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Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - September 27, 2013

Deaths

Ralph Arthur Qualls

Ralph A. Qualls died at home in Palo Alto on Aug. 31 at the age of 97.

Born in Lodi, Calif. on March 14, 1916, he went on to attend Stanford University, receiving a degree in civil engineering. He was also a member of Stanford's Rose Bowl-winning football team in 1939 and maintained ties to the university and Stanford football.

Having graduated from Stanford's ROTC program as a second lieutenant, he went on active duty in 1941 and served in both the North Africa and European Campaigns in World War II. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel. Following the war, he and his family moved to Fresno, Calif. where he began a 30-year career as a civil engineer with the California Division of Highways (now Caltrans). He retired in Sacramento as head of the State Highway Maintenance Department. In retirement, he was active in many organizations, including the Sons in Retirement. After moving to Palo Alto, he became an active member of the Palo Alto Lawn Bowling league.

He is survived by his wife, Lois Wilkins Qualls; children Ralph A. Qualls, Jr. of Cupertino, Elizabeth Qualls Verras of Sacramento and David W. Qualls of San Diego, Calif.; grandchildren Aaron Qualls, Bryan Qualls, Michele Qualls Radley, Christopher Qualls and Kristen Verras. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren and step-children Nancy Leupold of Oceanside, Calif.; Donald Wilkins of Henderson, Nev. and Robert Wilkins of Redwood City, Calif.

Jeremy Sommer

Jeremy Sommer died at home with family and friends at his bedside after an eight-month bout with pancreatic cancer. Born in San Francisco but raised in Palo Alto, he graduated from UC Davis in 1980 with a degree in economics.

He also created and built Zocalo, a nationally distributed handcrafted furniture business. He traveled for work and pleasure to Europe, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Africa, South America and Russia. He also made more than 60 trips to Italy, learning Italian and making friends there.

He was a cook and enjoyed learning how to prepare dishes from places he had visited. He also participated in two cultural exchange programs and Couchsurfing.

He was a Scrabble and bridge player and enjoyed musicals.

In his last six years, he supported three orphanages in Laos and made yearly trips there to bring supplies and to make donations for new dormitories and programs.

He is survived by his mother, Edith Sommer of Palo Alto; brothers Jon Allan Sommer (Amy Neal) of Centennial, Colo. and Paul Harris Sommer (Laura Selby) of Mercer Island, Wash.; four nieces and nephews, and many friends.

A celebration of his life was held in San Francisco on Aug. 25.

Gifts of remembrance can be made to: Deak Kum Pa orphanage and School Windhorse Foundation (PO Box 26582, San Francisco, CA 94126).

Phyllis Marie Ullman

Phyllis Marie Ullman, 92, died Sept. 9 at her Menlo Park home.

Ullman, native of Iowa; graduated from Clarke College, Dubuque, with a degree in dietetics and from Stanford University with a master's degree in education. Her career as a registered dietitian spanned more than 50 years. After serving two years as a staff dietitian in the U.S. Army, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation hired her as its first outpatient dietitian when it opened in 1949. During her 20 years at PAMC she taught many people to live healthful lives through better nutrition. She was a nutrition researcher for the Stanford Research Institute, ICCND nutrition survey in Nigeria, U.S. Ten-State Nutrition Survey and Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Program.

She was a mentor to many dietitians in California. She served as President of the California Dietetic Association and in 1985 was awarded the Distinguished Service Award.

Her brother, William Ullman, lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife. She was an aunt to 27 nephews and nieces. Her husband, Ralph Blom, brothers John, Paul and Gerald Ullman and sister, Bernice Greig, preceded her in death.

A memorial service was held in Menlo Park on Sept. 20.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to CA Dietetic Association, 7740 Manchester Ave. #102, Playa del Rey, CA, 90293.

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