Luz G. Guidici passed away on Feb. 29, 2020, peacefully, in her sleep, within 10 miles of where she was born. The proximity of her birth and death belies all that she traversed in her 103 years.
Luz was born on Dec. 26, 1916, and grew up in the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood of Oakland. She was one of six children born to Jean and Louise Gouailhardou. In her youth she enjoyed sports and acrobatic dancing. She graduated from Oakland Tech High School in 1934, the only one of her siblings to do so.
In 1941, Luz married John J. Guidici, a fellow Oakland Tech grad. At the time of their marriage, John was a merchant mariner. Married life prompted him to leave the high seas to become an Oakland police officer, eventually becoming captain of the force. Luz supported his career and maintained their household.
Luz and John were the proud parents of three daughters: Luzanne, Ginette and Denise. Luz was a homemaker and community volunteer for the Emerson Elementary PTA and Samuel Merritt Hospital, now Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.
Luz enjoyed sewing, crocheting, playing bridge and actively participating in the Catholic Church. She was a terrific cook who specialized in serving family dinner — from weekly Sunday gatherings to traditional Christmas Eve celebrations. Her prized French apple pie was a crowd favorite. She was a generous host as she never shied away from inviting guests to dinner or housing foreign exchange students.
In their retirement years, John and Luz moved to Alameda. Many will remember Luz from her participation in St. Albert’s Church and from the hundreds of baby blankets she crocheted and distributed to friends and family near and far.
Luz was an Oaklander through and through. She was a fan of the Oakland A’s, Fenton’s Ice Creamery, Casper’s Hot Dogs and Neldam’s Bakery. She loved Piedmont Avenue and even served as Miss Piedmont Avenue in 1935. She and John liked to travel. Hawaii and Alaska and trips to Italy and France were among their favorites.
Luz was preceded in death by her husband (John Guidici) and all her siblings. She leaves behind her daughters: Luzanne (Tom) Engh of Alameda, Ginette (Senator) Raygor of Walla Walla, Wash., Denise Guidici of Crosswicks, N.J., and grandchildren: Michele and Nicole, Scott and Stacy, Matt and Tim and 11 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, send donations in Luz Guidici’s memory to the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Newborn Intensive Care Unit Fund at Alta Bates Summit Philanthropy, 2855 Telegraph Ave., #601, Berkeley, CA 94705. The family plans a small private service in the spring.
For more info, contact Harry W. Greer, funeral director (FDR-745).
Adeline Peters (1918–2019) was a member of the Alameda community and Immanuel Lutheran Church for nearly 70 years. She died last October.
A memorial service will be held in her name on Saturday, March 14. Come help celebrate her life, contributions, dedication and hard work for the church — and her ready wit and marvelous sense of humor.
The memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1910 Santa Clara Ave.
A reception will follow the service.
Neil Augustine Lahaie was born in Holyoke, Mass., on Nov. 17, 1960, to Wilfrid David and Elinor Therese Lahaie. Neil was a fascinating, courageous, adventurous spirit. He attended the Kennedy Elementary School, the Locke Middle School and later went to Shawsheen Technical High School where he took an interest in culinary arts and printing. He was an avid reader and dabbled in writing. While Neil was in high school he began writing a book. It was very entertaining. One could tell by the antics of the main character that this was Neil under an assumed name. It is unknown whether it was ever finished.
Growing up, his thirst for adventure got him into trouble more than a few times. There were several incidents involving trees. He loved to climb to the top of tall trees. One time he got his head stuck in the “Y” between two large limbs and the fire department had to rescue him, another time he broke both of his arms when he fell from a tree estimated at 75 feet tall.
There are many other incidents where his curiosity and mischievousness got him and others into hot water, but on the bright side, growing up with him there was never a dull moment, nothing that he wouldn’t try. He had an admirable reckless abandon! He was a true non-conformist. That was the trait that separated him from everyone else and the one that earned him notoriety.
