Almanac

Community - July 13, 2011

Obituaries

George Oliver

Submitted by daughter Tina Turner-Morfitt.

George Oliver died June 25, surrounded by loved ones at his home in Menlo Park. He was 91.

Born in Marshall, Texas, he was the first in his family to venture out to California, where he remained until his death.

He was a merchant seaman, construction worker, plumber, handyman, and "an entrepreneur of sorts," his daughter said. He had a passion for fishing, hunting, and gardening.

She said he loved teaching his children important life skills, and enjoyed sharing childhood stories while fishing or spending time at home with his grandsons, family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife Frances B. Oliver. He is survived by 10 children, three sisters, and many other relatives, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at New Sweet Home Church of God in Christ, in East Palo Alto on July 6.

Spencer Harris

Spencer Phelps Harris, a resident of Menlo Park, died unexpectedly May 17 in Palo Alto. He was 74.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, he attended Purdue University and then Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he majored in accounting. After graduating he worked for Arthur Andersen in the Chicago area before becoming a stock broker with Hornblower & Weeks.

After receiving a master's degree in finance from the University of Chicago, he came to California in 1970 to work for a nuclear medicine company in Palo Alto.

In 1976, he started the Data Financial Press Company in Menlo Park, compiling an accounting directory published twice a year called "Who Audits America," now in its 66th edition.

Mr. Spencer enjoyed diverse activities, the family says. While in the Chicago area, he was an avid sailor, keeping his boat at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. "He played the piano, hiked with the Sierra Club, played a good game of chess, and enjoyed attending the San Francisco Symphony as well as attending lectures concerning politics and the economy," his brother said.

He traveled to England and France, cruised Alaska and the Panama Canal, and made many visits to Cancun, Mexico; Florida; Texas; and Coronado, California, to visit friends and relatives.

He enjoyed daily visits to Peet's coffee shop on downtown Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park, where his friends have placed a plaque on his favorite bench. It reads: "Spencer Phelps Harris, 1936-2011, Bohemian Intellectual, Conversationalist, Peetnik."

Survivors include his brother, Wesley Harris.

A memorial service will be held at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church Library, 950 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, on Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sierra Club, 85 Second St., San Francisco, CA 93105; or to the San Francisco Symphony, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102.

John Alexander Bartlett

John Alexander Bartlett, a 46-year resident of Portola Valley, died peacefully on July 1 in the presence of his family. He was just shy of his 82nd birthday.

A native of New York state, Mr. Bartlett was born in Niagara Falls and grew up in Lewiston, New York. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1952, and served during the Korean War as naval officer on the destroyer USS Bearss, according to his family.

After his service in the Navy, he moved to San Francisco, where he met the woman he would marry, Jeanne. The couple continued to live in San Francisco until moving to Ladera, then to Portola Valley.

Mr. Bartlett recently retired from Coldwell Banker after working for more than 40 years in the residential and commercial real estate business. His family said he was an avid tennis player, fly fisherman, and golfer.

In addition to Jeanne, his wife of 52 years, Mr. Bartlett is survived by four children, Stewart of Lake Oswego, Oregon, Lindsay Montero of Redwood City, Shelly Sweeney of Woodside, and Peter Bartlett of Pacifica; and eight grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. The family requests that memorial donations be made to the hospice center at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, 3801 Miranda Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304, attention voluntary services. Donors should specify that the contribution is for hospice care.

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