Almanac

Community - February 3, 2010

Obituaries: Dr. Joan M. Merigan: pediatrician for 51 years

Dr. Joan M. Merigan of Portola Valley, who recently retired from her 51-year career as a pediatrician, died Jan. 27 after a short battle with adenocarcinoma of the lung. She was 78.

Her last practice was at the Santa Clara Pediatric Clinic in Santa Clara, where she had served since 1987.

Born in Oakland, she moved to Lake County in her later childhood years. She graduated cum laude from UC Berkeley, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

She completed medical school and a pediatric internship at the University of California at San Francisco. Following a pediatric residency at the Children's Hospital in Boston, she trained another year at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

A lifelong member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, she worked at Group Health Inc. in the Washington area before moving back to the Bay Area in 1963. She practiced at the Palo Alto Clinic for nine years and, from 1973 to 1978, worked at the Stanford Children's Oncology Clinic.

Dr. Merigan and her husband, Dr. Thomas C. Merigan, endowed a chair to the Stanford School of Medicine in 2008.

Dr. Merigan was a classical pianist. She performed before many groups, including her 50th medical school reunion.

For the past 37 years, she lived in Portola Valley, where she pursued her other passion, gardening, say family members. She also enjoyed world travel with her family, attending the San Francisco Symphony and Opera, sailing on the Bay, weekends at Pajaro Dunes, theater, movies, and good friends, they say.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Thomas C. Merigan, a retired Stanford Medical School professor; son Thomas C. Merigan 3rd of Campbell; and her brother, Judge Richard Freeborn of Clearlake.

A private celebration of her life will be held. The family prefers contributions in her name to a favorite animal welfare organization.

Ted Yates Johnston

Ted Yates Johnston of Atherton died on Jan. 12, after a long battle with lymphoma. He was 79.

Mr. Johnston, a fourth-generation Californian, was born in Paso Robles in 1930 to Theodore and Josephine Johnston. He lived the majority of his life on the Peninsula and graduated from Sequoia High School in 1947.

In 1950, he graduated from the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, and then served as a deck officer in the merchant marine and the U.S. Navy from 1950 through 1960. In 1960 he joined IBM as a computer salesman and programmer and moved to Sacramento, where he married Margaret in 1961.

Moving back to the Peninsula in 1969, he joined the computer center at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on the Stanford University campus.

After he retired in 1992, Mr. Johnston biked and hiked many of the Bay Area's roads and trails, as well as several regions in France with the British Ramblers' hiking club. The trips gave him regular opportunities to butcher the French language to the bewilderment of numerous French waiters, family members said.

Mr. Johnston was an avid reader and oenophile, and he and his wife square-danced and traveled regularly. He worked as a docent at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

Mr. Johnston is survived by his wife of 49 years, Margaret Johnston of Atherton; and daughter Pamela Johnston of Pasadena. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of the donor's choosing.

Gertrude M. Dowden

Gertrude Mary Dowden died Jan. 16 at Channing House in Palo Alto. Born in Harwich, England, in 1914, she moved with her family to the Isle of Wight, where she married Percy "Bunny" Dowden in 1940.

The young couple worked in aircraft production during World War II. They moved to Montreal in 1952 before locating in Menlo Park in 1956. Ms. Dowden was employed in the geophysics department at Stanford University from 1956 to 1979.

Ms. Dowden was an avid golfer and a longtime supporter of the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital as a member of the Roth Auxiliary.

Ms. Dowden is survived by several nieces and nephews. Her husband, Percy Dowden, died in 1993. No services will be held, at her request. Contributions may be made to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Robert P. Jenkins

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., in Palo Alto for Robert P. Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins died Dec. 16 at The Sequoias in Portola Valley.

Born in 1925 to a Navy family, he lived in a number of different places as a youth. He graduated from the California Institute of Technology and received a master's degree from Stanford School of Business. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and took part in the atomic bomb tests on Bikini Atoll in the Bikini Islands.

He was among the early employees of Lockheed, when it opened its research laboratory in Palo Alto. His combined scientific and business training was important to the success of the Lockheed marketing department, say family members.

Mr. Jenkins was an accomplished golfer, skier and bridge player. He was active as a vestryman at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. He was elected an honorary life member of Sons in Retirement (SIR) for his service.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia, of The Sequoias; daughters Sally Jenkins and Sue McVicker.

Memorials may be made to St. Mark's Outreach Fund or to Pathways Hospice, 585 N. Mary Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085.

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