This is a new section aimed at keeping you informed about special things that are happening in classmates' lives -- news you’d like to share with regard to life changes, awards and recognitions – and any other important and fun stuff that has touched your life or that of a family member.
Perhaps the "newest news" is that we already have changed the page name from "News & Notes" to "What's New?" Life is short. Live dangerously.
Send your inputs to Steve at SeaChells@mcn.org.
January 2016: The committee just learned of the passing of Colleen Garcelon in Redwood City this past December after a long battle with lung cancer. We could not find a posted obituary.
Ken Della Santina
Check the "In Memoriam" page for updates ...
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We just heard from Patty Gadow Graham following her close call with the somewhat recent fire in San Bruno. Her message:
This is to let all of you know since the fire here in San Bruno, 2 blocks away from my daughter's home and 4 from mine, things are beginning to get better. God was with all of us that night. Our homes were not affected by any fire damage; however, I was evacuated, given just enough time to get my dogs and any meds I might need, from the area. The only thing "destroyed" was my computer, so I have had to borrow time from my daughter's. We were without electricty and gas for a couple of days. We were very lucky. The fire was contained in the canyon just below me. Had it been on level land the devastation would have been much greater, and my home was straight in the path. All the firefighters, and other emergency people really did a grat job. I spent about a week and a half with my daughter and her family before moving back to my home. Her home is south and up the hill from the fire area, off the same street the fire started. The cleanup continues and we are very sad for the family and friends of the eight who lost their lives. San Bruno is a small community and the oupouring of help was -- and still is -- a beautiful thing to see. Thanks to all of you who called or emailed to see if I was all right. I appreciate all your prayers and well wishes ... they certainly came at a good time. We still have some bad nights of remembering, knowing what could have been, but they are to be expected. Again, thanks for all your prayers. With much affection to all of you, Pattie (Patricia Gadow Graham, email@example.com)
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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on September 28, 2010
William Marvin White
Resident of Redwood City
Aka Bill, Billy, Whitey
May 9, 1941 - Sept. 28, 2009
Bill was born in San Francisco CA, to parents LeBoyd and Dorothy White. Bill was a brother, uncle and our friend. Bill never married nor had children, so we all became his family. It was a sad day when his brother spread the news to us that Bill had succumbed to the cancer he fought so valiantly for nearly half his life. By his own choice he spent his final days at the Veterans Hospital.
Bill like his father before him was a proud Marine. Then Bill you were just gone, so today on the anniversary of your taking your long last ride your friends and neighbors lovingly acknowledge that you were here, and you were special to us. Bill spent most of his years in Redwood City, where he attended grammar school, and Sequoia High School. One of the last things on his bucket list was to be a guest at the 50th reunion of the class of '59. Sadly it was not to be, but he was there in spirit.
Bill loved restoring old cars, trucks, and his Harley. He loved good music and could he dance! He could keep you laughing with his antics, and make you so mad with others. Lastly, he loved the dogs he had over his lifetime that were his constant companions. He was a consummate sheet metal professional, owning and working for several shops in the area. Billy you are missed at our motorcycle rides, breakfasts, lunches and of course trying to keep your neighbors on their toes. So Bill, taking license with a song you liked," Billy, Billy, You were a friend of ours, are you walking tall, are you sitting PROUD there in heaven, have all your final wishes come true?" P.S. the plane still waits.
In Memoriam: Bonnie Haaby Patterson Jimenez
Bonnie Joy Haaby Patterson Jimenez, passed away on January 26, 2010, at Kaiser in Roseville CA. She is survived by her daughter Cassi Patterson and son Michael Patterson. You can read the obituary online in the Sacramento Bee. Classmate Sue Berson Rapley sent an email on August 8, 2010, informing us of Bonnie's passing.
In Memoriam: Faye Baccei Knecht
Faye Joanne Baccei Knecht, passed away on June 29, 2010, in New Denver, British Columbia. She leaves behind a son, John Knecht. Classmate Linda Faubion Hoolhorst sent an email on July 11, 2010, informing us of Faye's passing.
In Memoriam: Shelby Millington Miller
This from Classmate Prue Parsons Miller on 5/21/10:
Yesterday at 2:30PM Shelby passed away from cancer throughout her body. She had suffered a stroke on March 24th and was taken to Kaiser. While in the hospital it was found that she had stage four cancer in her brain, neck, back and lungs. She was released and was at home until she had a fall and broke her hip and leg. She was taken back to Kaiser.
Chris, his wife, Monica and a long time friend were with her when she passed. Below is the obit written by Chris.
