A while ago I posted about finding the obituaries for the parents of the family for whom this house was originally built. I’ve also come across the obits for the three named architects of the firm that crafted our house.
I find them all interesting reads as they provide a few clues about our home. Namely one of them was a devotee of Richard Neutra
Here are the finds:
Carroll Sears Rankin
September 17, 1917 – December 2, 2012
Resident of Palo Alto
Born in Junction City, KY, only child of Luther T and Ethel Sears Rankin. Moved to Lexington, KY where he attended local schools and University of Kentucky (BS Civil Engineering). Drafted in 1940 he served a year in the Quartermaster Corp, then joined the Army Aircorp, flying 29 B24 combat missions over the Pacific. Returned to California, took full advantage of the GI Bill and received his BA in Architecture from USC in 1950. 1948, married Laura Jane Freeman of Racine, WI.
Architectural affiliations were with Ernst J. Kump Associates, partner in Worsley, Rankin Williamson, and Stanford University. Projects included Foothill, DeAnza and Cabrillo Junior Colleges; Gunn, Awalt, Mountain View, Mt Pleasant and Carmel Valley High Schools; numerous elementary schools; San Jose Superior Court Building; All Saints, and St. Thomas, Episcopal churches. President Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce 1968-69 and President of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the AIA, 1970.
Survived by wife Laura Rankin, daughter Gratia Rankin, and grandson Andrew Dolph.
Services at noon, January 19, 2013, at St Thomas Episcopal Church, 231 Sunset, Sunnyvale CA.Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Dec. 9, 2012.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Los Altos Neutra House Project.
Feb. 25 2014 —John C. Worsley Sr., a former California state architect who led efforts to restore the state Capitol to its historic grandeur, died Feb. 20 of pneumonia complications, his family said. He was 94.
Mr. Worsley was an accomplished Bay Area architect and teacher at Stanford University when he was named state architect in 1973. He left the post two years later to serve as project architect for the renovation of the state Capitol. Less than a century after the original was completed on a four-block site in Sacramento, the building had undergone major alterations as state government grew and the Capitol was deemed unsafe in a fire or earthquake.
He oversaw a team of officials responsible for the job, which brought in architects, artisans, engineers and historians who worked to reinforce the building and “recreate the interior to the look of the building before any major changes were made,” Capitol curator Koran Benoit said. The project, which took six years to finish at a cost of more than $68 million dollars, was the biggest restoration completed in North America at the time.
Mr. Worsley was an advocate for disabled people. He donated scrap copper, marble and other materials from the Capitol construction project to the nonprofit Development Disabilities Service Organization to make and sell Capitol-themed memorabilia for sale to the public. The father of a developmentally disabled child, he served on the DDSO foundation board and helped set up an endowment fund for the Sacramento-based group, which operates day programs for developmentally disabled adults.
Mr. Worsley was born in April 8, 1919, about three months after his father died in the 1918 flu pandemic, in Providence, R.I. His mother raised him and an elder brother while working as a secretary at an insurance company.
He graduated with an economics degree from Stanford and was a Navy lieutenant in New Guineaduring World War II. He earned a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard University and owned his own firm in Menlo Park while lecturing in the department of art and architecture at Stanford from 1959 to 1973.
He served as executive director of the California Building Standards Commission after the Capitol restoration was completed in 1982. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and received a presidential citation from the AIA California chapter in 1986.
Mr. Worsley left Sacramento in the late 1980s and lived in Lake Oswego, Ore., before settling for the last several years in Vancouver, Wash.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Helen; his second wife, Kate; and a daughter from his first marriage, Madeline. He is survived by his wife Laura and five children from his first marriage — Jay, Paul, David, Katherine and Nina; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
No service is planned.Sacramento Bee
Thomas Thole ‘Tom’ Williamson
June 13, 1927 – April 26, 2021
Mr. Thomas T. Williamson, “Tom”, passed away at his home in Point Loma on April 26 at the age of 93. A local architect until his retirement in 1995, he designed a number of buildings in the San Diego area. Born in Santa Rosa in 1927, he was a third generation Californian. He was a descendant of a survivor of the Donner Party. In 1929 his parents moved to Berkeley, where he lived throughout his childhood. On graduating from Berkeley High School in 1945, he was drafted into the Army and served in the Philippines following World War II as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1947 he attended the University of California, Berkeley, for two years before transferring to Stanford University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture in 1951. Following Stanford Mr. Williamson married Sally Smith of Tucson, Arizona, and was called back into the Army during the Korean War. The newlyweds moved to Panama where Mr. Williamson was stationed until his discharge in 1953. He and his wife socialized in the Panama Canal Zone with her Stanford classmate Jerry Jackson Waterman and her husband Duncan, a fellow draftee and Army intelligence officer.
