Resident of Oakland
Born in Oakland, California, in the aftermath of World War I and the Great Flu Pandemic, Virginia Lee Pearson was the first of three children born to war veteran James Pearson and his wife Lucille. The family business, Pearson’s Hardware on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, survived the storms of the Great Depression. More tragic for Virginia and her two brothers was the death of their mother from pneumonia in 1931.
Virginia attended Oakland public schools, joining a close group of friends with whom she maintained contact throughout her life. She graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1940, with war clouds gathering in Europe and the U.S. trying desperately to stay neutral. By the time she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1944, the student body had changed radically, with many of the young men having enlisted or been drafted, and all Japanese students taken to internment.
A few years after graduation, Virginia went on to get a teaching credential, met her future husband, J. Herbert Anderson, on VJ Day in 1945, and got her first teaching job in Antioch, CA. In 1946, Virginia and Herb were wed, and within four years had added two children and established themselves in Alameda. After Kathy and Denny were both in school, Virginia returned to teaching at Alameda High School. Over the next 31 years, the English Department became her home, and she worked with a wonderful group of teachers who became lifelong friends.
At various times during her career, Virginia was a PTA President, a thorn in the side of some principals, a tireless preparer of seniors for the dreaded Subject A exam at Cal, a strong supporter of student arts and sports activities. She taught her children that the most important person in the school is the school secretary and that you always want her on your side. She generally addressed her students by their last names, preceded by Miss or Mr, and preferred to be addressed formally as well.
She loved running into former students and hearing how they were doing. In recent years, she attended the 50th reunion of the classes of 1961 and 1965, and thoroughly enjoyed both. At the time of the later, she was getting around with a walker and was less mobile. So former students, and some who had never even been in her classes, dropped by her table all evening to talk with her, reminisce, and tell her those things that teachers love to hear, about how their favorite book is one they read in her class, and how the writing exercises she put them through paid off in college. At the end of the evening the smile on her face was a mile wide.
In 1986, Virginia retired from teaching and a few years later, Herb retired too. They began traveling, frequently going to England to stay and travel with the Gardiner family, whom Herb had met in England when he was stationed there during World War II. In 1993, Virginia and Herb moved to a retirement community in Oakland. By 2021, Virginia was the longest living resident at “The Towers” and had moved into Assisted Living, where she could get more care, but still enjoy the privacy of her own apartment. She fell in late April and was bedridden three days before she died in her own bed with her daughter at her side.
The family hopes to have an outdoor memorial service in the summer or fall, whenever the coronavirus permits a safe group gathering. Virginia was preceded in death by her brothers, James and Robert Pearson, her husband J. Herbert Anderson, her son Frank Denny Anderson, and all the other Pearsons and Andersons of her generation. She is remembered fondly by daughter Kathryn Anderson, niece Susan Anderson Berg (Arthur), and nephew Richard Anderson, cousins June Anderson LaFollette, Joyce Anderson Brungardt and MaryKrakow, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and many students who passed through her classroom.
For anyone who would like to make a donation in her memory, the following organizations were important to her:
1. Inequality Media — https://www.inequalitymedia.org
2. Economic Policy Institute — https://www.epi.org/about/
3. Oakland Museum of California — https://museumca.org/omca-at-home
4. KDFC Radio, the classical station — https://www.kdfc.com
Resident of Alameda
We are very saddened to announce the passing of Mary Ruth Tarpley on Sunday, May 30th. She was such a generous, caring person! Her life was committed to those she loved and community service. She sailed the four corners of earth finding adventure and forming lasting friendships wherever she traveled. She is survived by: her sister in law, Margaret Eldridge, her nephews Ricky Eldridge (Barbara) and John Kirby, her daughter in law, Nancy Tarpley, her grandson, Scott Tarpley (Lisa), her granddaughter Kristen Linna (Kaj), her great grandchildren Amanda and Michael Tarpley and Andre and Aleksander Linna, and her like family friends Dean and Nancy Waring. Due to COVID precautions, we will not be gathering for a memorial service at this time. If you wish to make a donation in her memory, some of her favorite charities are: American Red Cross, Labre Indian School of Montana, Christian Appalachian Project, Hanger Myoelectric Limb Bank for Children, Children’s Hospital of Oakland and Habitat for Humanity. Thank-you for being being a part over life. She will be forever loved and forever remembered.
