Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories
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Kato Mendelssohn Reis
Jan. 29, 1919 - Aug. 15, 2017
Palo Alto, CA

Kató Mendelssohn Reis, the great-great granddaughter of composer Felix Mendelssohn, passed away peacefully on August 15, 2017, surrounded by family and the sounds of her own recordings of the music of Chopin, Beethoven and Liszt. Born in Budapest, Hungary, to Gabor and Klari Mendelssohn Székely, Kató demonstrated her musical gifts at an early age. Guided by her mother (a talented pianist in her own right), Kató began her formal musical training at age six. By the age of nine she was offered a full scholarship to the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where she spent the ensuing decade refining her talent. In addition to the many hours of lessons and piano practice at the Liszt Academy, Kató pursued a rigorous academic education with tutors at home. Kató completed both her musical and academic education in 1938, graduating from the Franz Liszt Academy. At that time, her parents – with the encouragement of two of her father’s brothers already in the U.S. – decided to immigrate with their only child to Los Angeles to allow Kató’s musical career to flourish. Kató began giving piano lessons and performing for schools, civic organizations and pr...

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William Riley Marken
Sept. 2, 1942 - Aug. 11, 2017
Los Altos, California

William (Bill) Marken, 74 of Los Altos, died August 11, 2017 at home surrounded by his family and listening to Bob Dylan. He lived life to its fullest until the end, especially after his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, in November 2015. A life-long Californian, Bill was born in Morgan Hill to Harry and Emma Marken and grew up down the street from his future wife of 52 years, Marilyn Tonascia Marken. Early jobs in the orchards of the Valley along with visits to his father’s plant nursery inspired a lifelong love of gardens and nature and, after attending Occidental College (where he played basketball on the freshman team) and graduating from UC Berkeley in 1964, he applied for a job, any job, at Sunset Magazine. Somehow his application caught the eye of the magazine’s gardening editor, who placed Bill temporarily on the landscaping crew while waiting for an editorial job to open up. After a while, Bill moved over to the editorial side and was assigned the massive revision of Sunset’s Western Garden Book (which came out in 1967), while still working half time in the garden. From those humble beginnings, Bill had a 30 plus year career at Sunset, eventually becoming the Editor-...

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Grace Elaine Light
Feb. 28, 1947 - Aug. 4, 2017
Palo Alto, California

Grace Elaine Light, a lifetime resident of Palo Alto, died at age 70 on Friday, August 4, of complications from a stroke. She had just retired after serving for 13 years as a teacher’s aide in the Palo Alto school system, working with children with special needs. Before that she worked for many years at Track and Field News in Mountain View. A graduate of Palo Alto High School, she also attended Foothill College. She loved animals and could remember in detail the many cats and dogs she owned over the years. Known for her giving nature, she was a longtime donor of blood to the American Red Cross. Born in Philadelphia in 1947, she came to California with her family in 1951. She is survived by her domestic partner, George L. Greenan of Palo Alto; a brother, Skip Light of Redwood Estates, and his wife Sylvia; a sister, Cynthia Mitchell of Scotts Valley; two nieces, Katy and Kelly Mitchell; many cousins; and her beloved dog, Mocha....

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Nancy Supan
Oct. 30, 1929 - July 7, 2017
Palo Alto, California

Nancy Supan, 87, wife of the late James Supan, passed away on July 7, 2017. Nancy was a native Palo Altan. She married the love of her life, James, in 1949. They enjoyed 52 years of marriage before James passed away in 2001. Nancy lived her life always thinking of others. Her joy came from family celebrations, travel, gardening, and her love of reading. Nancy was preceded in death by her parents David and Eva Rhein, by her sister Dorothy Cadwalader, and her brother David Rhein. Nancy is survived by her children, Richard (Bernadette), Larry (Carol), Tom (Miros), and Cathy (Rick deceased), eleven grandchildren, and two special great grandchildren. She also leaves behind many other loving relatives. Nancy’s greatest happiness was being Nana to her grandchildren. Each one held a special place in her heart. The family is very grateful to the wonderful nurses and staff at Manor Care in Sunnyvale who lovingly took care of Nancy during her stay....

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Most recent memorials

Joseph A. Gist, Jr.
Jan. 15, 1925 - Dec. 20, 2017 Palo Alto, California

Joseph Andrew Gist, Jr., former resident of San Jose and Palo Alto, passed away on Dec. 20, 2016. He was 91 years old. Joseph loved to tell the story of how he was born on a cold, windy January night in Garland, Wyoming, in 1925. His father was so excited that he forgot to drain the radiator in t...

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Todhunter (“Tod”) W. Bensen
Dec. 24, 1962 - Aug. 10, 2017 Woodside, California

Todhunter (“Tod”) Weir Bensen passed away on August 10, 2017, in California. Born on December 24, 1962, in New York City, Tod and his mother were surrounded by hospital staff singing Christmas carols, a portent of the outstanding life he was to lead. After attending Greenwich High School i...

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Tasso J. Conomos
Sept. 11, 1938 - Aug. 9, 2017 Menlo Park, California

Tasso John Conomos, beloved husband, cherished father, loving grandfather, and devoted son passed away peacefully with loved ones by his side on August 9, 2017. Ever gracious, he showed the courage to bow out gracefully after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. As Dad reflected in recent weeks, his cup ...

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Kevin Giffen
Jan. 21, 1928 - Aug. 7, 2017 Palo Alto, California

Kevin Giffen died in his sleep in Menlo Park, CA the morning of August 7, 2017. Kevin was born in Detroit, Michigan, after his family immigrated from Ireland. He was the sixth of seven children, and the last to die. He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Elinor, and is survived by the...

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