Shelby Ann Miller was born November 14, 1941, and passed away on May 20, 2010, surrounded by family and friends. She is survived by her son, Chris and daughter-in-law Monica of Sacramento, California. She is preceded in death by her parents Wayne and Georgia Millington of Redwood City, California. Shelby will be remembered as a wonderful mother, “second mother” and friend by all who knew her.
Always active in life, Shelby served as PTA President of Thomas Kelly Elementary School in Carmichael, California, and as a volunteer at La Casita Gift Shop which benefits the Sacramento Children’s Home. Throughout the 1980’s, Shelby ran a day care center, touching the lives of the many children under her care.
Shelby had the opportunity to live along the Sea of Cortez in the early 1990’s, a time which she remembered fondly. There she enjoyed a relaxed life collecting seashells and making friends from all over the world.
Upon returning to Sacramento, Shelby became manager of The Mixed Bag in Midtown Sacramento. Many customers over the years remember Shelby as the always helpful and generous employee who helped them find what they needed when shopping at “The Bag.”
Although she lost her battle with cancer, Shelby will continue to live on in the memories of her friends and family. Services for Shelby will be announced. She asked that in lieu of flowers that well-wishers contribute to either Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary of Sacramento or to Downtown Area Young Life.
In Memoriam: Music Teacher Robert Lee Clark
From Ione Cheeseborough Cunningham:
Mr. Clark, our wonderful choir teacher at Sequoia, passed away on March 23rd in Magalia, Ca. He was 89. Those of us in Treble Clef and A Capella may be interested in this and also they might like to know that he never forgot anyone he taught.
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Alaska Cruise Canceled: Not enough sign-ups report planners Jerry Schutz & Barbara Grace Lindeman.
In Memoriam: Joe Durelli
Memories of Joe
I first met Joe when he enrolled at John Gill School after his family moved from Chicago. Because he was overweight as a youngster, Joe endured a lot of abuse from his schoolmates, including me. In spite of the name calling, he had the courage to stick it out on John Gill’s sports teams. He also took piano lessons from his grandmother, which brought more wise cracks from his team mates. I can remember heated arguments in Italian between Joey and Nonna Durelli when he would rather be playing outside than practicing piano.
As we all know, the years at Sequoia were much kinder to Joe. He grew taller, lost his baby fat and became a powerful athlete. Many of my memories of Joe in high school revolve around baseball. Before he tried out for pitcher on the frosh-soph team, we would go to the diamond at what is now Red Morton Park and I would stand against the backstop with a bat on my shoulder as he practiced pitching to a simulated batter. That was true friendship, because as Jack Howell has related, in those early years Joe could throw the ball very hard but nobody, especially Joe, knew where it was going.
During a game against Menlo Atherton in our junior year, it seems Joe got back at me for all the abuse in grade school. He fielded a bunt and threw the ball low and on the foul side of first base, which I caught but was immediately kneed in the side of the head by the batter and knocked out. I know Joe’s off-target throw was not intentional, but it makes a good story.
The most remarkable memory of our baseball days at Sequoia was the no-hitter Joe threw against Carlmont on opening day of our Sr. year.
During the summer before our Sr. year, our coach Bob Andersen, hired Joe, L.J. Hauss and me to help run the baseball clinic for younger boys at Red Morton Park. There was a mentally and physically disabled boy named Tommy who lived near the park and always hung around and watched the other kids play. You may have seen the email that has been circulating about such a youngster who was brought into a little league game and hit a "home run" when all the other kids allowed him to hit the ball and circle the bases safely as they made intentional errors. Toward the end of that summer more than 50 years ago, we did the same for Tommy when we encouraged him to play with the other kids and they followed our cues and let him hit a home run. Seeing Tommy’s joy, and the joy of his father who had come to the park looking for him is one of the proudest moments I shared with Joe.
Being younger than most of the kids in our class, we had to wait longer before getting our driver’s licenses. When we finally got our licenses, we didn’t have cars so had to borrow the family cars. We usually took my family’s car a, ‘50 Merc, rather than the Durelli’s ‘50 Buick with Dynaflow, which was not at all a cool car to be cruising in. Every once in a while Joe was able to borrow Liana’s boy friend’s yellow customized Merc convertible, and then we were really cruising in style!
Joe and I had several occasions for renting tuxes together. The first was when we double-dated to the Jr. Prom. This was also my first date with my wife Diane, who had dated Joe during the previous summer. The next two times we rented tuxes were when we got married, as we were ushers in each other’s wedding party.
After high school our paths began to separate, as Joe pursued his baseball career and I went on to college. We saw each other several times a year until I bought my first new car from him at Putnam Buick and left California for my first engineering job in Pittsburgh, Pa. We only saw each other a few times after that, the most recent being two years ago when Joe came to a senior softball tournament to watch Steve Chell and me play. Joe and I had a nice long talk that day, and we were able to catch up after more than 40 years. It is ironic, but fitting, that our last time together would be in a ball park enjoying each other’s company in the warm spring sun. As you can imagine, I am eternally grateful for that day.
