April 19, 1928-June 4, 2012
Menlo Park, California
Florence Stuart passed away peacefully June 4. She had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late April. She was a Menlo Park resident for 45 years, and Redwood Shores for 10.
The youngest of four and only daughter of Swedish parents, she grew up in Michigan's Detroit area through the depression years. The multicultural neighborhood in which she lived gave her a knack for understanding many cultures and linguistic accent variations. Later in life, she had the good fortune to expand on that through travel with friends and family.
Throughout her life she held a deep appreciation for quality education. The first of her family to attend college, she obtained a BA from the University of Michigan. At U of M she met her husband, Robert Stuart. The newlyweds moved to Chicago; she taught elementary school while Robert attended Loyola Dental School. In 1957 they moved to Menlo Park where he started a dental practice and she managed their home and family.
She was a social pioneer in many ways: In the 1960s Florence gave assistance to immigrants; she volunteered for the Tea House at Allied Arts, which raised money for children's cancer research. She became an expert on the San Francisco Bay ecosystem, and wrote a definitive work about the Bay for the League of Women Voters. In the 1970s divorce prompted redirection from housewife to Real Estate agent. She continued in volunteer activities, working for prison reform and ending the death penalty. In the 1980s she became a breast cancer survivor. At all times she was an advocate of independent thinking, common sense and good humor.
Florence is survived by four children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial is scheduled July 28 at 2 p.m. at Ladera Community Church, 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley.