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Elizabeth Loughran Whitehill
May 19, 1927 - May 24, 2020
Palo Alto, CA

Elizabeth "Betsey" Whitehill died peacefully in her home on May 24, 2020 in Palo Alto, CA at the age of 93. Betsey was born on May 19, 1927 in London, England to Joseph Loughran and Eliza Horsley. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology in 1953. She married Kenneth Whitehill in 1958 and raised three sons, Steven, David, and Peter, in Palo Alto, CA. Betsey was a substitute teacher and childcare worker and showed love for all children, both her own and those in her care at work. She valued her faith and attended the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. In her spare time, she enjoyed walking around the neighborhood, spending time with her family and discovering new hobbies such as coloring. Betsey was optimistic, generous, and loving, and she will be sorely missed. Elizabeth Whitehill is survived by her son, David, and her three grandchildren, Victoria, Christine, and Matthew....

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Tom Collins
Oct. 13, 1934 - May 22, 2020
Palo Alto, California

Thomas “Tom” Joseph Collins, of Palo Alto, CA, died at Mission Hospice in Redwood City on May 22, 2020, after a short illness. Tom was a terrific dad, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and, most of all, husband—he sorely missed his wife Marge every day of the ten years since her death. Tom had a robust appetite for life, food, wine, and family, and he had friends across the country and the world. Tom had surely heard every possible “Tom Collins” joke and still reacted with humor every time someone joked about his name, even if he didn’t care for the drink. If you’re going to raise a glass to Tom Collins (which you should do), let it be Brunello or scotch! Tom was born in 1934 to William “Bill” Collins and Ora Welte Collins, a German-Irish Catholic family, in the tiny farming town of Danbury, Iowa in the midst of the Great Depression. Tom’s dad owned the local Ford dealership; Tom learned to drive at an early age, which fostered a life-long love of cars, whether foreign, domestic, racing, or model. Tom started college at Creighton University in Omaha, but soon began to work at Beneficial Finance and to woo a certain Margery Theobald back in Mapleton, IA a...

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Raj Marphatia
June 17, 1959 - May 8, 2020
Palo Alto, California

Raj Marphatia passed away from cancer in his home in Palo Alto, California on May 8, 2020. He was at peace with his illness and reached the end of his life lovingly surrounded by his daughters, Maya and Leena, and his partner, Carolyn. Family and friends around the world were present in spirit. The beloved son of Chandrakala and Ravi Marphatia, Raj grew up in Bombay, India. At 17, he came to the United States on a Rotary scholarship. Raj landed as an exchange student in Iowa, where he fell in love with cheeseburgers, baseball, and all things American. He remained in the US, attended Harvard University on a full scholarship, and went on to earn a Masters in Accounting from Northeastern University and a JD from Harvard Law School. Raj became the first non-white president of the Harvard Law Review in 1987. In his 30 year career with the law firm Ropes & Gray, he earned widespread professional respect for his sage advice, attentive mentorship, and unfailing determination. Fiercely committed to his work, Raj helped to build the firm’s private funds practice into a national powerhouse. Though Raj was eternally humble about his accomplishments, they were numerous and outstanding...

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James O. Starr
Dec. 28, 1934 - May 7, 2020
Portola Valley, California

Our beloved patriarch, James Oliver Starr, born December 28, 1934, passed on May 7, 2020 after a brief struggle with pancreatic carcinoma. Jim was raised in Yosemite Valley and attended the Valley’s one-room school through the eighth grade – he moved to Fresno, California to complete his high school education. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 3 years, Jim trained in dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco. He met the love of his life, Pamela Starr, during summer break in Yosemite. They were married at the Yosemite Chapel in 1956 and remained inseparable. Besides his family, Jim’s other loves included skiing until he was 84 (he said his body “tingled” when skiing), cycling, sailing, travel, photography, and woodturning. His turned blocks of wood will adorn many homes and offices for centuries to come. Jim Starr’s dental career spanned 42 years, beginning in Hawaii when he was an Air Force Captain. In 1962, he moved to Palo Alto, where his career in private practice flourished. While he enjoyed working in the dental profession, he lived for his patients. Caring for generations of families was the lifeblood of Jim’s work, and his love of i...

