|JULIE CAROLYN LAINE||Born: 1938-05-27|
|Father: Unspecified||Mother: Unspecified|
|Children: JAY ATKIN LIGDA|
Julie married Paul Ligda on August 26, 1961. They were divorced June 30, 1971.
|ANNE LIGDA||Born: 1941-02-02||Died: 2009-01-02|
|Father: Unspecified||Mother: Unspecified|
|Children: BRANDY STE.ANN LIGDA|
Anne was the second of three daughters born to Alexander R. Marbury (11/25/1888 – 01/11/1965) and Edna Hester (02/24/13 – 04/22/2003). Frances, her older sister, was handicapped from birth. Her father was then working in the lumber yard at Ft. Ord. The Marburys left California for Oklahoma shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 – largely from fear of a Japanese invasion and rumors that they would kill all handicapped children. Their plans were to return to California as soon as it was safe, but while in Oklahoma, a cousin wrecked the family car leaving the family without transportation. The family drifted to Arkansas where Anne’s father took a job at Camp Chaffe in Branch, Arkansas and her mother obtained a job teaching at Branch High School. The Marburys remained in Arkansas for the duration. Their youngest daughter, Alexis, was born in Fayetteville in 1943. The family were members of the Church of Christ and all the girls were raised in that faith.
When the War ended in 1945, Anne’s father was working as a salesman for Harry Barr Insulation Company in Ft. Smith. In 1946, he was transferred to a branch office in Enid, Oklahoma. The family moved but, with the influx of returning veterans, could find no housing. For several months the family actually lived in a part of the company’s office building. In 1947, the family returned to Arkansas. Her mother entered the Arkansas State Teacher’s College in Conway. Anne first attended school at the college’s Demonstration School
Anne’s mother graduated from College in 1948 and took a job teaching 1st and 2nd Grades at the Bruno Consolidated School. Anne was one of her students. Her mother recalled Anne’s experience with, “the worst teacher I ever had.” In 1949, the Marburys decided to return to California, but their car broke down in Oklahoma City and the money they had for the remainder of the trip had to be spent on repairs. Her father took a job with a local insulation company. Within a year, he bought the business. The family was to remain in Oklahoma City for ten years.
In 1951, while Anne was attending Hawthorne Elementary School, the Oklahoma City Symphony performed a Youth Concert at her school. Anne was enthralled. She came home from school and announced to her mother that she wanted to play the cello. Her mother replied, “Well, if you’ll tell me what a cello is, I’ll get one for you.” Her mother found a music store with cellos for rent to be an excellent motivator. Anne was her best student. Music was to remain a prominent part of her life.
After she graduated from Hawthorne Elementary School in 1953, Anne was stricken with polio. She was hospitalized for many months before being released with braces and crutches and braces the doctors said she would need for the rest of her life. She was admitted to William Jennings Bryan School for the Handicapped where Frances was educated. Anne did not like the school. In 1954, she insisted on attending Harding Junior High School, the regular school which was in a three story building without elevators. It took extrordinary determination to get from floor to floor for her classes. That summer, she underwent operations to lengthen her Achelles tendons and learned to walk without crutches. She continued in the regular school system, graduating from Classen Junior High in 1956, the year the Marburys bought their first home at 3100 NW 44th Street which was Anne’s home for her high school years.
Anne attended NW Classen High School. Despite obligations she had at home in caring for Frances, she was an outstanding student and continued her growth in mastering the cello. She was selected as the school’s best female musician. However, she did not recall her high school years as particularly happy. She felt her parents did not appreciate her academic/musical achievements and that her father, in particular, was openly critical and suspicious of her relationships with boys. She did not feel accepted by the popular kids at school. She felt this was partially due to her aged father’s appearance and behavior during the rare occasions she invited her friends to her home. She also felt their home was messy and that condition embarrassed her.
Anne graduated with scholastic honors in 1959 and won a Canfield Foundation Scholarship that would pay 7/8 of her tuition at any univeristy in the world. Her mother, who earned her master’s Degree from Central University of Oklahoma that same year and was then the family breadwinner, did not feel she could support the family on the salaries then offered by Oklahoma school districts. In August of 1959, the family returned to California where she took a teaching position at Oak elementary School in Covina.
Anne selected Pepperdine University in Los Angeles where she enrolled in the fall of 1959. She selected a double major: music theory and cello performance. She studied cello under Gabor Reito at the University of Southern California. She was principal cellist in the University Symphony all four of her college years. She was a member of the Mu Phi Epsilon National Music Association that required all A’s in her music courses, serving as President in her Senior year. She made time to sing in the University’s choruses and was active in drama, playing the part of Nettie Fowler in the drama depatment’s production of Carousel and the part of Aunt Abby in Arsenic and Old Lace. During her junior year sshe was a member of the Roger Wagner Chorale. In her senior year, she was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and was awarded the outstanding stringed instrument award. While in college she met Gary Cooney who was then in the Navy. They were dating when Anne graduated cum laude in 1963. They continued their romance in the year following her graduation while Anne was back in Oklahoma under contract to the Oklahoma City Symphony. When her contract ended, Anne returned to California where, on May 14, 1964, she and Gary were married.
The Cooney’s made their first home at 78 Gardner Street in Vallejo near Gary’s work on Mare Island. In September 1964, Anne took work as a Social Services Worker in the Solano County Welfare Department. She continued in that work until May 1965 when Gary was assigned sea duty on the East Coast. The Cooneys went through several moves and had their first child, David, born January 28, 1966 in Bath, Maine while Gary’s assignments kept him back East.
