Oct. 28, 1924-July 9, 2012
After a long struggle recovering from a fall, Vera Kreekis Bryan James died July 9, 2012, at her home in Woodside surrounded by her family. Her keen intelligence, wit, grace and lively sense of humor will be missed.
She was born in San Francisco in 1924 to Latvian parents and showed her intellect early, graduating from Lowell High school and going on to the University of California at Berkeley advancing with a degree in Microbiology. While working on post-graduate studies in discovering a plague vaccine at the University of California in San Francisco, she met her future husband Harry E. Bryan, M.D.
After their marriage, she aided her husband with his studies and an additional doctorate of education from Stanford. Shortly after the birth of their first daughter, they went on a mission to create a Public Health Service in Thailand. There, her second daughter was born with only the assistance of her husband in the midst of gunfire of an attempted coup d’etat in Chonburi.
After returning to the states, Harry began his role as Director of Student Health at Washington State University, where they completed their family with two additional sons.
Although she continued to keep up her credentials in microbiology, she expanded her interests, joining, and eventually leading as president of the American Association of University Women.
In 1961 the family moved back to their beloved California where Harry established a private practice in Psychiatry, and taught at Stanford University. Vera became president of the California League of Women Voters, and president of the Woodside Hills Garden Club, while also serving on Woodside’s Planning Commission.
She was particularly proud of being on the committee to Save Rural Woodside. She also was a docent at Filoli and the Avery Brundage Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
Later in life she showed her proficiency in Chinese brush painting, becoming a student of Hau Pei-jen, showing her work and winning awards in Shanghai and Beijing in 1995.
After Harry’s death in 1992 and a successful battle against breast cancer, she married Carlton Starbuck James, also of Woodside, in 1995. After his death a few years later, several injuries forced her to a quiet life of improving her orchids and enjoying her family.
She is survived by Laura Ann Bryan, J.D. (m. Timothy Logan), Woodside CA, Mary Beth Bryan McNabb, M.D. (m. Daniel McNabb) Los Gatos CA, George Edwin Bryan, McKinleyville, CA, Marshall Albert Bryan, MPH (m. Alicia Kniska Bryan), Sykesville, MD, and two grandchildren Ian Alexander Bryan McNabb (m. Lisa Kelia) a doctoral student in Astrophysics, Beijing, China, and Arran Elizabeth Bryan McNabb, Pasadena, CA.
She continued her insightful and well thought out correspondence with her numerous local and international friends and family until her death. Although she was an avid gardener, the family requests consideration, in lieu of flowers, to contribute on Vera’s behalf to support one’s preferred college or university.