Community - December 28, 2011


Obituaries are based on information provided by the family.

Nancy DiSanto

Nancy DiSanto of Menlo Park died Nov. 19 due to complications from breast cancer. She was 48.

Ms. DiSanto, a resident of Ladera since 1993, was an active community member and school volunteer.

Born in the Philippines, Ms. Di Santo was raised in San Diego. She received her registered nurse and bachelor of science in nursing degrees from San Diego State University.

After meeting her future husband, Jim DiSanto, a Naval officer and F14 pilot at Miramar Naval Air Base in San Diego, they were married in 1991. After moving to Ladera, Ms. Disanto became a nurse in the intensive care unit at Stanford Hospital and eventually worked as a nurse in the hospital's neurosurgery department. In 2009-2010, she worked as the study nurse coordinator for a Stanford melanoma prevention trial.

An avid volleyball player, Ms. DiSanto served as coach and assistant coach for her daughters' volleyball teams at La Entrada Middle School, which won every match, including the league championship, say family members. Both daughters played in the USA Volleyball National Tournament in Atlanta in June of this year.

Ms. DiSanto is survived by her husband, Jim; and daughters, Jennifer and Jacqueline, all of Ladera.

The family is establishing a nonprofit foundation in honor of Nancy. Gifts to the foundation will be donated in support of breast cancer research. More details will be available on the forthcoming website for the Nancy Di Santo Memorial Charity Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.

Services were held Dec. 3 at St. Denis Church in Menlo Park.

Emil Magrin

Emil Magrin, a carpenter, automobile racer, airplane pilot and resident of Woodside for 43 years, died Dec. 4 from complications of a fall. He was 84.

Born in St. Louis, Mr. Magrin went to school in San Francisco and on the Peninsula, helped his father, a farmer, raise artichokes, cabbage, bean sprouts and peas, and graduated from Jefferson High School in Daly City in 1945.

He joined the U.S. Merchant Marine in 1945 and went to sea on troop transport ships. In August of that year, when U.S. forces dropped two atomic bombs in Japan, he was on Leyte in the Philippines.

After the war, he took up carpentry and racing stock cars under the name Emil Zola to avoid having his real name appear in newspapers read by his father, who disapproved of his racing, the family said.

In the late 1950s, Mr. Magrin bought an airplane and got a pilot's license, going on to earn a multi-engine rating.

He moved to Woodside in 1968 and stayed, retiring from a working life in 1978, relatives said.

His memberships included the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County, the Lions Club and the Elks Club. He loved golf and bowling, the family said.

Mr. Magrin is survived by his wife, Lou Ann Magrin; daughter Victoria Beninga of Meadow Vista, California; son Ron Magrin of Kauai, Hawaii; sister Mary Bistolfi of Daly City; as well as three step-children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The family prefers donations be made to the Redwood City Elks Lodge. A memorial service was held Dec. 10 at the Redwood City Elks Lodge.

Virginia Davison

A memorial service was held recently for Virginia B. "Ginny" Davison of Portola Valley, who died at home Dec. 1. She was 81.

She was active in the community as a past president of the Woodside-Atherton Auxiliary and on the board of the Children's Hospital at Stanford.

The service was held at St. Dennis Church in Menlo Park and was followed by a celebration of her life at the Sharon Heights Country Club.

Born in Spokane, Washington, she grew up in Boise, Idaho. She attended Stanford University, where she met her husband, Orrin "Dave" Davison.

They were married in 1952 and eventually moved to Portola Valley, where they raised their four children, Susan, Kathleen, Mike and Scott.

Survivors include her brother, Ambrose "Ham" Burroughs, her husband, four children, and 12 grandchildren.

The family prefers donations to Pathways Hospice Foundation, 585 N. Mary Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085; or to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

Gary Cook

Gary Cook, a resident of Los Altos who grew up in Atherton, died Nov. 8 at the age of 62.

A lifetime resident of the Bay Area, he graduated from Stanford in 1970, and earned an MBA at UCLA.

He was equally inspired by art and Stanford football, and was an accomplished chef, family members said.

As president of Cook Properties, he ran a commercial real estate business with his brothers. For 19 years, he served on the board of directors of the Mid-Peninsula Housing Corporation, a nonprofit organization on the Peninsula that develops and manages affordable housing.

Mr. Cook had a penchant for discovering small theater and dance companies, which he enthusiastically promoted among his friends and family. Among his favorites were the Crucible Fire Arts Festival in Oakland, the wall-dancing of Flyaway Productions in the Mission district, and Intersection, a San Francisco theater group.

Survivors include his wife, Micki; her sons, Brian and Alex; and his brothers, William and Robert Cook.

Friends gathered on Nov. 13 to celebrate his life. The family suggests memorial donations to Lymphoma Research Funds for Dr. Ranjana Advani, Stanford Cancer Center, 875 Blake Wilbur Drive , Stanford, CA 94305; or by calling 866-543-0243.

Alfred Gardner

Alfred James Gardner, a resident of Menlo Park for 42 years, died Oct. 28 at Stanford Hospital at the age of 91.

Born in Patterson, New Jersey, he had a wonderful life, the family said. He served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force and was employed at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company for 15 years. He received many awards for his service, namely the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters.

In civilian life, he enjoyed participating in numerous organizations and received special awards in many of them, the family said.

He and his wife Florence enjoyed traveling and cruising. He was especially proud of his family and their accomplishments, she said.

Mr. Gardner is survived by his wife of 69 years, Florence; daughter Carol, son Alfred, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Ann Ellen Gingrich

Ann Ellen Gingrich of Menlo Park died Nov. 24 at Stanford Hospital. A funeral Mass is planned on the 100th anniversary of her birth on March 1, 2012, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Irvine, California.

Born and raised in Grand Blanc, Michigan, she married Robert Gingrich, a young executive at General Motors, in 1934. They moved to California in 1943, settling initially in Pasadena, their home for 20 years and where they raised their three children, Susan, Michael and Mary Ann.

After the children were grown, they moved to Huntington Beach, and following Bob's death in 1974, she moved to nearby Irvine, where she lived for 35 years. She was an active member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, serving in many roles including an extended period as president of the Altar Guild.

She moved to Menlo Park in 2010 to be close to her daughter and son-in-law, Mary Ann and John Brock.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob; her daughter, Susan; and her four siblings, Frances, Joe, and Robert Gainey, and Mary Catherine Turnbull.

She is survived by her son, Michael of Dodgeville, Wisconsin; her daughter Mary Ann Brock; 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

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