Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Shirlene Ann Soto ’69 and her husband, Walter Elliott, died in a tragic car accident, Friday, October 23, 2009. Shirlene was born in January 1947 at Mountain View hospital in San Luis Obispo. Walt was born in June 1925 in Southern California. Shirlene was the epitome of a well-rounded individual. She excelled in school, and earned her bachelor”s degree from San Francisco State University and master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. She wrote books and articles, was a savvy businesswoman, mastered two languages and was the best daughter, sister, aunt and wife anyone could ask for. Shirlene was greatly admired for her light-hearted jokes and calm, sensitive nature. She taught at several universities, including Cal Poly, University of New Mexico, College of the Canyons, UCLA and University of Northridge. Walt was known for his generosity and quick-witted comments. He always had a joke to tell and a smile on his face. Walt’s school accomplishments included a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in physics. He served the country during World War II and taught Physics at Cal Poly in his early days. Later in life, he worked for Rocketdyne, Boeing and other companies associated with space travel and research. Shirlene and Walt met while teaching at Cal Poly. They enjoyed traveling the world and had visited various places in South America, Mexico, Europe, China, and Russia. After retirement, they retired to their dream home in Los Osos, which they designed and built. Shirlene is survived by her parents, Vernon and Althea Soto of Cambria; and brother, Robert Soto. Walt is survived by his sister, Adele Brink of San Diego, Calif.