Publication Date: Wednesday Mar 15, 1995


Mortimer Markoff, pianist and teacher Publication Date: Wednesday Mar 15, 1995

Mortimer Markoff, pianist and teacher

Mortimer Markoff, 75, a gifted pianist and teacher, died March 1 at his home in Palo Alto after a long battle with cancer. Born in Los Angeles, he began studying piano with Richard Buhlig as a young man. Among his later teachers were Mildred Couper of Santa Barbara and Alexander Raab and Bernard Abramowitsch, both of Berkeley.

Beginning in the late 1940s he taught both individuals and classes privately and at the College of Notre Dame, the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Foothill College and Menlo College. Since 1971 he has led a series of popular repertory classes at different locations in the Bay Area. His students have included Christopher Keene, the general director of the New York City Opera, and Katherine Buss, a Berkeley pianist who teaches at San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

In the course of his many community involvements he originated the Palo Alto Forums for the City of Palo Alto Art Department, and proposed and developed Palo Alto Youth Recitals, a program that presented about 25 gifted young musicians each year in Palo Alto schools. In 1993 he and longtime student Frederic W. Platt published "The Art of Playing the Piano, Conversations with Mortimer Markoff." During the 1980s he performed a number of benefit recitals for Physicians for Social Responsibility.

A member of the Sierra Club, he had a passion for the hiking and was an inveterate tennis player, making the "B" tennis ladder of the Palo Alto Tennis Club. In his distinguished career spanning more than five decades, he performed in concerts throughout California. His Bay Area debut concert was at the Marines Memorial Theater in San Francisco in February 1949.

He is survived by his son, John Markoff of San Francisco; two daughters, Ellen Markoff of San Francisco and Joan Markoff of Sacramento; and two grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for March 18 at 2 p.m. at the Palo Alto Cultural Center, Newell and Embarcadero Roads, Palo Alto. The family requests that donations be made to the Sierra Club Memorial Program, 730 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109.

Imogen Jocelyn Berg

Imogen Jocelyn Berg, 65, died March 3 in Menlo Park. She was an avid square dancer, baker and volunteer to many civic and service organizations, including the American Association of University Women, South San Mateo County League of Women Voters, the Stanford University International Student Union and Mid-Penninsula Task Force for Integrated Education, of which she was one of the founders. She is survived by a daughter, Jadine Jocelyn Berg of Arcata; and her mother, Pauline Shaffer of Brooklyn, N.Y. Memorial contributions can be made to any of the above organizations. A memorial gathering has been held.

Wade H. Cone

Wade H. Cone, 82, a 37-year Menlo Park resident, died March 6 at the Stanford Medical Center after a short illness. A native of Denver, he worked as a coordinator with Ford Aerospace. A veteran of World War II and the Korean conflict, he was a member of the Palo Alto Rotary Club and of Little House in Menlo Park. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jean J. Cone of Menlo Park; two daughters, Sandra L. Craft of Fresno and Karen A. Cowan of Pleasant Hill; a son, Thomas J. Cone of Eureka; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Services have been held. Donations may be made to the Nativity School, 1250 Laurel St., Menlo Park, CA 94025, or the Salvation Army, 161 Portola Road, Los Altos, CA 94022.

Helen F. Evers

Helen F. Evers, 72, died March 7 in Palo Alto, where she had lived since 1954. A native of Iowa and a graduate of Iowa State University, she was a homemaker. She was a past president of the Stanford Mother's Club and a member of the Palo Alto Garden Club. She was an avid gardener, potter and painter. She is survived by her husband, Merle Evers of Palo Alto; two sons, Robert Evers of Auburn and John Evers of San Mateo; a daughter, Nancy Frost of Auburn; six grandchildren; and two sisters. Services have been held.

Shirley M. Gehman

Shirley M. Gehman, 70, a Palo Alto resident, died March 7 at Stanford Hospital. A native Palo Altan, she graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1942 and from San Jose State University in 1946, and received her teaching credential in 1961. She taught at various elementary schools in the Palo Alto Unified School District, including Hoover, Palo Verde, Loma Vista and Ohlone, substituting until the time of her death. She was a member of the Environmental Volunteers, the California Retired Teachers Association, the Peninsula Quilters, the American Sewing Guild, the Redwood City Women's Club and the American Association of University Women. She is survived by two daughters, Diana Moller of Tennessee and Marla Gehman of Alabama; two sons, Alan Gehman of San Jose and Russell Gehman of Salt Lake City; and five grandchildren.

Services have been held.

John Helyar

John Helyar, 81, a resident of Palo Alto for 38 years, died March 8 of complications from lung cancer. He was employed by Swift and Company for 35 years and Norcal Patio Products for 10 years. He was a member of the Elks and SIRS. Surviving are his wife of 53 years, Dorothy Helyar; three daughters, Susan Moss of Seattle, Joan McMackin of Poulsbo, Wash., and Pamela Burkhardt of San Ramon; a brother; and seven grandchildren. Services have been held. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mid-Penninsula Home Care and Hospice, 201 San Antonio Circle, Suite 135, Mountain View, CA 94040.

Hazel L. Lagerway

Hazel L. Lagerway, 92, a former Menlo Park resident for more than 30 years, died March 6 in Lodi. A native of Alexandria, La., she was in the bakery sales business for 40 years, working most of these years for Dollhouse. She was a member of the Retail Clerks Union in San Francisco and the Order of the Eastern Star #213. SHe volunteered for the American Cancer Society for many years and did bookkeeping for neighbors. She is survived by her son, Ross Jones of Twain Harte; three grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. Services have been held. Donations may be sent to Shriner's Children's Hospital, 1701 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94122, or Stanford Hospital, 300 Pasteur Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94304.

