Obituaries | August 15, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Community Pulse - August 15, 2008


Edward H. Nienaber

Edward H. Nienaber, a former resident of Danville who made a name for himself carving carousel horses, died at the age of 77.

He was born Oct. 30, 1930, in Rose City, Mich., and was raised in West Branch, Mich., where he attended West Branch High School and graduated in June 1948. He graduated from Michigan State University in June 1952 and was inducted into the Army Artillery the next month. He attended basic training, officer candidate school, in Oklahoma, and served in Korea starting February 1953, and spent 30 months in the army.

Upon discharge he went to work for Western Electric (now Lucent Technology) in Chicago as a systems engineer officer, and had job assignments in Virginia, back in Chicago and New York City. He was transferred to Sunnyvale in 1969, following an assignment and promotion where he was engineering manager until retirement in 1987. He traveled extensively upon retirement, both in the United States and abroad. He lived in Danville for 37 years where he enjoyed golf with a group of friends and carved carousel horses. He moved to Grass Valley in 2005 to be near his son.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lorraine J. Raiman Nienaber; son Bill of Reno, Nev.; daughter Wendy of Concord; son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Chelsea and granddaughter Katelyn, all of Nevada City. Services will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 21, at the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, 902 Danville Blvd., Alamo.

Weir L. Johnson

Danville resident Weir L. Johnson, 63, lost his two-year fight with cancer at home July 28 with his beloved wife and daughter by his side.

He was born in San Francisco on Feb. 21, 1945, a sixth generation San Franciscan, and was raised in Vallejo. He resided in Danville for more than 20 years and was a Vietnam War veteran. After completing his military service, he began his 35-year career in sales and sales management in the payroll services industry, beginning with Bank of America Business Services Division, then to ProBusiness. He retired from Kronos Corp. in 2004.

He is survived by his wife of 28 years Leslie; daughter Lauren; brother Mitchell Johnson of Vallejo; brother-in-law, Mark Tauster, Susan Tauster, and Nicole Tauster of Chicago. Private family Memorial Services were held. Donations may be made to Hospice of the East Bay or the American Cancer Society.

Robert O'Neil Gregory

Robert O'Neil Gregory, a resident of Alamo for 38 years, died July 29 from complications of cancer, at the age of 78.

He was born Jan. 29, 1930, and raised in Oregon City, Ore., and moved to California to attend Menlo High School. He went on to receive his degree from Stanford University in 1953. While attending Stanford, he was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and played trumpet in the Leland Stanford Jr. Marching Band. After obtaining his bachelor's degree he served as a captain in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Upon his return, he continued his education at Stanford Business School, where he received his MBA in 1957.

He made his career at JC Penney Co., beginning in San Francisco at the Penney store at Fifth and Market, then holding numerous positions in California and Idaho. A highlight of his 35 years was escorting Mr. Penney on his visits to San Francisco. He also worked as a loaned executive to the United Way. After retirement, he spent part of every year in Hawaii, sitting on the beach discussing politics and world events. He also was involved in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, San Souci Board of Directors, and counted migrating humpback whales for the National Marine Sanctuary.

He participated in the Diablo Valley Stanford Alumni Club, always making time for football tailgate parties at the Farm. His passion for traveling took him to many countries and continents. He also loved fishing for salmon on the Columbia River where he grew up.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Suzanne; brother Donald Gregory of Silverton, Ore.; children Karen Anderson of Santa Barbara, Diane Baskin of Huntington Beach, and Scott Gregory of Danville; and four grandchildren. A Memorial Service was held Aug. 9 at Round Hill Country Club. Donations can be made to the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek 94598 or the American Cancer Society.

Ann M. Evilsizor

Danville resident Ann M. Evilsizor died July 25 with her beloved family by her side, at the age of 99.

