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Issue date: June 21, 2000


Al Giannotti

Longtime Menlo commercial property developer and owner

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 21, the Church of the Nativity, Menlo Park, for Al Giannotti, who developed many commercial properties in Menlo Park. A resident of Menlo Park for 62 years, Mr. Giannotti died at home June 16 at age 92.

Mr. Giannotti was born in Schnectady, New York, and came to San Jose with his parents and nine siblings in 1921. He left school after the sixth grade to go to work, and his first job was picking prunes. He was proud of the fact that when he delivered lunch to his Dad, who was working at General Electric in San Jose, he met Thomas Edison. After he married his wife, Maxine, whom he met in Stockton, they moved to Menlo Park, where they lived the rest of their lives.

Mr. Giannotti worked for local building contractor Ed Mape from 1928 to 1932, then went into partnership with John Facchino (Johnny's Smoke Shop) in the amusement business (pinball and vending machines). After serving in World War II, Mr. Giannotti began developing local property, with his wife as his business partner.

The family-owned business, Giannotti/Vela Corporation, continues today in Redwood City with Mr. Giannotti's daughter, Carmen Lico, as president of marketing; and grandson Al Filice as president of development. Mr. Filice and another of Mr. Giannotti's grandsons, Robert Lico, are in charge of daily operations.

The company owns and manages property from San Carlos to San Jose. "Altogether we own about 1 million square feet of property," says Mr. Filice. Menlo Park properties include the building on Santa Cruz Avenue housing Starbucks Coffee, Una Mas and McWhorter's; partnership in the Feve building, which houses Ritz Camera and Goodwill; 585 Glenwood Avenue, formerly occupied by Cashin Realty; 1340 El Camino Real, site of the Holistic Health Center; and buildings at 985, 1001, and 1005 O'Brien Drive.

Until about a month ago Mr. Giannotti was coming into the office every day, says Mr. Filice.

In 1999 Mr. Giannotti was awarded the Golden Acorn by the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce. At that time he said he always knew property downtown would turn out to be a good investment. "I could see California growing, I talked to business people and I listened to them. I heard the things they wanted to do, and what they were looking for."

Mr. Giannotti was a past president of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, past "exalted ruler" of the Redwood City Elk's Club, founding member of the Menlo Park Lions, and member of the Redwood City Chamber of Commerce.

He is survived by his daughter Carmen Lica and her husband Frank Lico of San Jose; brother William Giannotti of Reno; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. His wife, Maxine, and daughter, Jacqueline Maxine Bergmann died before him.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, June 20, from 4 to 9 p.m. at Redwood Chapel, 847 Woodside Road, Redwood City. Entombment will be at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery in Santa Clara. Donations may be made to the 5P Society (Cri-Du-Chat Society), 7108 Katella Ave., P.M.B. 502, Stanton, California 90680.

Frank Livermore

Museum of American Heritage founder

Frank Livermore, who referred to his home as "Smithsonian West," died June 9 in a Palo Alto nursing home of complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

Mr. Livermore established the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto in the late 1980s after running out of space in his Menlo Park home for his collection of 50 pre-World War II cameras, 200 manual typewriters, radios, adding machines, toasters, and turn-of-the-century player pianos. After several years at 275 Alma St., the museum moved into permanent quarters in the historic Rhona Williams House, Palo Alto, in 1998.

The museum, which includes permanent exhibits of everyday life before World War II, is financed through the Frank Livermore Trust. Mr. Livermore was a former bookkeeper, who became wealthy when he sold his interest in a radio broadcast network. The trust also provides scholarships for local Eagle Scouts. Mr. Livermore, who never married, was an active member of Boy Scouts for much of his life.

Mr. Livermore is survived by a sister, Margaret Thomason of Visa, California. At his request, no funeral services will be held. Inurnment will be at Alta Mesa memorial Park in Palo Alto. A memorial service will be announced later.

Martha Weber Soderman

Church leader

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto for Martha Frances Quigley Weber Soderman of Menlo Park, who died June 13 at Stanford Medical Center. She was 79.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Mrs. Soderman grew up in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from the University of Colorado, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1943 and married Gordon M. Weber the same year. They moved to the Peninsula and lived in Atherton for 35 years.

Mrs. Soderman was active in local church and community affairs, leading a youth group at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, participating in Mothers for Equal Education, organizing an interracial day camp, and supporting the United Farm Workers. At age 64 she graduated from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. A lover of the arts, Mrs. Soderman directed local plays and operettas and gave community play readings.

After Gordon Weber's death, she married longtime family friend Robert A. Soderman in 1987. For the past 13 years they lived in Menlo Park and enjoyed family, church and social activities, and worldwide travels. Mr. Soderman cared for his wife during the last several years when she suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

Mrs. Soderman is survived by her husband, Robert; son Dave Weber of Mill Valley; daughter Meg Weber-Gil of Albany; and three grandchildren. Two sons, Steve Weber and Jon Weber, preceded her in death.

Memorials may be made in Mrs. Soderman's name to the San Francisco Waldorf School Vision Fund, 2938 Washington St., San Francisco 94115 or to a charity of choice. First Presbyterian Church is located at 1140 Cowper St. in Palo Alto.

Elsa Anderson Covell

Junior League member

Elsa Anderson Covell, who recently moved to Menlo Park, died June 12 at El Camino Hospital at age 77. She had been a resident of Los Altos Hills for 35 years.

Mrs. Covell was a member of the Menlo Country Club, Junior League of Palo Alto/Mid Peninsula, and Palo Alto Garden Club.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Gordon; daughters Christine Peterson of Santa Rosa and Catherine Covell of Frement; son Gordon Jr. of Los Altos Hills; brother Harry Anderson of La Mesa; sister Elin Stiegeler of Santa Rosa; and four grandchildren.

Services were held June 16 at Christ Episcopal Church, Los Altos. Memorials may be made to the Community Association for Rehabilitation, 925 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto 94306. Arrangements were under the direction of the Menlo Park Chapel of Spangler Mortuaries.

Inez Gugliemetti

Menlo Park resident since 1946

Services were held June 16 at Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park for Inez C. Gugliemetti, who died June 12 at Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City. She was 78.

Mrs. Gugliemetti was a member of the Church of the Nativity and its Thursday prayer group.

She is survived by sons Richard A. Gugliemetti of Menlo Park and Robert G. Gugliemetti of Liberty Lake, Washington; brother Al Armand of South San Francisco; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert and son Ronald.

Interment was in Alta Mesa Cemetery, Palo Alto. Arrangements were by John O'Connor Menlo Colonial Chapel.


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