In 1967, Gary was reassigned to Mare Island. The family returned to Vallejo where they purchased their first home at 949 Benicia Road in Vallejo. Anne returned to work with the Welfare Department as a Child Protective Services Worker. On October 20, 1969, she had Elizabeth, her second child, at Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo. In 1971, the Cooneys sold their home and with the proceeds and some savings made a $3,300 down payment on a new home at 100 Dartmouth in the Southampton Development in Benicia then selling for $27,500. In 1972, Anne and Gary divorced. She was awarded the house in Benicia as part of the property agreement. She continued living there with David and Elilzabeth, then 6 and 2.
In May 1974, Anne was promoted to the job of finding placements for dependent childlren who had been removed from their home by court order. (She would be promoted to supervisor of the unit two years later). Her new responsibilites took her into group and foster homes all over Northern California and required frequent appearances in Juvenile Court where she met and began dating Paul Ligda, then Public Defender of Solano County.
In 1976, Anne acquired an interest in a second house at 622 Indiana Street in Vallejo. The owner, a co-worker at Welfare, had given the home to her son who promised to make the monthly mortgage payments. He developed a drug habit, stopped making the payments and let other drug users into the house who trashed the property before abandoning it leaving several dogs locked inside. Anne’s co-worker wanted no part of the clean-up or the back payments and was happy Anne was willing to buy her interest for a dollar. On recording the sale, Anne and Paul made up the back payments and spent most of their weekends and evenings over the next several weeks returning the property to rentable condition. Anne would later rent her home in Benicia when she and Paul moved to 1129 Valle Vista in Vallejo. She was a landlady.
Anne and Paul married on August 14, 1977 in a ceremony held on the patio of their new home presided over by Judge Ellis Randall. They had a short honeymoon in Marin County with a trip to the Philippines planned a few months later when work allowed. On takeoff for the final leg of the trip, the 747 developed engine trouble. The pilot aborted the takeoff by braking the plane and bringing it to a stop near the end of the runway with tires burning from the friction of the rubber against the tarmac. The panicked and inexperienced cabin crew hightened the anxiety of all on board with cries of “Emergency, emergency; everyone off the plane” In her haste to get out before the plane caught fire, Anne hurt herself using the inflatable slide to the ground. It turned out that the injuries were minor as was the damage to the plane but the parts needed for repair had to be flown in. During the three day wait, Anne and Paul were guests of Philippine Airlines at a hotel near the airport.
A second adventure occurred during a cruise from Manila to Zamboanga when the ship encountered a severe storm and was buffeted about on the Philippine Sea. Anne was seasick to the point she believed she might die and spent much of the cruise in bed. Memories of that experience kept her off cruise ships for years.
In 1979, Anne resigned her position with the Welfare Department to take a job as Director of the Drake House Group Home in Concord, California. To help the sustain the program, she withdrew her money from the State retirement system and bought a house she leased to the Program for enough money to make the mortgage payments. She kept that lease after she left the program in 1980, eventually selling the property at a modest profit.
Anne left Drake House to accept the opportunity of becoming Executive Director of the Napa-Solano Girl Scout Council. She felt it would be refreshing to work with girls who were achievers after so many years of exposure to neglected children, abused children, and children growing up in poverty.
In her new position, Anne raised the half million dollars needed for the development and building of the Council’s new Program Center in Cordelia that was completed and dedicated in 1985.
The next few years proved difficult for Anne. Neither of her children did well in school. Neither seemed to care. None of her attempts to change their attitudes worked and eventually both dropped out of the regular school program and failed to graduate with their class. Elizabeth dated blacks which, although becoming more common, created social problems that were aggravated by the lack of character of the partners she choose. Anne was devastated on learning her 15 year-old daughter was pregnant and that the father was black. Despite her religious convictions to the contrary, she urged abortion. Elizabeth refused. Meanwhile David slipped into the use of drugs and resorted to stealing to support the habit he developed. Anne was his primary victim. She could not comprehend how her own son could steal from her. David was eventually arrested and imprisoned. Anne maintained a log from December of 1984 into 1988 in which she recorded, among other things, her embarassment when conversations with friends involved discussing her children as well as her attempts to conceal her daughter’s pregnancy from her friends and neighbors. In a sense she felt her children’s behavior was punishment for her choices in divorcing Gary and in pursuing a career that kept her away from her home so often when her children were younger and home alone. She felt she had failed as a parent and questioned her effectiveness as a role model in the job she held.
There were problems at work. Staff turnover required Anne to spend much of her time recruiting and training new personnel and delay work on program development and working with the volunteers. There were complaints. The President and some members of the Board blamed Anne who struggled to meet everyone’s expectations, but just couldn’t do it. She was asked to resign in 1987 and did so after working out a severance package that included a modest cash payment and a letter of recommendation. She wrote of doubts she would ever find work again and of concerns that, for the first time in her adult life, at age 46, she was no longer self supporting. She was uncomfortable being financially dependent but, with her husband’s consent, she took over all family financial matters including management of the two rental properties and, over the next 15 years, helped build a community estate valued in excess of three million dollars.
Anne’s bouts with depression from the turmoil in her life intensified with the death of her mother-in-law, Caroline, on May 24, 1988 and of her sister, Frances Rainbow (b 01/23/39), on June 19, 1989. Her mother-in-law spent her final days battling cancer in her daughter’s home in Menlo Park. Anne, despite knowing her mother-in-law never fully accepted her into the family, spent several days helping Susan provide the care needed. When her sister died, her husband did not take time off work to attend the funeral in Northridge. Despite the comfort she felt spending some time in the company of her Mother and Alexis after the burial, she resented what she felt was her husband’s lack of understanding of the loss Frances’ death meant to her.
As she developed confidence in the family’s financial security, Anne’s concern over the need to get a job faded although in 1990 she accepted a part time position as Fund Development Director for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. She stayed in that position until 1992 when she and Paul were living in Modesto and the commute took too long. Thereafter, she considered herself retired although she did teach cello in to a few private students during the two years the Ligdas lived in Modesto and, in 1993, accepted a temporary position as Executive Director of the Vallejo Symphony.
