Community - March 3, 2010


Editor's Note: Obituaries are based on information provided by families and mortuaries.

Mary Victoria Neumeyer

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1105 Valparaiso Ave. in Menlo Park, for Mary Victoria Neumeyer. Ms. Neumeyer died Feb. 14. She was 88.

Ms. Neumeyer lived in Portola Valley for 55 years. She was a neighbor of The Almanac's co-founder Hedy Boissevain. She and her three children helped at various tasks putting the paper together during its first two years in the mid-1960s, say family members.

Born in Ferndale, Michigan, Ms. Neumeyer helped raise six younger brothers after her mother died at an early age. She was athletic, taking part in gymnastics, volleyball, softball and basketball through high school.

She studied design at Wayne State University in Detroit. She married Walter Neumeyer before he enlisted in the armed services during World War II. While her husband served in Europe, she moved to California with her mother-in-law.

The Neumeyers moved to Portola Valley in 1955, where she was active in the PTA, the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, Ladera Community Church and United Church Women.

After her husband died in 1980, she assisted many families, sitting with children when their parents were traveling or helping after the birth of a newborn.

In 1985, she met Iceline Adams of Jamaica, who became a close friend. They went on many excursions and celebrated holidays and family events together, say family members.

Surviving family members include children Dr. Terri Neumeyer and Walter Neumeyer of Portola Valley, and Lina Dillingham of Glenns Ferry, Idaho; three grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

The family prefers donations to a favorite charity. To send remembrances of Ms. Neumeyer, e-mail or call 851-7485.

Dennis Plank

A memorial gathering will be held beginning at noon, Saturday, March 20, at the Kings Grove's Tom May Center on Tunitas Creek Road in Woodside for Dennis Plank. Mr. Plank died Feb. 15 with his family at his side. He was 75.

In 1951, Mr. Plank moved to Kings Mountain from his home in Kansas and attended San Jose State University. He joined the U.S. Air Force, served in Korea, and in 1962, returned to Kings Mountain with his wife and children.

He was the owner/operator of Dennis Plank Construction. Family members say he was happiest when salmon fishing, on the golf course, or cooking for friends and family.

He is survived by his wife, Sybil, of Woodside; daughter Diana Cline of Montara; sister Barbara Martin of San Antonio, Texas; and three grandsons.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastside, P.O. Box 545, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019. Arrangements were under the direction of the Lifemark Center at Skylawn Memorial Park.

Dr. Richard Johnson

Dr. Richard Boyd Johnson, a former Atherton resident, died Jan. 1 of pneumonia in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Johnson, who had a private practice in Redwood City for 44 years, was 84.

A physician of internal medicine, Dr. Johnson was associated with Sequoia Hospital for more than 40 years and served as clinical medical director during his last years of practice. During his early years, he made house calls and once traded abalone for an office visit, say family members.

Dr. Johnson was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and studied at Washington University, entering medical school at age 19. He completed his medical training by age 23 and was drafted into the U.S. Army as a captain.

After serving with the occupational forces in Japan, he returned to start his practice in Redwood City.

Dr. Johnson retired in 1994 and moved to Arizona, first to Scottsdale, then Tucson, to be near one of his daughters and her family.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Mary K. Johnson, and daughter Jamin Collins of Arizona. He is also survived by his children by former wife Georgia Johnson-May: Dr. R. Boyd Johnson of Indianapolis, Stuart C. Johnson of Redwood City, and Diane Johnson-Fussy of Portola Valley; and by 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Mary Yost

Mary Elizabeth Yost, a former ballroom dance instructor, died Jan. 31 at Stanford Medical Center. She was 88.

Ms. Yost was born in San Jose and moved to Willow Road in Menlo Park as a child. She attended Ravenswood and St. Joseph's elementary schools and Sequoia High School. She graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in art in 1943.

During World War II, she worked as a draftsman with Hendy Iron Works in Sunnyvale, which built engines for American ships. She later worked at the National Motor Bearing Co. in Redwood City.

In 1946 she married Albert Yost at the Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park. The couple were ballroom dancers on the Peninsula and led their own dance club, the Jeff Jeffries Dancers. They sailed around South America twice as dance instructors on the Prudential Cruise Line.

Ms. Yost was active with the Menertons, volunteering at the thrift shop, helping plan fundraisers, and doing artwork for its cookbook.

She is survived by sons Walter Yost of Carmichael and Doug Yost of Palo Alto. Her husband of 62 years, Albert Yost, died in April 2009. A private service for Ms. Yost will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park.

