Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - December 28, 2012

In memoriam 2012

A look back at some of the notable community members who died this year

Gary Fazzino

Gary Fazzino, a two-time Palo Alto mayor who served 18 years on the City Council, died Oct. 30. He was 60.

Fazzino was first elected in 1977 at the age of 24 and during his tenure promoted the ban on smoking in public places, the preservation of Arastradero property as open space, the establishment of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority and aid to East Palo Alto during a wave of murders. Fazzino's love of Palo Alto and encyclopedic knowledge of its history earned him the nickname "Mr. Palo Alto."

Ellen Fletcher

Ellen Fletcher, a former Palo Alto City Councilwoman who spearheaded the city's transformation into a nationally recognized bike-friendly community, died Nov. 7. She was 83.

She was an advocate for environmental issues for more than half a century. Her leadership was key to the city's launch of the household hazardous-waste program, passage of anti-smoking laws and establishment as a nuclear-free zone. In 2002, the city officially named Bryant Street the "Ellen Fletcher Bicycle Boulevard."

John Johnson

John Johnson, who ran the Palo Alto Medical Foundation for more than two decades and served as city manager of Menlo Park during the boom years of the early '60s, died Sept. 17. He was 88.

During Johnson's tenure from 1952 to 1964, the city expanded its borders and built a library and police station. In 1964 he became executive administrator of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, presided over its growth into the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and became vice president of administration in 1987. He retired in 1991 but served on the foundation's board and several others, including as president of the Stanford Alumni Association.

Bill Moggridge

Bill Moggridge, the co-founder of Palo Alto-based design firm IDEO, died Sept. 8 of cancer. He was 69.

Moggridge is credited with designing the first laptop computer, the GRiD Compass. Moggridge founded his own design firm in 1969 and merged with IDEO in 1991. He became director of the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2010.

George Rathmann

George Rathmann, the first CEO and co-founder of Amgen, died April 22. He was 84.

After receiving a doctorate in physical chemistry from Princeton University in 1951, Rathmann went work for 3M, where he helped develop Scotchgard. Then at Abbott Laboratories, his products helped the company's diagnostics division revenues grow from almost nothing to a billion dollars. As the first CEO and a co-founder of Amgen, he built the four-person company into one with thousands of employees and two multi-billion dollar products, Epogen and Neupogen.

John Tuomy

John Tuomy, a former Palo Alto teacher who served for eight years on the Palo Alto Board of Education, died Nov. 30. He was 66.

Tuomy taught at several schools in the area and eventually became the head of the district's computer program, administering a $250,000 federal grant. Despite leaving the district to work in the private sector, Tuomy fought against the proposed closure of Gunn High School and co-chaired the committee that helped pass the "Building for Excellence" school bond in 1995. Tuomy built a reputation as a straight-talking, opinionated and compassionate member of the Board of Education.

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