Obituaries

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Shirley Irene Curtis, 88,passed away March 18, 2021, in Harrison, Ark. Born May 17, 1932, in Plentywood, Mont., one of six children to Arthur and Elberta Draszt. Shirley was married to Jim Curtis for 21 years until his passing in 1993.

Shirley worked 20 years for the Pacific Bell phone company as a 411operator, retiring Oct. 7, 1993. It was the perfect job for her, Shirley was known to like to talk and enjoyed helping those in need. In 2017Shirley moved from Alameda, Cal. to live with Ken and Andrea.

She loved the Lord and touched people with her generosity and passion for engaging in the lives of those around her, assisting wherever she could.

She enjoyed camping, outdoor activities, traveling to see family,crocheting, and making Cross bookmarks.

Though Shirley was only 4’7”,she had a huge, loving heart and made an easy height goal for her grandkids when they grew “as tall as Grandma.

Shirley will be missed greatly for her with, her giggle, her love of the Lord, and love of the American Pickers TV Show.

She is preceded in death by her parents Arthur and Elberta Draszt,and siblings: Lorraine Terwillinger, Maxine Houlbjerg, Eugene Drasztand Yonnne Ellerman.

She is survived by her brother Darrel Draszt, children: Kathy Brandom (Dave) of Kanorado, Kan.,Ken Collins (Andrea) of Berryville ,Ark., Becky Al-Tabeekh (Saleh) of Kuwait, and many grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

No services are scheduled at this time. Shirley is allergic to flowers, please donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Shop,501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105, or Hospice of the Hills in Harrison, AR.

Cremation arrangements under direction of Nelson Funeral Service.
Online condolences sent to the family at nelsonfuneral.com.
© Nelson Funeral Service, Inc.

By the time she reached the age of 97, Naomi Gilkerson had outlived everyone in her immediate generation.

She was preceded in death by her parents, all of her siblings and their respective spouses, her husband of 63years, and also Kherson. She was also preceded by her parents-in-law, as well as her brother-in -law and sister-in-law, plus their spouses. Sadly, she also outlived two nephews, a niece-in-law, a granddaughter and an infant great-grandson.

She is survived by her daughter, six grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandson plus numerous nieces, nephews, and their families. Most of this surprising number of descendants and extended kinfolk live in various locations that are not nearby, so her life recently was relatively quiet.

Her daughter spent significant amounts of time with her in the past several years, and stayed in her home with her since shortly before the Covid pandemic, which extended her visit by many months.

The day before Christmas, Naomi did not wake up as usual, to begin her day. She had passed in the night into her eternal home. While of course we miss her a great deal, we are comforted that she was granted her two wishes as to the end of her earthly life. First, she was able to live in her own home, and not have to be someplace that would be strange to her.

And second, she often said that if she got her wish, she would go to bed one night, and just not wake
up in the morning. And so it was. She and her daughter had a normal conversation Wednesday night, and
the next time she saw her mother, she was no longer bound to inhabit
a 97-year-old body.

Yes, we knew that one day we would lose her, but surely no one is never really ready. And so, we move on, and cherish the memories. Those of you that knew her undoubtedly have some precious memories of Naomi. We will be able to look back and be glad she was in our lives, and look forward to one day seeing her in Heaven.

Greer Family Mortuary &
Cremation Services FD-1408
greermortuary.com 510-865-3755

Craig Russell Knudsen died peacefully at his home in Alameda on March 15, 2021. Born in Berkeley July 28, 1942, the first child of Donald Sidney Knudsen and Eleanor (Halvorsen) Knudsen, Craig lived in Alameda for 78 years, first on Weber Street and then moving at the age of 10 to the house his grandfather built on Alameda Avenue, where we would live the rest of his life.

Craig attended Alameda schools and graduated from Alameda High School in 1960 before beginning his career at Metropolitan Life in San Francisco where he started in the mailroom and worked his way up for 25 years before retiring at age 43.

In 1985 he found his true vocation volunteering with the Alameda Red Cross. As a disaster relief worker, Craig was on call at all hours responding to fires, floods, earthquakes and other disasters throughout California, supporting victims and first responders.

He was soon dispatched all over the country, responding to hurricanes and typhoons in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, as well as floods in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia, often spending weeks helping victims find food, shelter, and medical care.

In 2001 he was among the responders dispatched to the World Trade Center in New York. He also worked as part of the Red Cross Tracing Program, helping Bay Area residents locate family members lost in conflicts from the Holocaust and World War II to Somalia.

Between disasters, Craig tended to needs closer to home, transporting donations to the Alameda Food Bank and Mastick Senior Center multiple times each week.

Craig eventually took a paid position at the Red Cross for several years, receiving the American Red Cross Tiffany Award — the national organization’s highest employee honor — before retiring again and continuing to volunteer. Craig logged more than 4,000 volunteer hours and received numerous recognition awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Red Cross of the Bay Area.

Craig celebrated his Scandinavian heritage, frequently hosting family from Norway and once driving them from coast to coast to see America. He took pride in flying the Norwegian flag each May 17. He was an active member of the Bjornson Lodge of the Sons of Norway.

Craig loved traveling the world for pleasure as well. He was known for using frequent flier miles earned from his disaster response travel to visit family and friends in Norway, France and Germany. Other favorite trips included Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina. One of his lifelong passions was horse racing. He spent many happy and disappointing hours at racetracks throughout California, Paris and his beloved Saratoga Springs in New York. Trips east often included the fall foliage in Vermont.

While Craig considered Alameda home his entire life, his community and service extended far beyond. He was a citizen of the world and appreciated the opportunities he was given to travel, meet people and support those in need. He leaves this world a better place for his kindness, compassion, commitment and generosity.

Craig is survived by his sister Linda as well as family throughout California and beyond.

A service of remembrance will be held outdoors at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 3, at Franklin Park, San Jose Avenue and Morton Street, Alameda. Memorial donations may be made to the American Red Cross of the Bay Area, the Alameda Food Bank, or a charity of your choice.

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