Resident of Alameda
Beloved local Oral Surgeon and philanthropist Kenneth Terry Pratt, DDS (76) died peacefully early May 17th, surrounded by his dear family and loving wife, Liz, after a long and difficult battle with prostate cancer.
Terry was born in Winfield, KS December 15, 1944 to Ivah and Bob Pratt. The good news of his birth was announced to his father WWII Veteran Chaplain Robert Pratt by cablegram, who famously sat on and didn’t open the announcement until he was done conducting a Christmas party for orphans in Tunisia where he was stationed.
Terry grew up in a number of towns including Springfield MO, East Orange NJ, and Quincy, Il as his American Baptist minister father moved through post-doctoral work and then to various church homes over the years. Terry’s childhood among 3 other siblings (eventually 4), was marked by humble surroundings, plenty of love, and lots of fun and mischief. Terry described himself as “Mom’s favorite” (though all her kids felt the same). It was this feeling of being completely loved that perhaps contributed to Terry’s free spirit, adventurous nature, and sense of humor. He was known for his infectious smile as well as his jokes and pranks. In high school, he played tennis and basketball for the Quincy Blue Devils, got in plenty of mischief with life-long friends Roger Chatten and Niel Fishback, sang in the church youth choir, and excelled in his classes.
As a scholar athlete, Terry obtained a scholarship to William Jewell college where he played tennis, finishing there in 3 years. He then relocated to Ventura, CA where his family had moved and worked hard including in the oil field to earn money to attend UCLA dental school in 1966, graduating with his DDS as part of UCLA’s 2nd graduating class in 1969. He enlisted in the USAF where he began training as an oral surgeon, being stationed at Chanute and then Beale AFBs. After his service, he completed his Oral Surgery Residency at Montefiore Hospital in New York, and then went on to open his own Oral Surgery practice in Alameda, CA in 1975 where he practiced for 44 years, even through 12 years of prostate cancer treatment, retiring only recently in December 2019.
If you lived in Alameda during those years, and needed your wisdom teeth out, chances are you received the wonderful, professional, loving care of Dr Terry Pratt. He was also a pillar of the Alameda community, donating time and money to support underprivileged children, supporting youth sports, scholarship programs, scouts, Indian Health clinic, and being an active member of church until recent years when his health disallowed attendance. Terry loved life and he loved his family, especially all 8 of his kids (4 biological, 4 step). He loved Maui where he and his family made many vacation memories over the years. He loved animals, especially dogs. And he LOVED music. Everywhere he went, he had music playing. And he loved to sing and was very good at it.
Terry was preceded in death by his younger sister Delia Pratt, his father Robert Pratt, and his mother Ivah Kittrell Pratt. He is survived by his wife of 21 years Elizabeth Pratt, and by his older brother Robin Pratt (Tricia), brother-in-law Michael Pinkston (Delia) and sisters Jeanene Pratt and Tammy Aburto- Pratt (George). He is also survived his children: son Kevin Pratt (Judy Ann Rich), daughter Allie Tsambarlis (Pete), daughter Shannon Pratt (Justin), son Daniel Pratt, stepdaughter Genevieve Ford (Bobby), stepson Victor Ford (Tricia), stepdaughter Yvette Cuyugan, stepdaughter Monina Cuyugan and grandchildren Robert Ford, Nikko Tsambarlis, Maile Tsambarlis, and Eliza Katindoy, as well as beloved nieces and nephews.
Terry loved Jesus his whole life. In his last hours, he saw Jesus and confirmed to his dear ones that he was indeed heading to heaven and not to worry.
Visitation and Rosary were held on Friday May 21, 2021 from 4-7 p.m. at the Alameda Funeral and Cremation Services Chapel, 1415 Oak Street, Alameda. Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday May 22, 2021 at 10:00am at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, Alameda.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday May 30th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Home2 Suites (Harbor Bay, Alameda).
For those unable to attend in person, a Zoom invitation is available by contacting Kevin Pratt or Yvette Cuyugan.
In lieu of flowers, Terry would love any donations to support any cancer society of your choosing. For further information please call Harry W. Greer, Funeral Director (FDR-745).