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July 21, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Deaths Deaths (July 21, 2004)

Robert Buss

Robert Buss, 91, a longtime resident of Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills, died July 5 at home in Los Altos Hills.

Born in Provo, Utah, in 1913, he moved with his family to Palo Alto at age 10 and graduated from Palo Alto High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from San Jose State College with honors, then his Ph. D. from Stanford in Electrical Engineering. While at Stanford he met his future wife, Eugenia. On Aug. 12, 2004, they would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

During World War II he worked for the armed services at Harvard University in top-secret counter-radar, then spent nine months in Italy as a civilian technical observer.

After the war, he and Eugenia moved their growing family to Evanston, Ill., where he taught at Northwestern University. In 1951 they returned to the Bay Area, building their home on a hilltop in Los Altos Hills.

He was Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford, teaching and doing research until 1967. He then worked for several electronics companies until his retirement at age 75. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Purissima Hills Water District, serving for 45 years until age 87.

In his 40s he fulfilled a lifelong dream, earning his pilot's license. He made several transcontinental business trips in single-engine planes, accompanied by Eugenia, visiting friends and relatives on the way, as well as many shorter jaunts.

Music was a very important part of his life. Gifted with a beautiful bass-baritone voice, he sang in the choir at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto for more than 40 years and, with Eugenia, went on six European performing tours with the choir.

He and Eugenia attended innumerable concerts together and transmitted their shared love of music to their children. Two of their daughters are professional musicians.

He loved traveling with his wife. Together they visited Japan, British Columbia and Alaska, as well as Europe. During family car trips across the United States they taught their children to sing. He loved the mountains above all and was a lifelong backpacker, belonging to the Palo Alto Boy Scouts as a youth.

He and Eugenia spent their honeymoon in the high Sierra, where their family later went camping nearly every summer. His last trip to the Sierra was in 2003, when he went to Yosemite with family members.

He is survived by his wife, Eugenia of Los Altos Hills; daughter, Katherine Buss of Berkeley; daughter, Jennifer Barron of Weston, Conn.; son, Dr. Richard Buss of Jackson; son, Stephen Buss of Palo Alto; daughter, Laura Van Hook of Rocklin; sister, Helen Halsey of Jersey Island; 12 grandchildren; one step-granddaughter; three great-grandsons and one step-great-granddaughter. Their eldest child, Margaret Finney, passed away in September 2003.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, Aug. 14, at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. Memorial gifts may be donated to the church organ fund.
Alvin Mason

Alvin "Al" Mason, 79, a former resident of Palo Alto, died June 21.

He was born April 16, 1925, in Fresno and moved to Palo Alto in 1930. He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1943 and was inducted into the Army Air Corps the day after graduating from high school. He earned his Flight Wings and flew 34 missions in a B-24 as an armored gunner and aerial photographer while stationed at Ipswich, England. He was awarded the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters and a medal from the King of Sweden.

After his service, he returned to Palo Alto and joined his father and brother in a family painting business for 13 years. In 1951, he married Dorothy Limoges of Elk Point, S.D. They had five children.

He was employed by various Silicon Valley electronics companies for more than 30 years and worked as a mechanical and electrical draftsman and designer. He was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church for 40 years. He also coached Little League, Babe Ruth, Pop Warner football and was an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop #9, Grace Lutheran.

Nine years ago, he and his wife moved to Andover, Minn., to help care for their grandson.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Dorothy Mason of Andover, Minn.; five children, Patti Brooks of Napa, Alan of San Jose, Gary of Anoka, Minn., Marc of Grass Valley and Gaelyn of Palo Alto; and three grandchildren.

Services have been held.
Jessie B. Meachem

Jessie B. Meachem, 75, a 44-year resident of East Palo Alto, died July 10.

Born Oct. 6, 1928, in Rutherford County, Tenn., she excelled in academics and graduated from high school at the age of 16. In 1951 she graduated from the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., with a degree in nursing. She worked as a registered nurse for 35 years and retired from Sequoia Hospital after 24 years.

She is survived by her two daughters, Carol McFadden of Stockton and Linda Nannette White of East Palo Alto; a son, Morris (Pete) Butler of Menlo Park; and eight grandchildren.

Services have been held.
Evalyn H. Parsons

Evalyn H. Parsons, 92, a 64-year resident of Palo Alto, died July 14.

She was a grade school teacher in Virginia and a longtime volunteer at Stanford Hospital.

She is survived by her children, Patricia, John and Alan Parsons; brother, Alfred Hughes of Williamsburg, Va.; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Services have been held. Donations may be made to Pathways Hospice Foundation, 201 San Antonio Circle #104, Mountain View, CA 94040.
Gordon L. Poole

Gordon L. Poole, 77, a former resident of Stanford, San Francisco and Menlo Park, died July 7 from a rare bone marrow disease.

He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1944 and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1947 in Korea. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1949 and from Harvard Law School in 1952.

After graduation he moved back to San Francisco and practiced as an associate with Treadwell & Laughlin in San Francisco and Nixon Peabody, formerly known as Lillick, McHose & Charles.

He was a member of the California, San Francisco and American Bar Associations and the Maritime Law Association. He was also a member of the San Mateo County Republican Central Committee and a vestryman for Trinity Episcopal Parish in Menlo Park. Additionally, he was a member of the Bohemian and World Trade Clubs in San Francisco. He loved the San Francisco Opera, Stanford football and baseball, swimming, skiing and wildflower hikes.

He is survived by his wife, Lois; two sons, David and Edward; daughter, Elisabeth; brother, Warren; and two grandchildren.

Services have been held.
Robert Shelly

Robert Bliss Shelly, 83, a longtime resident of Portola Valley, died June 27.

A native of Boulder, Colo., he graduated pre-med from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

After his stint with the U.S. Public Health Service ended in 1954, he became a psychiatrist with the Palo Alto Medical Clinic. He was also an assistant clinical professor at Stanford University.

He was an accomplished tennis player, skier and musician (he could play trombone, trumpet, guitar and piano). Passionate about nature, he also volunteered as a docent for the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in Woodside.

He is survived by his daughter, Susan Rushton of Auburn; son, Bob of San Jose; daughter, Julie of Mountain Ranch; son, James of Menlo Park; and three grandchildren. Donations may be made in his honor to Peninsula Open Space Trust, 3000 Sand Hill Road, Woodside, CA 94062.
Hans Wolf

Hans Abraham Wolf, 76, a longtime member of the Palo Alto community, died July 7.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1936. He studied at Harvard College and Oxford University and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

His business career began at Texas Instruments and ended with the pharmaceutical company Syntex Corporation where he retired as Vice Chairman.

After his retirement in 1993, he enjoyed numerous stints on various local charity boards. The community awarded his efforts when he received the Palo Alto Tall Tree Award in 1998, a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998 and the Thomas W. Ford Award in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; three daughters, Heidi, Rebecca and Deborah; son, Andrew; and three grandchildren.

Friends and family are invited to attend services Sunday, Aug. 8, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. Donations may be made in his honor to the Eastside Preparatory School, 2101 Pulgas Ave., East Palo Alto, CA 94303.

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