Anne considered herself a compulsive overeater and battled a problem with her weight most of her life. She described her high school figure as “pudgy,” and felt her appearance made her unattractive. After the birth of her children, she trimmed down to what she considered an ideal weight and maintained it in the years she was a single parent and well into her second marriage. By 1983, she felt the need of help to curb her overeating. She joined O.A. and remained it that program for many years eventually being elected as a member of the Board of Trustees. Board meetings took her on frequent business trips, many of which she turned into family outings. Among the places Anne took her family were Los Angeles, San Diego, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Albuqueque, Houston, and Italy/France.
Anne was always active in her community. She joined Soroptomists International of Vallejo in 1981 and served in many capacities including Club President in 1989-90. She served on the Board of the Alan Meadows Pool Association and as President in 1981. She served on the Board of Directors of the Vallejo Sister City Association. She joined the Vallejo Symphony as a cellist in 1974 and contined, with occasional interruption, until her death. She also played for the Napa Symphony for over ten years. In both symphonies she served for periods as principal cellist. She also was elected to the Board of Directors of the Vallejo Symphony Association and remained active until her death, serving in many capacities including President in 1997/9. During her term as Executive Director, she coordinated the plans and raised the funds needed to take the orchestra to Japan as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between the cities of Akashi and Vallejo.
Despite her dispair at what she felt were her daughter’s destructive life choices, Anne took an active interest in the lives of her two grandchildren: Raymond Cooney, born May 8, 1986, and Duke Cooney, born January 14, 1993. Neither father assumed an active role in supporting his son. Raymond had a troubled relationship with his mother that led him to seek refuge with his Grandmother from time to time. Anne had the ticklish task of providing structure for Raymond without further alienating her daughter. Raymond eventually moved in with the Ligdas where he remained several years. Anne was also instumental in providing a home for Brandy, her third grandchild, born September 8, 1993. She was concerned with the lack of commitment to the child by either parent and, on January 2, 1994, took Brandy from her daughter’s home and brought her home. She went on to become Brandy’s legal guardian that eventually led to her adoption that was finalized in 1996.
The addition of Brandy to her family gave Anne a new purpose. She was determined not to repeat what she felt were her mistakes in raising David and Elizabeth, among them devoting too much attention to work. She was determined that Brandy would have every opportunity to succeed. She resumed regular church attendance at the Lassen Street Church of Christ so Brandy would have a church family. She volunteered for leadership roles in the parents organizations at the schools Brandy attended. She embraced the friendships with the parents of Brandy’s school friends. She made her home available as a comfortable and safe gathering place where Brandy could bring her friends. She was there to help with difficult homework assignments. Brandy thrived and, more importantly, the warmth of the relationship between Anne and Brandy drew the entire family back to Anne. Over the last 15 years of her life, Anne became very close to David, Elizabeth, Raymond, Duke, Jay, and John. She was able to put their past transgressions into perspective and take pride in what each was accomplishing. She came to a point of comfort in discussing her children with friends.
Anne loved travel. After her return from her initial trip abroad in 1974, she was constantly planning her next trip. Eventually she was to visit over 100 TCC countries and most of the United States. In 1991, during a trip around the world, she fulfilled a girlhood dream stopping in Inda to see the Taj Mahal. Anne often included other family members in family trips. She flew her mother and daughter to the Costa del Sol for the Christmas holidays in 1991. Her mother came along on separate trips to Arizona, Virginia, and Maryland in 1996. In 1997, Anne had her mother join the family in England for a two week visit to London and Wales. Jay joined the family on a trip to Guatamala and Costa Rica in 1987. John joined the family on trips to Mexico in 1985 and to France in 2005. Raymond was with the family for foreign trips to Europe and Asia over several years. Duke was with the family for foreign trips to Europe and South America between 2000 and 2006.
In 1995, despite her memories of the seasickness she suffered during her honymoon cruise on the Philippine Sea 18 years earlier, Anne agreed to try a seven day Caribbean cruise out of Montego Bay, Jamaica. She boarded the ship armed with an amply supply of seasickness pills and wristbands (just in case) and was delighted to find they weren’t needed. She loved the experience – no daily packing and unpacking; luxury transportation between ports; excellent food; great company; and a chance to dress up on formal nights. She made cruising a major part of family vacationing – 16 cruises over the next 13 years.
In 2002, during a routine physical check-up, doctors detected a spot on Anne’s lung. She was advised to have it checked on a regular basis which she did. The spot neither moved nor grew, so she accepted her doctor’s guess that it was not likely cancer. In the ensuing years, she developed more health problems, twice being hospitalized with pnemonia. She lacked the energy she once had. On some of her later trips, she restricted her day trips to those that didn’t require a lot of walking or where the site provided a wheel chair if needed. In 2007 during a trip to Australia, she became dizzy, fell, and needed a wheelchair for the remainder of the visit. Later that year, she turned down the invitation to attend Paul and Gaya Lindstedt’s wedding in Moldova. It took all her energy to visit Akashi in August 2008 for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship with Vallejo. Over the Thanksgiving week at the Ridge Tahoe, she had exceptional trouble breathing. She thought it was probably because of the altitute, but X-rays after the trip revealed considerable fluid in the sac surrounding her lungs and that the spot on her lung had grown. Her doctor drained the fluid and sent it to the lab where analysis revealed lung cancer already in it’s 4th stage. On December 12, her doctor advised that the only possible treatment was chemotherapy which, if successful, might extend her life a year.
