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Danville Express

Community Pulse - January 25, 2008

Obituaries

Brian Hilary Schwalen

Brian Hilary Schwalen, a resident of Alamo, died Dec. 17 in Alamo at the age of 57 of heart failure.

He was born in Concord, and was a member of the first graduating class of De La Salle High School. He served in the Army in a Medivac and Rescue Dust-off Unit in Vietnam and received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal W/60 Device. He was the owner/operator of Select Properties Real Estate Brokerage in Alamo, specializing in development property. He held a private pilot's license and enjoyed flying with his friends almost as much as spending time with his children and grandchildren in Hawaii every year, and his Hawaiian shirts became his trademark.

He is survived by his wife, Rita; married daughters, Natalie Sharapata and Karma Christensen; sons-in-law, John Sharapata and Todd Christensen; his mother Lena Schwalen of Concord; and three siblings, Stephen Schwalen, Martin Schwalen and Anne Stickel; and nine grandchildren. A memorial service was held Dec. 21 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alamo. Memorial contributions may be made to the Schwalen Family Fund mailed to P.O. Box 707, Alamo.

Stephen Boland Ringwood

Stephen Boland Ringwood, a resident of Danville, died on Dec. 18 at the age of 64.

He was born June 23, 1943, in Illinois and raised there He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, then earned a JD at the University of Illinois. He spent the majority of his legal career as corporate counsel for Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. After his retirement he became an avid lawn bowler and enthusiastic worker for the U of Wisconsin Alumni Association. He also enjoyed watching movies, using his immense vocabulary, working with technology, and spending time with his wife and children.

He is survived by his wife Diane Ringwood and children Jessica Ringwood and Brent Ringwood. A celebration of his life was held Jan. 6. A fund for the Steve Ringwood Memorial Mixed Pairs Tournament and Trophy, a part of the PIMD Open, has been established to honor his contributions to the lawn bowls community.

John W. Scheck Sr.

John W. Scheck Sr., a resident of Alamo, passed away Dec. 19 at the age of 77.

He was born June 5, 1930, in Gary, Ind., and graduated in 1954 from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He moved his family to Alamo in 1960. He and four colleagues founded Giga-tronics Inc. in 1980 and went public in 1983. He was President and CEO from 1980-90, and director from 1980-94. In retirement, his favorite pastime was boating in the Delta on his yacht, Giga-T, with family and friends.

He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Shirley; daughter Robin Scheck Williams; son John W. Scheck Jr.; son-in-law James D. Williams Jr.; daughter-in-law Tracy Scheck; and three grandchildren. Services were held Dec. 28 at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of John Walter Scheck to Bruns House, c/o Hospice of the East Bay, 2849 Miranda Ave., Alamo 94507.

Peter L. Stewart

Danville resident Peter L. Stewart died Dec. 20 at the age of 62.

He was born March 20, 1945, and is originally from Bainbridge, Mass. He received his undergraduate degree from University of Massachusetts in 1967, and his MBA from Rutgers University in 1969. He moved to California in the early 1970s and settled in the Bay Area. He began his career in the corporate world in marketing at Standard Brands in New York and ended as president of Blue Chip Cookies in San Francisco. He then eased out of corporate life and began a successful 14-year career in San Ramon as a mortgage broker.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters, his mother and father and brother and his brother's family. There will be a memorial celebration of his life in January; the family has more information. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Athenian School Founder's Oak Scholarship Fund, 2100 Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd., Danville 94506.

Robert Ellis Winchell

Robert Ellis Winchell, a resident of Danville, died Dec. 23 at the age of 79.

He was born March 7, 1928. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force, and he was retired from a successful career in the insurance industry. He was a life-long aviation enthusiast and hobbyist.

He was the loving husband of Audrey Winchell, devoted father of Christopher Winchell (Debbie), Janet Nostrant (Cary) and Roger Winchell, and grandfather of two. He is also survived by three sisters and one brother, as well as by many nieces and nephews. A private celebration of Bob's life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Hope Hospice, 6500 Dublin Blvd., Suite 100 Dublin.

