Deaths | August 13, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - August 13, 2010


Ara Vahan Dumanian

Ara Vahan Dumanian, 81, a resident of Palo Alto, died Aug. 5.

The son of Armenian Genocide survivors, he was born in 1929 in Alexandretta (Iskanderoun), Syria. He lived there until age 9, when his family moved to Aleppo, Syria. In 1949 he entered the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Graduating in 1953 with his medical degree, he emigrated to the U.S. and began his internship and residency as a surgeon in Chicago.

From 1956 through 1962 he trained as a general surgeon and then as a heart surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He simultaneously obtained his master's (1960) and doctorate (1961) in surgery from the University of Minnesota.

He entered private practice in 1962 in northwest Indiana, where he was the first heart surgeon in the area. In the next 26 years he performed more than 17,000 surgeries, of which 3,500 were open-heart surgeries.

He established the Ara and Edma Dumanian Foundation in 1987 and contributed to causes ranging from the Lyric Opera of Chicago to battered women's shelters. He was honored as a Prince of Cilicia by the Armenian Apostolic Church for his efforts on the church's behalf both in the U.S. and in Lebanon. He and his wife teamed with the United Armenian Cultural Association in 1977 to provide the initial seed money for the Armenian Studies program at the University of Chicago. Over the next three decades they continued to fund the program, now known as the Dumanian Armenian Studies Endowment, ensuring for the future that Armenian history and language courses would be offered at the University of Chicago.

He is survived by Edma Dumanian, his wife of 52 years; children Tania Tour-Sarkissian of San Francisco, Gregory Dumanian of Chicago, and Peter Dumanian of Los Altos; seven grandchildren; brother Krikor Doumanian of Los Angeles; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dumanian Armenian Studies Endowment at the University of Chicago, c/o Associate Dean Katie Malmquist, University of Chicago, Walker Museum 213, 1115 East 58th St., Chicago, IL 60637.

Jane Goraj

Jane Taylor Goraj, 94, a resident of Palo Alto, died Aug. 7.

She was born Jane Louise Taylor in Buffalo, N.Y., to Etha and Ralph Taylor.

She was intellectually gifted, always eager to learn new things, especially techniques for healing. She graduated from Wellesley College with 1935 and received her master's degree in speech pathology from San Jose State College in 1960, a California State teaching credential in 1964, and a master's in social welfare at U.C. Berkeley in 1966. In addition, she continued to attend classes and seminars on counseling, speech pathology and many other subjects throughout her life, often sharing what she had learned in formal sessions with colleagues.

She was a talented actress, appearing in many well-reviewed off-Broadway productions in New York City from 1935 to 1942.

She married the actor Howard Da Silva in 194l and they had one son, Peter Da Silva.

She taught in New York's Downtown Community School from 1945-1948.

Moving to San Francisco in 1949, she hosted a popular live radio news and talk show on station KCBS from 1949 to 1955. She interviewed Edward R. Murrow, Lucy and Desi Arnaz and many other people of national and regional importance.

In 1949, she married Al Hawke and helped to raise his daughter Florita Brill, who became her lifelong friend.

She became a speech and hearing therapist for the Los Altos school district from 1959 to 1964, also teaching a course in speech pathology at San Jose State, in 1969 and 1973.

Always progressive politically and socially, she volunteered as a community organizer in Appalachia, in West Virginia, in 1966. She spoke out against McCarthyism, for Civil Rights, and against both the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

She became a psychiatric social worker in the Santa Clara Community Mental Health clinics in San Jose and Sunnyvale from 1966 to 1973, where she helped to pioneer many treatment methods, including crisis-group therapy. She published a paper on "Stuttering Therapy as Crisis Intervention" in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders in 1974.

Her marriage to Frank Goraj in 1955 was a long and happy one, lasting until his death in 2006 They lived and worked in New Zealand, she as a psychiatric social worker in Sunnyside Hospital, Christchurch, in 1974-75. They moved to Australia, where she became student supervisor at Gairdner Hospital, in Perth, from 1975-1978.

Returning to Palo Alto, Jane and Frank enjoyed many years of active retirement, much of it devoted to preserving the natural environment.

Her son, Peter De Silva, and caretaker, Kalo Sharkey, were with her when she died. A memorial gathering for friends and family will be held on August 21, at her home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Durant Society, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.

Carolyn Rutherford

Carolyn L. Rutherford, 80, a resident of Portola Valley, died July 24.

She was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., and graduated from Florida State University. She married Robert Rutherford in 1951 in St. Petersburg, Fla, and lived in Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Egypt, and England as well as Maryland, New York and then California for the past 49 years, including 40 in Palo Alto.

She was a bilingual secretary for many years before she joined her husband in founding the Marine Science Institute in Redwood City 40 years ago. Later she worked for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos for 15 years.

She loved singing and, in addition to her church choirs, she sang with the Peninsula Women's Chorus for 30 years. She and her husband traveled with the chorus to England and Wales, Europe and Hawaii.

An important part of her ethic was to give back to the community. Throughout her life volunteered for and gave generously to causes for the poor and human rights, particularly women and children. She was interested in reading, particularly adult illiteracy, and worked with the Redwood City Library in its Project Read. For many years she volunteered for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexia accumulating over 10,000 hours of recorded reading.

Loved ones recall her has a wonderful mother who, no matter what job she had, was always home by the time the children returned from school.

She is survived by her husband, Bob Rutherford, of Portola Valley; sons Tom Rutherford of Michigan and Jeff Rutherford of Santa; daughters Janet Rutherford of Portola Valley and Amy Rutherford of Mountain View; and two grandchildren.


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