Elizabeth Jenifer Merrin

Elizabeth Jenifer Merrin, 57, died March 2 of cancer at her home in Menlo Park. Born in New York, she was raised in Summit, N.J. She graduated from Goucher College and moved to Connecticut, where she helped found Computerworks and was president of the Junior League of Fairfield. After moving to Menlo Park, she was vice president and managing editor of Merrin Information Services of Palo Alto, which she and her husband founded in 1988, and also continued her involvement with the Junior League. Survivors include her husband, Seymour Merrin; a son, Charles Seymour Merrin of Mountain View; a daughter, Marianne Jenifer Weights of Mountain View; a brother; and a sister. Memorial contributions may be made to the Stanford Cancer Counsel Fund of Stanford University Hospital.

Eva Moy

Eva Moy, 80, a lifetime resident of Menlo Park, died March 6. A 1936 graduate of San Jose State College, she is survived by three sons, Michael Moy of Fountain Valley, Peter Moy of Seattle and Gary Moy of San Diego; and six grandchildren. Services have been held.

Joan Oakley

Joan Oakly, 82, died March 7 in Palo Alto. A native of Illinois, she was a bookkeeper for Walgreen's Drugs and a member of Friends of Filoli. She is survived by a son, Robert Oakley of Palo Alto; a daughter, Barbara Duerr of Foster City; a brother; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Services have been held.

Charles O'Hare

Charles O'Hare, 61, died March 4 at his home in Palo Alto. He is survived by his companion of 30 years, Patricia O'Hare; a brother; an uncle; six nieces and nephews and many cousins. Services have been held. Contributions to the American Cancer Society preferred.

Corinne Peterson

Corinne Peterson, 87, a resident of Menlo Park since 1941, died March 2 at El Camino Hospital. A native of Sweden, she came to America in 1924, was a homemaker and worked for Murphins & Morris for 20 years. She is survived by a brother, Robert Peterson of San Jose; a sister, Betty Picaso of San Francisco; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren No services will be held.

Nancy Hunter Pourciau

Nancy Hunter Pouciau, 73, died March 5 at home in Portola Valley. After Wellesley College and Stuart School of Design in Boston, she was an award-winning painter of portraits and California landscapes. She is survived by her husband of 51 years, Louis "Dee" Pourciau; a son, Bruce Pourciau of Appleton, Wisc.; a daughter, Jacqueline Toliver of Foster City; a sister; and four grandchildren. Services have been held. Contributions may be made to Kara, 457 Kingsley Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301.

James 'Sam' Roach

James "Sam" Roach, 79, a lifelong resident of Menlo Park, died March 6 at home after a long illness. A veteran of World War II, he worked as a foreman with the Menlo Park Sanitation District and was a member of the Palo Alto Elks Lodge #1471 and the Menlo Park Historical Society. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Helen R. Roach of Menlo Park; a daughter, Susan Jane Powers of Manchester, Mo.; two sons, Tim B. Roach of Menlo Park and Dan J. Roach of Santa Clara; a brother; and seven grandchildren. Services have been held. Donations may be sent to the American Heart Association, 1710 Gilbreth Road, Burlingame, CA 94010.

Mary Ann Seawell

Mary Ann Seawell, 53, a local journalist, died March 4 of cancer at her parents' home in Walnut Creek. Born and reared in San Francisco, she earned a bachelor's degree in communication from Stanford in 1963. She joined the Washington Post in 1964, writing news and feature stories for the women's news department and the suburban news desk. Returning to the Bay Area in 1969, she worked at the Palo Alto Times (later the Peninsula Times Tribune) as a reporter, assistant features editor, copy editor and columnist. Focusing her writing on women's issues, she also wrote in-depth stories on such subjects as anorexia, autism and adoption. She was one of the first Peninsula journalists to interview pioneers of the women's movement, including Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem and Kate Millett. She won a California Newspaper Publishers Association community service award for a five-part series on child abuse. After leaving the Times Tribune in 1985, she became a writer and associate editor of Stanford's Campus Report. She is survived by her parents, George and Beatrice Seawell of Walnut Creek; and a brother, Donald Seawell of El Sobrante. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on March 17 at Stanford's Memorial Church. The family prefers contributions to The Stanford Fund, Office of Development, 301 Encina Hall, Stanford, Ca 94305-6076.

William Conrey Thuman

William Conrey Thuman, 77, a former Palo Alto resident for 25 years and Stanford Research Institute chemist, died March 6 in Ventura. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended Xavier University and did advanced work at Ohio State University. He came to California as a young Army officer to run the laboratory at Dibble General Hospital in Menlo Park. After World War II, he became one of the first cadre of employees of Stanford Research Institute. He is survived by three daughters, Holly Anne Thuman of San Francisco, Carol Thuman of San Francisco and Teresa Thuman of Arroyo Grande; a sister; and a granddaughter. Services have been held.

Wendell P. van Deinse

Wendell P. van Deinse, 77, a native Californian and Menlo Park resident for 38 years, died at home March 6. He was an avid sailor for 30 years, former vice commodore of the Palo Alto Yacht Club and a member of the Sequoia Yacht Club. In his later years he built award-winning model airplanes and was twice a member of the Hole-in-One-Club at Sunken Gardens. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Eugenia van Deinse; a son, Chris van Deinse of San Diego; and a sister. Donations may be sent to the American Heart Association.

Henk van den Haak

Henk van den Haak, 82, died March 5 at Julia Convalescent Hospital in Mountain View. A native of Holland, he was a carpenter at Stanford University. He is survived by his wife, Frances van den Haak of Palo Alto; a son, Fred van den Haak of Palo Alto; a brother; a sister; and three grandchildren. Services have been held.

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