Deaths | December 21, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - December 21, 2012


George Martin

George Martin died Dec. 15. He was 80 years old.

He had been a resident of Mountain View for more than 35 years. He completed his education at UC Berkeley and at Stanford University. Among the places he worked were Stanford's Center for Materials Research, Lockheed Research in Palo Alto and Read-Rite Corporation in Milpitas. In the early 1980s, he founded Vitamin Research Products in Mountain View, which he later sold. He enjoyed his memberships in the local Humanist Community, the Peninsula Gem and Mineral Society, the Ethical Society and the Unitarian Universal Church in Palo Alto.

He is survived by his wife; brother; four children and their spouses; and two grandsons.

Eleanor van Campen

Eleanor van Campen (Elle) died at Stanford Hospital Dec. 13 at the age of 81.

She was born and raised in Massachusetts, and earned a bachelor's degree from Boston University and an MAT from Brown University. In Massachusetts, she worked as an elementary school teacher and also as a secretary at the MIT Department of Architecture.

In 1966 she moved to Stanford with her husband and two children. In the 1970s her husband encouraged her to learn computer programming, and she worked as a programmer for NASA Ames Research Center and the Envirotech Corporation (a long forgotten Fortune 500 company). At the latter, she transitioned into a paralegal, where she assisted the general counsel. She earned her MBA at the age of 50 and worked for a number of Silicon Valley startups during the 1980s and early 1990s, generally as the first employee, including Intelligenetics (later renamed Intellicorp) and Centric Engineering. She was invited to begin as an early employee of Mosaic (later to become Netscape), but she chose to retire instead.

She was very active in retirement, teaching computer classes at the Palo Alto Senior Center (Avenidas) and Volunteering at the American Cancer Society Thrift (Discover) Shop in Los Altos.

In 2007 she and her husband of 24 years, Colin Hacking, moved from Los Altos to the Channing House retirement community. She is survived by her husband, Colin; children, James van Campen and Elise McCandless; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. at Channing House on the 11th floor. Further information can be obtained by calling 650-324-7577.

Walter Niemasik Jr.

Walter Niemasik, Jr. ("Wally"), of Atherton died from pancreatic cancer Dec. 7 at the age of 64. He was surrounded by his family at the time of his death.

He was born in New York and was raised in Storrs, Conn. He met his wife of 37 years, Julie Ann Kaufman, while teaching water-skiing at a girls' summer camp in Maine.

After graduating from Wesleyan University and Georgetown University Law Center, he practiced antitrust law. But finding his clients' businesses more interesting than their legal problems, he decided to retrain. In 1980, he and Julie moved to California and together attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business as the "class couple." He pursued a career in investment management, founding a small firm at exactly the wrong time for his investment strategy. In 1986, he joined Concord Capital, and in 1989 joined Snyder Capital Management, where he rose to the position of chairman/CEO.

He was also a dedicated volunteer. He served the Stanford GSB as class agent, mentor to students, and admissions interviewer, and he and Julie received the Governors' Award from Stanford Associates in 2012 in recognition of their long-time volunteering. In October 2012, TheatreWorks honored him and Julie for their many years of volunteer efforts. He was also active at St. Raymond's Church in Menlo Park, where he served on the Parish Council from 2001 to 2007.

After his cancer diagnosis in February 2011, he was asked to join the Patient Advisory Council at Stanford Medical Center. In addition, he derived great satisfaction from advising pancreatic cancer patients, locally and around the country.

He was especially loved for his humility, his self-deprecating humor, his fondness for playing tennis and shopping at Costco, and his unusually strong attachment to the '88 Camry he drove for more than 20 years. He surprised himself by his love of travel to all parts of the world, after having spent his entire childhood within 30 miles of home.

He is survived by his wife, Julie; sons, Jamie (Erin Ebbel Niemasik) and Thomas; and brothers, William and Joseph.