Community - January 5, 2011


Gilbert Richards

Historian, writer, and longtime Woodside resident Gilbert Richards died peacefully at home on Dec. 22 at the age of 96.

Mr. Richards authored two books, including one that depicted the colorful history of the Woodside area, and wrote a column for the Almanac — then, the Country Almanac — during the newspaper's early days.

A fourth-generation Californian, Mr. Richards majored in history at the University of California at Berkeley. He went on to attend and graduate from Hastings Law School. But he never got the chance to take the bar exam because, immediately after the United States entered World War II, he joined the Army Air Corp, his family says.

He already had a pilot's license, and requested to be a fighter pilot, but at age 29, he was told he was too old for that position, his family says. Instead, he flew transports out of England and France, where he volunteered as a glider pilot. He told the Almanac in 2003 that he was in the first group to fly gliders across the Rhine, and he crash-landed in Germany.

After military service, he began developing housing with his younger brother, Scott Ennis, Jr.

Mr. Richards was also an accomplished equestrian and an artist, his family says, but his real passion was California history. His two books are "Crossroads," which focuses on the people and events that shaped Woodside and Portola Valley; and "Historic Sites of the California Mother Lode."

"Crossroads" was reprinted several years ago, "spiced up by Mr. Richards' lively drawings of historic scenes and people," according to an Almanac article written by Marion Softky in 2003.

Mr. Richards enjoyed traveling the world with his wife of 50 years, Sally, and wrote about, painted, and sketched many scenes from those excursions, according to his family.

In addition to his wife, Sally Walker Richards, Mr. Richards is survived by a brother, Scott Ennis, Jr.; stepdaughter and stepson Linda Hooper and Perry Hooper; and a number of grandchildren, nephews and a niece.

No services will be held. Mr. Richard's ashes will be buried in a family plot in Nevada City, said his nephew, James Ennis Kirkland.

The family prefers that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the Pathways Hospice, 585 N. Mary St., Sunnyvale, CA 94085.


Barbara Davis

Barbara Lynn Davis of Clayton, North Carolina, who grew up in Portola Valley, died Dec. 26 of breast cancer. Ms. Davis died in Olympia, Washington, where she was visiting her daughters. She was 53.

Born in Palo Alto, the daughter of the late John and Betty Grass, Ms. Davis graduated from Woodside High School in 1975. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1978, the same year she married Wesley Thomas Davis.

She taught mathematics in California's community college system, and worked as office manager at the Laramie Country Club in Laramie, Wyoming, where she lived from 1978 to 2005.

The mother of three, she enjoyed crafts — especially crocheting baby blankets— sports, her family, travel, and her two cats, Sally and Alice, say family members.

Surviving Ms. Davis are her husband, Wesley Thomas Davis of Clayton, North Carolina; son John W. Davis of Clayton; daughters Ann R. Davis of Chehalis, Washington, and Katie E. Davis of Olympia, Washington; brothers Bill Grass of Portola Valley and Jim Grass of Santa Clara; and sisters Judy Grass and Bonnie Grass, both of Menlo Park.

A memorial service will be held June 4 at a family home in Menlo Park.

Robert Anthony Marth

A gathering to honor the memory of Robert Anthony Marth, 73, of Sunnyvale, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 8. Mr. Marth died on Dec. 21 after a strong fight against cancer and dementia, his family said.

Mr. Marth served as a member of the Menlo Park Rotary Club while working for SRI International.

Born in Tacoma, Washington, he pursued an education in electrical engineering and received a doctorate in that field in 1972. His career also carried him to Boeing, Bell Labs, and ESL/TRW in Sunnyvale, where he retired in 1995.

Mr. Marth is survived by his wife, Annemarie Marth, of Sunnyvale, six children, and 10 grandchildren.

The memorial gathering will be held at 977 Amador Ave. in Sunnyvale from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information contact Nichola Mente at or 224.4902.


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