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Portola Valley: Wendi Haskell, a force in children's sports

 

Wendi Hammond Haskell, a teacher, champion of children's athletic programs and community volunteer, died quietly on June 10 at her home in Portola Valley in the company of her family. She was 75.

A celebration of her life is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Town Center Community Hall at 765 Portola Road in Portola Valley.


Wendi Haskell
Ms. Haskell's notable accomplishments in Portola Valley tend to focus on children's sports, with a particular aim of helping girls develop self confidence. She taught physical education (to younger children), developed indoor soccer and synchronized swimming programs, and coached pee-wee soccer and T-ball.

She was a regular in organizing Zots-to-tots, a foot, bike, skateboard and scooter race from Rossotti's burger hangout to the Town Center on the morning of the town picnic.

Her volunteer activities included membership on the school board (for eight years), the PTA, Friends of the Portola Valley Library and the Parks & Recreation Committee.

Ms. Haskell was born in Hollywood and grew up in Riverside County. She played tennis in high school and college and went on to win championships, even into her late 60s. She had a bachelor's degree in education from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

After marrying, she and her husband Bill Haskell lived in Illinois and Northern Virginia, where Ms. Haskell taught health and physical education and coached girls sports teams.

Ms. Haskell devoted more than 40 years to caring for her daughter Heidi, born with a major brain injury. She "was relentless in working closely with caregivers and educators to ensure Heidi would develop mentally, physically and socially to her full potential," her husband Bill wrote.

She also cared about the environment and "every being" in it, including plant life, her husband said. She was compassionate and vibrant with an "eternally young soul," quick to share a smile or laugh and ready with support and encouragement, he said.

Ms. Haskell is survived by her husband Bill; daughters Heidi in San Mateo, Kimberly in Granite Bay, California, and Merrily in Portola Valley; her son Christopher in Orinda; and four grandchildren.

The family suggest contributions in Ms. Haskell's name to the Truckee Donner Land Trust at tdlandtrust.org or the Fair Oaks Community Holiday Fund at rwcpaf.org.

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Dave Boyce

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