Community - April 7, 2010


Dr. Bernard Silber

Dr. Bernard Silber, a 54-year resident of Atherton, died March 20 at the age of 98.

Dr. Silber practiced internal medicine and cardiology in Redwood City and at Sequoia Hospital and Stanford Medical Center.

After World War II, he and four medical colleagues from Dibble Hospital opened the Sequoia Medical Group in Redwood City.

During his practice, he frequently made house calls. When asked what kind of physician he was, he always answered "an RD (real doctor)," say family members.

Born in Baltimore, Dr. Silber grew up working in his parents' bakeries. During the Great Depression, people lined up in front of the bakery, where the Silbers gave bread to families in need.

Dr. Silber was educated at Baltimore City College, the University of Maryland, and the University of Chicago School of Medicine. He completed five years of medical residence.

He met his future wife, Bernice Garrett, a medical social worker, while completing his medical residency at Los Angeles County Hospital. They were married in 1942.

During World War II, Dr. Silber served as a captain in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in the South Pacific and at Dibble Hospital in Menlo Park.

The Silbers settled first in Palo Alto and later built their home in Atherton. The redwood and glass house was surrounded by open space and horse pastures. Dr. Silber loved gardening, chopping wood, and maintaining a vast compost operation in his backyard, say family members.

Dr. Silber was interested in the relationship of diet, exercise, and smoking to heart disease, and he preached a healthy lifestyle. He swam competitively with the Rinconada Masters Swim team in Palo Alto for 30 years, working out three times a week and winning many medals.

He was also a calligrapher, and a student of etymology and several languages, including Yiddish, his first language.

He is survived by his children, Jenny Silber Butah of Watsonville, Katy Silber of Berkeley, and Mark Silber of Menlo Park; brothers Sidney Silber and Dr. Earle Silber; sister Evelyn Krohn; 11 grandchildren; and 15 nieces and nephews.

A memorial celebration of Dr. Silber's life will be held this spring. For more information contact Katy Silber at 510-524-6717.

Memorials in his name may be made to the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco and the Peninsula, the Peninsula School in Menlo Park, the Sierra Club, the Peninsula Open Space Trust, or the ACLU.

John V. Regan

John Vincent Regan of Arlington, Virginia, died March 12 in Little Rock, Arkansas, from complications that arose from treating myeloma. He was 69.

Mr. Regan grew up in Menlo Park, one of seven children of Bill and Nonie Regan. He attended St. Joseph's Elementary School, Bellarmine College Preparatory, and Santa Clara University. He received a master's degree from Washington State University and a doctorate in English from University of California at Davis. He was an English professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Regan later worked for the U.S. General Accountability Office in Washington, retiring after more than 25 years.

He had a passion for art, cooking and reading. He enjoyed writing children's books, bird watching, and daily walks with his wife through their suburban neighborhood, say family members.

He is survived by his wife, Lauren; children Cindy Salavantis, John Regan, James Regan and Elizabeth Regan; sisters Muffy Bui of Menlo Park and Jan Difu of Angels Camp; brother Bill Regan of San Mateo; and two grandchildren.

Ethel Toby

Ethel Medhurst Toby died March 19 at her home in Woodside.

Born in San Mateo in 1917, Ms. Toby spent her childhood in the town of Caspar, north of Mendocino, until returning to San Mateo to attend high school.

She married Daniel Toby in 1941. While living in San Mateo, she spent many years working in the family manufacturing business.

For the past 11 years, she lived in a small house next door to her daughter, Diane Toby, and her husband, Jeff Lea, in Woodside. Her green thumb was legendary and she was most at home in her garden, say family members. She was a soft-spoken woman with a quick mind and strong opinions, they say.

She is survived by her daughters, Diane Toby of Woodside and Louise Toby of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.


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