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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Deaths Deaths (March 05, 2003)

May G. Bellamy Jennie Christine Sonnichsen Byrd

Jennie Christine Sonnichsen Byrd, 92, a native of Palo Alto, died Feb. 15 after a brief illness.

Born to Danish parents on March 18, 1910, her father was a butcher who ran the old Palo Alto market at 315 University Avenue until 1946.

After graduation from Palo Alto High School, she attended Munson's Business College in San Francisco and then went to work in the ticket office at the Stanford University Board of Athletic Control. She hoped to save money to attend Stanford herself, but her plans changed when she met her future husband, Oliver Erasmus Byrd, a Stanford student. They moved to the Southgate neighborhood in 1938 and lived there the rest of their lives. She worked many years assisting her husband in his business, Medical Readings, Incorporated. They turned articles from medical journals into lay language and provided a subscription service to schools across the country.

She was a treasure trove of information about old Palo Alto families and homes. She will be remembered with deep fondness by her family as a kind, thoughtful, loving person with a great sense of humor.

She is survived by her daughter, Beverly Joan Byrd Loomis of Concord; her son, Thomas Russell of Palo Alto; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Private services have been held. Donations may be made to Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, 488 W. Charleston Rd., Palo Alto, 94306 or to a charity of your choice.
Alvin Wesley Dutton

Alvin Wesley "Al" Dutton, 85, a longtime resident of Los Altos, died Feb. 10.

A native of Nebraska, he was served in the United States Army and was a retired carpenter.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Loretta; son, Larry and his wife, Molly; son, Time; and granddaughters, Dana and Katie.

Services have been held. Contributions may be made in his memory to El Camino Hospital Foundation, 2500 Grant Rd., Mountain View, 94040.
Rev. Robert J. Giguere

Rev. Robert J. Giguere, 85, a longtime resident of Mountain View, died Feb. 10 of cancer.

The Roman Catholic priest and 58-year member of the Society of St. Sulpice, was born in Chicopee, Mass.

He later graduated in 1939 from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass.

He also earned a master's degree in literature from Boston University in 1941 and was ordained on Aug. 6, 1945, at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.

After being ordained, he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Sulpician Seminary in 1950.

From 1945-1946 he taught at St. Charles College in Catonsville, Md., and after his year of solitude, was assigned to California.

He spent the next 55 years of priesthood as a teacher/professor at St. Joseph's and St. Patrick's colleges. He also taught at St. Patrick's Seminary (1954-1967), Santa Clara University (1967-1969), and College of Notre Dame in Belmont (1969-1971).

He was the associate Catholic chaplain at St. Ann's Newman Center in Palo Alto and at Stanford University Memorial Church until 1981.

He is survived by the many people whose lives he touched. Services have been held.
C. Milton Jones

C. Milton Jones, 75, died unexpectedly on Feb. 6 of a ruptured aneurysm.

Born July 21, 1927 in Yakima, Wash., he was a graduate of Yakima High School and a navy veteran of World War II. In 1949, he graduated from Washington State University where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and he met his future wife.

He went to work in sales and marketing with Procter and Gamble, the beginning of a 36-year career of great satisfaction and accomplishment. In 1955, he became the San Francisco district manager of the newly created Food Division, a role he held until his retirement in 1985.

He was deeply committed to volunteering, including serving as president of the Sales Managers Club of San Francisco, church moderator and lay leader for First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, president of the American Baptist Churches of the West, trustee and recruitment coordinator for the American Baptist Seminary of the West, and a member of the Board of Managers and the Foundation Board for the American Baptist Homes of the West. He contributed to numerous other church and community social programs.

Milt will be missed by his family and legions of friends. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joanne; daughters, Janice, Nancy, Kathy, Kimberly, and Ann; grandchildren, Melanie, Bradley, Breanna, Lauren, Ali, Tyler, Erin, Haley, Connor; and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Doug, and grandchildren, Katrina and Jake.

Services have been held. Remembrances in his name may be sent to: ABSW Scholarship Fund, 2606 Dwight Way, Berkeley, 94704; Today's Youth Matter, 461 Valley Way, Milpitas, 95035; or Parkinson's Institute, 1170 Morse Ave., Sunnyvale, 94089.
Nell Lyons

Nell Lyons, 93, a longtime resident of Palo Alto, died Feb. 1. She moved with her family to Palo Alto in 1950 from San Francisco. She worked for many years at the California Avenue Pharmacy in south Palo Alto.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Lyons. She is survived by her son, Charles and his wife; and one granddaughter. No formal services were scheduled.
Michael McCrea

Michael McCrea, 52, a longtime resident of San Jose, died Feb. 7.

Born in Wausau, Wis., he was a realtor with Alain Pinel in Saratoga and appreciated by clients and colleagues because of his ethical and straightforward way of business. He was also associated with Coldwell Banker, Cornish & Carey, Seville Properties and Realty World, where he enjoyed years of success.

