Obituaries | April 18, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - April 18, 2012


Richard Tryce

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 21, for Richard Stanley Tryce, a fifth-generation Californian and 57-year-resident of the Peninsula, who died March 15 at his home in Portola Valley following a long illness. He was 80.

The service will start at 1 p.m. at Valley Presbyterian Church, 945 Portola Road in Portola Valley.

Born in Los Angeles to Stanley and Dorothy Tryce in 1931, Mr. Tryce attended the California Military Academy and then graduated high school at Chadwick School in Rolling Hills, California.

He later earned two degrees from Stanford University — a bachelor of science in industrial engineering (1955) and a master of business administration (1959).

Mr. Tryce married Stanford classmate Yvonne Bergen in 1955. The couple moved to Menlo Park in 1957 and subsequently to Portola Valley in 1964.

Mr. Tryce served in the U.S. Air Force as a procurement and guided missile officer, stationed in Dallas and at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, an experience that led to an interest in pursuing a business degree. He retired as a captain, followed by many years as a member of the National Defense Executive Reserve.

His lifelong interest in amateur radio, as a "ham" licensed at the age of 14, led to engineering positions at Eitel-McCullough in San Carlos, Melabs in Stanford Industrial Park, and Lockheed Aircraft Corp. in Sunnyvale. He held a license as a registered professional engineer.

After serving as a consultant to Coopers and Lybrand, he became a controller and project manager for Bechtel Corporation. He then earned a real estate broker's license and served as a vice president for Coldwell Banker Commercial/Industrial Real Estate, which also utilized his industrial engineering background and eventually brought him to Arthur Andersen in San Francisco as consulting director of real estate/construction.

He was a past president of the Vista Verde Community Association in Portola Valley and was an active supporter and leader of the Boys Scouts of America. He played the saxophone, trumpet, and banjo, and enjoyed dancing — especially doing the Charleston.

Mr. Tryce was a longtime member of Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley, serving as an elder and on numerous task committees. He was well known as being an excellent "greeter" to first-time visitors at the church on Sunday mornings.

Mr. Tryce is survived by his wife of 56 years, Yvonne; his daughter, Kathy Tryce of Redwood City; his son, Robert Tryce of Etna; and his brother, Donald Tryce of Austin.

The family requests that memorial donations be made to Valley Presbyterian Church or a charity of the donor's choice.

— Chris Preimesberger

Elizabeth "Betty" Biber

Elizabeth "Betty" Martha Biber, mother of five and a longtime resident of Woodside, used to take pleasure in walking in the woods with her kids and their friends, naming plants and animals as she went along. "We would all go hiking and she would know the names of many of the flora and fauna," Ms. Biber's daughter Linda Triplett of La Honda said. "She loved to hike (and) she was a real avid birdwatcher."

At home on Jane Drive in Woodside Knolls, and surrounded by her family, Ms. Biber died on March 16. She was 94.

Ms. Biber grew up in San Francisco, graduated from Presentation High School, and worked for a time as a dental hygienist, her daughter said. She married Paul E. Biber in 1939; the couple built a house in Woodside in 1956 and settled into a semi-rural life. "She was a very beautiful woman, but she never wanted to be a socialite," Ms. Triplett said. "She never went to a beauty salon, she never had her nails done."

The Biber home was like a country club for kids, Ms. Triplett recalled. Sleepovers were common and longer stays not uncommon. A Redwood City friend once needed shelter when her mother abandoned her in her senior year in high school; she stayed for two years, Ms. Triplett said.

"Everyone was welcome for a chat, a swim, a horseback ride or a meal," Ms. Triplett said. "This welcome often lasted for days or weeks. Holidays always had extra guests who sometimes had no other place to celebrate the day."

Her mother could light up a room with laughter, Ms. Triplett said. "It was a very lively household for years and years and years."

And lively, too, being in her company, given her sense of herself. "She would sit in church and if she didn't like the guy who was talking, she would put in ear plugs and sit there and look quite pleasant," Ms. Triplett said. "She lived according to her own bible."

Mr. Biber died in 1978. In recalling the services, Ms. Triplett remembered her mother, in the presence of her husband's casket, asking the funeral director: "Don't you have tubes that you could just drop him into the earth and save room?"

Environmental issues were important to her. She worked hard to help incorporate the town so as to preserve its rural character, her daughter said. While Interstate 280 was in the planning stages, Ms. Biber involved herself in preserving the mineral-deprived serpentine soil and the unique habitat it created along the freeway corridor.

On vacations "all over California," Ms. Biber would lead family and friends on hikes, singing around the campfire, swimming in rivers and sometimes fishing, her daughter said.

Ms. Biber is survived by her son Paul; daughters Linda Triplett, Betsy Biber and Heidi Biber; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial gathering is set for the afternoon of Saturday, June 16, at the family home.

— Dave Boyce

Mary Jane Martin

Mary Jane Martin, a former resident of Portola Valley and a former teacher at Ormondale Elementary School, died April 3 in Vancouver, Washington, where she and her husband Richard Martin had retired in 1995. Ms. Martin was 64.

Mary Jane Spellman grew up in Portland, Oregon, taught school as a Jesuit volunteer in Fairbanks, Alaska, and worked as a flight attendant for Western Airlines, where she met Mr. Martin, a pilot, relatives said.

The couple settled in the Bay Area, had two children and lived in Portola Valley for 18 years, retiring to Vancouver in 1995, relatives said.

During her Portola Valley years, Ms. Martin coordinated volunteer work at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford and was an active participant in "some of the most important (political) campaigns of the time," relatives said.

In Vancouver, Ms. Martin volunteered her time with a local symphony orchestra, and helped build a volunteer services program for a hospital and chaired the board of the foundation, relatives said.

Ms. Martin is survived by her husband Richard; son Daniel; daughter Allison; brothers Edward Jr., Pete and Alison; and five grandchildren.

Memorial services were held on April 7. The family asks that donations in Ms. Martin's name be made to the Salmon Creek Hospital Foundation.

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