In Memoriam | 2020
Charles A. Alva, ’41 Education, on August 6. Alva was born in San José in 1919. After returning from WWII, Alva used the G.I. Bill to complete graduate work at Stanford University (a master’s in 1948 and Ph.D. in 1960). In 1964 Alva became an English professor and chair of the humanities division at what is now Western Oregon University, retiring in 1984. He and his wife, Sylvia, spent the next 55 years in the home they built in Monmouth, Ore. He is survived by Sylvia, a nephew, and three great nieces. He lived to be 100.
Elizabeth Ann (McRea) Selig, ’42 Education, on August 30. A third-generation Californian, Selig was born in Redwood City in 1920 and became a teacher. She was a 57-year parishioner of St. Brendan’s Parish in San Francisco. Known to friends and family as “E.A.” and “Aunt Ban,” she died peacefully at home in San Francisco at the age of 100.
Dorothy Mauseth, ’47 Education, on August 1, age 96. Raised on an almond ranch near Chico, she earned her SJSU teaching credential and taught kindergarten in Campbell and San José. After her husband Al started Treat Ice Cream, the two became known as “Mr. and Mrs. Treat,” establishing a loyal following for their product. For over 50 years she was a member of Willow Glen United Methodist Church, serving on many committees and singing in the choir.
Ralph F. Kling, ’48 Business Administration, on March 28. He was 95. Kling married his high school sweetheart, Irene, in February of 1944, and by June he was a fighter pilot flying across Normandy on D-Day in a P-47 Thunderbolt named “Poppy,” after the California wildflower. Strafed on his 68th mission, he parachuted away, was captured and sent to Stalag Luft III until the camp was liberated. Kling’s 35-year career in education included serving as principal of the Fremont Union High School in Sunnyvale for eleven years. In retirement he led the effort to build and install “Liberation,” a 12-foot bronze statue installed at the Miramar National Cemetery. Survived by Irene, Kling passed away peacefully in his sleep of natural causes, negative for COVID-19.
Stewart W. Wobber, ’48 BS, MS Business Administration, on March 16. He was 95. Wobber was president and CEO of Wobber Brothers Printing Co., a business founded by his grandfather in 1892. He served as president of Interfaith Network for Community Help and president and board member of the San José Jazz Society and Festival. A loving father, Wobber was married to Janet, “the love of his life,” for 71 years.
Jane Franusich, ’49 Education, on August 3, 21 days after her husband of 70 years, Peter (‘56 MS Science). She was a kindergarten teacher, then a resource specialist teacher in the Saratoga Union School District for many years. The Franusiches were active members of Saratoga Federated Church and gave generously to Second Harvest Food Bank, American Red Cross, and International Justice Mission. She was 92.
Floyd M. Hunter, ’49 Tech/Industrial Arts, on March 25. After graduating from South San Francisco High School, Hunter enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and fought to liberate Guam at age 19. Wounded while landing on Iwo Jima, he earned a Purple Heart. At SJSU he was president of the Sigma Nu fraternity, earned a master’s degree, and had a long career as a high-school teacher and administrator, once named California Educator of the Year. For 45 years he lived in a floating home in Alameda’s Barnhill Marina. He was 94.
Beatrice I. Wheeler, ’49 Education, on May 19. A “Campbell farm girl, growing up among the prune and apricot orchards,” her family recalled, Wheeler was among the first to graduate Campbell High School. Wheeler taught elementary school in the Alum Rock School District until her retirement in 1991. A devoted grandmother and lover of dogs, she enjoyed volunteering at Youth Science Institute thrift store in the Alum Rock neighborhood and played bridge for decades with many of the same colleagues she taught with. She was 92.
Roberta J. Betcher, ’50 Business Administration, on July 1. She was 94. In the 1930s, she stocked shelves in her father’s grocery store, the Field Market in downtown Campbell. She was editor of Chevron Oil’s employee newspaper in Richmond, later marrying Ray, who had a farm outside Modesto. Turkeys, cattle, and almonds were the primary source of family income for 48 years until his death. At age 81 she remarried, spending ten active years at Bethel Retirement Community in Modesto. “While not the cause of her passing, COVID was a unique challenge for all,” her family wrote, “and Bobbie’s family recognizes the excellent care she received in the Bethel Community.”
Louis M. Bini, ’51 Engineering, on June 13. Bini was born in 1926 in the front room of his parents’ home in San José’s Berryessa district, then a neighborhood of newly arrived Italians. At age 4, Bini accompanied his father, Cesare, an immigrant peddler, on his 4 a.m. market purchases of fruits, vegetables, and eggs. He graduated from San José High School in 1943 and then served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. Upon his return, with other SJSU students, he helped design San José’s first municipal airport. He ran his own consulting civil engineering business from 1964 to 1995. He was 94.
Robert E. Sykes, ’51 Business Administration, on August 4. Born in Oakland in 1926, Sykes fought in WWII, returned to the Bay Area, and after two years at Santa Rosa Junior College transferred into San José State, where he excelled at football. In 1952 he briefly played as a running back for the Washington Redskins, and then became a successful local businessman—owning the automobile dealership Bob Sykes Dodge. “We will always look up to him and love him,” his family wrote.