Anne took her only chemotherapy a week later. She was encouraged knowing she was doing something to fight the disease. She went about her daily routine and insisted there be no change in her plans to have the family come for Christmas. As the holiday neared, she spent more and more of her days resting in bed. She was up for Christmas and enjoyed opening presents with the sixteen family members/friends gathered for all or part of the day. Alexis, Liz, Rhonda, Shannon, and Brandy all chipped in to help prepare the Christmas meal (and clean up afterwards).
On Saturday, the 27th, Anne had an appointment in Napa to select the wig she would need when, as a result of the chemotherapy, she lost her hair. She was determined to get a wig that would look good. Second best was out of the question. That morning, she felt energetic. She made breakfast, helped change the linens on the bed, and started a load of laundry. She had no difficulty getting into the car for the drive to Napa, but, during the half hour trip, she wearied to the point she had difficulty getting out of the car and walking up the pathway and into the shop. She limited her involvement in the selection process to the elimination of a few styles she did not like at all and let the shopkeeper decide the rest. When she returned home she went to bed and rested the remainder of the day. During the night, she experienced pains in her stomach and diarrea. By midnight the pain intensified to the point she was moaning. We could not deal with her condition at home. I took her to the emergency room at Kaiser. Staff stabilized her and moved her to ICU where, over the next five days, despite the valiant efforts of the doctors and staff, her condition continued to deteriorate as her life systems broke down. She died in apparent peace on January 2nd surrounded by grieving family.
On January 7th there was a memorial service at the Lassen Street Church of Christ attended by over 300. On January 31st, the Vallejo Symphony dedicated their second concert of the season to her memory. Anne was cremated. Her remains are interred at Skyview Memorial Lawn in Vallejo where she lived most of her life.
|PAUL LINDSTEDT||Born: 1936-06-14|
|Father: Unspecified||Mother: Unspecified|
Paul married Susan Ligda on August 19, 1956. What is reported on him is included in Susan’s biography.
|SUSAN MILA LIGDA||Born: 1936-10-07|
|Father: VICTOR WORTHINGTON LIGDA||Mother: CAROLINE FIELD|
|Siblings: VICTORIA ROSE LIGDA, PAUL CHARLES LIGDA|
Susan was the second child and only daughter born to Victor and Caroline Ligda.
After graduating from Presidio Jr. High School in 1951, Susan attended George Washington High School in San Francisco. She was an excellent student and was elected Vice President of her Sophomore Class. She graduated in 1954.
Susan attended San Francisco City College for the 1954-55 school year. To earn spending money, she took a part time job at Mannings Cafeteria where she met and began dating Paul Lindstedt who was beginning a career in the restaurant industry. In the Fall of 1955, Susan transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, but she was more interested in developing her relationship with Paul than in remaining in school to earn a degree. Her mother, hoping the romance would cool, arranged for Susan to join her brother, Paul, on a tour of Europe after his graduation from college in 1956. With her mother, Susan flew to New York where she and Paul sailed for Europe on the Queen Elizabeth I on February 17, 1956. They joined a tour in Southampton which took them on a month long tour ending in Paris. During the trip, Susan used her available savings to shop for things she felt she would need after her marriage. When the tour ended, Paul extended his stay, but Susan came home. She and Paul 1 were married on August 19, 1956.
The Lindstedts’ first home was a rented apartment on Geary Boulevard, a few blocks from her mother’s home at 34 Pt. Lobos. Shortly thereafter, her mother helped them with the purchase of their first home at 1224 South Mayfair in the Westlake District of Daly City.
From the beginning of their marriage, Susan and Paul were active members of their church. They had three children, all born in San Francisco while they lived in Westlake: Pamela Sue born October 8, 1957; David Paul born March 18, 1959; and Paul Michael born May 10, 1961. Their children were all raised in the church with Christian backgrounds.
In 1965, Paul was given the opportunity of managing a new Mannings Restaurant opening in Rossmoor in the East Bay. The Lindstedts sold their home in Westlake and moved to Walnut Creek where they bought a home at 927 Quiet Place Court. Paul remained with Mannings until 1969 when he resigned to accept an offer from Robert E. Farrell to join his growing chain of Ice Cream Parlours. In 1971, Paul was promoted to Vice President of Operations in Portland. The Lindstedts moved to Oregon where they bought a new home at 73 Touchstone Drive in Lake Oswego. All three of their children graduated from Lake Oswego High. Pamela and David went on to graduate from the University of Oregon. 2 Paul would begin his college work there, but later transfer to Long Beach State University where he graduated.
Bob Farrell eventually sold Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlours to Marriotts. Over a period, that company brought in their own people for the management positions. Paul was squeezed out in 1976. For several months, he was unable to find work. Susan noted, in e
xplaining why they could not come to California to attend her brother’s wedding in August of 1977: “We know God has something in store for us but . . . may wait until the very end of our endurance to supply. In the meantime, we need to be careful with what money we have . . .” Paul ultimately put his job hunt on hold to open a restaurant he named Pamburger. Every member of the family chipped in to make the venture a success. David cooked three nights/week while he was home from college.
In 1979, Paul sold Pamburger and the Lindstedts returned to California. They bought a home at 847 Valparaiso Avenue in Menlo Park. While Paul worked in various capacities in the food service industry, Susan took a job as an aide to refugee students in the Sequoia Unified High School District. Her work as an aide provided the opportunity to tutor many of the students in the schools as well as other refugees connected with the Peninsula Bible Church she attended. Susan took a deep liking to those she taught. She and Paul welcomed many of her students as a part of their family.
