved hiking in the Sierra Nevada. In the 1980s, the National Park Service revamped the Yosemite park plan and she became concerned that the park would be accessible only to the young. She campaigned in her newspaper column for access and facilities for seniors and persons of limited mobility. She also supported the Mono Lake Committee, and was a Guardian of the Lake.

Marthe is survived by her spouse of 71 years, Karl Paley Cohen of Palo Alto; daughters Beatrix Cashmore, Martine LeBouc and Elisabeth Brown; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Carlberg Jones

Carlberg Jones, 67, a former Palo Alto resident, died in Aguascalientes, Mexico, April 16, after a six-month battle with cancer.

He was born in New York City. The family moved to Palo Alto in the early 1950s. He attended Palo Alto schools, where his interest in music was kindled. He graduated from Cubberley High School and San Francisco State University. After playing in an orchestra in Chihuahua, Mexico, he served in the U.S. Army, playing in the 28th Army Band. He then graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with an master's degree in music.

He taught at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, then moved to Berkeley. He played horn in the SF Opera Orchestra in the 1970s, then opened New Pieces, a quilting and music store on Solano Ave. in Berkeley. He then accepted a position in a university-affiliated woodwind quintet in Colima, Mexico. In 2007 he began playing with the symphony orchestra in Aguascalientes.

He was widely respected not only for his excellence as a player and teacher, but also for his expertise in music theory and instrument repair, loved ones recall.

He is survived by his daughter, Lindsey Jones of Berkeley; son Ashley Jones of Oakland, brother William Jones of Hickory, N.C.; and one grandchild.

Friends held a memorial ceremony in Aguascalientes April 18.

Donald Quever

Donald Quever, 61, a longtime Palo Alto resident, died January 29.

He was born in Lakewood, Calif., and moved to Palo Alto at age 9. He attended St Aloysius Catholic School and graduated from Cubberley High School.

He enjoyed his job working for United Spirit Association, being directly involved with the San Francisco 49ers entertainment in the late 1980s and 1990s.

He was also very involved in helping people in the community with substance abuse problems — either working as a counselor, or directly with individuals.

Loved ones recall his honesty and peace, which he shared with the people around him, And although hearing impaired, he tried his best to not let that effect him day to day, loved ones said.

He will be greatly missed, especially by his surviving aunt, brother, sister-in-law, and friends.

He is survived by his brother Joseph Quever; sister-in-law Jeanene Scott; and aunt Emily Chesley.

A private memorial has been held. Any donations can be made to either a nonprofit substance abuse program or a hearing-impaired program of choice.

Howard R. Williams

Howard Williams, 94, a Stanford Law School professor and authority on oil and gas law, died April 14 at his home in Palo Alto.

He was one of the nation's leading experts on the law of oil, gas and other natural resource exploration, ownership, use, licensing, and regulation. A member of the Stanford faculty for more than 40 years, he was the first holder of both the Robert E. Paradise Professorship of Natural Resources Law and the Stella W. and Ira S. Lillick Professorship in Law.

He wrote more than 30 articles and nine books in the areas of gas and oil law, property, trusts, wills, and estates; and collaborated with the late Stanford Law professor Charles Meyers to produce a seminal textbook "Cases on Oil and Gas Law," an eight-volume treatise "Oil and Gas Law," and multiple editions of the "Manual of Oil and Gas Terms."

Born in Evansville, Ind., he graduated from Washington University, earning membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He studied law at Columbia University, where he was a member of the law review and a Kent Scholar.

He joined the Army in 1940 as a private and rose to the rank of major by the time he left the service six years later. He saw active duty in Europe during World War II, serving with the U.S. Army Field Artillery.

From 1946 to 1951, he taught at the University of Texas Law School, serving for a time as assistant dean and acting dean. He was named to the Columbia Law School faculty in 1951 and appointed to its Dwight Professorship in 1959. He moved west to join the Stanford Law School faculty in 1963, where he taught until his retirement in 1985.

In 1994, he and his colleague Meyers were among three professors who were the first recipients of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation's Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award. The award was in recognition of Cases on Oil and Gas Law and many other teaching and research contributions and accomplishments over the years.

He is survived by his son, Frederick Thompson Williams; one granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters.

A memorial service for will be held May 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, 625 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto.

Flowers may be sent to the Methodist Church for the service on May 22. Gifts may be donated to support a student scholarship at Stanford Law School in Williams' honor.


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