He was always there to help friends and family, and the depth of his kindness and generosity will be truly missed. He was passionate about life and showed his wonderful sense of humor when discussing religion, politics, business and other topics. An avid music aficionado with a keen ear for quality music of all types, he especially enjoyed jazz and Middle Eastern music. He had an abiding faith in God's love and mercy.

He is survived by his father, Lawrence McCrea of Cupertino; brother, James of Redwood City; brother, John and sister-in-law, Paula of Santa Cruz; sister, Maria Segal and brother-in-law, Mitch Segal of Cupertino; nephews, Christopher, Philip, Andrew and Matthew; his companion of seven years, Mann Eljurf of San Jose; and many relatives, friends and associates.

Services have been held. Donations may be made in his memory to Holy Cross Monastery, 34580 Palomares Rd., Castro Valley 94546.
Lawrence R. McDonnell

Lawrence R. McDonnell, 87, a 35-year resident of Palo Alto, died Feb. 14.

Born in Dunmore, Pa., he earned a degree in social science from Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md. In 1942, he entered the Navy and saw wartime sea duty as a gunnery officer aboard tankers in the Pacific, including Okinawa and the Philippines.

After the war, he remained active in the Naval Reserve, commanding the 12th Naval District Intelligence Division and retiring as a captain.

He was a former Pacific Gas and Electric Company news director, public information department manager and vice president of public relations. He retired in 1980.

He was active in a wide range of national and Bay Area organizations, including the Corporate Board of Saint Mary's Hospital and Medical Center in San Francisco and the Board of Regents of St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park.

He also served on the board of trustees of Packard Children's Hospital and on the boards of the National Council of Christians and Jews, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Men, the Hanna Boys Center, and Mount Saint Joseph's Home for Girls.

He also belonged to the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. The Superior General of the Maryknoll Order of Priests and the president of Mount St. Mary's College recently presented him with the Bishop James Walsh Award for outstanding service to his church and college.

He is survived by his wife, Ellen; two daughters, Dr. Lorraine McDonnell and Eileen Lewis; two son-in-laws, Dr. Stephen Weatherford and Jeffrey Lewis; grandsons, Jason Lewis and Brendan Lewis; two sisters, Margaret Mary Herbster and Shirley Frances McDonnell of Dunmore, Pa.; , Adrian McDonnell and his wife, Catherine, of Atherton; nine nieces and nephews; and 13 grand nieces and grand nephews.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Lorraine Selleck; and by two children from his current marriage, Clare McDonnell Gilmore and young son Richard McDonnell.

Services have been held. Contributions may be made to: Mount St. Mary's College, Office Development, Emmitsburg, Md., 21727, The Sisters of Mercy Marian Care Center, 2300 Adeline Dr., Burlingame, 94010, or The Deaf Student Fund, St. Patrick's Seminary, 320 Middlefield Rd., Menlo Park, 94025.
Charles Gregory Padgett

Charles Gregory "Greg" Padgett, 53, a native of Palo Alto, died Feb. 15.

A graduate of Cubberly High School, he went on to work as a general contractor and a handyman. For several years in the late 1980s, he was a co-owner of the Stanford Pub in downtown Palo Alto.

He enjoyed gardening, golfing, fishing, cooking, and helping people with home improvement projects. He had many friends and will be missed by all of them.

He is survived by his beloved partner of many years, Karin Mahr; his sister, Linda Padgett of Santa Barbara; his brother, Jeffery Padgett of Palo Alto; and two nieces.

Services will be held for friends and family in early March.
Shan Parker

Shan Parker, 74, a longtime resident of Palo Alto, died Feb. 16 after a long, hard struggle with lung disease.

An employee of Trimble Navigation in Sunnyvale, she was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and studied music and the arts at the Toronto Conservatory of Music.

She worked for several newspapers in Canada before immigrating to California in 1957. She is survived by two daughters; a son; and two granddaughters, who would like to give special thanks to the staff and volunteers at the Palo Alto Veteran's Hospital Hospice ward and to the Pathways Hospice of Mountain View. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Pathways Hospice, the SPCA, or the Humane Society.

As she wished, no services will be held.
Catherine M. Potter

Catherine M. Potter, 52, a resident of Los Altos, died Feb. 14.

The valedictorian of her high school in San Mateo, she attended Stanford University and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering.

She worked for Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto for 30 years. There she received commendations and awards, including her most prized one for getting a U.S. patent.

She was very proud of her father, David M. Potter, who was the co-professor of American History at Stanford. He wrote the 1977 Pulitzer Prize winning book "The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861" and has a Stanford dorm named in his honor.