A Remembrance of Joe
by Steve Chell
I recall feeling sorry for Joe. He tried out as a catcher for the McKinley School 7th grade baseball team … but was cut. The same thing happened the following year as an eighth grader. He was so-o-o-o chubby, and SLOW. “This guy just keeps trying,” I thought to myself, never believing that he ever would ever make the team.
It was the summer of 1956, our sophomore year at Sequoia, when things changed for Joe – and for the baseball teams on which he played. It was the first year of Babe Ruth League in Redwood City – and Joe had lost that baby fat, grown a couple of inches – and had become – of all things – a pitcher … a wild, WILD pitcher!!!
Third baseman Jack Howell recalls having batting practice that sophomore year at Sequoia: “Joe was pitching,” he remembers. “The first pitch knocked me down, the second one hit me in the ribs, and the third one knocked me down again. I tossed away the bat and yelled at Coach Ray Dimick, “Well, that’s it for me today.” “I don’t blame you,” Ray yelled back.
It was a fun summer, that sophomore year. Friend Diane Emick Savoia, who eventually was to marry Joe’s best friend, Pete Savoia, recalls: “Joe was my first ‘serious’ boyfriend during the summer before our junior year. He wasn’t old enough to drive, and he and Pete would walk over to my house, across from Goodwin School, and then we would walk all the way to the bowling alley on Broadway. Then on the way back, Pete would go to his house, and Joe would walk me home. He was so sweet with a great sense of humor. We remained good friends and he helped me get through chemistry in our junior year. I had so wished he could have been at our 50th reunion, and he will be missed.”
As the summer went on, Joe threw better and better, developing a curve ball. He was still WILD, but that actually made him very effective. It’s called FEAR…and most of the batters who faced him had plenty of it.
By the end of summer, most guys thought he earned a spot as the #2 pitcher on Redwood City’s Babe Ruth League all-star team. Six district teams squared off at Stanford’s Sunken Diamond. We figured to win the first game against a Santa Clara team with Jim Danz pitching, but we really didn’t think we’d beat North Peninsula with Joe throwing. North Peninsula was loaded with talent, and their star was Jim Fregosi out of Serra who eventually became a major league all-star shortstop for the California Angels.
But we DID win that game behind Joe’s five-hit pitching, and we moved on to the regional tournament in Stockton. With Joe pitching, we defeated tournament-favorite Sacramento in the first game before being eliminated by Redding. The important thing, though, was that Joe became our #1 pitcher at that moment in time. He was “the man” our junior and senior years at Sequoia when we tied for the league championship both years. During those two years, my shutter-stop picture of Joe was his throwing the ball 90 miles per hour and watching most every batter back out of the batter’s box – especially on those pitches that saw Catcher Bill Lightfoot turn and run back toward the screen for a pitch that either was two feet over his head or that bounced three feet in front of home plate and skipped past him to the backstop. Yes, Joe was WILD!”
And he was FAST. Pitcher Ken DeBow, truly a “finesse” pitcher, remembers standing next to Joe with the other pitchers, all of them warming up. “We’d deliver our pitches at the same time,” relates Ken. “Joe’s fastball would explosively pop into his catcher’s glove seemingly MINUTES before my ‘heater’ nestled softly into my catcher’s mitt.”
Joe was the league’s most valuable player that junior year, and not only because of his outstanding pitching, but also because he led the league in hitting as well. He pitched a no-hitter against Carlmont our senior year and went on again to earn a berth on the all-league team, just missing winning the batting title a second year in a row. To cap off his high school career, Joe was the Most Valuable Player of the traditional North vs. South Peninsula championship baseball game, which we won largely because of Joe’s heroics.
He signed a professional contract with the Philadelphia Phillies after graduation, and he played minor league ball for both the Phillies’ and the New York Yankees’ organizations for several seasons before injuries curtailed his career.
I saw Joe only a few times in the last couple of years. The first was at a breakfast in Redwood City with two of our “mortal” high school enemies from Carlmont, Pitcher Dave Turnbull and Catcher Dave Minder. How all four of us, especially, Joe loved talking about those high school baseball years! We stayed so long the waitress stopped asking us if we wanted more coffee and started to ask us if we were ready to order lunch. “Glory Days,” to be sure, thank you Bruce Springsteen.
Another time was at our warm-up reunion at Pete’s Harbor two years ago. What a big, friendly smile Joe still had! I’ll always remember that – and how the little fat boy grew up to be such an outstanding baseball player. It was so much fun playing behind him on the infield – and being in the dugout with him. Joe will be missed – and also remembered.
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