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Regina Clyne
Sept. 23, 1934 - May 2, 2020
Menlo Park, CA

Regina passed away peacefully at her home in Sharon Heights (Menlo Park) after living gracefully for years with Parkinson’s Disease. She was born on September 23, 1934 in San Francisco to parents Lucille (Stryker) and Reginald Craig. She spent her youth in San Francisco attending Star of the Sea Catholic School, and later worked for the Hawaiian Oil Company of San Francisco. In 1957 she married George Clyne, President of Collins Electric. For many years they lived in Woodside and Sharon Heights with their son Sean Clyne. She was predeceased by her husband in 2011, and her twin sister Lucille Barlow. She is survived by her, son Sean (Esther), her brother James Craig, and many nieces and nephews. Regina contributed to the lives of many people through her kindness and generosity. She supported and volunteered at the Saint Francis Center in Redwood City and with her husband, was among the founders of the Benedictine College Preparatory school (Woodside Priory) in Portola Valley. As active members of Menlo Country Club, Regina and George loved playing golf. Regina greatly enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid tennis player, developing many friendships through these interests, a...

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Linda Williams
Sept. 13, 1938 - April 27, 2020
Lincoln, California

Linda Price Williams joined her angels on April 27, 2020, surrounded with the love of her family, at home in Sun City Lincoln Hills, CA. She was unexpectedly taken by a stroke. Her sunny personality will be missed by many. Linda grew up climbing trees and exploring grassy fields in Menlo Park, CA when it was still “in the country.” Her life was about doing everything to the fullest. She was a force to keep up with - full of passion, energy and love. The daughter of Stanford graduates and long-time Ladera residents, she attended Las Lomitas School in Atherton, CA and then Menlo-Atherton High School, graduating in 1956. She went on to study at San Francisco State University and San Jose State University, graduating with honors, attaining a degree of her own design from San Jose State in 1974. She married John J. Williams of Palo Alto, (Palo Alto Swim Club founder) in 1959 and raised three children. She pursued and achieved success in many careers during her lifetime. During her early days, she was a lifeguard and swim instructor and worked at Rinconada Pool and Parker Academy. She also worked for the Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Department and Preuss Pharmacy in Menlo Park d...

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Beverly M. Oaks
Sept. 7, 1925 - April 11, 2020
Woodside, California

Beverly M. Oaks Obituary Beverly died April 11th 2020 at the age of 94. Bev was a resident of Woodside, CA, for 51 years and a lifelong resident of San Mateo County. She attended local elementary schools and Burlingame high school. Bev was athletic and lettered in sports. She played in the Drum and Bugle corps and played drums in high school, where she met Norman Oaks whom she later married. Bev loved math and science and studied nursing at St. Luke's hospital in SF, Ca. as part of the Cadet Nursing Corps during WWII. Cal Berkeley and Shell Oil offered her a scholarship for advanced studies in chemistry but she felt nursing offered broader challenges, especially ER and surgical nursing.She worked for much of her adult life at Stanford Hospital and Stanford student health (then called Cowell Infirmary). After WWII Bev and Norm married and settled on the peninsula where they raised four children, Donald Oaks, Patricia Naylor, Marilyn Smith and Virginia Oaks. Bev was a wonderful teacher and enjoyed being a girl scout leader, 4H leader and an early founding member of Christ Church in Portola Valley. Many remember Bev for her jams and jellies she made and sold at the Kings Mount...

