Transitions Births, marriages and deaths
Deaths Roy Steffensen Roy Steffensen, a early contributor to the television industry, died Aug. 2 in his Woodland Hills home with his daughters at his side. He was 98. He was born in Palo Alto to a family with roots in show business. As a child he started backyard plays, and in high school he wrote and starred in a production that featured a 20foot rocket ship to the moon, which rose into the air amid flash powder effects as the whole Palo Alto High School football team manned ropes backstage. While studying architecture at UCLA he accepted a job at 20th Century Fox studios creating miniatures for the 1937 Oscar-winning film “In Old Chicago.” He was able to wed his sweetheart Kim, a marriage that lasted nearly 75 years. During World War II he created elaborate camouflage arrays to protect defense plants in the Southland, and later he returned to Palo Alto to spend the rest of the war contributing to the design and construction of ships. Living in post-war San Francisco, he and Kim formed a musical comedy troupe and, while performing in Portsmouth Square, were discovered by newly created KRON-TV. For seven years he was the official Santa Claus at KRON-TV. He introduced his character, Captain Z-Ro, as a weekly program on KRON, becoming a time traveler, visiting a variety of historical events, educating children and giving his wife the opportunity to play a number of female characters. Captain Z-Ro performed 150 shows live with only two cameras. The 15-minute show was also broadcast in Los Angeles and in 1954 was picked up for national syndication and expanded to a 30-minute format. Captain Z-Ro was an early adopter of many of the concepts that have become standard in science fiction: time travel, materialization and language translators. He and his wife moved to Los Angeles to pursue show-business opportunities and raise their children. Working as an architect for Walter Becket, he contributed to the design of Century City and continued his career at Universal Studios as a set designer and art director for numerous film and television projects. He is survived by his wife of 75 years, Kim; sister, Verona Bloomquist; daughters, Kita Feldman (Seth) and Kristina Hatfield; grandchildren, Tait and Holly Hatfield, Sarah Pyle and Daniel, Rachel Feldman, Becky, Hannah and Zoe Feldman.
Dorothy Connelly Dorothy (Dot) Connelly, 83, died Aug. 8, surrounded by her family. After her second bout with lung cancer, she followed her husband of 52 years, Bob, in death. She was passionate about her family and her Catholic faith. She grew up in New York and graduated from the University of New Mexico with three degrees. She followed her love of adventure by joining Pan Am as a stewardess during the 1950s. She lived in postwar London, and traveled all over the world. She had a special love for Hong Kong, Beirut and Austria. She moved to San Francisco, where she met Bob. They married at Carmel Mission and raised their family in Atherton. They spent time with a circle of friends from their community, Sharon Heights Country Club and the parish of The Church of the Nativity. She is survived by her children, Sue, Kelly, Rob and Carolyn (Regan); son-in-law, Rob; and grandchildren, Kelly, Kristen, Caitlin, Heather, Joe, Lauren, Erin, Kevin and Brendan Regan. Any gifts may be given to Nativity School Endowment Fund: www. nativityschool.com.
Nancie Basques Smith Nancie Smith died on Aug. 6 at the Los Altos Sub Acute and Rehab Center in Los Altos. She was 79. Nancie Smith was born in Hardin, Mo., on Dec. 19, 1932. She came to the San Francisco Bay Area as a child and lived there for the rest of her life. Preceded in death by her parents, Nancie is survived by her sisters, Connie Vigil and Corrine Salgado of Stockton, Calif., Mary West of Modesto, Calif., and brothers Simon Basques of Milbrae and Tony Zapata of Quinlan, Texas. She was preceded in death by her brother, Ralph Basques, and her sister, Triny Seifert of Gilroy, Calif. Nancie is also survived by seven of her 10 children: Ray Basques of Santa Clara, Vera Stange of San Mateo, Steve Ledesma of Jacksonville, Fla., Ophelia Skiver of Los Altos, James Ledesma of Red Bluff, Calif., Gloria Barker of Genesee, Ida., and Sylvia Kappelmann of Menlo Park. She was preceded in death by her sons Robert Paul and Jerome Luis, and her daughter Nancy Rachael. Nancie is survived by 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She will be remembered by her numerous nieces and nephews and their children as well. She enjoyed reading, puzzles, was an avid viewer of All My Children, loved Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Grateful Dead and coffee. She participated in an art class at the Alzheimer’s Center in San Jose
and enjoyed the craft and music programs there. She fought Alzheimer’s disease first at home with her long-time home-health aide, Marshella Collins, and with her granddaughter Rachel Kappelmann Jonas and her grandson Nolan Skiver, and then the skilled nursing staff at the rehab center.
