Community - September 14, 2011


Lyn Carlsmith

Lyn K. Carlsmith, a resident of Ladera for more than 40 years, died peacefully, surrounded by her family, at Stanford Medical Center Sept. 1. She was 79.

Born Karolyn Gai Kuckenberg in Portland, Oregon, she was one of the first women to earn a doctorate in social relations (psychology) at Harvard University.

Ms. Carlsmith enrolled in Stanford University in 1950. She joined the Stanford Dollies her freshman year and took part in many student activities. During her senior year, she met fellow student Merrill Carlsmith, her future husband.

After graduating in 1954, she enrolled in the university's graduate program in psychology. Completing her master's degree, she moved to New York City, where she worked for two years as a copy editor. In 1958 she joined Mr. Carlsmith as a graduate student at Harvard, studying child development.

After earning her doctorate from Harvard in 1963, the couple married in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. They moved to California in 1964 to join the psychology department at Stanford University. A devoted mother who postponed her scholarly ambitions in order to raise three children, she later became a senior lecturer at Stanford, say family members

When her children were in school, she was active at Ladera School, La Entrada School, and Charles Armstrong School. She loved being home when her children returned with art projects, captured bugs and other souvenirs of school life, say family members. Even today, her house remains full of wood sculpture, mosaics, line drawings and other creative work done by her children, they say.

As a Stanford lecturer, Ms. Carlsmith specialized in organizing internships so students could take part in community organizations. She pushed her students to recognize the importance of giving back to those less fortunate, working closely with an organization called Social Advocates for Youth in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ms. Carlsmith is survived by her three children, Kim Sampson and Christopher and Kevin Carlsmith; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Her husband, fellow psychologist and Stanford professor, J. Merrill Carlsmith, died in 1984.

For nearly 25 years, she was the companion of social psychologist Garner Lindzey, director emeritus of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Professor Lindzey died in 2008.

Cards and letters to the family may be sent to the Carlsmith family, 31 Berenda Way, Portola Valley, CA 94028. A memorial reception has been held at the Stanford Faculty Club.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), 75 Alta Road, Stanford, CA 94305;; 736-0100.

Eleanore Burchett Perkins

Eleanore Burchett Perkins of Ashland, Oregon, who served as director of religious education at St. Denis Catholic Parish in Menlo Park for many years, died Aug. 26, two days before her 80th birthday.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at Our Lady of the Mountain Church in Ashland.

Ms. Perkins was born in 1931 in the Philippines, where her father was stationed with the U.S. Army. A year later, the family moved to Northern California, first to San Francisco, then to Menlo Park, where she spent most of her adult life.

Educated at Presentation High School in San Francisco and Dominican College in Marin County, Ms. Perkins earned a master's degree at the University of California and a doctorate of ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation, with some studies at Oxford University.

Ms. Perkins served for many years as director of religious education at St. Denis Catholic Parish and the affiliated Our Lady of the Wayside in Portola Valley.

Earlier, she was principal of St. Gregory Elementary School in San Mateo. She also rose to a position of leadership in the organization of Lay Dominicans.

As an editor, she worked at Stanford Research Institute, Gulf South Research Institute, and Stanford University, followed by 13 years as co-editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter.

In 1966, she married Edward Perkins. They retired to Southern Oregon in 1998. In Ashland, Ms. Perkins joined the local American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters.

Mrs. Perkins is survived by her husband, Ed; niece Carmel Windows of Ashland, nephew Thomas Savasta of Lakehead, California, and their families.

Ms. Perkins was one of those people who brought out the best in everyone, say family members. On learning of her death, a former employee said, "The years we spent with her were the best years of our lives."


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