Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Born in Compton, California, Dorothy “June” Sythe M.A. ’76 grew up in Ely, Nevada, and returned to the Los Angeles area in the 1940s, where she worked for Bank of America and Lockheed. During this time she enjoyed dancing to the music of Glenn Miller and other big bands at the Palladium. After the war, June married Bob Sythe and started her family. They moved to Santa Clara County in 1959, settling in the mountains above Los Gatos. While raising four children, she attended San Jose State, graduating in 1964 with a B.A. in education, later earning her master’s from SCU. In 1966, June began her teaching career at R.J. Fisher Jr. High, where she taught English, creative writing, and reading lab. June loved teaching, and she also loved learning. After taking computer classes at Stanford, she pioneered one of the nation’s (and Silicon Valley’s) first elementary school computer labs at Fisher using the Apple II. June also wrote beautiful hymns and poetry as well as a children’s book. For 20 years, she published The Muse, a collection of Fisher student poetry, art, and writing. Always the lover of music and the arts, June was an active member of the Los Gatos Community Concert Association and served as acting president (1999–2003). In 2008, June was honored by Los Gatos as honorary citizen-of-the-year for her service to the people of the community. After retirement, she started work with the Red Cross, when she took the lead in managing a food center for mountain residents after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. She continued with “Project Reindeer,” providing Christmas gifts and food to families in the Los Gatos schools who needed help during the holiday season. June earned her 15-year service award with the Red Cross. Since a young girl, June loved sky and cloud watching with her brother, Richard. She took flying lessons in the 1940s and even applied to be the first teacher in space with NASA in 1985. She passed away peacefully at home on Nov. 27,2017, surrounded in love by her four children. The heavens always held a special interest for June. She is now surely soaring among the stars. June is preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Robert R. Sythe. She is survived by her brother, Richard Peterson; her four children, Dan Sythe, Rob Sythe, Laurie Praskin, and Andy Sythe; nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren, and five great-great grandchildren. June touched many lives with her kindness and generosity. She will be greatly missed by her family and community.