She dedicated her life to her friends, family, church, and community. She gave herself fully in her personal and professional life and was a gracious and loving person to everyone who crossed her path.

Services have been held.
Edward R. Ronan

Edward R. Ronan, 90, a resident of Mountain View and Palo Alto, died Feb. 23.

A devout Catholic, he was active in church throughout his life, beginning as an altar boy at St. Mary's Church in Nutley, N.J. He served in the Holy Name Society at Sacred Heart Church in Haworth, N.J., including a term as its president and was also active at St. Michael's Church in Bayonet Point.

Recently, he attended Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Palo Alto. He passed away quietly while listening to a noon mass at home.

Born in Brooklyn, he graduated from Nutley High School and was passionate about education. By June, all nine grandchildren will be college graduates and five will have master's degrees.

He worked more than 40 years for Texaco, from secretarial to administrative work. His nickname "Buckets" reflected his long service as Texaco's packaging expert.

He was a sports fan and helped to establish the Haworth Little League and Haworth Swim Club. He served as an officer in the Kiwanis and Texaco Retirees clubs in Florida.

He will be remembered as a talented reader and storyteller, for there always seemed to be a small child begging him to sing "Asleep in the Deep" one more time, as Ed could go way down at the end.

In recent years he acquired eight great-grandchildren, all instinctively attracted to his Irish humor.

He is survived by sister Regina Wallace of Nutley, N.J.; brother Paul Ronan of Bayonet Point, Fla.; daughters, Kathryn Follett of Mastic Beach, N.Y. and Diane Reklis of Palo Alto; son, Edward R. (Bob) Ronan, Jr. of Kansas City, Mo.; and grandchildren, Andrew Garnar-Wortzel of Brooklyn, N.Y., Stella Wortzel Kristensen of Bronxville, N.Y., David Follett of Mastic Beach, N.Y., Alicia Stanley of Chicago, Ill., Matthew Ronan and Karen Campbell of Kansas City, Mo., Rebecca Tearman of Danville, Ind., Susan Kolozsvari of Fremont, and Barbara Reklis of Palo Alto.

Services have been held. Contributions may be made to your local Little League or to Avenidas Senior Day Care Center, 701 E. Meadow Dr., Palo Alto, 94303.
Phyllis Schlomovitz-Sorenson

Phyllis Schlomovitz-Sorenson, a longtime resident of Palo Alto, died Feb. 7.

Born on Jan. 9, 1917 in Rockford, Ill. to actors Kate Holland and Goldwin Patton, she was the principal harpist with the Milwaukee Symphony for 15 years. In May 1952, she wed Dr. Benjamin Schlomovitz. Widowed in 1969, she moved to Palo Alto where she pursued a solo concert career and branched into the entertainment style of harp, playing at restaurateur John Rickey's famous Dinah's Shack for 20 years.

She appeared in New York's Carnegie Recital Hall and at Lincoln Center. During one of her many concert tours of Europe, she was described by an Austrian critic as "the sovereign interpreter of the harp."

As a soloist, she played with the Chamber Orchestras of San Francisco and Chicago and performed recitals with the Concertgebouw, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the American Harp Society's National Conference in New York, the World Harp Congress in Vienna and Copenhagen, and the Japan International Harp Festival at Soka Shi, among others.

There were also tours of the Far East, Australia and Israel. She made seven harp recordings of both classical and popular harp literature. Her harp method, in two volumes, is published by Lyon-Healy Harps. Her compositions and arrangements are available world-wide through her publishing company, Harpress of California.

She ran the largest private harp studio in Northern California and was on the faculties of the Wisconsin College of Music and the Music and Arts Institute of San Francisco, and was adjunct professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz and San Jose.

Her family will always remember her talent, indomitable spirit and the love and inspiration she brought to all who knew her. She is survived by her second husband, Kenneth G. Sorenson; daughter Renee Schlomovitz Quinn; and grandchildren Athena Marie Rink of Denver, Colo. And Benjamin Michael Quinn of Palo Alto.

Services have been held. The Phyllis Schlomovitz Harp Foundation will be established in her honor.
Sence Bendel Schob

Sence Bendel Schob, 100, a longtime resident of Los Altos, died Feb. 11.

Born in Urbach, Germany, she immigrated to California in 1928 to marry her future husband, Fidel Schob. They met in his homeland, Switzerland, where she was a waitress.

They married in Redwood City and were together 53 years before his death in 1981. They owned La Encina Dairy in Barron Park and Palo Alto Motor Court. They retired in Los Altos in 1956.

She was a member of the Swiss Aepler Gruppe of Newark and St. Simon's Catholic Church. She was a dedicated and loving homemaker and business partner with her husband.

She liked gardening and taking long walks. Her strength and abilities were amazing up to her last day. Her kindness and sense of humor were endearing.