Robert G. Athenour, ’52 Social Studies/Education, on August 10. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he taught Spanish and French at Pleasanton’s Amador Valley High School for 27 years. He opened Athenour Travel Service and led tours all over the world for both adults and students. With the Pleasanton Rotary Club, Athenour raised money and traveled internationally, delivering more than 8,000 wheelchairs. This year, a hundred people in a parade of decorated cars drove by his senior care home, CreekView Health Center, to celebrate his 91st birthday.
Dorothy (Chatten) Copenhaver, ’52 Education, on June 26. She was 88. Copenhaver, of Pismo Beach, taught for more than 30 years at Elbow Creek Elementary School. She farmed Thompson grapes on a ranch in Tulare County with husband Elbert, who has “been waiting 40 years for their reunion,” her family wrote. They thanked Sweet Home California for private home care that allowed Copenhaver to live independently at her home, where she was happiest, for the last 14 months of her life.
Gerald Eugene “Jerry” Hamilton, ’52 Business Administration, on July 29, in Dallas. He was 90. An all-conference quarterback at SJSU, Hamilton later served in the U.S. Army. A member of the Santa Clara County Board of Realtors, he was vice president of the Greater San José Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the San José Hospital Foundation. Hamilton partnered with Jerome Lohr of J. Lohr Winery to build CBD Mini Storage on Cinnabar Ave. He was a founding director of the Spartan Foundation and avid supporter of the Spartans Men’s Golf Team.
Thomas Donald Hatch, ’53 Political Science, on June 28 in Silver Spring, Md. Hatch had a long career in public service. He received a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University, and an honorary doctorate of public administration from the University of Kentucky, and was a U.S. Navy veteran. After 36 years with the federal government, he retired in 1994 as associate administrator for policy coordination in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He loved fly fishing, photography, and his grandchildren. He was 89.
John Vernon Avila, ’54 Education, on July 7. He was 92. A Navy veteran, he became a high school teacher and coach in Modesto, principal of Ceres High School, then assistant superintendent of the district. He headed the Modesto Rotary East Club rib dinner fundraisers and is remembered for his love of cooking, humor, and dancing at his grandchildren’s weddings.
Ruth (Johnson) Fields, ’54 Education, on August 14, four months shy of her 100th birthday. After high school in Omaha, Neb., she served as private secretary to a general in WWII and later took a post in Korea with Medal of Honor recipient General William F. Dean. There she met John Fields, a captain whom she married in Omaha in 1949, but he was killed in action in 1951. Fields moved to Los Gatos in 1952 with her parents and daughter, graduated from San José State, and then taught junior high school English and history for 27 years in Saratoga. Upon retirement, she followed her daughter’s move to Sudbury, Mass., in 1987. As she had long planned, she was buried next to her late husband in Omaha.
George E. Schauf, ’54 MA Psychology, on Oct. 22. He was 95. A U.S. Army Air Corpsman during WWII, he went on to earn his medical degree from St. Louis University in 1957. Dr. Schauf practiced family medicine for 53 years in Riverbank, California, before retiring at age 87. He helped thousands of obese patients, dedicating much of his career to bariatrics, and authored “Think, Eat, and Lose Fat” (1970), “Think Thin” (1976), and “The Calorie Conspiracy” (2010). He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Eleanor, seven children, and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
Mezola (Aagren) Benton, ’56 MA Education, on August 10. She retired in 1979 as an elementary school principal and began a remarkable second career. Leading the Monterey Peninsula chapters of the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women, she worked with then-Congressman Leon Panetta to redirect federal spending from arms toward domestic needs. Benton was instrumental in transforming the former Fort Ord site, an effort that led to the founding of Cal State Monterey Bay and her recognition by numerous state and national bodies. Confined to her home during the COVID-19 pandemic, she wrote a chronology of American women’s struggle for equal rights, walked one to two miles, and performed countertop pushups every day—a fighter to the end. She was 95.
Peter V. Franusich, ’56 MS Science, on July 13. He was 94. Franusich joined the Marines in 1944 and fought at Iwo Jima. In Okinawa, the USS Birmingham was hit by a suicide bomber, killing or wounding a third of those aboard, and Franusich received the Purple Heart. At San José State, while on the boxing team he won the Pacific Coast Championship, and met Jane, also a graduate of San José State University, who became his wife of 70 years. For the majority of his career, he was a counselor, foreign student advisor, and teacher at San José City College. He was a cherished grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of six.
Dorothy (Rich) Howes, ’56 Education, on June 17. She was a dedicated preschool, first and second grade teacher for over 30 years in the Union School District. After retiring, she volunteered at the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Thrift Shop in Willow Glen. Her beloved family shared, “Although she leaves the recipe behind, nobody will ever be able to replicate the love she put into her world-famous rum-balls at Christmas.”
Cloyse “Ed” Little, ’56 Business Administration, on June 18. Born in Oklahoma, Little served in the U.S. Army after graduation, and then built a successful 50-year career in the produce industry. An active and devoted member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salinas, his ashes were placed in the church’s columbarium he helped build over 30 years ago.
