Sandra Brown Eakins, a former Palo Alto mayor and civic activist, died Jan. 2 at her home in Oakland after a long illness. She was 75.
Eakins was a longtime member and past president of the Palo Alto League of Women Voters and helped organize Smart Voter, an initiative that provides unbiased election information for California voters.
She co-founded New Voices for Youth, a program designed to encourage civic engagement in high school students through the media arts.
Eakins was born Nov. 10, 1937, in Oklahoma City, Okla., to Ray and Rebecca Brown and was raised in the Pacific Northwest.
She graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 with a degree in art history and remained an active and devoted alumna. She earned master's degrees from Boston University and Santa Clara University.
She married Gilbert Eakins in 1959 and co-founded EOS (Eakins Open Systems), a computer integration business in 1972.
She was active in civic affairs for decades, beginning with founding the Palo Verde Neighborhood Association and volunteering with the PTA for her children's schools. She served on the Palo Alto City Council from 1997-2002, including a term as mayor in 2001.
She also served on the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, Planning Commission and the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority. She shared her love of the arts through her service on the Palo Alto Public Art Commission and the board of the Palo Alto Art Center.
She is survived by her husband, Gilbert, of Mountain View; their children, Robert (Julie) of Wheaton, Ill., Daniel, of Oakland and Rebecca (James) Austin of Oakland; four grandchildren, Ryan, Sophia, Meta and Thomas; and her brother Mark (Renae) Brown, of Dayville, Ore.
A memorial gathering is planned for Saturday, Jan. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto.
The family asks that donations in Sandra Brown Eakins' memory be made to Smart Voter (www.smartvoter.org ) or the New Voices for Youth Program (www.newvoicesforyouth.org).