After leaving the Army, Mr. Williamson received a scholarship from the United Nations to pursue his architectural studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Returning to California in 1954, he re-enrolled at Stanford and a year later received his master’s degree in architecture. Following school, and while living in Menlo Park, Mr. Williamson worked for several architectural firms in the San Francisco area. Among his projects were two UC Berkeley campus chemistry buildings, Pimentel and Latimer Halls. In 1958 the Williamson’s had a daughter, Tabitha, (Tabi), and in 1960 Mr. Williamson started teaching architecture at Stanford as an Assistant Professor. In 1964 he became a partner in the firm of Worsley, Rankin & Williamson in Menlo Park. Following the death of his first wife, Mr. Williamson reconnected with widowed Jerry Jackson Waterman of San Diego. The couple was married in 1967 in Saint Thomas Episcopal Church in Sunnyvale, which Mr. Williamson had designed. Their daughter, Mathilda, (Hildy), was born in 1970.He worked for the firm of Richard George Wheeler & Associates for his first eleven years in San Diego, and designed such buildings as the Chula Vista Police Station, the nationally recognized Civic Center Branch of Chula Vista Library, the reconstruction of San Diego High School, the University City High School, and the Nazareth House Retirement Home. In 1978 he opened his own office in downtown San Diego, which in 1981 became the partnership of Williamson & Watts, later located in Point Loma. His projects during these years include buildings for the City of Chula Vista, the first remodeling of the El Cortez Hotel, and the Naval School of Health Sciences at Balboa Hospital.Mr. Williamson was emeritus member of the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He worked as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, and he served on the Board of Appeals and Advisors for the City of San Diego as well as on the boards of the Children’s Home Society of San Diego, the Point Loma Association, and the Museum of Man in Balboa Park.He was co-founder in 1983 of the Caon Street Bocce League in Point Loma, which later moved to the grass circle on Shelter Island for games twice a month with unconventional rules; this Bocce playing tradition lives on there with Tom’s family and friends.Mr. Williamson was a talented musician with perfect pitch, and especially enjoyed playing the mandolin. He performed at annual Thanksgiving camps in the Santo Toms Valley in Baja California for many years, and once, possibly after drinking the local wine, spontaneously leapt atop a motorhome under the oaks with a violin and performed as the camp’s resident fiddler on the roof. This episode typifies his wonderful sense of whimsical fun. In addition to his musical talent, Mr. Williamson had a penchant for puns which flowed freely from his sharp wit. Mr. Williamson and his wife Jerry of almost 47 years were beloved by many of their own generation and that of their children whose friends attended their New Year’s Eve singalongs and would often visit over the years this couple who never lost their youthful spirit. Mr. Williamson was a true gentleman, of high intelligence and creativity, unfailingly delightful, friendly and welcoming, wise and caring. Mr. Williamson is survived by his daughter Hildy Hammer of Scripps Ranch (Charles), his two sons, Stephen Waterman of Point Loma (Alexandra) and Michael Waterman of Mount Helix (Mary); twelve grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his wife Jerry and his daughter Tabi Kapple of Eureka, California.Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to: Donor and Gift Services UC Berkeley Foundation1995 University Avenue, Suite 400Berkeley, CA 94704Architecture Traveling Fellowship – R04200000 in memory of Thomas T. WilliamsonPublished by San Diego Union-Tribune on May 16, 2021.
And to fill in a few more blanks, and avoid the future paywalls blocking such data here are the obits for the couple who built the house for their family.
