Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - February 18, 2011

Deaths

Victor Forbes

Victor John Forbes, 85, a longtime resident of Palo Alto, died Jan. 29, 2011.

He was born Sept. 17, 1925, in Cardiff, Wales. Known as John to all his friends, he was a veteran of WWII, serving in the British Navy. In 1964 he immigrated to the United States and married his former neighbor in Wales, Anna Ivanoff. They soon both became United States citizens and purchased a home in Palo Alto, where they lived happily for nearly 50 years.

When he first arrived in California he found employment selling Fuller Brush products door to door, charming housewives with his Welsh accent and enthusiasm, loved ones recalled. With only an eighth-grade education but trained as an electrician with experience as a foreman in both Great Britain and India, he was offered employment at SRI international in Menlo Park. At SRI he found his niche and over time was promoted into management, working there for nearly 30 years.

He and his wife enjoyed their home life, entertaining friends and frequenting social events, especially dances with the British American Club, where they celebrated and reminisced with a community of British ex-pat friends. He was also an avid and award-winning darts player, often driving to pubs around Northern California several times a week for competitions. In retirement the couple enjoyed leisurely travel across the United States, Great Britain, Europe, the former Soviet Union and Mexico. At home they entertained family and friends and enjoyed gardening and shopping.

He is survived by his wife Anna Forbes of Palo Alto; stepson Peter Ivanoff ; and two grandchildren.

Mary Fortney

Mary Fortney, seasoned Bay Area journalist, died Jan. 23, 2011, of natural causes at her Menlo Park home. She was 87.

Born Aug. 8, 1924, in the rural Los Banos area, where her family had a ranch, she attended Dos Palos High School in Firebaugh. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism.

Her professional career in San Francisco started with reporting jobs and later she was named editor of maritime and business journals, including the Pacific Shipper and the Daily Commercial News.

In 1966 she moved to the Peninsula and joined the staff of the Palo Alto Times. She continued with that newspaper through its transformation into the Peninsula Times Tribune until 1992, when the newspaper was discontinued. During that time she covered many local beats, including city government in East Palo Alto and Los Altos, Stanford medical news, and every variety of general assignment.

"I gleaned from Mary an almost constant joy in her profession. She loved writing and she loved people, and she wove them together in a tight writing style in which her empathy and compassion glowed through," former Palo Alto Times and Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson wrote of Fortney.

"Mary was a thorough professional, covering a wide variety of stories under a wide variety of circumstances. She always did the job, including one time I recall when she was sent on an assignment that was personally obnoxious to her because of a family tragedy. She returned to the city room shaken after that story — but she got it, she wrote it, and she wrote it well," former colleague Ron Goben said.

Family members remembered her as an independent, compassionate woman.

"She was, we felt, a woman ahead of her time. She argued articulately and she was not only a liberal thinker but a woman who cared deeply about the plight of her fellow man," her niece-in-law Jolene Telles said.

Travel was her passion and she often took several trips abroad each year, including visits to numerous countries in the Middle East.

She was also a strong supporter of the San Franciso art community.

She is survived by her brother, Dick Telles; nephews Richard Telles, John Telles, and his wife Jolene, and James Telles and his wife, Diane; nieces Sharon Wegis and her husband Ralph, and Lisa Brozek and her husband Paul; numerous grand-nieces and nephews; and her beloved cat, Fuji.

Services were held at the Shrine of Therese Catholic Church in Fresno Feb. 12 and internment followed at Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno.

The family requests donations be made in her memory to Jess Telles Memorial Fund at Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara CA 95053.

Marilou Wertzler

Marilou Wertzler, 88, a resident of Lytton Gardens in Palo Alto, died Jan. 14, 2011.

She was born in 1922 in Battle Creek, Mich., and served 16 years as reporter of Indiana Supreme and Appellate Courts before retiring to California to be near her family.

She is survived by her daughter, Vicki Finney, and son, John Wertzler, both of Menlo Park; brother, Arthur DeLano, of Battle Creek; sister, Virginia Berry, Beverley Hills, Fla.; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Feb. 26, at 2 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Palo Alto.

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