Charles Owen McMahon

Danville resident Charles Owen McMahon passed away at the age of 94.

He was born in Chicago on Sept. 20, 1913. As a young man, he entered the seminary but left after three years and pursued a career in the grocery business with his father. He was drafted at age 32 and served in the Army in the South Pacific. Upon his return, he ran his own grocery store out of a Quonset hut in a military housing complex. He soon expanded his business to a larger store in downtown Chicago. At the height of his success, he decided to pursue the field of cryogenics with his brother-in-law in California. This business also became successful and he remained a co-owner of Almac Cryogenics until he retired at the age of 67. In his retirement years, he loved to explore the outdoors, hiking, fishing, golfing and traveling with his family. He was a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus, leading the Saturday morning rosary, helping at Loaves and Fishes, and working at the pancake breakfasts.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife Jeanne; he is survived by children Margie McCauley (Jim) of Tucson, Ariz., Terry McMahon (Christine) of Concord; and Mike McMahon (Karrie), of Bothell, Wash.; two sisters, Patricia Hedtrom of Pinole, and Catherine Lynch of Oakbrook, Ill; seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Funeral services were held Dec. 28 at St. John Vianney Church in Walnut Creek.

Mary Chell McGuigan Bodine

Mary Chell McGuigan Bodine, 68, a resident of Danville, passed away from cancer Dec. 28 with all her children present at a residential care facility in San Ramon.

She was born Feb. 23, 1939, in Madison, Wis. She later moved to Antioch, and lived the last eight years in Danville. She enjoyed jewelry making, dollhouse miniatures and shopping.

She was predeceased in 1998 by her husband Robert. She is survived by her daughter Suzanne Lescure (Michael) of Danville; sons William Bodine (Jamie) of Antioch; Michael Bodine (Liliana) of Austin, Tex.; and Edward Bodine of Los Angeles; and her father Virgil McGuigan of Concord; sisters Sharon Mosel and Terri Beauchamp of Minden, Nev., and brother Robert McGuigan of Yuba City; five grandchildren and one great grandchild. The family would like to thank her caregivers Aurora and Livia for their love and support. A funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 4 at Christ the King Catholic Church in Pleasant Hill. Donations in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1885 Oak Park Blvd. Pleasant Hill, 94523.

Carmelita Josephine Mattei

Carmelita Josephine Mattei, a 45-year resident of Danville and Alamo, passed away peacefully Dec. 29.

She was born Dec. 16, 1927, to Dominic and Amelia Romano. She spent many years as a dance teacher for Arthur Murray Studios and was described as the life of the party.

She was a loving mother to Ayn, Lyn (Duncan), Peter (Beth) and Robyn (Jim). She is also survived by four grandchildren. A celebration of her life was held at Round Hill Country Club on Jan. 17.

Beth Butler Compton

Beth Butler Compton, a resident of Danville, died Jan. 4 after a short illness complicated by long-term treatment for multiple myeloma. She was 73.

She was born in DeKalb, Ill., to Glenn and Evelyn Butler, the third of five children, and helped raise her two younger siblings, Steve and Glenda. She was a tomboy who played basketball and barrel-raced in rodeos. After high school, she came West and worked as a stewardess, most notably for Continental Airlines. While flying out of LAX, she met flight engineer Stuart Compton, who was from rural Virginia. They married in 1961 and moved to Hollis, N.H., and had two children. In 1971, the family moved back to California and settled in Danville.

She had a bachelors degree from Lesley College and a masters from Holy Names University in Oakland, and became a reading and learning disabilities specialist. She worked for many years with students at St. Isidore School in Danville, then opened her own business, Educational Resource Consultants. Later, she became interested in attention-deficit disorder, writing her thesis on it for a Ph.D in psychology from the Rosebridge Institute in Walnut Creek. She was very proud of earning her doctorate at age 60. Around that time, in 1994, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which has a one- to four-year life expectancy. She sought aggressive treatment and survived an astounding 13 years, using her extra years to counsel newly diagnosed myeloma patients and to help organize the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation's Race for Research, a San Francisco 5K that has raised more than a million dollars for myeloma research and will be run again this spring. She was also active in the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church; she volunteered with Wesley Youth Homes and mentored one of its at-risk girls.

