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John Richard Witt
July 2, 1947 - Nov. 4, 2017
Palo Alto, California

John Witt, July 2, 1947-Nov. 4, 2017, single father, Cherokee, E-6 Staff Sergeant, Vietnam Vet, helped himself by helping others. On November 4, 2017, Staff Sergeant John Witt, a lifelong smoker, died swiftly from lung cancer despite emergency surgery and extraordinary care from the team at the Palo Alto VA Hospital. He was 70 years old, and except for the year he served in Vietnam defending freedom, he lived life on his own terms and never thought of death. Even in his final hours he refused to say goodbye, just a simple reassurance to his little brother, James, “I’ll be alright.” Born July 2, 1947, in Oakland, California, John Witt was the happy-go-lucky first son of high school sweethearts Jack and Sophie Geraldine Witt. His affable nature paved the way for a kid brother, James, who was born six years later. “Jerry” as their mother was known, rarely spoke about their Cherokee heritage but this bloodline would ultimately fuel John’s life calling -- helping Native American vets receive the health benefits they deserved. A graduate of Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, John was a proud Eagle Scout with a thirst for adventure and the great outdoors. He began...

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Audrey Muriel Reider
Jan. 15, 1933 - Nov. 3, 2017
Portola Valley, CA

A resident at the Sequoias Retirement Community in Portola Valley, California, Audrey Muriel Reider (nee Dwyer), 84, passed away suddenly on Friday, Nov. 3 at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California. Born on Jan. 15, 1933, in the small, South Wales mining town of Bargoed to Eunice and Clifford (“Cliff”) Dwyer, Audrey grew up in, and always loved, the South Wales mining valleys. Her father worked as a colliery fitter and Audrey loved to reminisce about long walks over the mountains above the town with her father, dodging sheep and Welsh ponies running wild on the moors. She attended local schools and excelled academically. Audrey also loved school sports, including swimming and playing rounders and netball. After she moved to the United States, she regaled anyone that would listen with stories of how baseball is just like rounders and basketball is just like netball! Audrey was the first member of her family to attend college, graduating with a degree in history from Aberystwyth University in Wales. Audrey valued education highly, and worked as a teacher for the whole of her professional life, rising to the position of principal at Long Lane School, a small country s...

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Martha C. Hu
Nov. 11, 1916 - Nov. 2, 2017
Palo Alto, California

Martha C. Hu, a long time resident of Palo Alto, died peacefully in her home on Nov. 2, 2017, at the age of 100. Mrs. Hu was born outside of Changsha, Hunan Province, China to a large, caring family. She attended a missionary school in Changsha and then National Central University in Chongqing with a degree in education and psychology. She would always praise her parents for being so enlightened for their time, seeing the worth of educating all their children to the highest level possible, even sending them overseas. During the tumultuous times of World War II, she was selected by the Chinese government to be part of an elite group of Chinese graduate students (including her husband-to-be, Frank S.T. Hu) to come to universities in the United States to study abroad. She was very proud of her attendance at Stanford University in 1945 where she received a master's in education. She then attended a graduate program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with the intent to return to China, but world politics prevented a return to China for decades. She and her family lived in Illinois and New York prior to moving to California. The family moved from Berkeley to Palo...

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Haile Selassie Clay
Jan. 22, 1936 - Oct. 25, 2017
Montclair, Oakland, California

Haile Selassie Clay, a 50-year Palo Alto resident, lived a life worthy of celebration. The seventh of nine children born to Charles John Clay (born in Mississippi) and Emma Jean Greenfield Clay (born in Alabama), Haile entered this world on January 22, 1936, in Kinloch, Missouri. As a child, Haile cleaned the church where his father was a minister, participated in track and field, and despite the trials of racial segregation, Haile, like his siblings, was filled with the desire for learning, living life to the fullest, and taking advantage of every opportunity life afforded him. For Haile, it was not enough to be the first African-American engineering graduate at the University of Missouri. According to Who’s Who of College Students in America 1957-1958, while he was earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Haile was Dunklin House secretary and governor; Men’s Residence Halls Association secretary; Association of College and University Residence Halls representative; a member on the University Health Commission; a musical presentation participant; a track-and-field athlete; a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; a member of Sigma Rho Sigma; a Sunday...

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Barbara Christiani
Feb. 3, 1926 - Oct. 5, 2017
Mountain View, California

Barbara Christiani passed away peacefully on Oct. 5, 2017, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was 91 years old and had been living independently in Mountain View until the last three months of her life. A Palo Alto native and the daughter of two teachers, Barbara attended Walter Hays Elementary, Jordan Junior High and Palo Alto High. She studied biology at U.C. Berkeley and graduated from San Francisco State University in theater arts. Barbara’s work as an educator and software designer reflected her lifelong interest in nature, science and the arts as well as her passion for social justice. She taught at Nairobi Day and High School in East Palo Alto with Gertrude Wilkes; at Walden, an alternative school in San Mateo and at Peninsula, an independent school in Menlo Park. While there, Barbara became interested in the use of technology for teaching. This led to a midlife career change when she joined Addison Wesley as a science editor in their electronic textbook division. Barbara’s usage of hyperlinks in her textbooks to connect related information and laser disks to provide access to video imagery were innovative uses of information technology that predat...

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Most recent memorials

Bruce C. Allen
May 21, 1952 - Nov. 9, 2017 Pleasanton, CA

Bruce Allen passed away on November 9, 2017, after a brief battle with cancer. Gentle and happy, he was always willing to lend a hand to someone in need of help. He was born in Redwood City to Grover and Andree Allen and attended San Carlos High School, Class of 1970. He was a 35-year member of ...

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Sidney A. Self
April 16, 1928 - Nov. 5, 2017 Menlo Park, CA

Sidney Self, 89, a retired Stanford engineering professor, passed away on November 5, 2017. Sidney grew up in a working-class family in East London, where educational opportunities were limited. World War II brought major social changes to England and, at the end of the war, merit-based scholarsh...

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William G. Garwood
July 1, 1916 - Oct. 30, 2017 Sonoma, CA

Born on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in World War I, William Guy Garwood lived a long and highly artistic life. Born in Cle Elum, Washington, William left home at an early age to seek his fortune. Living in Honolulu at the outbreak of World War II, he served in the South Pacific then ...

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William J. Connor
March 30, 1919 - Oct. 26, 2017 Portola Valley, California

WILLIAM JOSEPH CONNOR March 30, 1919 - October 26, 2017 William Joseph Connor, resident of Portola Valley since 1956, passed away on October 26, at the age of 98.  He was born in Utica, New York to Charles and Florence Connor. His Grandfather, Joseph Connor was a railroad engineer who trave...

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