Celebration of life for John Sidensol, 70


A celebration of the life of Portola Valley resident John Sidensol is set for Sunday, May 22, at 4135 (Old) Alpine Road -- behind the Alpine Inn and across Los Trancos Creek and accessible from Arastradero Road. There will be signs, Mr. Sidensol's son Bryan said.

Mr. Sidensol, 70, died May 7 as a result of a solo-vehicle accident at the corner of Alpine and Portola roads.

"He was just a really generous warm soul," his daughter Christine Vose told the Almanac. "He was so full of life."

Family friend Carla Carstens said of Mr. Sidensol that "he would do anything for anybody and he didn't want any recognition."

He loved to have fun, his children said. At his 70th birthday party at the Dutch Goose restaurant, for example, he gave each of his nine grandchildren hand-held squirt guns, Bryan said. "He was full of practical jokes, frankly," he said. "He was a kid at heart."

Mr. Sidensol grew up in San Jose, served in and was honorably discharged from the National Guard, graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor's degree in business, and owned a grading and paving business, his children said. He also worked as an independent contractor.

He moved to Portola Valley in 1975 with his wife Lynne and they raised four children together, all of whom went to local schools. He coached youth athletic leagues including baseball and soccer. For a time, he was president of the Alpine/West Menlo Little League. As a coach, he was known for "tough love," his daughter said.

Mr. Sidensol was a regular at the Alpine Inn and on Thanksgivings, he would invite men without local relatives to his house for dinner, Bryan said.

"He did so many kind things for so many people," Ms. Carstens said. "He just adored animals. That was his whole thing, animals and kids."

Mr. Sidensol is survived by his former wife, Lynne Emery of Redwood City; brother Robert Sidensol of San Jose; daughters Christine Vose of Mill Valley and Kathryn Wilson of San Francisco; son Bryan Sidensol of Moraga; stepson Tony Mecia of Charlotte, North Carolina; and nine grandchildren.

The Sidensol family is asking that donations in Mr. Sidensol's name be made to the Portola Valley Open Space Fund.

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