Pamela married Michael Cook in Portland on July 23, 1983.[refMike and Pamela Cook had four children: Jason Michael born April 3, 1987; Garrett Paul born November 21, 1989; Caroline Ashley born September 30, 1991; and Annelise born September 17, 1993.[/ref]
David married Ruth DeHart in California on May 12, 1984. 3
In 1995, Jim Omundson, a close friend of the Lindstedts, offered Paul a partnership in a restaurant to be built in Newberg, Oregon. Paul accepted. The Lindstedts sold their home in Menlo Park. With the profits from that sale, they moved to Newberg where, with Jim Omundson’s help, they built a new home at 14450 NE Rex Hill Court. The restaurant, JP Founders, opened in July, 1996. Despite the Lindstedts best efforts, JP Founders did not attract enough business to allow payment of the construction loans. After less than two years, the restaurant had to be sold at a considerable loss. The Lindstedts sold their home in Newberg and moved to Siskiyou County, California where they purchased a smaller home on 25 acres at 734 Oak Hill Lane in Ft. Jones. Susan commented: “We’re loving the beauty, quiet, and luxury of 25 acres, none of which has to be tended to . . . The sheep graze on the dried grass and that’s enough to keep it down.”
|PAUL CHARLES LIGDA||Born: 1934-07-13|
|Father: VICTOR WORTHINGTON LIGDA||Mother: CAROLINE FIELD|
|Children: BRANDY STE.ANN LIGDA, JAY ATKIN LIGDA|
|Siblings: VICTORIA ROSE LIGDA, SUSAN MILA LIGDA|
I was the first child born to Victor and Caroline Ligda. I was baptized on October 28, 1934 at St. Peters Episcopal Church in Oakland. My sister, Susan Mila, was born two years later on October 7, 1936. Until our cousin, Alan, was born on June 4, 1942, my sister and I represented the fifth recorded generation of Ligdas and I the one who would carry the family name. I have recollections of my adult relatives making quite a fuss over me – my Grandmother Ligda in particular.
My early recollections are of family moves connected with my father’s World War II military service. I attended grammar schools in Garden Grove and Santa Ana, California, Carlsbad, New Mexico, Chicago, Illinois, and San Antonio, Texas 1 where I was exposed to racial prejudice against Mexican-Americans. I did not understand it. My parents never spoke despairingly of any group. I enjoyed the travel. My father told me he had been in each of the 48 states. I resolved that I too would someday visit every state. 2
In 1945, we returned to our home at 559 44th Avenue in San Francisco’s Richmond District. I attended Lafayette Grammar School where I was an above average, but hardly outstanding, student. George Snell was my best friend. We each had paper routes which we often delivered together. George’s father worked for N. B. C. Radio. He quit his job to open his own radio station, KEEN, in San Jose, California. George had to move, but he did live with our family until the end of the school year. Those were wonderful times; and I missed George when he left for his new home. 3
After graduating from Lafayette Grammar School, I attended Presidio Junior High School. I recall being an above average student 4 and athlete. These years were marked by my parents’ divorce. After my father left home we never saw him. I had a great deal of respect and admiration for my father, but I have no recollection of missing him. I remembered the many things he had done before he left: replacing much of the exterior of our house to repair termite damage; creating a room out of an area of our basement; making a wood and canvas top for his war surplus jeep; and doing all the repairs on Grandma Ligda’s home in Berkeley. In addition, he upholstered furniture, sewed, and did car repairs. However, I was not invited to participate in my father’s projects. He did take me to local college football games where he had an extra job taking tickets. He let me in free. Later, he arranged that I could sell programs to earn pocket money.
My mother became my dual parent and authority figure. I remember weighty discussions with my mom and sister as we decided how to spend what little discretionary money existed at the end of each month. I recall my father coming to see me when I graduated from Presidio in 1949. We were having a family dinner in a restaurant. He got up abruptly, said he had to leave, and left me 50 cents as a graduation gift. I felt very awkward and somewhat relieved he was gone.
I attended George Washington High School in San Francisco where I developed a close circle of friends. 5 My mother was extremely fond of my friends and made them welcome in our home. We talked, listened to records, and played cards. Hearts was our favorite game. As my mother became successful in real estate 6 and could afford it, she rented a cabin at Russian River each summer where all my friends and Susan’s were welcome. We went to the Friday night dances in Rio Nido, laid on the beach, and snuck an occasional beer.
My high school years were not distinguished. I played junior varsity football, had a minor role in our senior play, and earned average grades. 7 Many of my teachers felt I lacked an interest in achieving. In fact, the principal once predicted I would never amount to much. None of this bothered me. I enjoyed high school and my friends. I knew I was going to college when I graduated. I was not concerned about what I would do for a living after college. When people asked me what I planned to be, I told them I was going to be President.
I graduated from high school in 1952. It was a wonderful year. I remember the frantic feeling I shared with my friends when we realized we had to get dates for the Senior Prom – none of us had steady girl friends. We were afraid to ask for fear of being turned down, but worried about delay for fear all the neat girls would be taken. I finally worked up the courage to ask Jackie Moore. She accepted. By the time the Prom arrived, I had a new girl friend, Bobbie Swanson. There was no backing out, however. Jackie and I went to the prom and had a good time. I took Bobbie out after my graduation night.
In the summer of 1952, Gil Ward and I took jobs as carpenters’ helpers in building the apartments off John Daly Boulevard in Westlake, Daly City. We worked just long enough to earn money to finance a hitch hiking trip across the country. We had a grand time visiting relative after relative all the way to Massachusetts. There we visited my Uncle Herb who was working on his doctorate. It was my first trip to the East Coast. I was thrilled that I was adding so many of the states to my list of places visited. My mother made the trip even more memorable by purchasing a new Buick which we picked up in Flint, Michigan on the way back. There was a catch. We had to pick up my Aunt Gertrude and Cousin Freddie in Chicago and bring them to California for a visit. On the way back, we stopped in northern California to visit our friends, John Finnell and Ray L’Esperance, who had summer jobs with the Forest Service. They talked us into driving the Buick up a dirt trucking road to their camp. We left Gertrude and Freddie at a motel and took the challenge. We shouldn’t have. I drove the car off the road and it slid down a hill. Fortunately it didn’t roll and none of us were hurt. It took a full day to get a tow truck to pull the car back on the road. Altho there was no visible damage, the car never again seemed new to me. Mom never complained.