In high school Neil drove a menacing black 69 Dodge Charger RT SE with Crager SS chrome wheels. It was the perfect car for his persona. He wore a heavy leather jacket. He dressed in all black with heavy motorcycle boots. He kept a fat wallet on a chain attached to his belt and had a scruffy red beard which today would be a hipster’s envy.
Wherever that car went people took notice. It was a real head turner and the envy of all the kids in the neighborhood. It was unbelievably fast. It was not uncommon to see it streaking down I-93 towards Boston, passing other cars like they were standing still, with Foghat’s “Fool for the City” cranked at full volume on the Pioneer stereo.
After high school he ventured out to experience true freedom as portrayed in Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. From the Boston railyard he found his way out to Seattle via box car. He invited Dan out to Seattle in 1980, and together they found their way to Akutan Alaska to work aboard a crab processing vessel. Within a few days Neil was a celebrity on the boat. Mostly for his complete disregard for convention. Dan’s celebrity was being known as “Neil’s brother.”
His willingness to fearlessly explore new frontiers opened up the west for the rest of his family. Eventually the whole family moved from Massachusetts to the West Coast. Neil moved on from Seattle to explore other places like Hawaii and Alaska, eventually settling for several years in New Orleans.
He had a kinship with jazz. He listened to Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters and Robert Fripp’s Larks’ Tongue in Aspic. He loved Tom Waits and we listened to Small Change over and over again. His father hated it and would shout “call the dogcatcher.” Neil brought albums home from Krey’s Disc shop at the Burlington Mall and had his own musical sensibility.
He worked for the Ambassador Brattle Cab Company in Cambridge, Mass., and organized the Cambridge Taxi Association to unionize drivers in an attempt to level the playing field. For several years and during this time his sister Therese was known to never worry for a cab ride late at night. Finally he settled in the Oakland area with his sisters Therese and Jeanne.
Neil was always involved in organized labor and could be found on picket lines with locked out hotel employees or the Stanford University office workers. He later trained in network engineering and worked for years at Cisco. Throughout his life he loved the outdoors and was an avid hiker. He routinely convened Meetup groups to explore the Bay Area and the Sierras for new hikes.
At Cisco Systems, he worked as a configuration change manager for their in-house IT department. He was traumatized when he was laid off from Cisco during a huge downsizing effort. He isolated himself for an extended period which eventually led to the development of life-debilitating illnesses that he battled for the remainder of his life. He never recovered the trajectory of home, work, education and friendships.
While Neil battled illness, his beloved sisters, Therese and Jeanne, performed heroically to help him in every aspect of his life. This, while managing their elderly mother’s own struggle with Alzheimer’s and dementia. No words are adequate to express the thanks for their generous selflessness during these times.
Neil is preceded in death by his parents Wilfrid and Elinor T. (Mulqueeney) Lahaie, his aunt Francis McClellan, his uncle Bill and aunt Lorraine Moroney, his grandparents Peter and Eva Lahaie, and Augustine and Margaret Mulqueeney, uncles Robert and Gerald Lahaie, cousin Paul Fallon and sister-in-law Kim Lahaie.
Neil is survived by his siblings: Therese Lahaie of Emeryville, David (Linden) Lahaie of Seattle, Daniel (Alisa) Lahaie of Covington, Wash., and Jeanne Marie Lahaie of Alameda; aunt Ann and her husband, Jack Fallon; Aunts Claudette Lahaie and Annmarie Lahaie; nieces Sarah Lahaie, Kirstin Lahaie, Brooke Lahaie, Simone Lahaie and Naomi Lahaie; Uncle Paul Lahaie; cousins Susan Lahaie, Ann (Brent) Soucie, Paul Lahaie, Peter (Mercedes) Lahaie, Mary Claire Moroney, Bill Moroney, John McClellan, Robert (Stephanie) McClellan, Paul McClellan, Annmarie Fallon, John Jr., Claire Fallon Bast (Mark), Gregory (Carin) Fallon; Arlene Mulqueeney of San Mateo and her sons with Jack Mulqueeney, Sr.: Michael, Dennis (Patti), Mark (France), and Jack and their children.
Neil’s ashes will be interred in the columbarium at Mountain View.