She is survived by her husband Stuart; daughters Anastacia and Jodi; her stepson Keith; sister Glenda and brother Steve; nieces and nephews, and many friends. A memorial was held earlier this month at the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Heifer Project or the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Kevin Joseph Burke

Kevin Joseph Burke, a resident of Alamo, died peacefully on Jan. 8 in the loving embrace of his wife, Patricia, and his six children.

Kevin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 30, 1925, where his family resided; his father was CEO of the U.S. Lines, the main U.S.-based transatlantic passenger line between the U.S. and Europe. He attended Boston College in 1943 but was interrupted by World War II. After completing a successful winning season as a tackle on the Boston College football team, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served until 1946, distinguishing himself in the invasion of Guam in July 1944. After the war, he returned to Boston, met his wife, Patricia O'Connell, and graduated in 1950 with a degree in finance. Following a brief experience in the shipping business, he began his main business career working for Shell Chemical for 33 years, retiring in 1985. His family lived in Denver, New York, Houston and Walnut Creek.

Upon his retirement, they lived for four years in Ashland, Ore., before finally settling in Alamo. He was an avid fan of the De La Salle Spartans, attended by his children Paul and Phil. He went to every game of his children and grandchildren he could, critiqued every assignment they dared show him, and made sure they went to church on Sundays.

He is survived by his daughter, Christine Landon of Danville; five sons, Kevin of Garden City, N.Y., Mark of Danville, John of Rome, Italy, Paul of San Diego, and Philip of Oakland; son-in-law Geoff Landon; daughters-in-law Ursula Burke and Doreene Burke; and nine grandchildren. A funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 11 at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Danville. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Irvin Deutscher Family YMCA, 350 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill 94523.

Jean Smedberg Emory

Jean Smedberg Emory passed away from cancer Dec. 22 at the age of 83.

She was born in 1924 and raised in Evanston, Ill., where she graduated from nursing school in 1944 and married her husband Richard "Dick" Emory in 1946. They moved to the Bay Area in 1948 and raised three children. She was an outgoing woman who loved to converse with everyone. She loved to travel, read and was very spiritual. She worked in many facets of nursing, including at John Muir Medical Center, Planned Parenthood, as well as 25 years for Kaiser Oakland as an OB-GYN nurse practitioner.

She is survived by her son Michael and his wife Nancy; her daughter Meris and her partner Liz; her youngest son Richard; two grandchildren and one great-grandchild; many other loving family members and friends. A memorial party will be held in a few months per her wishes. Her ashes will be scattered in the sea by the Neptune Society. In lieu of flowers, please donate money to the Bruns House Hospice 2849 Miranda Ave., Alamo 94507, or any children's charity of choice.

Christopher Groen, M.D.

Christopher Groen, M.D., a resident of Danville, died Jan. 7.

He was born June 9, 1922, in Chicago, Ill., to Christopher and Frieda Groen of the Netherlands. He was raised in Oak Park, Ill., where he attended high school. His love of classical music led him to enter the Sherwood School of Music in Chicago. World War II intervened and he served in the Pacific. After four years with the U.S. Army, he elected to pursue a degree in medicine, receiving his M.D. from the University of Illinois-Chicago Medical School in 1953. He and his bride, Arlene (Lundberg), traveled to Greeley, Colo., and then San Francisco to complete his internship and residency. The couple settled in Castro Valley in 1957 where he specialized in anesthesiology. He worked at many local hospitals including Eden Hospital and Doctor's Hospital, and was a founder of Laurel Grove Hospital. They moved to Danville in 1964.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Arlene; daughters, Alison (Jon) Taylor of Duvall, Wash., and Christine (Bob) Gray of Piedmont; brother, William Groen of Northridge; and four grandchildren. At his request, no formal services were held. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends consider a memorial contribution to the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, or the charity of choice.

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