Claude G. Alexander
Sept. 15, 1924-March 17, 2012
Menlo Park, California
Claude G. (Alex) Alexander was born in San Diego on September 15, 1924 and died in Redwood City on March 17, 2012 from congestive heart failure.
Returning from Army service in France during World War II, Alex received his BA and MA from Oregon State University and his Ph.D. in Zoology from UCLA in 1955.
After accepting a faculty position at San Francisco State University, Alex and his family moved to the Bay Area, first living in Palo Alto, then San Carlos, Woodside and finally, Menlo Park.
While at SF State, Alex conducted research on the physiology and parasites of sharks, skates and rays from the Pacific Ocean and the parasites of fresh water fish from lakes and streams from Canada through Baja California. Other research trips took him to Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and to Enewetak, Marshall Islands.
However, Alex's great love was teaching and mentoring several generations of biology undergrad and graduate students at SF State until his retirement in 1987. He always thought of his students as colleagues and never held formal office hours -- the doors to his office and lab were always open, even on nights and weekends, to accommodate his working students' difficult schedules.
Alex was an active sportsman all his life; he played basketball for the U.S. Army and OSU and organized weekly pickup games (faculty v students) at SF State. A high school track and field star, he continued to run or walk several miles a day and participated in a couple of Bay to Breakers, several 10Ks and half-marathons and one marathon.
In retirement, Alex pursued his long-deferred interest in the arts by taking creative writing, art history and painting classes at Canada College.
He served on the Vestry and was an active member of the weekly Men's Breakfast group at Christ Church, Portola Valley.
In 2005, he and his wife, Betsy, bought a condo in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and enjoyed many months with old and new friends in that beautiful country.
Alex is survived by his wife, Betsy, his son, Mark, his daughters Leigh and Kay and five grandchildren.
Services will be held on Saturday, April 14, at 11 a.m. at Christ Church, Portola Valley, with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be sent, payable to "UCorp SF State" with "Bio-Alexander" on the memo line, to Michael A. Goldman, Chair, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 04132-1722. Donations to this fund will help the Department continue to provide the full range of biology courses amid continuing budget challenges.