Almanac

Community - January 12, 2011

Obituaries

Ruth (Martin) Johnson

Ruth (Martin) Johnson, a Palo Alto native and lifelong resident of the Midpeninsula, died Jan. 2 at The Sequoias in Portola Valley of complications from Alzheimer's disease. She was 91.

The younger of two daughters of former Stanford history professor Percy Martin, she grew up on the Stanford campus, attended Castilleja School, Palo Alto High School and Stanford University, where she received her bachelor's degree in 1940. She met her husband of 62 years, Chet Johnson, while both were active in theater at Stanford.

The couple moved to Los Angeles after getting married, but was determined to return to Palo Alto as soon as possible. "Palm Drive in '45" became their mantra, and they ended up back in Palo Alto right on schedule.

In 1948, the family moved to Menlo Park and then 10 years later to a new home the couple designed on Westridge Drive in Portola Valley.

Ruth was a devoted mother and volunteer, supporting the activities of her two children and becoming very active in the American Field Service (AFS) foreign exchange program.

After her two children were grown, she and her husband traveled extensively and enjoyed several unusual summers exploring the canals of France on a houseboat and at a summer apartment in southern France near St. Tropez.

Her love of Switzerland, which developed when she attended grammar school there while her father was on sabbatical from Stanford, led her to research and organize annual summer hiking trips in the Swiss Alps for family and friends, a passion that evolved into a full-fledged tour business for more than 15 years, until she was well into her 70s.

In 1997, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and began a steady decline. Her husband, Chet, devoted himself almost exclusively to caring for her until his death in 2002.

She is survived by her sons and their spouses, Mark and Becky Johnson of Seattle, and Bill Johnson and Terri Lobdell of Palo Alto, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

The family prefers contributions be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 1060 La Avenida St., Mountain View, CA 94043.

Barbara Dulik

Barbara Neal Dulik died of a heart attack on Dec. 25 in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, where she made her home. Ms. Dulik was a longtime resident of Menlo Park and Atherton before moving to St. Miguel Allende with her husband, Robert Dulik, in 2002.

Ms. Dulik was born in Los Angeles. Upon graduating from Los Angeles High School, she attended Stanford University, where she also received her master's degree in education.

Ms. Dulik developed the preschool program at Trinity Parish School in Menlo Park in 1976. She taught preschool at Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park from its founding in 1978. She was head of its Early Leaning Center and in 1986 became director of admissions for the school. She retired in 2002.

After retiring, Ms. Dulik enjoyed volunteering at a bilingual bookstore, traveling throughout Mexico, and cultivating a close group of friends in the community. She was a voracious reader, avid knitter, and enthusiastic world traveler, say family members. She was known for her dedication to children's educational issues, her warm and inclusive nature, and spirit of fun and adventure, they say.

A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Ms. Dulik is survived by her husband of 52 years, Robert Dulik; children Gregg Dulik of Palo Alto, Thomas Dulik of Lafayette, and Ann Elizabeth Gardiner of London, England; and nine grandchildren.

A celebration of Ms. Dulik's life will be held in March.

George Blythe Gray

George Blythe Gray of Menlo Park died Dec. 20 after suffering from heart disease for many years. He was 63.

Mr. Gray was a veteran who served in Vietnam and Korea. For nearly 15 years he served as a volunteer at the information desk of the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital.

He is survived by his life partner of 19 years, Donna Marie Lee; sons Charles David Gray and Lary Donn Gray; brother Marlin Heflin of Oklahoma; sisters Sharon Brown of Arizona and Mary Garnica of Arkansas; "honorary daughter" Tasha Lee McDonald of Monte Sereno; and three grandchildren.

A private service will be held at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. Donations in his memory may be made to the Disabled Veterans Association, the American Heart Association, or a favorite charity.

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