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Danville Express

Community Pulse - January 9, 2009

Obituaries

Steve Van Sickle

Steve Van Sickle, a resident of Danville, died Dec. 8 at the age of 58 after a two-year battle with colon cancer.

He was born April 9, 1950, in San Jose. He graduated from Chico State with a bachelor of science degree. He met his future wife Barbara while at Chico, and in 1983 their family moved to Danville, where he pursued passions from playing golf to starting his own company. He enjoyed time with his family, from skiing at Lake Tahoe to enjoying sun and fun in Cabo, and bike riding through the French country side.

He was predeceased by his father George Van Sickle. He is survived by his wife Barbara Van Sickle; daughters Lauren Hlebakos and Julie Van Sickle; son-in-law Daniel Hlebakos; mother Lorene; in-laws Bill and Jeanne Holst; sister Nancy Chapel; brothers and sister-in-laws Nancy and Dick Leasia, and Bill and Suzette Holst; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will take place Jan. 10 at the Blackhawk Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to a charity of choice.

Joseph Albert Van der Haeghen

Joseph Albert Van der Haeghen, a resident of Alamo, died Jan. 1 at the age of 91.

He was born July 2, 1917, in South Bend, Ind. His family moved to Oakland in 1919 where he grew up and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1934. Soon after Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he flew 25 missions over Germany by December 1943. Back home he was stationed in Long Beach in the Air Transport Command. There he met his wife, Maxine, and they were married June 22, 1945, in Riverside. He became a partner in his father's cabinet shop in Oakland after leaving the Air Corps. Following his father's death in 1955, he ran Van Der Haeghen Cabinet Works until he retired in 1982.

His family lived in Orinda before moving to Alamo in 1955. For many years he coached Little League and other youth baseball teams and was president of Pop Warner Football in 1964. He loved camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, golf and traveling the world. He was an avid fan of Notre Dame, the 49ers and the A's. He was a member of St. Isidore Church, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, VFW, Gen. James E. Doolittle Chapter of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society, 384th Bomb Group, and former member of SIRS and Old Crows of the Crow Canyon Country Club.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Maxine; son Mark and his wife Nancy; three granddaughters; his sister Dorothy Herman; many nieces and nephews and his beloved dog, Ginny Mae.

Friends and family are invited to a funeral mass at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 10, at St. Isidore Church in Danville. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial donations to the American Brittany Rescue or Hospice of the East Bay.

Louise H. Robinson

Louise H. Robinson, a resident of Alamo, died Dec. 18 at the age of 73.

She was born Aug. 13, 1935, in Delano. She earned her teaching credential from Oregon State University, Corvallis, in 1957 and touched the lives of countless students during her long teaching career. She retired from the Mt. Diablo School District in 1995, after 25 years with the district. An active member of the Retired Teachers Association, she loved keeping in touch with her retired teacher friends and was active in the group's frequent luncheons, outings and travels. She also enjoyed years as a member of the American Volksport Association, completing dozens of walks in many beautiful places. She was a life-long avid reader who also loved cooking, dining out, travel, nature and all kinds of animals, especially her pets and most especially her dog Buddy.

She is survived by son, Michael Robinson of Lafayette; daughters Cindy Robinson of Quincy, and Laura Henry of Danville; four grandchildren; a great-grandson; sisters Mary Ann, Cathy and Lucretia; brother Richard and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Danville Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

Harold Pensky

Harold Pensky, a resident of Danville, died Nov. 29.

He had a distinguished career as an aerospace engineer who worked on the Space Shuttle program at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He moved from Santa Barbara to Danville in 1996 to be near his children and grandchildren. Always the engineer, he found the ideal new home at the Crow Canyon Country Club Golf Course where he spent much of his retirement years trying to perfect his game. When he wasn't playing golf, he honed his bridge playing skills, achieving the rank of Bronze Life Master.

He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Eileen Pensky; his sister Marion Diamond of Chicago, Ill.; sons Norman (Barbara) Pensky of Orinda and Wayne (Kim) Pensky of Stamford, Conn., daughters Ellen (James) McGraw of Pleasanton and Rhonda (Brad) Holsworth of San Ramon; 11 grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services were held Dec. 3 at the Redwood Chapel in Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette.

Patrick 'Pat' Rhoads Murphy

Patrick "Pat" Rhoads Murphy, a resident of Danville, died surrounded by his loving family Dec. 3 at the age of 80.

He was born Aug. 4, 1928, in Sacramento and was a lifelong resident of California. He studied at the Franciscan Seminary in Santa Barbara from 1941-48. He later returned to Sacramento and attended Sacramento State College and graduated from McGeorge School of Law with a Juries Doctorate Degree. He spent a portion of his career working as an assistant to the chief clerk of the assembly for the state of California. He also spent time as an attorney in private practice. He later worked as a deputy in the Sacramento Public Defenders Office and as a deputy Public Defender for Contra Costa County in 1967. Eventually, he held the position of the Public Defender of Contra Costa County until his retirement in 1988.

He was a lifelong San Francisco 49er faithful fan and spent many years attending games. He spent his retirement years with his wife and best friend Frances, traveling to Ireland and other destinations throughout the United States.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Frances Murphy; three children, Patrick Murphy of Danville, Sally Rodgers (Bradley) of Dallas, Texas, and Mary Norling-Christenesen (Steve) of Thousand Oaks; and five grandchildren.

A private funeral mass was celebrated, per the families' request. Memorial donations can be made in his name to San Damiano Retreat House in Danville.

Russell 'Rusty' Lee Stewart

Alamo resident Russell "Rusty" Lee Stewart died Dec. 5 at the age of 49.

He was born Oct. 3, 1959, in San Jose and was raised in Hayward, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville. He graduated from Cal High in 1977. He worked with his father in the concrete business and as a manager with Conco Companies for more than 30 years. He also served nearly 26 years as an officer with the Walnut Creek Police Department as a reserve, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He was involved in the Las Lomas community, especially the water polo and swim teams. He enjoyed swimming and traveling, especially with his family to Hawaii.

He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Andrea; son Rory, 15; step-daughter Elissa 26; and step-son Robert 21. He was a loving son to Ed and Jean Stewart of Discovery Bay, and loving brother to Renee' (Mark) Cooper of El Dorado Hills, and sister-in-law Randi Carmen, numerous cousins, aunts, uncles and 23 nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life was celebrated Dec. 11 at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church. Donations may be made in his name to Food Bank of Contra Costa County or Walnut Creek Police Officers Association Widows and Orphans Fund.

Steve Van Sickle

Steve Van Sickle, a resident of Danville, died Dec. 8 at the age of 58 after a two-year battle with colon cancer.

He was born April 9, 1950, in San Jose. He graduated from Chico State with a bachelor of science degree. He met his future wife Barbara while at Chico, and in 1983 their family moved to Danville, where he pursued passions from playing golf to starting his own company. He enjoyed time with his family, from skiing at Lake Tahoe to enjoying sun and fun in Cabo, and bike riding through the French country side.

He was predeceased by his father George Van Sickle. He is survived by his wife Barbara Van Sickle; daughters Lauren Hlebakos and Julie Van Sickle; son-in-law Daniel Hlebakos; mother Lorene; in-laws Bill and Jeanne Holst; sister Nancy Chapel; brothers and sister-in-laws Nancy and Dick Leasia, and Bill and Suzette Holst; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will take place Jan. 10 at the Blackhawk Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to a charity of choice.

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