Deaths | December 14, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - December 14, 2012


Elvia Fernandez Garwood

Elvia Fernandez Garwood died Nov. 15 at home in Ashland, Ore. She was 87.

Born of Spanish immigrant parents in New York City, N.Y., she attended Cooper Union and then Yale University, being one of two women in the graduating class in architecture in 1949. She raised her family in Palo Alto, Calif., from 1955 and maintained her principal residence there until six years ago when she moved to Ashland.

She was one of the first women in Palo Alto to ride her bicycle to work, hosted two American Field Service high school students in her family and was one of the original supporters of the Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto. In Los Angeles she was one of the first docents at the new Getty Museum and also a garden docent at the Huntington Gardens.

Her career spanned more than 40 years and included work as an architect in private firms and as manager of hospital expansion projects in New York, Los Angeles and at Stanford Hospital. She retired at age 75.

She is survived by her children, Diana, Christopher, Mark and Andrea; grandchildren, Brian, Nicholas, Jeffrey, Monica, Alexander, Tessa and Olivia; and her sister, America. She was preceded in death by her parents, Manuel and Flora Fernandez, and her brother, Oligario Fernandez.

Tom Martin Rogers

Tom Martin Rogers, 80, died Nov. 21 of acute leukemia at the Sequoias in Portola Valley.

Born Oct. 8, 1932, in Fresno, Calif., he was the first child of Doris and Glenn Rogers and brother to his late sister, Peggy Brott.

He attended school in Salinas and attended San Jose State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree and his secondary teaching credential. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1958 and was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. After being honorably discharged, he worked as an actor in Fallon Theater in Columbia, Calif., during the summers as he started his teaching career.

His teaching career at the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District was from 1958 to 1985. These 27 years of service were complemented by 12 years of volunteering at Woodside's Filoli as a docent from 1977 to 1989. After retiring from teaching, he became the prominent curator of Filoli for 22 years from 1989 to 2011, overseeing collections of antiques, artifacts and historical furniture of the estate. He was also a regular volunteer at the San Francisco Legion of Honor and an active participant in the San Francisco Ceramic Circle.

He is survived by his grandchildren, Korey, Jeremy and Klarissa Lee; their parents, Bill and Judie Lee; his brother-in-law, Jack Brott; and nephew, Eric Brott.

Gifts in Tom his memory may be directed to Filoli for the fund directed to the "Conservation of Objects in the Decorative Arts Collection" or for the "Acquisition of Books for the Sterling Library," 86 Ca–ada Road, Woodside, CA94062; or the Sequoias for the fund directed to assist "The Residents Who Exhausted Their Resources," 501 Portola Road, Portola Valley, CA 94028. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Dec. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Sequoias.

Lester Weil

Lester Weil, a longtime resident of Menlo Park, died Dec. 5 at his home after a brief illness. He was 95.

He was born in The Bronx on April 13, 1917, and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Brooklyn College in 1937 and subsequently received his doctorate in chemistry from Columbia University in 1945.

He met his wife, Ruth Swid, while at Columbia and they were married in 1944. He worked on the Manhattan Project during the war and was part of the American space program until his retirement in 1970.

Known as "Doc" to many of his friends, for the past 40 years he had divided his time between Menlo Park, raising cows on his ranch outside of Livermore and fly fishing the Bitterroot River in Montana.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, and his daughter, Nancy. He is survived by his son, Arthur; his daughter-in-law, Alice; his daughter, Beth; his grandson, Sam; his granddaughter-in-law, Nicole; great grandchild, Sierra; his grandson, Matthew; his granddaughter-in-law, Jennifer; and his grandson, Seth. A private family service has been held.

Russell Roberson

Russell Roberson, 54, a 20-year resident of Mountain View, died Dec. 2 in Brentwood, Calif. He had recently bought a new home in Brentwood, along with his wife, Pamela, and son, Alex.

He received a bachelor's degree from San Jose State University and was employed by NASA Ames. He was an active basketball player, runner and musician. He was a huge fan of the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. He enjoyed playing his guitar, bass guitar and drums with the band "War" back in the 1980s, and has taught numerous individuals as a hobby.

He is survived by his wife, Pamela Hilton of Brentwood; son, Alex Roberson; and two granddaughters, Raelyn and Maxine.


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