Katherine "Kay" Pelan
Oct. 7, 1930-July 10, 2013
Menlo Park, California
Contact the submitter
Katherine Nell Stivers Pelan 10/7/30 - 7/10/13
Katherine Nell Stivers was born in Medford, Oregon, on October 7th, 1930, to Dorine Hunter Stivers and Raymond Chandler Stivers.
As a child Kay performed on NBC radio's Stars of Tomorrow with Nate Cohn as a tap dancer and singer. As a youth she was also an accomplished equestrienne. The family moved to Stockton, California, where Kay graduated from Stagg High School, and then earned a degree from the University of the Pacific.
Kay graduated from Nursing school and in 1953 married John Mason Tucker, whom she had dated off and on since high school. Their daughter, Laura, was born in 1955.
They divorced in 1957, and Kay and Laura moved to San Francisco, where Kay met John ("Skip") Pelan on a blind date when Skip was in the Army at the Presidio. The couple was married shortly thereafter and Skip adopted Laura in 1960.
The family moved to Palo Alto and then to Portola Valley. In 1966 the family grew when they welcomed Janet (Janie), as an infant. Kay was a nurse at Kaiser Santa Clara, Belmont Hills and ultimately retired from the Veteran's Affairs hospital in Menlo Park.
Kay and Skip moved to Menlo Park in 1980. Skip, the love of her life, passed away in 2007.
Kay was an excellent cook and often had large groups of family and friends for holiday meals, picnics in the redwoods, and on the coast. She loved to needlepoint and knit, and was involved in a wide variety of causes and organizations.
She loved animals of all kinds, and the family had an endless stream of cats and dogs, and the occasional rabbit and rat. She was a docent and volunteer at the San Francisco Zoo for more than 15 years, observing the lemurs, orangutans and bears, and working as an instructor in the youth summer camps at the zoo. Her work there was a vocation that gave her endless joy and many stories to tell.
Kay was a Campfire Girl leader and was camp nurse at Camp Unalayee in the Trinity Alps for several years. In the 1970s Kay was involved in the BCRA and St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
Kay loved to travel and was lucky to have visited a number of zoos around the world thorough her membership in the International Zoo Educators Association. She was a voracious reader and she loved learning throughout her life. She was intelligent and passionate about what she loved.
Kay is survived by her daughter, Laura, son-in-law Adam, daughter Janie, and son-in-law John, as well as her beloved grandchildren Kate, Adam, Ella, Jack and Chase.
There are no services per Kay's wishes, but a gathering for family and friends will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in her honor may be made to the San Francisco Zoo.