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Born on Jan. 29, 1933, in Tucson, Ariz., Herbert Michael Robles, 85, of Alameda, passed away on May 17, 2018. 

Herb is survived by Claire, his beloved wife of 61 years; son, Kindlen, daughter-in-law, Anne, and grandchildren: Conor, Donovan, Kelly, Carly and Brooke.

Herb graduated from St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland and later earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of San Francisco. He served in the Army in Alaska during the Korean War and married Claire upon his return. Herb enjoyed a successful career with the Southern Pacific Railroad before retiring after 33 years. Herb and Claire enjoyed ocean settings, in particular around Carmel. He loved baseball and the San Francisco Giants. Herb also followed the 49ers, Raiders, Warriors and was especially proud of his grandchildren’s numerous athletic achievements. 

Herb was very active in the community, starting as a member of the Alameda Junior Chamber of Commerce. He served on many civic committees, and was elected to the Alameda Board of Education in 1969. Herb was a founding member of the Silver Lake, a poker club composed of his friends from St. Joseph’s parish who volunteered their time in various good works. Herb spent the majority of his adult life serving the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Oakland and was instrumental in the Cursillo movement. 

Friends and family are invited to attend a celebration of Herb’s life on Saturday, June 23, from 11 a.m. to noon at St. Joseph Basilica, 1109 Chestnut St., Alameda.

Vivian Ratzlaff Carter, 94, passed away peacefully at her home in Alameda surrounded by her loved ones. Born in 1923 to Jacob Benjamin Ratzlaff and Susie Koehn Ratzlaff, Vivian was the next to youngest of 14 children. She was the last surviving child of a large farming family.

Vivian’s ancestors were followers of Menno Simons, a 16th Century Dutch Anabaptist, who preached adult baptism and the rejection of military service and holding of public office. They were known as Mennonites. Vivian’s great grandparents and father, who was born in Poland, joined a wave of Mennonite immigration to the United States, seeking religious freedom, beginning in the late 1600s and ending in about 1882. Vivian’s mother was born in Galva, Kan. 

They moved around America, often in covered wagons and on trains, farming in Kansas, Oklahoma, Canada and Washington State. They would eventually settle in Winton, Calif., in 1911. They spoke mostly Dutch and never learned to speak or understand English. The Ratzlaff and Koehn families are part of the early pioneers of the farming community of Winton.

In the early 1940s Vivian left the farm life for the big city. She got a job at Encinal Terminals in Alameda. There she met her future husband, Vernon Leo Carter, who worked there as a shipping clerk. Vernon, a local baseball personality, died in 1989. 

Vivian is survived by her three children: Dann Carter, Leslie Carter and Susan Jack; grandchildren: Kai Jack, Jeffery Jack, Elizabeth Carter and Kathryn Carter Canning; and great-grandchildren: Madison and Ethan Jack.

Vivian was a deeply religious woman who joined the Jehovah Witnesses in the early 1950s. She was a faithful member and devout Christian. Vivian thanked Jehovah in prayer and lived her faith every day of her life until the day she died.  

Vivian was known to all as a very sweet person. She was always willing to help family, friends and neighbors. She enjoyed being a homemaker. She quoted the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 31 about her own mother: “She is watching over the goings on of her household, and the bread of laziness she does not eat.” Vivian loved to garden, sew; everyone loved her cooking. Her daughter Leslie remembers her as the original environmentalist. She would never waste anything. She washed plastic bags and hung them out to dry. She was practical, with good old-fashioned values. A quiet and reserved women who was loved by all.

Services will be held this Saturday, June 2, at 2 p.m. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses at 2039 Lincoln Ave.

Richard “Dick” Wood, 83, passed away on May 23, 2018, at home with those he loved.  
Dick was famous in Alameda for tooling around town in his prized, one-of-a-kind, blue Cadillac Brougham limousines. 

Dick was born in Maine, and arrived in California after joining the Air Force. He served as a medic at Beale Air Force Base. Dick bought an apartment building in Alameda in 1965, and opened a very successful business, Lincoln Center Draperies, on the building’s ground floor. The name of the business was derived from its location on Lincoln Avenue, and for Dick’s love of opera as performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Dick had a keen mind and a great, quirky and mischievous sense of humor. He often joked that global warming was a good thing, for him. He predicted that in 20 years his Lincoln Avenue digs would be prime waterfront property.

He was a tennis and fitness enthusiast, competing in cross-country races and running the Robert Crown Memorial Beach for many years. He and his partner, Lucy Gutierrez, won the senior division trophies several times at Oregon’s Crater Lake Rim Run. 

Dick is survived by three sons: Steve, Dave and Carl; two brothers, Curt and Gary; nephew Art Wood; eight grandchildren and his partner, Lucy Gutierrez.

He was also the beloved landlord of tenants Dev Gilmore, Laura Baker and Gil Michaels. He also prized his subscription to the Alameda Sun and frequently submitted letters to the editor, limericks and jokes. He was a member of the gold circle of the Sun Family of Subscribers for many years.


Editor’s note: Earlier this year Dick Wood came to the Alameda Sun with the dire news that he didn’t have long to live. In the time he had left, he said he wanted to “Have some fun with you guys,” and placed a number of humorous advertisements. We’ve chosen to reprint some of them below. Alameda truly has lost some of its sense of humor.