Almanac

Community - June 22, 2011

Obituaries

Robin Winslow Smith

A memorial celebration will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, June 24, at Holbrook-Palmer Park in Atherton for Robin Winslow Smith, a 47-year resident of Atherton who died at home June 15 surrounded by family after outwitting cancer for nearly five years.

In a memorial notice on the Almanac website, her family describes here as "a strong, independent woman with a sharp wit and a broad sense of humor, proud mother of four, dedicated special education teacher, engaged citizen, avid birder, world traveler, voracious reader, passionate environmentalist, dog lover, story teller, and a supportive friend and confidant to many. "

A 10th generation American of the Winslow family, she was born in San Francisco in 1934, raised in Saratoga and Palo Alto, and attended Palo Alto High School. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from UC Berkeley as a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

She married Gordon Dean Smith Jr. in 1956, settled in Palo Alto and taught elementary school.

She raised four children in an "inviting 1906 Atherton home where music and art were a rich part of everyday life," the family says.

As her children grew, she returned to teaching and focused on special education, receiving a master's degree from San Jose State University. She taught for more than 20 years, primarily in the Fremont Unified School District.

Once retired, she pursued her love of birding, serving as president of Sequoia Audubon and organizing many Christmas bird counts.

She visited all 50 states, including a drive up the Alaska Highway before it was paved. She explored all continents, including snowmobiling above the Arctic Circle, traveling by train to Mongolia, going on safari in Africa, and weathering Antarctica.

She worked for habitat protectionm including the conservation of Bair Island and the protection of Bedwell Bayfront Park as open space.

Survivors include her four children, Mallory, Colin, Evan and Alison; and a granddaughter.

The family prefers memorial contribution to a local environmental organization of the donor's choice.

Avery William Rogers

Avery William Rogers, a resident of Menlo Park who had a 37-year career with the U.S. Geological Survey, died June 14 after a long illness. He was 86.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 25, at the Elks Club, 4249 El Camino Real, in Palo Alto.

Born in Paso Robles, California, he and the family later moved to Concord, where his father was a golf instructor, beginning Avery's lifelong passion for the game. The family subsequently moved to Berkeley, where Avery was on the Berkeley High School golf team.

After graduating from Berkeley High in 1943, he served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946, primarily in the South Pacific. He was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant and helped build and manage a water treatment tank on the island of Morotai.

Directly after arriving back in the U.S., he enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley and completed his degree in business administration in three and a half years.

The Monday after graduation, he began his career with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). He started out with the Water Resources Division and then spent 25 years as the management officer for the Western Region, headquartered in Menlo Park.

In 1981, he received the Department of the Interior's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, from then-Secretary of the Interior James Watt.

On Oct. 25, 1981, he married Irene, and after they retired from the USGS in 1986, they delivered cars part-time for John Anderson dealerships and traveled extensively throughout the world, making friends and visiting periodically, family members said.

He and Irene loved to play golf together and with friends. He was a long-time member of the Elks Club, the Shriners, and the Masons.

He is survived by his wife Irene of Menlo Park; daughters Lynn Rogers of San Jose and Diane Greenwood of Santa Barbara; stepchildren Saul Jimenez of Redwood City and Naomi Silva of Santa Cruz; and nine grandchildren.

The family expresses thanks to the many caregivers who took care of Mr. Rogers, in particular, Ricky Clemente. The family prefers memorial donations to a favorite charity in Mr. Rogers' name.

Harriet Pollins Johnston

Harriet Pollins Johnston, a longtime Peninsula resident, died June 6 at The Sequoias in Portola Valley. She was 87.

A memorial service is planned for noon Saturday, June 25, at St. Mary's by the Sea Episcopal Church at 146 12th St. in Pacific Grove.

A native of Peoria, Illinois, she married Bruce F. Johnston in 1944 in Wilmington, North Carolina. After living in Japan, she and her husband came to Stanford.

She and her family lived in France from 1952 to 1954, and returned to Stanford in 1954 when Dr. Johnston joined the Stanford faculty.

She enjoyed extensive traveling and lived in Japan, France, Uganda, Kenya and Austria. She also loved their retirement home in Pacific Grove, California, family members say.

She was an active volunteer, including with the Stanford YWCA and Hospital Chaplaincy as well as Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA) with St. Mary's by the Sea, in Pacific Grove.

Survivors include her husband, Bruce; her son, Bruce C. Johnston of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; her daughter, Patricia C. Johnston of Denver; and a granddaughter.

The family suggests donations to Pathways Hospice Foundation at 585 N. Mary Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085; or to St. Mary's by the Sea Church (put "Social Concerns Fund" in the memo line) at 146 12th St., Pacific Grove, CA 93940.

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