WEDDING Elizabeth Jean Morrissey and Patrick Conlan McBrearty were married Aug. 11, 2012, in Villa Montalvo, Saratoga, Calif. Morrissey is the daughter of Michael (deceased) and Ann Allen Morrissey, both of whom graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1965. McBrearty is the son of Thomas and Ursula McBrearty of Castle Rock, Colo. The couple met as students at UCLA in 2003 and will live together in San Francisco.
Charlotte Ott Tudor Gilbert March 31, 1914 – July 26, 2012 Charlotte died peacefully at her Piedmont, CA home, surrounded by family & loved ones. Mrs. Gilbert was predeceased by husbands Wallace Ott, 31 years; Vernon Tudor, 23 years; and Robert Gilbert, 10 years. She is survived by her children, Amrette, Chuck, Mary and Doug, 5 stepchildren, 10 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. During the 30 years she lived in Menlo Park, she was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church, president of the PTA and a member of the Woodside Atherton Junior Auxiliary, where she was named Chair in 1962 and served as Chairman of Tally Ho. For the last 43 years, she resided in Piedmont, where she was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland. A former board member of the Oakland Symphony and the Oakland Ballet, Ms. Gilbert was a prominent member of the Piedmont Chapter of the Daughters of
the American Revolution, the Piedmont Area Republican Women, the Lakeshore Women’s Club, the Bellevue Club, the East Bay Opera League, and the Piedmont Service League. She was also a dedicated volunteer and supporter of the Oakland Children’s Hospital, the Oakland Museum, and the Northern Lights School. Charlotte will be fondly remembered for her kind spirit and adventurous nature; her fierce loyalty to her family, church, friends and neighbors; her love of entertaining, her appreciation of the arts, her joie de vivre, her infectious smile, and her innate ability to strike up a conversation with anyone she might encounter and make a friend in the most unlikely of places. There will be a memorial service at Grace Lutheran Church, 3149 Waverly Street, Palo Alto on August 25th at 2pm. PA I D
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Sharon Doyle Dec. 2, 1937 – Aug. 8, 2012 Sharon Claire Doyle, a lifelong resident of Palo Alto, died unexpectedly after suffering an aneurism on Aug. 8, 2012. At her bedside at Stanford Hospital were her nephews, David and Ken, and Ken’s wife, Marilyn. Sharon was born in Palo Alto in 1937 to John Kenneth and Babette (Bailey) Doyle. She had one brother, John Kenneth, Jr., who died in 2002. Sharon attended Palo Alto High School, class of 1955. She graduated from Stanford University in 1959, majoring in sociology. Other than a few years working for SRI in Paris, Sharon spent her entire life in Palo Alto. She worked for many years as Assistant to the Dean of the Law School at Stanford University until her retirement in 1992. Sharon was an avid environmentalist, generously donating to a number of causes such as the Sierra Club, the NRDC, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Nature Conservancy. She was a ﬁfty year member of the Humane Society. She also gave to various progressive causes such as
the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Sharon enjoyed puzzles, the more difﬁcult the better. She loved to sit in a comfortable chair eating Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, while solving crosswords, sudoku, and other challenging mind games. She also enjoyed movies of all kinds from the classics to the most modern releases. Her grand nephews were pleased and amazed to hear that her favorite TV show was “The Simpsons.” Sharon had a large circle of friends, some friendships going back to elementary school (over 65 years!). These friends would meet regularly for lunches and other social events. Sharon cherished these relationships. Sharon will be dearly missed. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Susan; her nephews, Ken and David; her dear niece-in-law, Marilyn; her grandnephews, Brian and Alex; and her grandniece, Jasmine. A private memorial will be held. In lieu of ﬂowers, please consider donating to one of Sharon’s favorite charities. PA I D
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Section 1 of the August 17, 2012 edition of the Palo Alto Weekly