Obituaries

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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.

Sharon Gayle Sweet, 64, passed away on March 7, 2021, after a long illness. She died peacefully in her home, surrounded by her family.

Sharon was born on Feb. 23, 1957, to Charles Victor Haak, originally of Texarkana Arkansas, and Dorothy Sanders Haak, originally of Pauilo, Hawaii. Sharon was a lifelong Alameda resident and attended Alameda schools including Mastick Elementary and Washington School. She was also a very proud graduate of Encinal High School, Class of 1975. She exuded Jet Pride throughout her life and was the head of her reunion committees for decades.

Sharon started working at an early age, beginning her career as a secretary for the City of Alameda in the Office of the Mayor. Thereafter, she was a loan officer at Alameda First National Bank for several years. She then forged a 30-year career as a legal secretary at various law firms around the Bay Area. She typed like the wind and was given the nickname “Della Street” by various colleagues and friends.

Sharon was civically minded. She was one of the founding members of the grassroots organization “Republicans for Clinton” during the 1992 U.S. presidential election. The Alameda Journal featured her in a cover story about her efforts. After the election, she received a call from then President-Elect Bill Clinton to thank her for her service.

Sharon loved being a mother to her daughter Leslie Fales and her son Patrick Sweet. She was a fierce advocate for her children throughout their lives and dedicated much of her time during their school years to the PTA and school activities. Her house was a designated “hangout” spot during these years. She was often called “mom” by many of her children’s friends, who she claimed as her adopted kids and with whom she remained close the rest of her life.

Sharon was a devoted wife. She was married to David Warren Sweet for 20 years until his untimely passing in 2007. During their marriage David started a successful asbestos and mold consulting business, which Sharon managed for many years. She took great pride in what they accomplished as a team, both in business and in life. After Dave’s death, Sharon was blessed to find love again with her current husband Steven Sharp, whom she married in October of 2010. Together they enjoyed a vibrant social life on the island. They joined the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Chapter 1076 and spent many an evening socializing with friends at their favorite restaurant Dragon Rouge.

Sharon was known to speak her mind and although she was only 4 foot 11, she exuded a presence that was much larger than her short stature implied.
She was a gregarious storyteller and had a knack for becoming fast friends with strangers. She was an avid country music fan and felt most comfortable wearing cowboy boots. She was a gifted dancer and loved nothing more than dragging her kids onto the dance floor. She taught them both how to jitterbug at an early age specifically for that purpose. Her laugh was loud, distinct, and infectious. Her hugs were legendary. She will be missed forever.

Sharon was predeceased by her mother and father, as well as her late husband, David. She is survived by her husband Steven M. Sharp and her children, daughter Leslie Ann Fales and son Patrick Ryan Sweet, both of Alameda. She is also survived by her son-in-law James Morris Olsen, also of Alameda, her sister Kathy Lynn Coates of Waterford, Michigan and brother-in-law Steve Langley, also of Waterford, Michigan. She is also survived by nephews Bradley Allyn Coates of Waterford Michigan and Phillip Andrew Coates of Clayton, Ohio, as well as numerous cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Funeral services will be conducted later this year to enable all friends and family to attend without the restrictions in place due to Covid-19. A “Celebration of Life” reception will also be held at that time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to the LUNGevity Foundation for lung cancer research. www.lungevity.org

For inquiries regarding the services or to share condolences, you may contact her daughter, Leslie Fales at leslie.fales@gmail.com .

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