Obituaries

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Born in Greensburg, Pa., in 1924, Charles Murphy, 95, (aka Daddy) died peacefully Aug. 10, 2020, in Alameda. He led a life of accomplishment marked by hard work, a great wit and a love of the outdoors. His family credits his long life to sheer tenacity, the enduring love and care of his wife of 70 years Honora Murphy and a wee bit of Irish luck.

Raised during the Great Depression in Pittsburgh, Pa. He joined the service in 1942 during World War II serving first in the Army Air Force and then the Navy, remaining a reservist during the Korean War. He earned his bachelor degree in business administration at Duquesne in 1949

Married in 1950, the couple began raising their family while Charles attended night school at University of Pittsburgh to become an electrical engineer. When he graduated in 1961 the family made the papers with the headline “Father of 8 graduates from Pitt.”

In 1964, the family migrated to California and settled in Alameda. They went on to raise 14 children in a large Victorian home near Franklin Park, moving in retirement to a bayfront home on the West End.

His engineering career started at Westinghouse, where Charles worked on the design of the first nuclear submarine, The Nautilus. A certified professional engineer in electrical, nuclear, controlled systems and quality assurance, he later joined Kaiser Engineers in Oakland for the next 20 years where he worked on various nuclear and solar projects. In 2015, he celebrated 50 years as a professional engineer.

Charles loved the outdoors; taking his family on many camping, fishing and hunting trips across California. Just shy of 60, Charles retired early and enjoyed a long retirement. He loved a spot on the water and spent many years enjoying a second home on the Russian River in Monte Rio, Calif.

A 56-year resident of Alameda. He was a congregant at St. Joseph Basilica and St. Barnabas Catholic Churches, a member of the Encinal Yacht Club, Alameda Rod & Gun Club and many other community organizations over the years. Notably, (although more of a silent partner) Charles always supported his wife Honora in her extensive community work which has won her various honors in the city and region.

Charles is best remembered by his friends and family for his sense of humor, which did not desert him even in these last months of his life. His wit in conversation was well known and his intentional misspellings and crafty notes were enjoyed by his family.

He was preceded in death by sons Jim, Dan, Son in law Paul Miller and Sister Margaret.

Charles is survived by his loving wife Honora Murphy, their 12 surviving children and spouses Kathleen (Paul) Miller, Mary Ellen Holden, Daughter in law Celeste McMullin (Wife of Dan), Eileen (Ron) Neulinger, Joe (Victoria), Dr. Loretta (Paul Allen), Laura (David Jaffe), Michael (Joanna Wong), Matt (Maarit Tallila-Murphy), Tim, Bernard, Richard (Tina), Ann (Jesse Daniels); Grandfather of Hugh Holden (Pippa Everard-West), Heather (Todd Speight) Holden, Brian (Bet) Miller, Sara Miller, Thomas Neulinger, Natalie (Cameron) Stuart, Steve (Michaela) Hammerson, Cate Jaffe, Fiona Murphy, Kendric Murphy, Cedric Murphy, Patric Murphy, Marja-Inkeri Murphy, Aidan Murphy and Seamus Murphy; Great grandfather of Yasmine Simone Smith, Layla Foley; Sydnee & Nolan Miller; Alex Jameson; Theodore & Joe Hammerson; Brother of Thomas Murphy and Bill Murphy & his family the “Texas Murphys”.

Many thanks to the caregivers at Elders Inn who cared for Charles the last few months of his life when we could not.

A memorial service will be held in a future virus free location. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Friends of the Alameda Free Library, www.alamedafriends.com; where you can find books and materials on Charles’ favorite subjects: hydroelectric dams, topographical maps of the Sierra Nevada, best fishing in the Bay and Delta, California Beach access, raising quail, growing vegetables and repair manuals for cars made between 1930 and 1970.

Condolences may be made to the family at www.greermortuary.com/tributes/Charles-Murphy.

Carol Wallace did not wear jewelry, but she did wear a delicate gold necklace that held a single charm in the shape of a swimmer, given to her by a child she had coached. Those who loved her recall a woman who was “honestly the greatest person that I have ever met” and a person “who made a kid feel good about being a kid,” and a “gracious lady who was inspirational.” These might seem like exaggerated statements, but when it came to Carol, they spoke the truth. Carol’s energy touched countless young Alamedans over a 50-plus year career. 

This means that if you lived in Alameda between 1960 and 2010, and your feet touched the water of any one of Alameda’s private and public pools, then chances are you knew “Coach Carol”. Carol courageously left this world for a better one on Tuesday, July 28th, after a long and fiercely fought battle with ovarian cancer. She was 81 years-old.

Born at Alameda Hospital on March 17, 1939, with the luck of the Irish, Carol was the daughter of Sarah (Sally) Krusi Pollard and Lee Pollard and was the great-granddaughter of Herman and Ida Krusi, one of Alameda’s founding families. Her parents, along with Frank Weeden and three other families turned their shared backyard “victory garden” into “Weeden Pool” in the 1950’s. It was there that Carol learned to swim and it was there that Carol would follow in the footsteps of her great-grandparents and begin a life devoted to civic service. 