Ray K. Vasconcellos, ’56 History, on May 3. A Navy pilot, Vasconcellos flew F-8U Crusader fighter jets and Sikorsky H-34 helicopters until 1965, retiring as a captain. After a management career at Ford’s San José Assembly plant, he purchased and restored the historic Carrville Hotel in Coffee Creek, near Redding, where he retired. Proud of his Portuguese and Italian roots and having grown up in San José, he is survived by numerous relatives, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
James Enochs, ’57 Economics, on April 20. The 21-year superintendent of Modesto City Schools, Enochs’ 50-year career in education was capped in 2006 upon the opening of Modesto’s James C. Enochs High School, named for him. In a career studded with accolades, Enochs’ dedication to his community never wavered. He is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Carole. He was 85.
Gerald “Jerry” D. Price, ’57 Kinesiology/Physical Education, on July 11. Price was a legendary mountain climber who summited his first fourteener in 1950 at age 17. At SJSU he lettered in downhill, slalom, jumping and cross country skiing. Price climbed the Matterhorn in 1977, Rainier in 1990, Denali in 1993, and climbed to Camp III on Mount Everest in 1995. He always dreamed of climbing Everest again, and trained others for it on Mount Shasta. A stock and bond broker for 51 years, he served the Lions Club in San Francisco and participated actively in community affairs. He is survived by his wife, Ping Zhao. He was 86.
Joan C. Shogren, ’57 Chemistry, on June 15. In the 1960s she was a creative administrator in SJSU’s experimental “New College.” In 1963 while working at San José State, she helped create the world’s first showing of computer-generated art at the Spartan Bookstore, and later collaborated on the very first computer clip art, ClickArt, for Macintosh computers. In the 1970s she exhibited her photography around the Bay Area, later designing logos and images for many South Bay businesses, including San José’s Camera One Theatre and Eulipia Restaurant. By always modeling for others that they could “pursue their interests without fear for what they ‘should’ be doing,” her family wrote, she supported her stepson David’s decision to drop out of high school and become a musician—which he did, as a founding member of The Doobie Brothers. She was 87.
George R. Jensen, ’58 Technology and Industrial Arts, on May 30. Jensen’s career as a custom homebuilder in the Amador Valley spanned 50 years. G.R. Jensen Construction Company built many homes and commercial properties around Livermore and restored the landmark water tower on its historic sanitarium grounds, which served as his residence for many years.
Diana Larson, ’58 Social Work, on May 5, in Reno, Nev.. Larson worked for the California Faculty Association at San José State for 14 years and was president of the San José and later the Lake Tahoe branch of the American Association of University Women. “She loved being back on campus amid faculty and students alike.”
Gary E. Edwards, ’59 Spanish, on August 8, after 20 years of battling Parkinson’s. Edwards taught Spanish at Buchser and Santa Clara High Schools for 40 years and subbed for another ten. He developed a highly lauded course called “Values,” mentored other teachers, and led workshops on motivational teaching methods. An enthusiastic steelhead fisherman, he wanted his ashes to be spread over the Eel River. He is survived by his wife, brother, two children and four grandchildren. He was 82.
Gayle B. Montgomery, ’59 Journalism, on July 17. Montgomery was a top editor of the Oakland Tribune, covering presidential conventions and known for his reporting skills and professionalism until his 1983 retirement. He later handled public relations for East Bay Municipal Utility District and devoted his retirement years to writing the critically acclaimed 1998 book “One Step From the White House,” a political history of the 1950s and 60s. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Roseanne, whom he met at San José State and married in 1956. He was 86.
Rudy Venegas, ’59 Management, on April 22, at the age of 82, one month after being diagnosed with liver cancer. A wrestler while at SJSU, Venegas eventually rose to become a top executive with National Can Corporation in Burlingame, and later the president and co-owner of Stay and Day Paint Materials, California Packaging Company, and VETO Manufacturing Company in Los Angeles and Hayward. He also owned and operated Morgan Hill’s Box Seat sports bar.
George P. Baker, ’60 Engineering, on August 18. He was 96. After earning an architecture degree at UC Berkeley and then an engineering degree at San José State, he held a long career at FMC Corporation in San José. A WWII veteran, Baker served two terms as a Campbell Union School District trustee and was a long-time member of Church of the Valley, in Santa Clara. He loved attending Oakland A’s games with his family and making others smile. Baker is survived by his wife, Charlesie “Cricket,” to whom he was married for a few days shy of 71 years.
James L. Long, ’60 Psychology, on June 30. The Honorable Judge James L. Long served in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps as a second lieutenant, received his J.D. from Howard University Law School in 1967, and first practiced law in Washington, D.C., assisting in a landmark case desegregating its schools. Returning to Sacramento, he worked for the Legal Aid Society, as a special legal counsel for the NAACP, and as an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at CSU Sacramento. Long served the Sacramento County Superior Court from 1982 until his 2011 retirement. A three-time Judge of the Year, he was stern in the courtroom but a guiding mentor and counselor and gentle, caring, loving person in private. He was 82.
Ron Helstrup, ’61 Industrial/Organizational Psychology, on July 1 in Mesa, Ariz., He was a devoted Sigma Nu, active in its foundation and SJSU Alumni Foundation for many years. He was proud of his Danish heritage, “had a fondness for attending Spartan football back in the days of Crazy George,” his family wrote, and had a passion for ice cream. He is survived by his wife Ann, children Cheryl, Greg, Allison, their spouses, and four grandchildren.