She was born in Ohio on Oct. 2, 1908, and for the last 38 years she lived in Danville and before that Castro Valley and Oakland. She enjoyed playing cards and gambling, and Las Vegas was her favorite vacation spot. She also was an active member of Eastern Star, Ladies of the Nile, and the Women's Benefit Association for more than 50 years, hosting many events at her home. She loved having her family and friends over, both informally and formally, and hosted all the major holiday parties for nearly 80 years

She is survived by her children and spouses: Ken Evilsizor, Marylee and Ed Bauer, Helen and Mike Lippitt and John and Mary Evilsizor; grandchildren and their spouses and many great-grandchildren. A public viewing was held at Oakmont Memorial park in Lafayette but there was no public funeral.

Frank John Straface

Frank John "Nanu" Straface, a former resident of Blackhawk, died July 30 at the age of 73 after making a remarkable recovery from a near death injury in 2007.

He was born Jan. 28, 1935, to Frank and Ida Straface in Pittsburg. After graduating from Pittsburg High School in 1952, he joined the National Guard. In 1955 he married Linda and, while still in the Guard, he worked at the DuPont plant in Pittsburg and the Livermore Lawrence Laboratory as a chemist.

He obtained his real estate sales license and began selling homes at San Ramon Country Club development for Volk McClain. He and Hank Cupples opened their own real estate brokerage company, the beginning of Valley Realty, which grew to more than 30 offices. He was president of the Southern Alameda County Board of Realtors (SACBOR) and a director for the California Association of Realtors. He became a partner of the Blackhawk Development Co. and was the first president of the Country Club Board of Directors. As Blackhawk and the area around it continued to grow, he became the sole proprietor of "FJ's Blackhawk Market" with the concept of providing an upscale grocery store; the market was featured on the covers of both People and Entrepreneur magazines. After its sale, he began to build custom homes in the Pebble Beach area.

He was predeceased by his wife of 50 years, Linda; he is survived by his two sons, David (Anne) of Pebble Beach and Daniel (Jill) of Danville and five grandchildren. A celebration of his life was held Aug. 14 at the Blackhawk Museum. Donations are suggested to THE FIRST TEE, World Golf Village, 425 South Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, FL 32092 or to a charity of your choice.


Like this comment
Posted by David A. W. Young
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I just found an obituary dated 8/15/08 concerning the late John Straface and the housing development created by Volk McClain Communities in the 1960s.

I was the Secretary/Treasurer of the Company in the mid 60's and worked with Hank Cupples but I do not recall John Straface probably because, by the time I joined the firm Volk and McClain were on their last model home tract and not long after I had the misfortune to be with these great developers presiding over the ultimate break-up of their partnership which, as I recall, had lasted some 16 years all the way from developments in San Diego to the gathering of some seventeen farms in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to creat what they then named"SAN RAMON" which I think was really DUBLIN!

One of the old farm houses became our B&B for the head office was in Los Angeles and we needed a place to stay when working on the development. The partners even had their own airplanes and landing strip on the property until expansion used up the strip!

The freeway came into being by eminent domain and a law suit concerning the value of the taken land. It was settled after the first 3,000 acres had been built out and the remaining 1,500 acres wers sold in the dissolution by a company from West Los Angeles known as Property Research Corporation represented by B.Wayne Hughes who, to-day, is the prime mover for Private Storage Inc. and a multi-millionaire.

Our bumper sticker said "LIVE IN LOVELY SAN RAMON" but with a pair of scissors I changed mine to "LOVE IN LIVELY SAN RAMON" Bob McClain was not too happy about that!

I set up the number controls for the parcel system when our engineers created the master plan of the Community prior to the sale of the last 1,500 acres. For all I know, these identities might still be a part of parcel numbers in property tax bills.

We had a annual golf game for our staff and our advisors in the San Ramon Country Club and I stll have my bright read blazer that I was presented with and it is a Christmas item in my wardrobe!San Francisco Federla S & L were always present at these events for they were our main lenders in conjunction with the old U.C.B.

Thanks for reminding me about all this avan if I am a bit late.

David A. W. Young
Newport Beach.