Obituaries

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Bob Thomas Neill Johnston

Nov 24, 1943 – Jul 19, 2014

Resident of Alameda

Alameda resident Bob Thomas Neill Johnston passed away on July 19, 2014 at the age of 70 after a long and brave struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years Sharon Johnston, his two sons Mikael and Robert Johnston and three grandchildren Mikael Jr., Elisabetha and Wesley Johnston.

Bob led a life of dedication to his country serving in the United States Air Force during Vietnam from 1966 to 1970 where he reached the rank of Captain and earned the Air Force’s Medal of Commendation. After an honorable discharge from the military Bob went on to work for the General Services Administration (GSA) where he reached a grade of GS-15, retiring in 2002 as the Assistant Regional Deputy Director for the Pacific Rim.

Bob loved working with technology both professionally and privately. During the late 1970s and early 1980s he often attended the famed Homebrew Computer Club where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak first demonstrated their Apple 1 computer.

However, computers weren’t Bob’s only hobby, he also shared a love of classic films. In the late 1990s he was a contributing author for the critically acclaimed biography of Hollywood legend Vera-Ellen entitled "The Magic and the Mystery: Vera-Ellen." In retirement Bob enjoyed collecting classic films with his wife, gardening, reading, building computers, donating his time to charity, spending time with family and Hamm Radio operation.

Donations in Bob’s memory may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Funeral services have been held.

Greer Family Mortuary and Cremation Services FD-1408

greermortuary.com 865-3755

Mary passed away peacefully at home four months after her 100th birthday surrounded by family and her wonderful caregiver.

Known for her inquisitive mind and soft blue eyes she will be missed by all those she touched in a long and productive life. She was an excellent listener and generous with her encouragement and support. When any of us were discouraged we could always count on her to help us see a brighter path. She also had a very sensitive BS meter and didn’t hesitate to call out a perversion of the truth.

Mary was born on a farm in South Dakota, second to the last of eight children, and emigrated to California during the Great Depression. Here she met her life partner, Gene Hewitt, who she married a few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Gene enlisted in the Army and was deployed in the western Pacific until the end of the war. When he returned they finished their house on San Leandro Bay in Alameda and started a family. They remained devoted to each other for more than 70 years until Gene died two years ago just a few weeks shy of his 99th birthday.

Mary was characteristic of her generation — humble, hard working, and generous. She enlisted with the Red Cross during the war years, worked in retail, manufacturing and in the office. She didn’t hesitate to take on a job if it was interesting and challenging — she once organized logistics for a house moving company. She was also active in Scouts, PTA, her church and numerous civic and social groups. In 1980 she and Gene moved to San Ramon where they enjoyed their retirement years traveling, entertaining and taking care of grandchildren.

She is survived by her children and daughters-in-law: Roger and Mary Kay Hewitt, David and Valerie Hewitt, Carolyn Hewitt and Joanie Mass; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be held Saturday, Aug. 9 at St. Raymond’s Church, 11555 Shannon Ave., Dublin, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a celebration of Mary’s life at her home at 168 Dogwood Place, San Ramon. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your local non-profit hospice.

Hank died at home in the company of his wife, Frances. Hank was born and raised in Alameda. He went to Alameda High School and was a member of the class of 1936. He worked for Kaiser Shipyards before being drafted into the US Army in World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge where he lost a finger.

After the war, Hank drove a delivery truck for Langendorf Bread. He married Hazel Catelli with whom he had two children, Denise and Jeffrey.

At the age of 41, Hank joined Big O Tires and eventually ran and owned several stores in the greater Bay Area, including the store in Alameda.

In 1972 Hank met and married Frances Borsuk Harris. With her came her two children Jerrilyn and Marvin. Together, in retirement, Hank and Fran traveled the world, played golf, bridge, and celebrated life by entertaining their many friends and growing family. He was a proud member of the Old Alamedans.

Hank is survived by his wife of 42 years, Frances, children Denise (Elliott) Handwerker and Jeff (Jan) Cohen, stepchildren Jerrilyn (Robert) Kaplan and Marvin Harris. Also grieving his passing are his grandchildren Nikki Kaplan (Blake Echols), Dara Sue (Alan), Rachel Handwerker, Josh, Jenni and Ben Cohen.

In lieu of flowers please send contributions to Alameda Junior Golf, Alameda Meals on Wheels, Temple Israel of Alameda, or a charity of your choice.

Greer Family Mortuary and Cremation Services FD 1408

greermortuary.com 865-3755

 

 

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