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Ernestine Zabala
Feb. 27, 1915 - March 31, 2020
Menlo Park, CA

Ernestine (Ernie) Zabala passed away on March 31, 2020 at the age 105. Ernestine was born on February 27th 1915 in La Paz, Santa Rosalia, Baja, CA. She was married to Salvador Zabala (predeceased) for 47 years and they were blessed with 5 Children, Victor, Sylvia, Rebecca, Lucille (Cille) and Salvador Jr. (who died serving his country in Vietnam). Ernestine had 8 Grandchildren, 20 Great-Grandchildren and 20 Great-Great-Grandchildren. Ernestine was a loving, kind, beautiful lady, devout catholic with incredibly strong faith and a longtime parishioner of Nativity Catholic Church in Menlo Park. She left behind a legacy of love, laughter, a faith-based family and an appreciation for a nice glass of Chardonnay. She has left a lifetime of beautiful memories to her entire family and lived a full life modeling family values, integrity, an always positive attitude and was the most unselfish individual you could ever meet. For those who knew her best, Ernestine was a true blessing from God. Her family takes joy in knowing Ernestine was welcomed into Heaven and is joined by so many of her loved ones who passed on before her. Ernestine passed away peacefully in her home of 61 years with longti...

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Debby Ide Ruskin
Sept. 11, 1944 - March 28, 2020
Palo Alto, California

Deborah Ide Ruskin, a Palo Alto resident and landscape designer died at home on March 28 surrounded by her family following a 2 1/2 year battle with cancer, Debby will be remembered by many for the beautiful residential gardens she created in the peninsula and south bay. She graduated from University of Arizona with a degree in Fine Arts and from Berkeley Extension Program in Landscape Architecture. Partnering with her daughter, Amy Palmer, Ruskin Gardens design and fine gardening business became well known and highly respected in the area. She helped found the California chapter of APLD, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and later served as the secretary/treasurer of the National Association. She was involved with the Palo Alto Garden Club for many years and was invaluable in labeling all plants for the annual Gamble’s Spring Garden Tour. Debby was the anchor of her blended family and will be sorely missed by her husband Rob Ruskin, daughter Amy Palmer (Gadi Zohar) and sons Josh Palmer (Heather), Ethan Ruskin (Korinne) and Dan Ruskin (Kari) as well as 7 awesome grandchildren Landon and Braden Palmer, Izzy and Ben Zohar and Matthew, Ryan and Ellen R...

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Most recent memorials

Nicholas L. Spetzler
March 24, 2004 - April 23, 2020 Portola Valley, California

Our beloved son, Nicholas, passed away on April 23rd at the age of 16. This was a sudden and unexpected exit, although Nico did have a known heart condition. He had had a good day, taking walks in the California spring, working on his Dungeons & Dragons world to play with his friends. Nico was in ...

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Robert O. Jack
July 21, 1930 - April 22, 2020 Palo Alto, CA

Robert Otis Jack, age 89, died peacefully surrounded by his family (one at a time due to the Coronavirus), on April 22rd, 2020. Bob was born in Arlington, South Dakota on July 21, 1930 to Rollo and Ethel (Cottingham) Jack. In high school he was active in sports, playing on the varsity basketball tea...

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Harold Sweeney
Oct. 18, 1927 - April 22, 2020 San Francisco, CA

Harold Earl Sweeney, 92, of Menlo Park passed away of natural causes on Tuesday, April 22.  Harold was born October 18, 1927 in Fairmont, Minnesota to James and Irene Sweeney and was the youngest of their 3 children.  After graduating from high school, Harold enlisted into the Navy and was one ...

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Carleton C. Hoffner, Jr.
April 23, 1931 - April 21, 2020 Palo Alto, California

Carleton Crosby Hoffner, Jr. died in his home 2 days before his 89th birthday. He passed peacefully with his loving son and wife of 66 years by his side. As the only child born to Rear Admiral Carleton C. Hoffner, Sr. and Josephine Huber Hoffner in Washington DC on April 23, 1931, Carl wanted to ...

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