Gerald D. “Jerry” Wall, ’61 Math, on April 12, in Waltham, Mass. Wall attended Campbell High School, and after graduating from SJSU received his law degree from Boston University. He served as an officer aboard the U.S. Destroyer Barney from 1963 to 1967 and married Barbara S. ‘Bobbi’ Shanks in 1966. Wall was a passionate immigration lawyer who provided legal aid to low-income immigrants facing deportation. A respected senior attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services for 46 years, he mentored law students as a clinic supervisor at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and received the Access to Justice Award from the Massachusetts Bar Association in 2014. Jerry and Bobbi lived in Lexington, Mass., sharing fifty years together.
Norman D. Costa, ’62 Kinesiology/Physical Education, on May 1. Born in Santa Cruz, he graduated from SJSU with honors, then served as a military policeman in the U.S. Army. At Palma School in Salinas, Costa taught history and phys ed since 1977, coaching multiple sports and serving as athletic director. As a legendary football coach, he won 266 games, 19 league championships and was named League Coach of the Year fifteen times. He was a California State Football Coach of the Year and was inducted into the National Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005. “Costa’s Chieftains won league titles every season from 1984 through his final year at the helm in 1999.”
Yvonne Lee (Gallegos) Mason, ’62 Education, on May 21. Mason earned an MA in business from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in policy and organizational studies from UC Santa Barbara, holding a 36-year-long career at Ventura College as professor of accounting and dean of instruction from 1965–2001. Mason led Ventura College study-abroad trips to Cuba, Costa Rica, and Thailand, and she helped establish Thailand’s first community college system. Mason served on the California Community College Board of Governors, the California State Teachers’ Pension Fund, and served as president of Ventura County Board of Education. She was one of the founders of the Ventura County Symphony, loved dancing and singing Patsy Cline songs, and played bridge at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club.
Glen W. Putman, ’63 Mass Communications, on Sept. 26. He was 80. Putnam had a long, successful writing career. In the 1970s and 1980s, he ran corporate communications for United Airlines and rose to V.P. at Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations. As travel editor for Gentry, a lifestyle magazine, he visited more than 50 countries and wrote about them all. Putnam’s writing was published in the Oakland Tribune, SF Examiner, Mercury-News and many other venues, winning first place from the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club for Magazine Feature Column in both 2007 and 2008. He is survived by Kathy, with whom he celebrated his 59th anniversary on Sept 16.
Kenneth Hanaki, ’65 Civil Engineering, on July 12, in Boulder City, Nev. During World War II, he spent his early childhood in the Tule Lake internment camp. After graduating, he was a U.S. Army field maintenance officer during the Vietnam War. As a civil engineer, Hanaki designed bridges for the California highway system, worked the Alaskan oil pipeline project, and designed Metro stations in Washington, DC. In his 30 years with the National Park Service, he designed and restored buildings such as the Booker T. Washington home and in Lake Mead National Recreation Center. A Boulder City volunteer firefighter and paramedic, local radio DJ, Boy Scouts leader and Sunday school teacher, he spent a happy retirement pursuing his love of golf, tennis, and boxing. Hanaki is survived by his wife of 55 years, Lois. He was 81.
Albert C. Mezzetti, ’65 MA Education, on May 21. He was a U.S. Marine who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The 93-year-old retired teacher served four years on the Manteca City Council in the 1980s. In 2018, as a 91-year-old he ran unsuccessfully in the gubernatorial election.
Jerasol P. Villegas, ’65 Education, on August 16, age 100. Villegas was born in the Philippines in 1919. One of nine children, she graduated from a teachers’ college and began teaching elementary school at age 19. During the closing months of WWII she married Antonio Villegas, a member of the First and Second Filipino Regiment, and moved to Salinas. After earning her SJSU credential, she taught at Bardin Elementary School until her 1987 retirement. She was a member of the Filipino Women’s Club and enjoyed singing folk songs and dancing at PAUSA fiestas. Villegas was preceded in death by her husband and siblings and is survived by her grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Mel Won, ’65 Music Performance, on June 25. Born and raised in Stockton, Won was a music educator there for 37 years. At Franklin High School he directed the band for three decades, sharing his love for music with thousands of students, some of whom thought of him as a “second dad.” He also loved his large family, friends, and the SF Giants.
Vivian Sally Blankfield, aka Brandis Kemp, ’66 Communication Studies, on July 4. A television actress, Blankfield’s most famous role was on ABC’s early 80s late-night comedy show “Fridays,” in addition to her role on the M.A.S.H. spinoff “AfterM.A.S.H.,” alongside stars Harry Morgan and Jamie Farr. Blankfield logged many guest appearances during the era, including on “The Golden Girls,” “E.R.,” “The Wonder Years,” “Designing Women” and “Perfect Strangers.” She was 76. The cause was a brain tumor and complications of COVID-19, according to a statement released by her niece and two nephews.
Robert A. Radford, ’66 Biological Science, was headed for the Peace Corps in 1966 when he was drafted, serving in Vietnam during 1969. He and his wife, Anne, lived in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for 30 years, where Radford was Ocean Spray’s West Coast Area fresh fruit manager until his 2010 retirement. Radford died suddenly in Maui, Hawaii, on February 16, after spending his last days with Anne and their friends swimming and snorkeling. “The family held an Ashes Ceremony on his favorite Maui beach to ensure that part of him will remain forever in a place he dearly loved,” they wrote.
