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Danville Express

Community Pulse - July 10, 2009

Obituaries

Ralph Wallace Chase, a resident of Alamo, died July 1 at the age of 87.

He was born Dec. 18, 1921, in Southern California and attended Pasadena Junior College and USC. He retired after 30 years at Lawrence Livermore Lab. He was also a 44-year member of Danville's Community Presbyterian Church where he was a deacon, elder and member of the choir. He was also active as a commissioner of the San Francisco Presbytery.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy, his two sons and their wives and five grandchildren.

Memorial services were scheduled at 4 p.m., Friday, July 10, at Community Presbyterian Church. Donations are welcome for the CPC Missions.

Paul J. Burke, a resident of Alamo, died peacefully June 14 at the age of 90.

He was born Sept. 2, 1918. He was a native of New York City and a graduate of the Catholic University of America. He earned his master's degree and Ph.D. in education at Columbia University. He was a veteran of World War II, where he saw combat in France. He was a lifelong teacher and he always described himself as a teacher first. He had a distinguished career as a professor of education at the City University of New York and after moving to California, became a professor at St. Mary's College in Moraga, where he founded the School of Education and became its first dean. He retired in 1997 to fish, travel and enjoy his grandchildren. He was proud of wife Mary Burke's career as an artist, and he enjoyed attending her art events and selling her paintings at art fairs. He liked a good joke better than anyone.

He was predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Mary Burke. He is survived by his children Bob Burke of Alamo and Lorraine Burke Hood of Fairfax; five grandchildren and daughter-in-law Sharon Burke.

At his request, no services were held, but a Memorial Mass will be scheduled later in the summer. For those who wish to remember him, his favorite charities were the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and St. Mary's College.

Josefina Barragan de Santana, a resident of Danville, died June 19 at the age of 88.

She was born March 27, 1921. She lived a full life and enjoyed cooking, gardening and crocheting.

She was the loving wife of the late Jose Santana for 57 years. She is survived by her seven children: Antonio Santana and his wife Maria Elena, Laura Porras, Irma Santana, Carlos Santana, Leticia Santana, Jorge Santana, Maria Vrionis and her husband Michael Vrionis. She is also survived by her sisters, Gregoria and Sylvina; her brother Manuel; 16 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held June 27 at Community Presbyterian Church in Danville. Donations may be made to the Milagro Foundation, P.O. Box 9125, San Rafael 94912.

Elizabeth R. Kendall, a resident of Danville, died June 16 at the age of 100.

She was born Oct 15, 1908, in Sodus Point, N.Y., and at an early age moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., where she was raised by her grandparents. During World War II, she sang in a trio and worked in a parachute factory. She met Hal A. Kendall and they were married for 50 years before he died in 1980. While living in Michigan they opened a restaurant and she made pies that became a standard at family holidays for decades after they moved to Southern California. She and Hal were active in Eastern Star in Garden Grove where she was a Worthy Matron and a Grand Deputy. She worked as a bookkeeper until she moved to Walnut Creek in 1980. She lived in Rossmoor for 25 years before moving to Danville. She loved playing bridge and volunteered at the library and at the tea room. She loved to travel and in her 70s and 80s visited Australia, Switzerland and Alaska and enjoyed a number of ocean cruises.

She is survived by 21 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. A memorial service celebrating her life was held June 26 at Grace Presbyterian Church in Walnut Creek.

Lillian Curno, a resident of Danville, died June 22 at the age of 91.

She was born July 11, 1917. She served as a pharmacist mate in the U.S. Navy during WWII, stationed at Treasure Island, then moved on to work for Eden Hospital in Castro Valley for many years. She also had been a long time resident of San Lorenzo.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank E. Curno. She is survived by her daughters, Maureen Curno (Don) of Boulder, Colo., Kathleen Brosnan of Hayward, and Colleen Negi (Randy) of Danville; and five grandchildren.

A celebration of her life was held June 26 at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Danville. Memorial donations may be made to Danville Rehabilitation or to the American Heart Association.

Joseph Spataro, M.D., a resident of Danville, died June 21 at the age of 76.

He was born March 29, 1933, in Locri, Calabria, Italy. He received his medical degree from the University of Rome. He arrived in the United States in 1957 and joined his family who were living in Meriden, Conn., at the time. He trained as a neuropathologist at Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., and was on the faculty for five years. He was the chairman of the Department of Pathology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., for 37 years. He loved reading, travel, hiking, playing poker and watching soccer.

He was the beloved husband of Josephine; father of Elisa O'Hara, Marie Lyons and Helen Giuntoli; father-in-law of Michael O'Hara, Edward Lyon and Chris Giuntoli; grandfather of 10; and beloved brother of Henry, John, Mario, Aldo, Peter Spataro and Theresa Bobko.

Services were held June 28 at Wilson & Kratzer Chapel of San Ramon Valley in Danville. A funeral mass was celebrated June 29 at St. Joan of Arc Church in San Ramon.

Danville resident Neva Eppler died June 15 at the age of 82 after a short but courageous battle with cancer.

She was born May 18, 1927, in Oakland. She attended Crocker Highlands School and UC Berkeley, earning a B.A. in political science in 1949. She was also a director of American College Women's Club. In August, 1954, she married Gene Eppler, whom she had met in the Berkeley Ski Club; two years later they moved to Orinda and started their family. In 1966 they relocated to Danville, where her father was developing one of Danville's earlier subdivisions. Her early career in the 1950s included eight years with the East Bay Municipal Utility District, founding church secretary for St. Mark's Methodist in Orinda, and assistant secretary at San Ramon Valley Methodist in Alamo. She started and directed "Y Wives," a division of the YWCA to bring young women of differing cultures and ages together through physical exercise. She earned her teaching credential and taught as a substitute teacher in the Dublin School District. She worked in the visitation program for nursing homes including Tamarack Manner in Danville. In the 1980s she was an active member with the Alameda County Adult Literary Project and other local programs, including Friends Outside where she was a director. She was an active volunteer to adult English-assistance programs and to elderly outreach programs within the Methodist Church. An avid skier, she won various downhill ski awards. She loved the great outdoors, entertaining, and was a loyal Cal Bears fan.

She was preceded in death by her husband Gene in 2005 and her brother Bill Armstrong in 2008. She is survived by her sister Chelta Armstrong May; her sons William (Elaine) and Bruce (Rene'); three nieces, two nephews, eight grandchildren, and many grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

A memorial service was held July 1 at San Ramon Valley Methodist Church, Alamo. Memorial donations may go to Kaiser Hospice.

Lawrence F. "Larry" Ramirez, a resident of Alamo, died May 13 at the age of 85.

He was born July 7, 1923, in San Gaspar, Jalisco, Mexico. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. The love of his life was his family.

He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Ofelia Ramirez; son Albert Ramirez and his wife Irene; son Philip Ramirez; daughter Lisa Ramirez-Ivy and her husband Bill; and son Ronald Ramirez. He is also survived by five grandchildren; brother Art Ramirez; sisters Ann Johnson and Mary Fragoso; and countless nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his loving son Lawrence Michael Ramirez.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to charity of choice or Hospice of the East Bay. A celebration of his life was held at a private residence in Alamo on July 4.

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