I had no career goal when I left high school. I was subjected to the standard intelligence and interest tests, scoring high in quantitative thinking, reasoning, and use of information; low in vocabulary and word fluency. I reflected vocational interest in administration and office work with no interest in scientific work. Because I had an interest in government, I decided to major in Political Science at a college with an excellent reputation in that field. I selected Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., but submitted my application too late for consideration. Instead, I entered the University of San Francisco, another Jesuit School, with the idea that I could transfer to Georgetown at the end of my freshman year.
I continued living at home: 34 Pt. Lobos Avenue, San Francisco. My new girlfriend was Seana Morgan, then a senior at George Washington High. With all my friends off to other schools, I tried to develop new friends at U. S. F. I enjoyed my classes and my intramural football teammates. But, I was not accustomed to an all male school and I did not like the interruptions of the academic schedule for religious observances. By the end of the school year, I was ready to transfer, but not to another Jesuit school. I chose San Jose State where Ray L’Esperance had spent his first year and where Gil Ward and John Finnell planned to enroll. Ray and Gil planned to room together. John and I planned to room together.
In the summer of 1953, the four of us went into business contracting with the Forest Service to clear sections of Lasson National Forest of gooseberries. It was not terribly profitable and I was terribly lonely away from Seana. By mid summer, we agreed that John and I would leave the remaining contracts for Gil and Ray to complete. John and I returned to San Francisco. For the balance of the summer, Mom arranged a trip to New Orleans where we could stay with Dr. Everts, a friend of hers who had an apartment in the French Quarter. We went by bus. The trip was hot and uncomfortable. In Gila Bend, Arizona, an axle on the bus broke so our trip was extended by several 100+ degree hours. But we did get there; and Dr. Everts saw to it that we had a tremendous time seeing New Orleans, the French Quarter, and drinking at Pat O’Briens.
John would not take the bus home. He wired home for train fare and left in relative comfort. I stuck to my bus budget. By the time I got home, John and Seana were engaged. I had no girl friend and no room mate. 8 Mom and I drove to San Jose where we located an apartment on South 7th Street, about two blocks from the campus. I moved in with what borrowed pots, sheets, towels, and utensils I could muster. At 19, I was living away from home for the first time.
I did not enjoy living alone. The friends I had: Gil, Ray, and George, all worked after classes, so there was limited time to enjoy their company. I decided to rush the fraternities. I was invited and accepted the invitation to pledge PiKA, in which George was already a member. After my initiation, I moved out of the apartment and into the fraternity house at 343 East Reed Street. I had plenty of friends.
I loved fraternity life. It exposed me to people with a wide range of interests and talent. We had athletes (including Bill Rahming who starred in San Jose’s first win over Stanford in football 19-14 in 1955), artists (including the Redmond twins), theater people (including Paul Thomsen and Jim Bernardi), and a few scholars. I was so involved in the fraternity that I neglected my studies. I was shocked when I was given C’s for my first quarter’s efforts. Combined with what I had done at U. S. F., I had a mediocre 1.53 g.p.a. (on a 3.0 point scale). I wanted to do better, so I resolved that I would set aside Tuesday and Thursdays evenings for study at the library; additionally, I would review all class notes every Sunday morning. I maintained that schedule the balance of my college career, moved my g.p.a. up to 2.27 for the balance of my courses; and an overall 2.01 g.p.a. when I graduated.
My 2 1/2 years at San Jose State were rewarding in other ways. I served as House manager of the fraternity and was voted its outstanding member in 1955. I met Bev McVicker, a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority from Eagle Rock, California. We dated steadily until the fall of 1955 when she told me she had been intimate with her old high school boy friend during the summer. 9
In the summer of 1955, my father invited me to join him and his wife for a five week summer school at Instituto Allende in San Miguel Allende, Mexico. Altho I had had practically no contact with my father since he left in 1948, my mother had never spoken poorly of him, and I saw no reason not to go. We drove. I had a terrific time taking day trips to local spots in Colonial Mexico and weekend trips into Mexico City. I was able to earn college credits for the courses I took at the Instituto. That created the opportunity to graduate ahead of my class if I earned a few additional units during the second summer session at San Jose State.
Altho I loved college life, I decided to graduate early. I flew back from Mexico to visit Bev for a weekend at her home in Eagle Rock before returning to San Jose for the second summer session. It was during that session on August 18 that my father died unexpectedly. The time we had been together just weeks before took on an added significance and meaning. His death was much easier to accept than it would have been had I turned down his invitation.
I was graduated with my A.B. on January 27, 1956. I left college without a career objective. I was actually in a state of panic – unable to sleep – when I realized I would be leaving the fraternity and was expected to get a job and earn a living. I had no real idea where to start.
In a sense, Mom came to the rescue. She suggested I take some of the money I had 10 and go to Europe. It was an excellent idea. I started the trip with Bob Cracolice, a fraternity brother. We drove to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. After the celebrations, Bob returned home and I flew on to New York where Mom and Susan were waiting. On February 17, 1956, Susan and I embarked for England on the Queen Elizabeth I.
We joined a one month tour which took us from England to Amsterdam and Brussels, thru Luxembourg, along the Rhine to Switzerland, to Innsbruck, to Venice, Rome, Nice, and Paris. At that point, Susan returned home. I struck out on my own. I left Paris for Belgrade on the Orient Express. After a visit there, I took a local train to Dubrovnik, a ship up the Adriatic Coast to Trieste, another ship from Trieste calling at Patros, Greece, Palermo and Naples, Italy before disembarking at Gibraltar. From Gibraltar, I toured Tangier, Morocco, Spain and Portugal before returning home on the Andrea Doria on her last westward crossing before she sank.