Harold E. Sundquist, ’66 Music, on August 16. He was 77. Sundquist taught music in the San Mateo School District his entire career and directed the Sunnyvale Singers, including during performances overseas. Deeply religious, Sundquist placed music and performance at the center of his life, sharing his “strikingly beautiful voice that would, quite literally, turn heads,” his family wrote. Through music education he was a skilled instructor, passionate leader, and a tremendous performer. He is survived by his wife Geni, four grandchildren with whom he was very close, and many good friends and beloved extended family. His family welcomes donations to the SJSU Choraliers.
Gurbachan Singh “Bauchi” Jauhal, ’67 MS Psychology, on August 8. Born in India and a resident of Aptos since 1970, Jauhal worked for Morgan Hill Unified School District for 32 years as a school psychologist, retiring in 2000. He loved music and tennis, which he played all summer with his daughter and his countless friends. He is survived by his wife, Linda, and a large loving family.
Alfred J. Mitchell, ’67 Biological Science, on July 25, age 84. Mitchell was a lifelong Santa Cruz resident, born on the corner of West Cliff Drive and Bay Street in 1936. A U.S. Marine, he became an industrial arts teacher at Mission Hill Junior High, where he taught for over 35 years. A devoted lifeguard since the 1950s, he served as City Lifeguard Supervisor. One of the shore’s earliest surfers, he mastered his art at Cowell’s Beach, The Hook, and Steamer Lane in a time before wetsuits. His namesake, Mitchell’s Cove, is located down the street from where he grew up. “Big Al” is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ruth Ann, and his family asks that he be remembered by paddle outs in small groups with community safety in mind.
Thomas Ken Shigemasa, ’67 Criminal Justice Administration, on June 18. When Shigemasa retired as assistant police chief of the San José Police Department after 31 years, he had served as the department’s first Asian-American command officer. Born in Hawaii, Shigemasa loved island life and took pride in his heritage and contributions to the community—enjoying life even when challenged with quadriplegia for 17 years. A past president of the San José chapter of the Japanese-American Citizens League, chair of the Coalition of Asian Americans for Public Safety, and the first president of the National Association of Asian American Law Enforcement Commanders, he had a powerful impact on those around him. He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 53 years, Sue.
Sheila D. (Payne) Brown, ’67 Theatre Arts, and David A. Brown, ’68 Mechanical Engineering, together after an August 12 car accident on Highway 85. David, her husband of 52 years, co-founded Quantum Corporation in Silicon Valley, a Fortune 500 company. While raising their daughters, Sheila was active with Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, and with Green Circle and Camp Anytown, programs that taught children about diversity, inclusion, respect and acceptance. Both served Downtown College Prep in San José, providing equality and access to education in science, technology, engineering, and math to underserved communities.
John H. “Jack” Bunch, ’68 Math, on June 6, in Olympia, Wash. A U.S. Navy veteran who served aboard an aircraft carrier, he worked after graduation in research and development for many Silicon Valley startups, and helped develop heart stents for Johnson and Johnson. “Once a product was in production,” his obituary read, “he became bored, quit, moved to the Oregon coast and played his banjo in bars for beer. When his money ran out he’d easily find another research job.” A banjo player extraordinaire, he mentored and inspired bluegrass musicians across the Pacific northwest, proudly preferring a hermit life in which all of his belongings—including his handmade bed—fit in his pickup.
Craig H. Zweifel, ’69 Art, on August 3, in Oregon. He was 76. A nationally known glass artist, Zweifel had grown up in Oakland, entered the National Guard, and then studied ceramics at SJSU, falling in love with glassblowing. He built his first studio in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and earned an MFA in design from UCLA. He became a leading artist in Ketchum, Idaho, exhibiting his work in galleries and museums internationally. Fiercely independent, hardworking and charismatic, he “took his craft seriously but was never pretentious,” his family wrote. He is survived by his wife, Anny, two daughters, and three grandchildren.
Ramiro A. Garcia, ’71 MA Linguistics, on Sept. 22. A “much-loved, one-of-a-kind bon vivant,” Garcia was born in Cuba in 1928, came to the U.S. at age 20, and joined the U.S. Army as a medic, where he met Connie, his wife of 48 years. Attending SJSU on the GI bill and earning two master’s degrees, he became an award-winning Spanish teacher for many years at Blackford, then Prospect high schools. With Professor Emeritus James Asher, he contributed to the development of a language teaching method now known as Total Physical Response. A cook with “incomparable zest,” a lifelong astronomy enthusiast, a world traveler, and a gardener who designed and built his own greenhouses, Garcia leaves behind two daughters and two adored grandchildren.
Marshall Mitzman, ’71 Music, on April 14, of COVID-19. Mitzman was recovering from a brain tumor at the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hayward, which suffered Alameda County’s largest outbreak of the virus. A Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Trustee, Mitzman was a much-loved leader and a mentor in the Hayward business and nonprofit community. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Felie Ulep, two children and seven grandchildren.
