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Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months
Albert Hopkins M.A. '87 of Los Altos passed away on January 5, 2016. He is survived by his three children. His daughter Merrell Schweitzer of Colorado, a son Alan of San Francisco, and son Donald of San Jose, a sister Merrell Hambleton of Maryland, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mr. Hopkins was born in New York City to Albert Hopkins and Nettie Beall. He moved to Los Altos, California in 1951 with his wife Merilyn, who proceeded him in death in 1981. He later married Kay Tyler in 1996. He had graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where his grandfather Henry Hopkins and great grandfather Mark Hopkins had served as presidents of the college. Following graduation Mr. Hopkins served in the merchant marine, and later worked for a mining company in South America. He served in the Navy in the Pacific in World War II.
After coming to California he worked in the construction business before starting a career at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California from which he retired in 1984. During this time he became a panelist for the American Arbitration Association and was active in community affairs. He served as vice president of the Stanford Area Boy Scout Council and president of the Los Altos Community Fund. He was one of the organizers of the Santa Clara county United Fund and became secretary of it's first board of directors.
His community activities also included service on two Los Altos school citizens committees and as president of Little league and Babe Ruth League baseball. He was a life member of the Los Altos PTA. In 1982 he became a hospice volunteer working with terminally ill patients and their families, and in 1984 became a part time member of the pastoral staff of the Los Altos United Methodist Church. In connection with his work he received a graduated degree in counseling from Santa Clara University. Recently, Mr. Hopkins was in full retirement but continued as an active member of his church.
Richard R. "Dick" Blackburn '49 passed away peacefully at home on March 1,2016 in San Jose, California at the age of 94. His loving wife Angela preceded him in death on April 6, 2010. He and Angela had no siblings or children. Dick was born August 18, 1921 in the state of California. He was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and served in Japan. After the war ended, he returned to the U.S. and enrolled at the University of Santa Clara, subsequently graduating in 1949 with a degree in Civil Engineering. After Graduation, Dick took a position with the City of San Jose Public Works Department and obtained his State license as a Professional Civil Engineer. His many projects included the planning of the major Street Network, the design and construction of the Coleman-Market Overcrossing, and many other major street widening projects. He advanced to become the Operations Engineer and as such managed the Operations and Maintenance Branch of the Department. He was subsequently promoted to Assistant Director of Public Works. Upon retirement from the City of San Jose in 1980 (after 30 years of service), Dick performed volunteer work for the University of Santa Clara adding his expertise to aide the University in the project to realign "the Alameda" around the campus. He later took a position with the city of Santa Clara working on several projects concerned with energy conservation. Dick was also founding director of the San Jose Retired Employees Association and served as a director from June 1991 to 2008.
Faculty & Staff
Professional machinist Stanley Tharaud, longtime contributor to the SCU campus community and a dedicated SCU staff member for decades, died on January 10, 2016. He was 88.
Stanley was a talented and extraordinarily clever machinist who worked closely with faculty and students in the College of Arts & Sciences. He was a champion of faculty and student research projects and did a masterful job keeping SCU research and teaching lab equipment in good working order. Stanley deisnged and built many of the apparatuses that have been, and continue to be used in the faculty research labs. He retired in November 2012 after almost 34 years of service to the University.
When Mary Gordon arrived at Santa Clara University in 1975 as a professor of history, the faculty at the formerly all-male, Jesuit school still had so few women you could count them on one hand.
Gordon felt that, like prayer, education required two hands devoutly clasped together -- raising the school's fortunes on high. By 1980, she had created the first women's studies program at one of California's most patriarchal institutions, transforming it to a more inclusive, world-class university in the process.
Gordon died on Christmas Eve, surrounded by her family,including her daughters, Alexandra and Eve Gordon. She was 89. She will be buried Jan. 9, following a private memorial service.
