Elizabeth “Liz” Ann Lightstone, a longtime resident of Alameda, died suddenly on March 30, 2020, after a courageous battle with cancer over the past year. Liz was the daughter of the late John H. and Mary Elizabeth Lightstone from Coffeyville, Kan., and the wife of the late Rodney Mariani from Alameda. Liz, born in 1954, graduated from Coffeyville High School and the University of Kansas where she became an avid Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan.
After graduation, Liz was venturesome and headed to San Francisco where she got her first job with an importing company. She eventually joined Gumps, a legendary upscale retailer in the heart of San Francisco. Liz retired from Gumps after 30 years as the vice-president of merchandising. Liz then joined a friend, Sandra Jordan, at Sandra Jordan Prima Alpaca, to help grow the new business. Liz and Sandra became close friends and traveling companions for business and pleasure.
Liz met her late husband, Rodney Mariani, in Alameda and they were married for 30 years. The two of them were quite a pair as they enjoyed sailing in San Francisco Bay and up to the Delta, traveling, scuba diving and enjoying life to the fullest with family and friends.
Liz had a large family with four brothers, their wives, nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and -nephews. The Lightstone clan made a point of getting together as often as possible. The family, along with special friends, have provided wonderful love and support to Liz over the past year.
Liz is survived by her brothers Larry (Fran) of Manchester, Mo.; Bob (Carol) of Solomons, Md.; Bill (Carol) of Carbondale, Colo., and Steve (Terry) of Kansas City, Mo., many extended family members and her beloved poodle, Henry, who were the loves of her life.
A celebration of Liz’s life will be announced at a future date.
For more information, contact Harry W. Greer, funeral director (FDR-745).
Catherine Belluomini, 87, was born in Oakland on Jan. 26, 1933 and passed away peacefully in her sleep on April 2, 2020.
Catherine graduated at the top of her class with honors from Holy Names High School. Afterwards, she married her husband Alfred Belluomini and had three children: Christina, Allan and Dino. She was a housewife and very active at St. Paschal’s Parish for 23 years.
Catherine went to work at the Alameda Naval Air Station at the lowest level due to lack of work experience. In 12 years, she worked her way up to become the manager of cost reduction; which qualified her to take classes in jet engine theory and various inspection techniques, for which, at the time, a college education was requried. After the course, it was determined that she placed highest honors in the class out of all the participants.
Catherine went on to supervise all training and certification of quality assurance personnel. Later on, she became the teacher of the Jet Engine theory and inspection technique course; as well as a substitute teacher to all other curriculum on the Naval Base due to her extensive knowledge on the topics.
Catherine was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Unfortunately, she outlived all three of her children. She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Alfred Belluomini, her sister Diana Mori of Moraga, three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews who are scattered across the Bay Area.
Catherine’s burial and final resting place will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward.
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.