Danville Express

Community Pulse - September 7, 2007


Winifred Louise Varco Haagensen

Winifred Louise Varco Haagensen, a Danville resident since 1958, died peacefully at home on Aug. 9 at the age of 90.

She was born in Sydney, Mont., in 1917 to parents Charles Earl Varco, founder of the Yellowstone Mercantile in Sidney, and Antoinette Varco. She graduated from Carleton College in 1939 and returned to Sidney to become a social worker. After meeting and marrying Edward A. Haagensen in 1941, she moved to Connecticut, Colorado, and finally came to California.

She was always active in her community and campaigned to have freeways moved, participated in women's groups, and facilitated the building and maintenance of a community pool. She was active in her church and on the Board of Preservation of Danville Boulevard and the Boulevard of Trees Project.

In 1986, after her husband, Ed Haagensen, passed away and Hospice and Palliative Care of Contra Costa County cared for him, she started the San Ramon Valley Hospice support group. She began the Tree of Lights, sitting outside at the Livery no matter what the weather, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, selling lights and increasing awareness of the good work of Hospice.

She was repeatedly recognized by the city and the state, and the State Legislature proclaimed Nov. 29, 1991, to be Winifred Haagensen Day in Contra Costa County. The town of Danville recognized her with an Award of Merit for her dedicated service, and the state also honored her as Woman of the Year in 1987.

She is survived by three children, Robert Haagensen, Diane Rhett and Charles Haagensen; and four grandchildren. Memorial services will be held in late September. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to Hospice and Palliative Care of Contra Costa County.

Irma M. Dotson

Longtime resident Irma M. Dotson passed away peacefully at her Danville home last week at the age of 84.

She was born at Rock Creek, Raleigh County, in W.Va., the daughter of James A. McGinnis and Martha R. Jarrell.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James M. Dotson, son Terrence McGinnis Dotson, and six brothers and four sisters. She is survived by her son Rodney James Dotson; grandson Tyler Ginn Dotson of Pleasant Hill; and brother Ross McGinnis of West Virginia.

She was a graduate of West Virginia University in 1949 and San Jose State University in 1971. She served in the U.S. Army from 1944-45 and was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She worked as a librarian at both San Ramon Valley and Monte Vista high schools from 1971 to 1985. She was also a volunteer librarian for the San Ramon Valley Historical Society, curator for the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, and served on the Town of Danville Resource Commission.

Graveside services were held at the Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette on Sept. 6. Donations in her name may be made to the Alzheimers Association.

Dante Fontana

Dante Fontana passed away in Danville on Aug. 18 at the age of 78. A native of Italy, he worked as a cement mason for over 25 years. He was a long time member of the Sons of Italy and loved to play bocce ball.

He is survived by his son and daughter and their spouses Corrado and Lorie Fontana of Danville, and Patrizia and Michael Sagrafena of Millbrae; and three grandsons. He is also survived by his first wife Corradina Fontana of San Mateo. A Memorial Service was to be held Aug. 30 in Millbrae.


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