Margie V. Mercant, ’73 MS Psychology, on April 10. A 1950 UC Berkeley grad, Merchant wed her high school sweetheart after his return from WWII service as a Navy pilot, and they were married for 63 years until his death. She worked at PG&E to support her husband in law school. After earning her grad degree from SJSU she taught at Alert Driving, a multiple offense drunk driving program. She is survived by her daughter, Marsha, who wrote that her mother “always had time for what was important to everybody.” She was 93.
Diane M. (Winston) Bismillah-Henson, ’75 Criminal Justice, on Oct. 16, in Texas. She was 71. Bismillah-Henson graduated from Monterey High Class of 1967 after her father was transferred from Germany to Fort Ord. She earned a master’s degree in psychology and social work from Chapman College in 1993 and “was an excellent academic role model for her children and grandchildren,” her family wrote. She is survived by her sister, Georgette Beyah, and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Rudolph F. Bullard, ’76 Electrical Engineering, on May 23 in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. A U.S. Navy veteran who served submarines from 1962 to 1971 and 30 years in the reserves, Bullard was awarded National Defense Service and Vietnam Service medals. His electrical engineering career included 20 years in the Department of Defense. He enjoyed traveling, raising horses, and sharing his love of cinema and technology with his son, Drew.
Louis W. Bottini, ’77 Accounting, on Nov. 11, 2019. A CPA, Bottini ensured the long-term growth and financial health of many Silicon Valley firms. He was active with the Palo Alto Jaycees—serving on the board of directors and as president—and later with the Sons in Retirement. Bottini was a “loyal friend” who “found pleasure in the simple things”: a good plate of raviolis, a really good laugh, his classic Mercedes, and Dean Martin.
Lynn M. Jorgenson, ’78 Art, on August 24. She was 67. A talented painter who won multiple awards from the Santa Clara Art Association, Jorgenson created art until her final days in her charming cottage in the Santa Cruz mountains, surrounded by her flower garden, a library of art books, and antiques, vintage fabrics and family heirlooms. She worked for many years in printing and commercial graphic design.
Jane Elizabeth (Keatley) Harmer, MA ’79 Home Economics, on Oct. 3. A Campbell resident for nearly 60 years who was active in community affairs, she was 83. Harmer co-owned an innovative local company—HM Composite—that provided licensed dieticians and food plans for hospitals, retirement homes and schools in 15 states through dieticians who divided their working weeks among them. After selling the company in 2002, she supported Ainsley House’s Community Emergency Response Team, an international disaster relief program. Harmer is survived by her husband of 58 years, Geoffrey.
Lucy E. (Dodge) Poindexter, ’79 MA English, on Oct. 24. Poindexter taught high school throughout Santa Clara County, and for two years in Tehran, Iran, before spending 20 years teaching English at San José City College. Also a software engineer, she and her husband Edward founded Silicon Valley consulting firm LED Data Systems, and she was a technical writer and publications manager for several computer firms throughout the valley. A doctorate in education extended her career at SJCC and allowed her, through grants, to establish computer labs and courses. After retiring, she traveled widely. Poindexter is survived by her brother, sister-in-law, a nephew and niece, and her brother-in-law.
Richard “Rick” Andrew Harrison, ’80 Theatre Arts, on Sept. 23. A proud Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Rick had a 32-year career as a life insurance salesman. “His encouragement and support made it possible for his daughter, Kelly, to join the Spartan softball team, which filled him with pride,” his family wrote. Harrison cheered Spartan basketball and football games and was a member of the Spartan Quarterback Club. “He was a very generous, supportive, loyal and loving man who was always looking for the positive in difficult situations,” his family wrote. Harrison is survived by his wife, Karen, five children and seven grandchildren.
Glenn L. Pedersen, ’80 Art, on Sept. 20. He was 64. The lifelong Castro Valley resident who worked at the Alameda Naval Air Station in inventory and quality control was remembered for his care for animals. Nominated Volunteer of the Year at the Hayward Animal Shelter, he was a generous contributor to the San Diego Zoo. Pedersen was an active member of Faith Lutheran Church in Castro Valley, prized his Alfa Romeo sports car, and was proud of a detailed, full-color replica of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” tattooed across his back in honor of mother’s faith.
Georgine Jane O’Connor, ’83 MS Library Science, on April 17. A graduate of Mills College in 1981, O’Connor applied her SJSU degree to a 26-year career as a law librarian with Broad, Shultz, Larson & Wineberg, Bancroft-Whitney Legal Publishers, and Stoel-Rives. Active in the Orinda Country Club, the Oakland Symphony Guild, and many other community organizations, she was a caring neighbor in Piedmont and later in Montclair. She was 83.
Leilani (Pearl) Guerrero-Cleeton, ’84 Political Science, on June 21. She was 57. Born in Honolulu, she was Vallejo’s Hogan Senior High School Homecoming Queen, before completing her bachelor’s degree and meeting Stephen Cleeton at SJSU. Their 1989 wedding was attended by 500 friends and family. She received a teaching credential, worked at Mandala’s Children’s House as an early childhood educator, and settled in Morgan Hill, where she raised her children.
