He spent most of his life in the Bay Area. He was born on March 21, 1956 in Palo Alto to Jose and Maria Alexandre and later moved to Sunnyvale. After he attended Los Altos High School, he moved back to Palo Alto in the 1970s to care for his aging parents in their home.
In his professional life, he was involved in building trades and real estate staging, and is remembered as an active member of the community, especially in the Monroe Park neighborhood. He was a volunteer at St. Athanasius Church and helped many aging neighbors with food and household tasks. He could commonly be seen giving advice to neighbors about gardening, repairing and various other matters from his front yard, and neighbors said he watched over the neighborhood, caring for neighbors' homes and pets and connecting neighbors to each other.
He is survived by his brother, John Alexandre of Union City; and sister, Maria Rapert of Redwood City.
A neighborhood remembrance was held on Dec. 12 at his home and another on Jan. 5. Burial will be held privately.
John H. Williams, a longtime resident of Palo Alto and lifelong devotee of railroads, died in mid-December at his home in Palo Alto of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 78.
Born in Vermont, his interest in trains began at a young age, when he would spend his time watching trains going by at the railroad tracks. He went on to attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics and a Master of Business Administration. At the university, he met professor Bill Hay in the Civil Engineering Department, who would become a close friend and help him expand his knowledge on railroads and the transportation industry. In college, he also met his wife Linda, and together they attended the professor's regular Friday afternoon railroad lectures. They married in the 1960s and first arrived to Palo Alto in 1972 where they stayed for eight years. The couple moved to Philadelphia for two years, then returned for the Bay Area's warmer temperatures in 1982.
He had a long career in researching and designing railroads and worked various roles in the industry as an analyst, trainmaster and transportation specialist. He also oversaw and managed financial plans for many railroad companies. A highlight of his career includes his three years with the Department of Transportation's newly created Federal Railroad Administration in Washington, D.C. in the late 1960s where he helped develop public policies for railroads and its first rail network. In 1983, he became president of The Woodside Consulting Group and in 2006, became president and owner of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, a regional line operating on the Northern California coast.
In his free time he liked reading and spending time outdoors, particularly at California's state parks, and enjoyed attending his two children's extracurricular activities such as soccer matches and swim meets.
He is survived by his wife, Linda Williams of Palo Alto; and sons Don Williams and Rol Williams of Palo Alto.
Memorial donations can be made to the California State Parks Foundation, or to Dr. William Langston's Parkinson's disease program. Donors can make checks payable to Stanford University with the accompanying memo, "Bill Langston's PD program in honor of John Williams" and send to the attention of Anne Longo, Stanford Medicine, 3172 Porter Drive, Suite 210, Palo Alto, CA 94304.
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