When she agreed to take on the task of building a women's program from scratch, Gordon extracted a promise from Father William Rewak, then the university's president, to make hiring faculty for the new women's studies program a priority. "That's the other thing Mary did that was unbelievably important in the history of Santa Clara University," said Barbara Molony, who later succeeded Gordon as director of the program. "That then brought in a whole cohort of women. Within a decade, we were having women faculty dinners that filled up an entire hall."
Gordon pushed against barriers to women throughout her career. She became the first tenured woman in the history department, the first woman in Arts and Sciences to receive an endowed chair, and the first woman faculty member to serve on the Board of Trustees. "The Santa Clara she left when she retired was a very different place from the school that hired her," said Steven Gelber, Gordon's colleague in the history department, "and she was an important force in bringing about that change."
Janet Napolitano '79, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, and now the president of the University of California, was one of Gordon's earliest students. "There weren't many women professors at Santa Clara in those days, and she served as an important role model for me," Napolitano said in a statement. "She challenged me to do my best work and to approach the study of history with analytic rigor and an appreciation of divergent points of view. I carry those values with me to this day."
Born in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, Gordon was one of only two women in her graduating class at the University of Sydney. She spent part of World War II decoding messages in Australia's nascent intelligence service and was offered a job there after graduation. She turned it down, figuring that she would never be allowed to rise above a secretarial position.
Instead, she accepted a fellowship to Radcliffe College -- then the women's adjunct to Harvard -- and in 1952 received her Master's in history. During her first week in Cambridge, legendary Harvard historian Samuel Elliot Morison assigned a reading that could only be found at a library closed to women. When Gordon asked him how she was supposed to get the material, Morison responded, "That's your problem." She had better luck with her adviser, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the influential American historian and social critic who remained a friend for the rest of his life.
After moving to California, she plunged into the state's gaudy history, editing and publishing a diary that recounted the unusual exploits of a wagon train that preceded her own journey to the Golden State. Joan Didion later referred extensively to Gordon's book, Overland to California with the Pioneer Line, in her own 2003 historical memoir, Where I Was From.
Gordon arrived at Santa Clara during the first blush of the feminist movement, but her style was collaborative, not confrontational. "People knew that she meant business," Molony said, "but her style was bubbly." Since her retirement in 1992, the university has awarded the Mary Gordon Essay Prize for excellence in feminist scholarship.
"In a profession where too many of us are content to hunker down in the safety of our book-lined and tenure-protected offices," Gelber said, "she helped move the history department from being the next step in the cosseted world of parochial education to becoming a place where students were intellectually challenged and faculty were expected to produce as well as teach."
She spent her final years living in a cottage behind the Santa Monica home of her daughter, actress Eve Gordon. With death imminent, her family gathered by Mary Gordon's bedside and sang "Silent Night." As the carol ended, she drew her final breath and died.
Friends of the University
On Friday, April 1, the de Saisset Museum lost a dear friend. Paula Z. Kirkeby was the owner of Smith Andersen Editions and a relentless advocate for artists, all the way up to her last day. Three decades ago our relationship began when she entrusted the de Saisset Museum with the Smith Andersen Editions Archive representing some of the most important California artists of our time. She facilitated many other gifts to our institution and we are forever grateful. But more importantly, we will miss her laughs, her unique perspectives, her storytelling moments, and the precious times we spent together. We will miss her, but somehow right now it is comforting to know she left her mark on our institution.
Marty Pasetta '54, a veteran director of live TV extravaganzas, including 17 Academy Awards shows and inaugural galas for Presidents Carter and Reagan, has died. He was 82.
Pasetta died May 21, 2015, from injuries sustained in a car accident in La Quinta, where he lived. During four decades in television, Pasetta directed and produced specials for many of Hollywood's biggest names, including Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and oversaw star-studded tributes to Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire and Alfred Hitchcock. He was credited with convincing Elvis Presley to suspend his drug use and lose weight for the 1973 special "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii," which has been described as the first satellite broadcast of a live concert.