Frances Martin

Frances Sylvia Martin, a Menlo Park resident from 1963 to 1999, died Feb. 19 of multiple myeloma. A celebration of her life was held Feb. 27 at her home in Philo. She was 71.

Ms. Martin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and raised in Argentina and Uruguay. She attended high school at St. Swithun's in Winchester, England.

In 1961 she moved to Washington, D.C., to work as a bilingual secretary for the International Monetary Fund. She was married in Washington to Frederick Martin and the couple moved to Menlo Park, where they raised their three children.

Ms. Martin worked as a legal secretary, then as an administrative assistant at Stanford University. After retiring, she returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in development studies from UC Berkeley. In 1999 the Martins moved to Philo in Anderson Valley.

In 2007 she published the diaries of her great aunt, Eunice G. Murray, a Scottish suffragist, which she had transcribed.

Surviving members of Ms. Martin's family are her husband, Fred, daughters Stephanie and Fiona, and two grandchildren. Her son, Geoffrey, died in 1999.

The family prefers donations to the Anderson Valley Health Center.

W. David Oke

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 4, at Stanford Memorial Chapel for W. David Oke Jr. of Menlo Park. Mr. Oke died Feb. 8 of heart failure. He was 65.

Following the service, a celebration of his life will be held at Holbrook-Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Ave. in Atherton.

Mr. Oke was a co-founder of the Roanoke Company, an advertising agency. For nearly four decades, he held a variety of positions with the company, including creative director, art director, editor and product supervisor, and, ultimately, president of the agency.

The Roanoke Company provided public service advertising, political consulting and public relations for environmental causes. Roanoke conceived and produced all media for the CHP's motorcycle safety campaign. The company also pioneered a "designated driver" approach to reduce drunken driving accidents, says a company spokesperson. Recently, Mr. Oke was campaign manager for the successful campaign of Dolores Carr for district attorney of Santa Clara County.

Mr. Oke was born in Michigan and grew up in Southern California. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1966 and earned a master's degree from Stanford University in communications, broadcasting, and film specialization.

He married Lorraine Luther of Los Altos in 1984. They recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at Point Lobos, where they met. He was a coach in his son's youth basketball league, and co-founder of Friends of the River. He was also an avid fisherman and sports enthusiast with a wonderful sense of humor, say family members.

He is survived by his wife, Lorraine; son Adam; mother Hilda; sister Sherry; aunt Jo Harlow; and many friends and family members.

Donations may be made to the Adam Oke Scholarship Foundation, Bank of the West, 5452 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton, CA 94566.

Truman Alexander Clark

Truman Alexander Clark, an economist, heirloom tomato gardener, and Portola Valley resident, died Feb. 21 of congestive heart failure at an assisted living center in Healdsburg, relatives said. Mr. Clark was 68.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, March 5, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Healdsburg. Arrangements are by the Fred Young Funeral Home in Cloverdale.

Mr. Clark and his wife Elizabeth moved to 195 acres in Healdsburg in the summer of 2009 from their home on Hayfields Road, where they lived for 18 years, Ms. Clark told The Almanac.

He commuted to Santa Monica, but when at home in Portola Valley, his interests included Major League baseball, Civil War history, and growing heirloom tomatoes, his wife said. She used the tomatoes to make "everything possible," including tomato pie, she said.

They "loved" walking Portola Valley's trails with their dog, Ms. Clark said. "We would take so many fabulous routes. It's one the things I really miss about our (years there)." Portola Valley was just rural enough, she said. "You felt removed but still connected."

They were members of the Christ Episcopal Church.

Mr. Clark was a native of Healdsburg and a graduate of Menlo School in Atherton and Princeton University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in politics.

After a time in Korea as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Mr. Clark returned to California, where he met his future wife and worked for the Dean Witter brokerage firm, the first of several financial sector jobs. He had a doctorate in business finance from the University of Chicago.

After a university teaching post in Buffalo, New York, he taught at the University of Southern California, then returned to the private sector for Dimensional Fund Advisors, from which he retired in 2005, relatives said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Clark is survived by son Alex Clark of Seattle; and daughter Shelley Clark of Mission Viejo.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or the Civil War Preservation Trust.

David Palecek

David Vaclav Palecek, an Atherton resident and a partner at McKinsey & Co. management consulting firm, died from complications of a staphylococcus infection at Stanford Hospital on Feb. 16. He was 37.

A celebration of his life is scheduled for March 14 at the Arrillaga Alumni Center on the Stanford campus at 11 a.m. Information is on the Facebook page, Support David Palecek.

Go to for a full obituary, which will also appear in a future issue of the print edition.


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