Patricia Anne Muhly De Vargas, ’88 Spanish/Education, on July 6. A gifted artist who won many art competitions throughout her younger years, De Vargas marched with Cesar Chavez while in college. She later formed the Santa Cruz Sister Cities project with Jinotepe, Nicaragua, working tirelessly to send medicines and educational material. First an art teacher in Gilroy, she taught in Nicaragua for many years, where she lived with her husband Martin and his family. She was 73.
Anne Marguerite (Quartararo) Scott-Chambers, ’88 MS Education, on March 5. A lifelong Santa Cruz educator and artist, she died peacefully in her home of 36 years after a battle with ALS. For 25 years, Scott-Chambers was a special education resource specialist at Harbor High School, teaching, caring, and advocating for the students she championed. A talented and prolific artist who showed drawings and paintings at local galleries, she was treasured by her large family and many in the Santa Cruz community she touched.
Mary J. Varley, ’88 MS Social Work, on Sept. 1, in Reno, 20 days shy of turning 80. A Fordham University graduate, she taught grade school around the world while relocating often with her husband, Donald, a U.S. Air Force captain. She attended SJSU alongside her two daughters and obtained her master’s in social work, following her passion to serve the homeless and veterans, particularly on substance abuse issues.
Federico Castaneda, ’90 Social Science, on July 1. He was 54. Born in Mexico, he played soccer for Watsonville High School all four years, and then earned degrees in bilingual education and a master’s in counseling education. A guidance counselor at Watsonville High School, he aided thousands of students following their dreams, helped students organize community cultural events, and in summers worked for the Migrant Education Program supporting students completing high school credits. He is survived by two children, Eric and Yasmin.
Stanislaw Wojciech Sokolowski, ’90 MA Sociology, on May 2, in Maryland. Sokolowski, a Johns Hopkins civil society researcher for three decades, was 67. Born in Gdansk, Poland, Sokolowski became one of the world’s leading experts in national income accounting and data-based evaluation of nonprofit institutions. Colleagues described “the boundless curiosity and commitment to social and economic justice that led him to spend time in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution as a teenager; escape authoritarianism in Poland; and serve as an election monitor in Uzbekistan.”
Tia Jeanette Williams-Sion, ’92 Accounting/MBA, on August 6. Born in Detroit, and a Santa Clara resident with her family, she was especially proud of her greatest accomplishments, daughters Lauren (Lolo) and Jordan (Jojo). A sports fanatic, she coached them in soccer, never missing a game. She is survived by them and by her husband, Mark. She was 54.
Thomas Friedrich Norris, ’95 MS Marine Science, on Sept. 9, age 55, of pancreatic cancer. As a graduate student at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Norris studied the acoustics of whales, later founding the innovative company Bio-Waves. With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bio-Waves improved federal policies on noise pollution and marine mammal conservation, according to The Scientist magazine. MLML will be establishing a student scholarship in his honor to support emerging marine mammal scientists who embrace creative methods in their research. He is survived by his wife Danielle.
Deanna C. (Dias) Perkinton, ’98 Business, MBA, on Sept. 13. She was 51. A Morgan Hill resident who graduated from Live Oak High School in 1987, she was a pharmaceutical representative with Solvay, Abbott Labs and AbbVie, Inc. Perkinton loved recreational softball and was a strong supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, helping to orchestrate charitable drives for the cause. She is survived by her husband of 19 years, George, and sons Joshua and Tyler, all of Morgan Hill.
Nicole Jennifer Stone, ’98 Hospitality Management, on May 3, of cancer, age 45. A Los Gatos High School four-time state rowing champion, she worked in tourism in Costa Rica after SJSU graduation before leading a successful career as an event coordinator and serving as PTA President at Forest Hill Elementary. She is survived by Tim Stone, her husband of 20 years, and sons Jaeger (19), Walker (16) and Kayden (13).
Stephen C. O’Brien, ’07 Biological Science, on March 16. O’Brien grew up in Cupertino. He enjoyed identifying plants, bugs, and birds, and loved teaching and giving public tours at the Cheeseman Environmental Study Area at De Anza College, where he was known as “Uncle Bug.” O’Brien retired to Grass Valley, closer to his beloved outdoors. He was 64.
Constance “Connie” Chin, ’12 MS History, on Aug. 6. She was 74. Chin taught at Stanford University for 43 years, managing its Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS). Chin’s graduate work at San José State earned her a master’s degree in ancient and medieval history, concentrating on the history of the Silk Road. In 2013, she crossed Mongolia and the northern Silk Road by train, exploring Silk Road cities and interviewing residents.
Travis Matthew Lopez, ’13 Information Systems Management, on May 29. Lopez, born on January 11, 1982, is survived by his fiancé Jessica Ponce and many relatives. A 2000 Escalon Escalon High School graduate, he was an SJSU Outstanding Graduating Senior, working in Hong Kong while at San José State through the Thompson Global Internship program. After graduation, he worked as a business analyst at Netapp in Sunnyvale. He started the World Changer Scholarship at SJSU, a scholarship to which donations are welcome.
Virginia Cooper Barnes—known to all as “Pony”—attended Occidental, Pomona, and Scripps, ultimately attaining her doctorate in education at Stanford. She taught in the Palo Alto public schools before moving to San José State University to serve 25 years, retiring as head of the Department of Teacher Education in 1987. That year she converted her Summer Girls Camp to the Montecito-Sequoia High Sierra Family Vacation Camp, which she sold in 2006. An educational pioneer and business visionary, Barnes crafted educational experiences that foster joyful connections through play and recreation, touching thousands of lives of thousands of family campers and SJSU students. She died on July 22 at the age of 95.