I was thrilled with my exposure to so many foreign countries, but sobered with the extent of the unrepaired war damage I saw. England, Germany, and Yugoslavia were particularly hard hit. It was evident the continent was still a long way from economic recovery. With the exception of Switzerland, prices were extremely reasonable 11 and the vendors anxious. They often met as we got off the tour bus; or in train stations 12 or on the streets. There was an obvious shortage of men. I found women, particularly in England and France, pretty aggressive. In Yugoslavia, women were doing heavy construction work. I saw a team of women pulling boxcars from where trains had disengaged them to the ports where they were loaded. I saw extensive poverty – people dressed in rags or extremely worn clothing. The realization that it took so long to recover from a war made a lasting impression on me. War was a tragic and costly way to resolve international differences.
In the few months I was abroad, I decided I would look for work with the Federal Government. When I came home, I set about applying to any agency advertising openings for college graduates. When no immediate offer developed, I took a position as a management trainee with the Emporium-Capwell Company. I worked at the Market Street Emporium from June to September of 1956 when I received a job offer from the Social Security Administration. Despite my supervisor’s warning that government work would never challenge me or provide the opportunity of making a lot of money, I accepted the offer. I was sent to Baltimore for my initial training and then began my first assignment as a Claims Representative in the Agency’s San Francisco Office at 1266 Market Street.
I lived at home until November when Mom bought a four unit building at 77 Miguel Street in my name. I became a property owner and moved into my own one bedroom apartment with a sweeping view of downtown San Francisco and the Bay Bridge. I was leading the good life – a job I enjoyed, a nice home, and plenty to do in a great city. I also formed a partnership with two of my fraternity brothers: Walt Tanghe and Joe Mannon. We pooled some money and made a down payment on a house in Westlake which we rented. When we accumulated some more money, we did it again. 13
In 1957, Joe Mannon decided to enroll in law school. He asked me to enroll too. I’m not certain why I agreed, but in the fall of that year, we entered the first year class at Golden Gate University Law School. At that time the law school was located at the Y.M.C.A. on Golden Gate Avenue which was comfortable walking distance from the Social Security Office on Market Street. Classes were three evenings a week. On those evenings, after eating out, I’d walk to school and study until classes began. Law did not interest me a great deal. I considered dropping out, but Mom convinced me to continue because it couldn’t hurt my government career to have a year of law school. At the end of the first year, Joe did not get passing grades and was told he had little chance of eventual graduation. When he dropped out, so did I. Were it not for the military draft, I would not have returned and probably would have remained a civil servant with the Social Security until retirement.
In the summer of 1958, I received a pre induction notice with an order to report for a physical examination. I had no desire for peacetime military service. By asking, I learned I had not exhausted my eligibility for deferments as a full time student. To get the deferment, I went back to Golden Gate Law School in the fall of 1958. I found second year studies much more enjoyable. I learned it was a practice of many law schools to use the first year to weed out students who did not have the aptitude to become lawyers. In the second year, the students remaining were people the faculty felt had that ability. I was among them and believed I could do it.
In 1958, I was promoted from Claims Representative to Claims Examiner. As an Examiner, I reviewed the claims submitted for payment by the Claims Representatives. My new job was in the San Francisco Payment Center, a few blocks from the District Office where I had been working. There I met Julie Laine, 14 an aspiring ballet dancer, whose job was distributing the claims for review among all the Examiners. This job brought her by my desk several times each day. We dated as her dancing lessons and my law school classes allowed. We developed a relationship which presented a true dilemma for me when, in late 1960, I was offered a position as a Management Analyst at Social Security Headquarters in Baltimore. I wanted the new job. I intended to make a career of government work and saw each promotion as making that career more rewarding. But I still had a year of law school to complete and I was in love with Julie.
As it turned out, I got it all. The Dean of Golden Gate Law School agreed to accept credits from courses I completed at Baltimore University and American University Law Schools, both of which granted me advanced admission. Julie agreed to wait and marry me after my bar examination in the summer of 1961. Right after the holidays, I moved out of my Miguel Street Apartment, turned the management of the building over to my mother, packed my Volkswagen and drove to Baltimore to my new job.
I arrived in Baltimore just after John F. Kennedy’s inauguration as President. He replaced Eisenhower, a Republican. Between his election in November and his inauguration in January, thousands of citizens wrote letters to Kennedy at the White House. Eisenhower’s staff stored the letters. When he took office, Kennedy had a mountain of mail to deal with. He ordered the letters be answered. They were sorted by the nature of the inquiry and sent in bulk to the agencies involved. My first assignment was to the team of six given the chore of answering the letters referred to Social Security. I didn’t like the job at first, but found the range of inquiry fascinating. 15 The expression of good will to the new President was refreshing. Still, there were a large number of writers who simply wanted something and were bold in asking. We were never introduced to the President, but were given instructions in the tone we were to use in replying. The President was very conscious of a need not to ignore his supporters and well wishers.
My life in Baltimore was hectic. While I looked for a place to live, I stayed with Jim Bernardi, a fraternity brother, in his Washington apartment. It was several weeks before I rented an apartment on the second floor of a private home at 3718 Campfield Road in Baltimore County. I had law school classes three evenings a week, two in Washington, D.C. Happily, I was welcomed by Joe Koontz, my new boss, and my four coworkers in the office – all of whom supported my completion of law school and the efforts I was making to take the bar examinations and my summer marriage plans. In June, 1961, I graduated cum laude, third in my class at Golden Gate University. I could not attend the graduation ceremony. I enrolled in a Bar Review Course in Washington and began study for the three bar examinations I was allowed to take: Maryland, D. C., and California. To be an attorney for the federal government, I needed to pass just one.