She is survived by her children, Herman Schob of Palm Springs, Charles Schob of Mountain View, and Jeannette Langsaff of Hollister; eight grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; two nieces; and her sister-in-law, Theresia Bendel.

Services have been held. Donations may be made in her honor to the Heartland Hospice, 2005 De La Cruz Blvd., Suite 281, Santa Clara 95050; or to St. Simon's Catholic Church, 1860 Grant Road, Los Altos 94040.
Julius E. Shuchat

Julius E. Shuchat, 88, a lifelong resident of Palo Alto, died Feb. 21.

Born in Dubuque, Iowa on March 19, 1914, he moved to San Francisco and graduated from the University of California in 1934 with a teaching credential.

He taught music to thousands of children in the Palo Alto School District for 45 years, including Jordan Middle School and Palo Alto High School.

In 1946, he taught part-time at Stanford University with the marching band while continuing to teach music to high school students. He left Stanford in 1963 to concentrate on teaching at the high school level. He retired from teaching in 1979.

He worked in real estate for a short time, then traveled the world with his wife of 65 years, Alma, who died Jan. 21 of cancer. They spent many years traveling to the Orient, Europe, and Australia. They discovered the lure of the sea and took numerous cruises throughout the world. He was a longtime member of the Palo Alto Kiwanis Club and the Palo Alto Masonic Temple and an active volunteer for PGA and LPGA tournaments.

He is survived by his son, Terry; daughter-in-law, Marcia; son-in-law, Peter Cahn; four granddaughters; one grandson; and eight great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by daughter, Bobbie, five years ago.

Services have been held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Memorial Department, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn., 38105.
Laura Edna Ellis Stevens

Laura Edna Ellis Stevens, a longtime resident of Stanford, died Feb. 19 due to complications following a stroke.

Born Nov. 3, 1920, she was the youngest daughter of Edward and Laura Ellis. She loved nature and was avid in the preservation of wildlife. She enjoyed collecting frogs and loved Stanford sports, the Oakland As and the Raiders.

She is survived by three children: George Allan Rice III of Santa Clara, Scott Ellis Stevens of San Ramon, and Carol Lee Stevens of Stanford; sister Esther Ellis of Carmel; and three grandchildren.

Services have been held. Flowers can be sent to Alta Mesa Memorial Park.
Jan F. Triska

Jan F. Triska, J.U.D., J.S.D., Ph.D. and professor of Political Science and International Relations at Stanford University, 81, died Feb. 20.

Born Jan. 26, 1922 in Prague, he enjoyed athletics, distinguishing himself as a Sokol gymnast, a swimmer, canoeist, and tennis player. After graduating from gymnasium he began studies at the Charles University Law School.

When the Nazi occupation closed the universities, he was deported to a forced labor camp in Eisenach, Germany until liberation by Patton's Third Army in 1945.

Returning to Prague, he barely completed his J.U.D. before the communist coup d'etat in 1948. A student leader on the enemy's list, he was sentenced to hard labor while awaiting trial. He escaped to American-occupied Germany and was granted a Sterling Fellowship at Yale Law School as a displaced person. At Yale, he earned his LL.M. and J.S.D. He went on to earn his Ph.D. at Harvard University.

At the Hoover Institution at Stanford, he co-authored with Robert M. Slusser "The Theory, Law and Policy of Soviet Treaties," a definitive study of the Soviet Union as a treaty partner. Meanwhile, he taught at U.C. Berkeley and later at Cornell University before beginning his professorship at Stanford.

He authored more than 60 articles, 14 books and two monograph series. His last book, "The Great War's Forgotten Front," is based on his father's battlefield diary while a conscripted soldier in World War I. At the time of his death, he was writing memoirs.

A citizen of the world, he was devoted to T.G. Masaryk's ideals of freedom, justice, human rights and democracy. He witnessed many of the events that shaped Czechoslovakia through the century, including the Warsaw Pact invasion that ended the Prague Spring in 1968. He was proud to be twice president of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences and to assist in the restructuring of Czech legal institutions after the Velvet Revolution. Among his many lifetime awards, his latest honor came this past summer in Washington D.C. during the Masaryk Memorial Dedication, when Czech President Vaclav Havel awarded him the Medal of Merit, First Grade, for Meritorious Services to the Czech Republic. He was passionate about fly-fishing. Fly rod in hand wherever his extensive travels took him, he was a founding member of the Palo Alto Fly Fishers. He is survived by Carmel, his wife of 51 years; sister, Bozena Rehakova of the Czech Republic; sons, Mark and John; their spouses, Maria and Christine; and granddaughters, Audra, Chiara, Karis and Iris. Services have been held. Donations designated "In Memory of Professor Jan F. Triska" for a scholarship fund may be sent to Memorial Gifts, 326 Galvez St., Stanford, CA 94305.


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