Deaths | June 18, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - June 18, 2010


Violet Alton

Violet Clara Alton, 97, a former Palo Alto resident, died May 24 after a short illness while under hospice care.

She was born on a homesteaded ranch near Wibaux, Mont., to Anson and Clara (Christianson) Cowee. In 1934 she married Robert B. Alton of Beach, N.D., in Miles City, Mont. They were married for 62 years before he died in 1996 in Palo Alto. They lived together in Montana, Washington and Palo Alto, and Violet lived in Santa Rosa, Calif., from 2001 to 2010. They were small-business owners in Missoula, Mont., (the service station under the Florence Hotel) and Yakima, Mont., (A&W Root Beer stands and other businesses). She was a member of the Terrace Heights Woman's Club and Garden Club in Yakima. She graduated from Normal School in Billings and taught rural school (grades 1-8) in Wibaux County for three years. Having been a teacher, she developed a fine handwriting skill that was admired by many.

Her interests included painting, art, gardening, cooking, reading, music, traveling and hosting many parties with family and friends. Her sense of humor was legendary and she was well known for her ability to tell a great joke from memory well into her 90s. Her dress was always stylish and her love of clothes and jewelry of all kinds led her to always look sharp, loved ones said. She was very proud of her Norwegian heritage. Religion was also important to her, including Bible reading and attending church.

She had many interesting trips with her husband to Mexico and Hawaii and they also toured the Panama Canal and South America on a cruise ship. She was traveling well in to her 80s inclduing with her sons to the Mediterranean and Asia, which she enjoyed immensely.

She is survived by two sons and their wives, Larry and Zong qi of Palo Alto and David and Janine of Penn Valley, Calif., and several nieces and nephews. She was also a devoted grandmother to her large family of ten grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren

A family gathering will be held to celebrate her life. Those friends who wish to remember her may contribute to a favorite charity or hospice.

Steven Duwe

Steven Duwe, 70, a resident of Portola Valley and Palo Alto, died of a brain tumor May 15.

Born in Phoenix, Ariz., he attended Palo Alto High School and then Stanford University. He graduated from UCSF medical school, completed his general surgical training at Stanford, and practiced at the Sunnyvale Medical Clinic/Camino Medical Group, El

Camino Hospital and Stanford Hospital.

An avid fly-fisherman his whole life, he spent each summer of his retirement roaming the West with his camper in search of good fishing. He was also an avid skier and cyclist as well as a passionate student of physics and mathematics. He was deeply devoted to his close-knit extended family.

He is survived by his son; Colin; daughter-in-law, Hilary; sister, Marilyn Cummings; brother, William Duwe, and his wife, Vicki; former wife Ann Duwe; one granddaughter; and several nephews and nieces.

The family would particularly like to thank his caregivers, Loselea Barragan, Lana Pohahau, and Otoota Pelikani, his dear friend Dr. Richard Slavin, and Howard and Robert Cummings for their loving assistance through his illness. Donations can be made to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation or the Henry's Fork Foundation.

Velma M. Erro

Velma M. Erro, 89, a longtime Palo Alto resident, died May 22. She is survived by her daughter Charlene of Colorado; son, John of Palo Alto; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Private interment was in Alta Mesa Memorial Park.

Stephen Karp

Stephen Karp, 70, a longtime resident of Palo Alto, died at home in Florida May 6.

He grew up in Chelsea, Mass., and graduated from Tufts University with honors. He completed a distinguished military career under Admiral Hyman G. Rickover and had many entertaining stories about the Admiral. While employed at Bell Laboratories, he earned his doctorate, in computer science, at Northwestern University. As a homeowner, he was a long-term resident of north Palo Alto, California, and a proud member of the Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band. He had a career at SRI.

He was well-known for his wit and humor, and will be missed, loved ones said.

He is survived by his sister Cheryl; brother Alan; several nieces and nephews; long-term friend Rita Sodos of Palo Alto; and former wife Peggy Karp of Portola Valley.

Peter Phillips

Peter Frank Christopher Phillips, 66, a resident of Palo Alto, died May 26.

He was born in Wales and attended St. Paul's School in London. He graduated from Balliol College at Oxford University with a degree in chemistry. After college he worked in Dublin, Ireland, in an executive training program for the Guinness Brewing Company for several years.

He came to the United States when he was accepted into the MBA program at Stanford University School of Business. Afterward he worked for Raychem, and later moved to Syntex Corporation for 13 years, where he eventually headed the compensation and benefits department. Later in his career he worked for Oracle, Cadence, and Saba. He was also a director of Caribbean Marine, Inc. for many years.

While in graduate school, he met his future wife, Meredith Bowen Pearson. They married in 1972, and remained in the Bay Area for 38 years, first in Menlo Park and then in Palo Alto.

He played rugby and cricket during his school years, as well as soccer (experience that came in handy as an AYSO referee). He skied the most difficult areas of the French Alps and the American Rockies and Cascades. Later he gravitated to endurance events like mountain biking and running. He entered races all over the United States, and eventually completed 18 marathons. He also loved Scuba diving, classical music, fine wine, and travel.

After he became an American citizen, he never lost his roots in England. He remained in touch with college friends throughout his adult life, traveling back to the UK at regular intervals to see them and his family. For many years he attended an annual winter reunion with a group of close friends at ski resorts in France, as well as summer reunions all over Europe.

He had a wry sense of humor, and get-togethers of extended family and friends were inevitably filled with jokes and laughter. He was a devoted father and husband, and his family formed the center of his life, loved ones recall.

He is survived in the Bay Area by his wife, Meredith; sons, Chris Pearson, Jeremy Pearson, and Evan Phillips; and two grandchildren. In England he has left behind his mother, Doris Phillips; two sisters, Sylvia Mitchell and Kate Rogers; and four nieces and nephews.

Plans for a memorial service are not yet final, but friends may make a contribution in his name to the Alzheimer's Association.

Milton Van Dyke

Milton Van Dyke, 87, a former Stanford professor, died May 10.

He was born in Chicago, Ill. He studied engineering at Harvard University and worked for the newly created NACA Ames Laboratory in Mountain View during World War II. He received his master's and doctorate in the aeronautics department of Caltech and then continued his work with NACA for some years. He taught at the University of Paris in France and accepted a professor position at Stanford in 1959.

He met his future wife, Sylvia in 1961 and married her in 1962 at the Stanford Memorial Church. His landmark textbook "Perturbation Methods in Fluid Mechanics" was published in 1964. In 1982 he published "An Album of Fluid Motion."

Colleagues and loved ones recall not only his intellectual achievements but also his kindness, modesty and wit.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Syliva; his sons Russell (wife Nadiene)of New Orleans, La., Eric (wife Martha) of Portland, Ore., Brooke (wife Amber) of Minneapolis, Minn., Byron (wife Lily) of Redding, Ca., and Christopher of Denver, Colo.; daughter Nina (husband Dean) of Melbourne, Australia; and nine grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for September at the Stanford Faculty Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Milton's name be made to Open Space or a favorite environmental organization.


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