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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Two lives well lived

Uploaded: Jan 7, 2014
The passing of two long-time Pleasanton residents during the holidays deserves reflection.
Warren Annis, a retired Pleasanton insurance agent and charter member of the Pleasanton Rotary Club died on Dec. 21 at the age of 93.
A few days later, Tom Cook, a retired executive vice-president of Sandia Corp. who spent lots of his career at Sandia Livermore, died at the age of 87.
I knew Warren personally through the Rotary Club and because his sons, Larry and Jim, were at Amador Valley High when I attended. Warren operated an insurance office for 30 years from a building he owned at 99 West Neal Street. He also served as secretary of the Pleasanton Water Co. in the 1960s and 1970s before it merged into Zone 7 Water Agency.
Warren was a delightfully plain-spoken guy who lived a most active life, downhill skiing into his 80s and volunteering to deliver Meals on Wheels for 18 years.
But what I remember most about Warren is the great marriage that he shared with his college sweetheart and bride, Fannie. When the Rotary Club did its annual Valentine Day celebrations, Warren and Fannie invariably were among the longest married couples. I recall her attributing it to Jim Beam and sex, daily. I cannot vouch to the truth of that, but they were married more than 68 years. They lived in the same home in Pleasanton for more than 60 years before moving to a retirement facility in Livermore a couple of years ago.
By contrast, I knew Tom Cook from a bit of a distance—as a newspaper guy for many years. Tom led Sandia Livermore (where my father-in-law Morris Mote worked) for 14 years—the longest single stint in the history of the Livermore facility. He had joined Sandia with a doctorate in physics at 24 and rapidly was promoted until he moved to Livermore. He left Livermore when he was promoted to the No. 2 spot at Sandia, executive vice-president in Albuquerque where he served until he retired and returned to his home in Castlewood.
Like Warren, he was a World War II Navy veteran.
He received numerous professional awards and served both the government and private companies as a consultant after retiring. My contacts were limited to seeing him on the roads in the broader neighborhood, but it was clear that he was man who had served his country well in crucial leadership roles.
One of his notable legacies as Sandia Livermore was the establishment of the combustion research facility back in the 1970s when he realized that the lab needed to expand its portfolio beyond weapons.
Like Warren, he and his wife, Virginia, enjoyed a long marriage—66 years when he passed on.
I thank my friend and former newspaper colleague, Barry Schrader, for the information on Tom. Barry, who served as the public information officer for Sandia Livermore, compiled an oral history with him a few years back and wrote the obituary that was published in the local papers.

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Posted by Memories, a resident of Canyon Meadows,
on Jan 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Thank you for remember these two men. I didn't know either, but it sounds like they were good men who served their country and took care of their families.
It is sad that we are losing our WWII vets and many of them are taking their memories with them. I was unclear whether Barry recorded an oral history with Tom that included his WWII memories, or just Sandia history. Do you know?

Posted by Tim Hunt, a blogger,
on Jan 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Tim Hunt is a registered user.

I checked with Barry and his history interview with Tom focused on his Sandia career and how that lab worked with Lawrence Livermore across the street.

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