John Richards IV
Aug 23, 1933 – Jun 18, 2019
San Jose, CA
John Richards IV, MD, of San Jose, CA, passed away quietly on June 18th at the Regional Medical Center, San Jose, CA at the age of 85. After his birth in Orange, NJ, John the youngest child of Paul and Vera Richards, lived with his family in Butler, NJ. At the age of eleven, in 1944, the family moved to Pasadena, CA with John eventually attending high school at John Muir Junior College, Pasadena, CA until moving on to Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry in 1955. While at Whitman College John was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the football team.
After receiving his undergraduate degree, John was accepted to and attended Stanford Medical School, earning his MD in 1960. His medical internship was in Chicago, IL at Cook County Hospital and then his medical residency was in Phoenix, AZ. In 1964 John moved to San Jose, CA where he began his OB/GYN medical practice with his office across the street from Alexian Brothers Hospital, now Regional. He was among the founding physicians at Alexian Brothers, twice its Chief of Staff, highly regarded by his peers, and received numerous professional recognitions for his nearly sixty years of service in medicine.
Delivering babies (he would say “about 6,000”), performing surgeries, and making hospital rounds for his patients during the week, John also enjoyed his “ranch hand” activities in the evenings and weekends at “home” (60 acres in the east foothills of San Jose): building barns, corrals, retaining walls, roads (yes roads, with his Allis-Chalmers bulldozer) were some of the many “hobbies” he had fun with. An avid chess player, he also enjoyed playing bridge and pinochle, croquet, and water skiing. Family vacations in the summer to the San Juan Islands/Victoria, BC and ski trips in the winter to Sun Valley, ID are also fond memories.
John leaves behind his children, Mary Catherine Andry of Davidson, NC, John Richards V of Ukiah, CA, Tom Richards of Montara, CA, and step-daughter Allison Serventi Morgan of Gilroy, CA, and grandchildren Allain Andry, Eloise Andry, Joe Andry, Caleb Richards, Maeve Richards, and Josh Richards, and many nieces and nephews, and extended family members, and dear close friends, particularly Jean Burke who was at his side when he passed. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Mary Margaret Gerth.
John’s ashes will be scattered at sea per his request, and a memorial service will be held on September 8th at The Villages in San Jose, CA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made in Dr Richards’ memory to the charity of your choice.Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jul. 2, 2019.
Elizabeth M. Richards
Oct. 16, 1933 – Nov. 7, 2020
Resident of Saratoga
Dr. Elizabeth M. Richards, October 16, 1933 – November 7, 2020. She died peacefully at home surrounded by family which was her wish. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of Thomas W. and Helen L. Moriarty. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and an MD from Stanford medical school. She was one of only a few women in her graduating class of 1960.
Dr. Richards started raising her first two children while working on her degree at Stanford medical school. Beth’s third child was born while working on her internship in Chicago, and once completed, moving to Phoenix, Arizona practicing as a GP.
In 1964 she brought her family to San Jose, California and completed her residency program and started her psychiatric practice. Dr. Richards quickly became highly regarded by her clients and peers. Beth and her daughter, Cathy, became very involved in raising and showing Morgan horses. They competed at many shows across the western states winning many awards including Morgan Horse of the year.
Beth’s children and grandchildren were very important to her. She gave generously to them and she could always be counted on for help in any way needed. She travelled extensively both on her own and with family and friends.
Beth was very good at quickly making deep and lasting connections with the people she met and cared about, and surrounded herself with people to help her with her many endeavors. They were not only loyal but quickly grew to love her.
Dr. Elizabeth M. Richards is survived by her children, Mary Catherine Andry of Davidson NC, John Richards V of Ukiah, CA and Thomas M. Richards of Montara, CA; her grandchildren Joshua Richards, Allain Andry, Eloise Andry, Joseph Andry, Caleb Z. Richards and Maeve A. Richards. She will be remembered fondly by the countless people whose lives she touched.
We will celebrate her life sometime in mid-2021 when it is safe to gather. If you would like to be notified of the time and place of the celebration please respond by email….Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times from Feb. 25 to Feb. 27, 2021.
The last line of that obituary had an email address….so I sent an email.
That led to an interesting event…..