The Elvis special was Pasetta's proudest achievement, according to his son, Marty Pasetta Jr. According to some estimates, more than 1 billion people worldwide saw the concert.
The show he was best known for, however, was the Academy Awards. He directed every Oscars telecast from 1972 to 1988 and was responsible for introducing split screens, instant replays and musical numbers involving large numbers of background dancers, lasers and pyrotechnics.
His years with the Oscars show were also memorable for unscripted drama, on and off stage. In 1973, for example, tempers flared backstage when Sacheen Littlefeather accepted Marlon Brando's best actor award for "The Godfather" with an overtly political speech decrying the depiction of Native Americans in film. John Wayne was in the wings "and was so angry he wanted to go out and pull her off stage," Pasetta recalled in an interview with United Press International in 1984.
Then there was the time that presenter Charlton Heston's car blew a tire on the freeway. As a last-minute replacement for the actor known for playing Moses in the "The Ten Commandments" Pasetta yanked Clint Eastwood from his seat in the audience.
"That was the year the writers had got very clever," Pasetta recalled in the Chicago Tribune years later. "It was all written in Biblicalese — 'thou' this, 'thou' that — and poor Clint couldn't paraphrase it.... It totally freaked him out."
Pasetta also presided over the 1974 program disrupted by a naked man who "streaked" across the stage behind Elizabeth Taylor and David Niven. "We have been accused over the years of planning that one," Pasetta told the Chicago Tribune, "but it's not true."
The prank prompted a witty comeback from Niven, who said: "The man is showing off his shortcomings."
Martin Allen Pasetta was born June 16, 1932, in San Jose. He attended Santa Clara University, but dropped out to work at San Francisco's KGO-TV, where he rose to stage manager and producer. He later moved to Los Angeles, landing his first major directing job on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" in 1967. He also helped launch and direct the long-running game shows "Wheel of Fortune" and "Love Connection."
In 1971, Fr. Schmidt asked Marty to take responsibility for securing the talent and staging the show at the Golden Circle Theatre Party, one of Silicon Valley’s most spectacular and successful fundraisers. Pasetta said, "Who could say no to Father Schmidt?" For the next 15 years, he flew in from Hollywood with entertainers, musicians, and a skeleton stage crew, all of whom donated their services to the University and made for an unforgettable legacy.
In addition to his son Marty, Pasetta is survived by his wife, Elise, daughter, Debbie Palacio '84, son Gregory and five grandchildren.
Superior Court Judge John Thomas Ball J.D. '58 passed from this life Nov. 10, 2015, in Reno, Nevada, from recent health complications at the age of 82. Born in San Jose, California, John spent his early years residing in the Santa Cruz Mountains before moving to Los Gatos, where he graduated from high school. John went on to obtain his Bachelor's Degree from the University of California Berkeley before enrolling in the University of Santa Clara where he obtained his Law Degree.
After practicing law for twenty-eight years in San Jose, John was appointed as a Municipal Court Judge for the County of Santa Clara serving three years before being elevated to the Superior Court of Santa Clara where he presided mainly in criminal cases for some twenty years.
Following his retirement and a move to Plumas County in 2001, John became part of the Assigned Judges Program traveling throughout Northern California for the past fourteen years hearing mainly felony criminal cases mainly in Lassen County. For the past four years Judge Ball has sat on the bench at High Desert Correctional Center as an Assigned Judge. Throughout his career on the bench Judge Ball has presided over one hundred homicide trials of which fifteen defendants were charged with the death penalty.
John became a member of Rotary in 1971 and was an active member of the of the Portola Rotary since moving to the Sierra's. He enjoyed the outdoors through fishing and snowmobiling and will be remembered fondly by many for his quick wit and fun loving teasing. John is survived by his wife: Patsy Williams Ball of Portola, son; Stanton Ball of Santa Cruz, and grandsons; Colter and Josh. John is preceded in his passing by his daughter; Claudia. John will be greatly missed by many in his judicial life and especially by those in his personal life.