Alan Barnett, age 91, on June 20. Barnett received a philosophy degree in 1948 from the University of Chicago, and then a master’s in comparative literature and Ph.D. in esthetics and art criticism from Columbia University in 1955. He met his wife of 65 years, Ruth, in San Francisco, whom he married before being drafted into the Army. Stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco, he worked as a newspaper reporter and speechwriter, later becoming an assistant professor of humanities at San Francisco State University. In 1965, he came to San José State, where he eventually retired as a full professor in 1990 after 33 years of teaching. A resident of Mill Valley, he and Ruth were social activists on civil rights, peace and criminal justice issues. In 1975 he began documenting murals and public art in Latin America, later publishing his seminal work, “Community Murals: The People’s Art,” a 410-page study. Post-retirement, he published articles on systemic racism, long before many people’s eyes opened to this issue. He was honored by the Marin Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union for “lifetime humanitarian activity.” His extended family remembers him for “a life well lived.”
C. Kenneth Bradshaw, on August 11. Professor Emeritus Bradshaw taught at SJSU from 1958 to 2001. The Bradshaw Award for an outstanding teaching assistant in the Math Department has been given each year since 1993 to the most exceptional teacher among math graduate students. A gifted teacher and associate department chair, Bradshaw was known for the many small, but mighty, steps he took to improve the quality of life for students. Department faculty members endowed the award in his honor after he retired.
Tony Sotomayor Carrillo, age 83, on May 9. The youngest of six children in a large family, Carrillo said he learned English “in a class of only Spanish-speaking kids and a teacher who didn’t know Spanish.” The experience forged in him a lifelong dedication to education for the underserved. After receiving University of Arizona bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a teaching credential, then marrying in 1958, Carrillo was elected to Arizona’s House of Representatives. One of its first Hispanics, he served three terms. He received his Ed.D. from Wayne State University and joined San José State, chairing the Department of Educational Administration. He advocated incorporating adult, migrant and bilingual education into school systems and pioneered remote learning before the Internet. He served two terms on the Board of San José’s East Side Unified High School District. Carrillo headed school district superintendent searches across the country, recruiting women and minorities into educational administration positions. In 1989, Tony and his wife Anna founded the Unfinished Journey Project, in which SJSU professors promoted higher education to underrepresented high school students by teaching college-level classes at their high schools for college credit and a path to admission. Carrillo also established the San José International Mariachi Festival and Concerts, whose workshops were incorporated into music classes in schools throughout California, using music to drive students’ interest in math and science. A great joketeller and gardener, Carrillo is survived by his wife Anna, four sons, and many other loving family members.
Jonathan Hallett Lovell, age 74, on April 14, in San José. Lovell received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a master’s from the University of Oxford, and in 1980 a doctorate from Yale. After teaching English at Columbia University in New York City, he and his family came to California, where he taught at UC Davis and Berkeley. In 1987, Lovell began teaching in the English Department of San José State University. By 1988, he was director of the San José Area Writing Project—a teacher of teachers. Although he retired from SJSU in 2016, he never retired from the Writing Project, and his students and friends have shared many stories about him, such as the time he lost his Saab to the sea. Hear him read from Cannery Row during a 2017 Booktalk. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, and many loving relatives.
Robert H. Manning died on August 11 in Hood River, Ore. Manning taught in the music department for three decades. He was three days shy of age 91. He joined the music department in 1969, served as principal bass in the San José Symphony, and conducted church choir at Stone Presbyterian Church. Manning also taught numerous regional orchestras, private bass lessons, and at summer music camps. Since 1998, he had lived near his daughter and granddaughters in Vancouver “in a home on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River where they were inspired daily by the spectacular views and incredible wildlife,” his family wrote. He was preceded in death by June, his wife of 59 years, and is survived by his sister-in-law Nancy, of Salinas, where Manning was buried.
David R. Simi, age 72, on June 29. A resident of San José, Simi received his master’s degree in music and later spent 42 years as a professor of music at SJSU. For half a century he was music director and organist at Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran church.
W. Richard “Rik” Whitaker, ’64 Journalism, and SJSU broadcast journalism professor, on Sept. 10. Whitaker was. As an SJSU senior, he had joined KNTV-TV in San José as news reporter, film editor and photographer. He later worked as a late-night news director, a news photographer for KXTV-TV in Sacramento, and a reporter for the San José Mercury-News. While completing his Ph.D. at Ohio University in the summer of 1970, his coverage of student riots won an Ohio Newspaper Publishers Association award. Whitaker returned to SJSU to teach from 1972 to 1977. After several other faculty positions elsewhere, including at the American University in Cairo, he settled at SUNY Buffalo State in 1984, chairing its journalism department. He retired in 2007 as emeritus professor of journalism and broadcasting. A public affairs officer in the Naval Reserve for two decades, he retired with the rank of commander. Whitaker is survived by his wife Ramona, two children, and many step-children, step-grandchildren; and step-great-grandchildren. He was 80.