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

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - July 30, 2010


Gretchen Bynum

Gretchen Luepke Bynum, 66, a former USGS Menlo Park employee, died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease July 3 in Fremont.

She was born in Tucson, Ariz.

She was a 1961 graduate of Catalina High School in Tucson. She then attended the University of Arizona, where she earned her bachelor's degree in 1965 and master's degree in 1967, both in geology. She then went on to a 32-year distinguished career as a geologist with the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park. During her career, she published numerous scientific papers, edited many books and attended numerous international geological conventions. After retiring in 1999, she continued with the USGS as an emeritus working on various projects.

In 1982, she met the love of her life Robert F. Bynum, a Silicon Valley engineer. They were married October 2, 1999, in Tucson. They always participated in each other's activities and traveled together.

She played the flute in her high school marching band and the University of Arizona marching band. Over the past 20 years she continued her flute playing with the Woodside Village Band and The Duckweed Band. She was also a mineral collector who exhibited at the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, where she won numerous awards. She loved the outdoors and supported many environmental organizations.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 37051 Cabrillo Terrace, Fremont.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The University of Arizona, Department of Geosciences.

Florence Minard

Florence Anna Paulsen Minard, 103, a longtime resident of Palo Alto, died July 5 in Menlo Park.

She was born in Palo Alto in 1907. After graduation from Palo Alto High School she attended Stanford University, where she met her husband, Claude Minard, a law student. They married in 1927 and moved to Fresno where he worked as an assistant district attorney. They lived briefly in Sacramento when he was elected to the State Assembly then returned to Palo Alto after he became Secretary of the State Bar Association.

In 1938 she advocated for the welfare of children and joined the Palo Alto Auxiliary to the Stanford Convalescent home (the forerunner of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital) at Stanford. She worked as a volunteer server at the auxiliary's restaurant at Allied Arts in Menlo Park and at rummaged sales for decades. She remained a member for the rest of her life. She later led a Girl Scout troop and tutored in Palo Alto and Ravenswood schools. She volunteered at the Red Cross, planted a large victory garden and raised chicken in her backyard during World War II while her husband served as a military governor in North Africa and Europe. She transported teenagers to farms in Santa Clara Valley to harvest apricots and green beans and rolled up her sleeves to help alleviate the wartime labor shortage.

She enjoyed and traveling and exploring American and European cities. Reading was a life-long passion. She also loved going to the opera, playing bridge and was a creative seamstress and. After she became a window, she shared her home with Stanford students from the U.S. and Africa.

Late in life, she became interested in peace and social-justice issues and had never missed voting in any election until she was 101.

She is survived by her daughters, Paula Berka of Menlo Park and Sally Brice of Half Moon Bay; and 14 grandchildren. A private service will be held in August. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.

John Nasr

John C. Nasr, 85, a ongtime Palo Alto resident, died at his

home July 16.

He (also known as "George" by his friends and family) was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He was educated at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and later at the Indiana Institute of Technology. He worked for many years as a civil engineer at the Fluor Corporation. His family will remember him for his scientific mind, his gentle wit and his thoughtful wisdom. He is survived by his sister, Rose Nasr and his brother Joseph Nasr, both of Palo Alto.

A memorial service was held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Palo Alto.

Hugh O'Donnell

Hugh O'Donnell, 90, a resident of Menlo Park, died July 24.

He was born in San Francisco. He attended grammar school at Notre Dame des Victoires, high school at St. Ignatius, and graduated from Stanford in 1941.

He was part of two Japanese-American student conferences held in both countries before World War II. He studied at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago before returning to the U.S. to enlist in the Navy. He received an officer's commission and served in combat in the Pacific. He returned briefly to the U.S. after the end of the War, then moved to Paris to attend the Sorbonne on the G.I. Bill.

He spent the next five years traveling around the world. Upon returning the U.S. he trained as a foreign-exchange trader in New York City. Back in San Francisco he took a job with Aramco, then the Bank of California, and Crocker Bank, where he spent the majority of his career in international banking.

He met and married Anne Margaret Brown in 1955 in Los Angeles.

After retiring from the banking business, he went to work as Director of Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula for a number of years.

Hugh had a long history of hands-on volunteerism. He gave his time to the Knights of Malta, the San Carlos Adult Day Care Center, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, the Marianist Center in Cupertino, the Serra Club of Palo Alto-Menlo Park, St.

Patrick's Seminary, and several other organizations. He and Anne attended a number of Lourdes pilgrimages with the sick and dying.

He was a gifted natural athlete, spoke Spanish and French and could get by in Italian and Portuguese, read constantly, had a strong appreciation for music, and had a happy, optimistic nature, loved ones recall.

He is survived by his wife Anne of Menlo Park; his son Michael and daughter-in-law Cecilia of Menlo Park; son Peter of Palo Alto; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Friday, Aug. 6, at St. Raymond Catholic Church at 1100 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula.


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