Obituaries

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William Leroy Wilmoth passed away in Alameda April 28, 2019. He was the husband of the Late Ruby Wilmoth and father of Harry, Karen and the late Billy. He retired from the U.S. Navy.

A memorial service in his honor will take place Sunday, June 9, 10:30 a.m. with military honors on the USS Hornet at 707 West Hornet Ave. 

Private interment will take place at Golden Gate National Cemetery, in San Bruno. 
For more information contact Harry W. Greer, funeral director (FDR-745). 

Geraldine Higby, 97, was born in Alameda on Sept. 3, 1921, to Lawrence and Ethel Aspinall. Her brothers were Herbert and Warren Aspinall. She attended Porter Elementary and Alameda High schools, earning a life membership in the Star and Key Honor Society. 

She studied piano from age 6 and later added voice training. She was assistant organist and choir member at High Street Presbyterian and First Congregational churches in Alameda. She sang with Oakland Mother’s Singers, now known as The Distaff Singers. 

Geraldine worked for the Oakland Unified School District, the City of Alameda Treasurer’s Office and was departmental secretary for the Planning Department.

Geraldine was a past matron and deputy grand matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a past worthy high priestess and supreme organist of the White Shrine of Jerusalem.

Geraldine was preceded in death by her husband Russell Higby, daughter Diane Rodriguez, grandson Scott Bertelsen, granddaughter Carolyn Malone-Baker, and great-grandson Timothy Jones. 

She is survived by her daughter Ellen Bertelsen, son Paul Higby (Katy), daughter Barbara Acosta (Armand), 13 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren, 15 great-great grandchildren, one triple-great grandchild and several nieces and nephews.

Geraldine passed away on May 15, 2019, in Waxhaw, N.C. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 8, at 1 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church of Alameda, 2001 Santa Clara Ave., followed by interment in Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, https://alz.org.

Long time Alameda resident, Melvin Kahn, 98, passed away peacefully on May 9, 2019, in Oakland. He will be remembered for his generous spirit and his sense of humor.
Being blind since the age of 18 did not deter Melvin from becoming a successful businessman and inventor or from raising a family. Nor did his blindness stop him from playing and enjoying the organ, piano and harmonica. 

Born in Montreal, Canada, his family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old and eventually settled in Alameda on San Antonio Avenue. Melvin attended Porter Elementary School, Alameda High School, California School of the Blind in Livermore. He studied philosophy and music at UC Berkeley. He was a member and past president of the Alameda Lions Club and was active with the Bayview Chapter of the California Council of the Blind. His positive attitude and keen sense of humor endeared him to the many friends he made.

He was successful in the retail furniture business. Along with his brothers, in the 1950s and ’60s, he co-owned and managed Kahn Furniture on Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda. He also owned and managed several rental properties, including a laundromat on Central Avenue for 20 years. 

Melvin was a Renaissance man and enterprising inventor. He developed, patented, manufactured and sold a cane (The Kahn Cane) providing safety for visually impaired users and donated the proceeds to charitable organizations serving the blind. He also worked on and patented designs for washing machines, as well as voice enhancement training devices. Melvin was an amateur radio enthusiast from an early age (these were the “techies” of the 1930s) and he held the call sign AB6BY. 

Melvin was a voracious reader of audio literature and was a sharp political observer and pundit. As a self-proclaimed singer and song writer, he wrote songs portraying the political mood of the country. He loved to sing and could still carry a tune up until his final days. His sense of humor was appreciated by all who knew him. He had a joke available for almost any occasion, but he especially relished in telling jokes which skewered the legal profession. 

Melvin is survived by his son, Kenneth, a daughter, Sylvia (Dan), his two grandchildren, Evan and Peach and his former wife, Barbara of Alameda.

A memorial for Melvin will be scheduled at a later date. Date, time and location to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Melvin’s memory to the California Council of the Blind, 2143 Hurley Way, Suite 250, Sacramento, CA 95825. 

For more information contact Harry W. Greer, funeral director (FDR-745). 

 

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