Deaths | November 2, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - November 2, 2012


Ellen "Sally" Probst

Ellen "Sally" Probst, 93, died Oct. 11 in her Palo Alto home from cancer.

She was born Feb. 12, 1919, in Bessemer, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, to Arthur Redner and Belle (Olson) Redner. She was a lifelong community activist and was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1940, with Phi Beta Kappa honors. There she met Charles "Chuck" Probst; they were married in 1943. They settled first in Dayton, Ohio, then in Northbrook, Ill., and finally in Palo Alto, Calif.

She was president of the League of Women Voters in Palo Alto, president of the League in Northbrook, Ill., and served on League of Women Voter boards at both state and county levels in Illinois. She was the first woman elected as Village Trustee (City Council member) in Northbrook.

In Illinois, and before that in Ohio, her community activism focused on public education and the juvenile justice system. She served on the Illinois Commission on Children (chairing the probation committee) and the Cook County Commission on Family Court. Legislation rewriting Illinois' Family Court act was introduced in 1964, but blocked due to opposition by state legislators from Chicago. She met privately with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley to explain the bill; soon, all opposition evaporated, the legislation passed and the Family Court was reformed.

After she and her husband moved to California in 1988, she focused on issues of affordable housing and regional transportation. She served on committees overseeing the Housing Element of Palo Alto's Comprehensive Plan, the County/Stanford General Use Permit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Citizens Advisory Committee, and Measure A Citizens Watchdog Committee. She chaired the Santa Clara County Housing Action Coalition and was an active supporter of affordable housing, including 800 High St., Alma Place, Stanford West and other developments in and near Palo Alto. She was a strong advocate for Measure O, allowing Sand Hill Road to be extended, which has enabled the renovation of Stanford Hospital.

In 2004 she was a founding member of PAGE (Palo Altans for Governmental Effectiveness), an organization seeking to improve the tenor of civil discourse in Palo Alto and answer the question: "How can we make a good community better?" She was a frequent speaker at meetings of the Palo Alto City Council and treasured her friendships with local and state politicians.

She served as director of religious education for the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Ill., and was an active and engaged member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto.

She is survived by her son, David Probst of Montreal, Canada; son, Richard Probst, and daughter-in-law, Deborah Probst, of Palo Alto; grandsons, Stephan Probst of Montreal, Canada, Marc Probst of Los Angeles, Calif., and Reese Probst of Palo Alto; and by her brother, R. David Redner of Philadelphia, Penn. Her husband Charles died in 2000.

Richard F. Chapman

Dr. Richard F. Chapman 79, died Oct. 12 in Menlo Park after decades adjusting to life with multiple sclerosis.

He was the son of a pediatrician whose father was a Congregational Church minister with deep roots in Old Saybrook, Conn. His mother graduated from Vassar and taught mathematics.

He graduated from Yale University, like his two brothers, Rob and Ned, and received his master's degree from Northwestern University in 1959.

Following his internship at Highland Hospital in Alameda County, Calif., he took his residency training in psychiatry at the Menninger School of Psychiatry. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army at Fort Sill where he developed a program of group mental health consultation that was used as a model for the delivery of mental health services to U.S. forces in Vietnam.

He moved to the Bay Area in 1966 with his young family, established a private practice and helped to found one of the first approved psychiatry training programs within a community mental health center. The center was an early model for the national community mental health center movement. He later became a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.

He served as president of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute and later as dean of faculty of the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, now known as Palo Alto University.

He is survived by his children, Karen and Eric (Sarah) Chapman; grandchildren, Ryan, Katie and Jack; brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Virginia; nieces, Lucia and Sarah (Barry); nephew, Robert (Laurie); as well as his devoted caregivers, Mercedes, Mildred, Marcia and Ricky.

Family services are private and those wishing to honor him are asked to donate to Palo Alto University (, an institution he was truly honored to be associated with for so many years.

Terrance John McGovern

Terrence John McGovern Sr., 87, a 50-year resident of Palo Alto, died Oct. 13.

He was born Nov. 28, 1924, and died in Lincoln, Calif.

He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Carol; his children, Terry Jr., Colleen, Michael, Kathleen, Sheila and Dennis; his siblings, Mary Louise Wiedel and Katherine Diaz; grandchildren, Courtney, Danielle, Shannon, Kasey, Ross, Nicholas and Kyle; and great-grandchildren, Jayden and Isla.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Rosary, 3233 Cowper St., Palo Alto. Burial will be Thursday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m. at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln St., Santa Clara.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Sutter VNA & Hospice, 1836 Sierra Gardens Drive, Roseville, CA 95661.


There are no comments yet for this post