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April 21, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Two retired educators die; they had long ties to Hillview School Two retired educators die; they had long ties to Hillview School (April 21, 2004)

Colleagues have learned of the deaths of two men associated with Hillview School for many years: Walt Key and Donald Halvorson.

Walt Key

Walt Key, who served as an educator at Hillview School in the Menlo Park City School District from 1955 to 1986, died December 28 at his home in Paradise, California. He was 76.

Mr. Key was born in Iowa and graduated from Michigan Normal Teachers College, now known as Eastern Michigan University.

He taught in the Midwest for five years before moving to California in 1955 as a newlywed with his wife, Joanne.

Mr. Key's entire California career in education was spent at Hillview School. For five years he was a teacher; for another five years he was assistant principal before becoming principal. During his 21 years at Hillview, it was first a kindergarten through eighth-grade school, then became a middle school for seventh- and eighth-grade students. He retired to Paradise in 1986.

During his retirement, he enjoyed working in his garage workshop and gardening, say family members.

He is survived by his wife, Joanne, of Paradise; and son, James, of Brentwood. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Donald Halvorson

Don Halvorson died February 28 in Kaiser Hospital in Roseville, from continuing complications following earlier surgery for an abdominal aneurysm. He was 77.

Mr. Halvorson was a native of Tracy, Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, and was educated at South Dakota State College. He began his teaching career in South Dakota, where at 25 he became the state's youngest superintendent of schools.

He married Doris Jungwirth and moved to California in 1954. Mr. Halvorson taught at Green Oaks School in East Palo Alto for three years before moving to Oak Knoll School in the Menlo Park City School District, where he taught for nine years.

From 1966 to 1985, he was a core teacher for the seventh and eighth grade at Hillview School, also in the Menlo Park district. He retired in 1985.

"Don loved teaching, and was an advocate for those in need," says his wife. "He was completely insistent on civil rights for everyone and integration of the schools."

He marched with Cesar Chavez, walked in peace marches to protest the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, and slept in homeless shelters to learn the needs of the people there, says Ms. Halvorson.

Among the many organizations he worked for were the Catholic Inter-Racial Council, the first human relations committee of the Menlo Park Teachers Association, the task force for integrated elementary education, and the committee to desegregate Sequoia Union High School District. He was given an honorary life membership in the Menlo Park City School District PTA. The Halvorsons moved to El Dorado Hills in 1997.

Mr. Halvorson is survived by his wife of 53 years, Doris; daughters Sally and Shelley; sons Robin, Ronald and Terry; two sisters; and nine grandchildren.

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