Competitive by nature and generous to a fault, Carol swam with the South Shore Swimming Club as a youngster and then entered University of California at Berkeley where she was a Tri Delta sorority sister. In 1965 with two young sons, Grae and Chris, and a new husband, Clifford Wallace, she began coaching young swimmers as a volunteer at Weeden pool alongside Frank Weeden. 

Carol volunteered through the Children’s Hospital Branches and at her children’s schools, while her boys were young, but her passion was always the water. She coached through the 1970’s both in Alameda, in San Leandro and at Bishop O’Dowd High School. With Alameda swim coach Linda Gilchrist, Carol increased her coaching skills through the Alameda Swim Association that Weeden started when he built Franklin and Lincoln pools.

Her real contribution to Alameda’s swim program began when Frank Weeden asked her in 1978 to join him as a coach for the AAU swim team, the Alagators. Weeden was at that time the manager of the City Of Alameda pools, having absorbed the Alameda Swim Team, which up until then, competed directly with the Alagators.  

According to Gilchrist, “Hundreds of kids went through that program. They would start out with Frank learning to swim and then join the Alagators as faster swimmers.  We didn’t make hardly any money, especially compared to what [they] get now for coaching.  But Carol coached for the love of swimming and seeing the kids develop and love the water.”

Modest and hard-working, cheerful and determined, Carol continued with the Alagators until 1994 when she left that team to form with Gilchrist,  Alameda Island Aquatics (aka “The Islanders”). She brought with her Leslie Cortez who coached the 10-unders with the Alagators, “I started with Carol when I was four years-old and by the time I was five, I wanted to be a coach like her. ” Cortez went on to coach swimming at Alameda High School for over 13 years.

It was the kind of impact that Carol made again and again. “When it came to her swimmers, she loved every single one of them,” said Cortez. Carol’s favorite word was “fabulous” but she saved that word for others and never for herself. As a result, her achievements went largely unnoticed, except by those whose lives she directly touched.

“There were not a lot of women coaches and not a lot of awards back then. She was not going to get recognized for any of the things that she did. You don’t get credit for being the first coach. And that’s what Carol did. She got the kids to love the water and if that manifested into something that they took advantage of later, well, she gave them that gift,” said Gilchrist. 

Her swimmers remember her as a coach who encouraged them without anger, and if they were willing to do the hard work, Carol pushed them to ‘go for it’. Alameda swim mom, Sandy Glendinning says that, “Carol completely impacted my daughter Heather’s life. She took Heather, encouraged her, supported her, became friends with her. It all fed into Heather’s later success not just with the water but with life.”  

Kelly Wandke, who swam for Carol through high school and is now living in Germany, also remembers Carol as more than a coach, “She was my life-long friend and like a mother to me. How many people can you even say that about? And she had that with so many kids on this island. She was a treasure.” 

Coach Carol often said that, “Living on an island means being able to swim off of it,” so the family hopes that all Alamedans learn to swim in recognition of her passion and joy for the water. 

Remembrances may be made to the American Cancer Society so that together we put to final rest, ovarian cancer. Carol adored her labradoodle Bella and donations to Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter are also welcome. A private service for close family is planned.

Joe was born in Brooklyn, New York, on Oct. 19, 1932, to his parents William and Florence (Harrigan) Honan. He had three brothers: Dave, Ed and Bill, all of whom predeceased him.

He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn where he was voted Best Athlete for his skill in baseball and basketball. After graduation, he was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers’ farm team, but then was called to serve in the Korean War. He stayed stateside during the war and played baseball for the Army team.

Upon release from the Army, Joe married his first wife, Joan, and began his lifetime career in international shipping on Wall Street in New York. He worked his way up to Seatrain’s East Coast Sales Manager and was transferred to Chicago.

He then went on to the West Coast as Vice President of Seatrain. After Seatrain, Joe became president of TransAmerica Shipping Agency. In 1972, on the heels of Richard Nixon’s trip to the People’s Republic of China, he and his protégé and dear friend, Walter Schrieber were commissioned to travel to Beijing to set up trade after years of diplomatic isolation.

In 1990, Joe married Patricia Allen and they settled in Alameda. He took great pride in his family: his daughter Mary Ellen (John), son Joseph, Jr. (Mia), stepson Danny (Laura Jean); grandchildren: Denise, Erin, Stephen, Lauren, Jonathan, J.D. and Lucy,; and great grandchildren: Brendan, Harper, Logan, Brody, Callan, Grady, Owen, Julian, Cassius, Henry and Hazel.

His grandchildren were delighted by his talents: the ability to bark like a dog and tell some of the silliest jokes ever told, and after they squealed with laughter (or not), he would murmur, “And then you die,” and sadly, he did. He was a great man both in stature and character and he has left a huge void for those who knew him and loved him.

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