The summer of 1961 was unusually hot – especially in my second floor apartment. I bought a used air conditioner, but it wasn’t really effective. My Mom and Bill visited during a trip to the East Coast which they cut short because of the heat. I studied on. I took the Maryland exam in June, the D. C. exam in July, and the California exam in August. With the exams behind me, I was ready to marry.
Julie and I were married on August 26, 1961 at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, California. With donations, we bought a new Volvo which we crammed with possessions for the trip to our first home in Baltimore. We had ten days. We took time in Chicago to visit relatives and in Niagara Falls because we were newlyweds, but the pressure to be back to work prevented the journey from feeling like a true honeymoon.
Julie entered the University of Maryland as a full time student and I, after receiving notice that I had failed the Maryland bar exam, enrolled in a review course with the intent of taking the next exam. I abandoned that plan when I received the notices I had passed the D. C. and California exams. I was sworn in before the District Court in Washington on December 20, 1961 and the California Supreme Court in January 16, 1962. I was a lawyer.
We celebrated my new status with a belated honeymoon holiday cruise to the Caribbean, calling at two ports in Jamaica and a week layover in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The venture began with an overnight bus trip from Baltimore (where it was near freezing) to Miami (where it was a balmy 80 degrees). During that trip, the bus company misrouted our luggage. We got off the bus in the winter clothing we had been wearing almost 24 hours. We spent all day at the bus station hoping for the arrival of our luggage. It didn’t happen. We sailed in our winter clothing. 16
I was happy in the work I was doing for Social Security and had no plans to practice law. Had it not been for two coworkers, I don’t know if my intention would have changed. These coworkers were also attorneys who had passed their bar exams during the depression but could not establish practices in the economic climate they faced. Each had taken positions with the Social Security Administration at its creation in 1935. Each was now near retirement. I often heard them talk about what might have been had they practiced law. I feared having those same feelings if I didn’t try.
I spent a day in Washington submitting applications to the legal departments of every federal agency in which I had an interest (including Social Security). Only one, the Federal Trade Commission, expressed an interest in me. They offered me a position in their San Francisco Office. Julie was delighted. She had little interest in her college studies and wanted to go home. I also preferred living on the West Coast. I resigned my position Social Security and accepted the F. T. C. offer.
Julie and I took two weeks to cross the country. We drove North through all the New England States to Quebec; then crossed Canada to Northern Michigan, visited Glacier National Park and attended the World Fair in Seattle. We arrived in San Francisco on the July 4 Weekend. We moved into a one bedroom apartment on Miguel Street. I was looking forward to my new career as a lawyer. I can’t describe the empty feeling I had when I was given a telegram from the Commissioner withdrawing the F. T. C. job offer because of budget restraints. I was unemployed, but home.
I did call on the Attorney-in-Charge of the San Francisco Office who was astounded I was on the West Coast. He assumed I had been told of the budget cuts before I left Baltimore. He called Washington and, to the Commission’s credit, they found the funds to pay me. I had my first job as a lawyer. As it turned out, my career with the F. T. C. was short. 17 My work required that I conduct field investigations of suspected antitrust law violations. If we found violations, our work was turned over to the trial staff for actual prosecution. I would not be going to court. I had the feeling I did not want to spend my legal career in an office wondering if I would be effective if I went to court. That void in my prospects with the F. T. C. made an invitation for an interview from the Santa Clara County District Attorney appealing.
I went to my interview with Lou Bergna knowing the district attorney was in court a lot, but now quite certain what it was they did when they got there. I began to get an understanding when Mr. Bergna asked me how I felt about working with the police. All I could think of saying was: “It sounds a lot better than working against them.” He must have been impressed. I was offered a job. I accepted. We moved to Los Gatos where Julie and I paid $18,000 for our first home – a three bedroom, two bath tract home at 215 Nob Hill Way.
I was assigned to traffic court where all new deputies were expected to learn the basics of direct and cross examination before being assigned more significant cases. Each Friday, I staggered into traffic court under a stack of cases to present against motorists who had plead not guilty. For the first week or so, I took these cases as seriously as if I were prosecuting a homicide, but the sheer number of cases made preparation beyond reading the ticket and officer’s notes impossible. Presentation of the evidence became routine. After a while, I came to admire some of the citizens who took the time to plead their case. In those days, the Judge could sentence a citizen to 5 days in jail for a traffic offense. I never saw it done, but because the possibility existed, the citizen had a right to a jury trial. My first jury trial on March 5, 1963 was such a case: People v Erlandson, accused of driving 40 in a 25 mile zone. The jury found Mr. Erlandson guilty and the judge fined him $10. 18
1964 was an exciting year. Government reports linking smoking to cancer convinced me to stop smoking, a habit I had had for 12 years. Julie was pregnant. We bought a new Chevrolet and drove it Mexico City and Acapulco. I was developing confidence as a trial lawyer. I liked working with the police. I enjoyed the other attorneys on the staff. I was involved in two significant cases which I won: the prosecution of a former clerk of the Municipal Court for shoplifting; and the prosecution of a supermarket chain for unfair business practices. I felt I had a promising future. To top it all, on November 15, Jill Alaine was born. I was a parent and I loved it.
Parenthood changed our life dramatically for the better. Despite the routine nature of getting up at night to check on a cry or in changing a diaper, I felt important when I did it. It was overwhelming to look at my own daughter and realize how much she needed me without really knowing it. Julie and I showed Jill off on day trips around Santa Clara County and on some weekend trips to the Mother Lode. It never occurred to us that everyone wasn’t just as fascinated with Jill as we were.
In 1965, Daryl McKinstry, another deputy in the office, resigned to accept the job as County Counsel in El Dorado County. On one of his later visits to the office, he mentioned that the County was hiring a Public Defender, but had been unable to attract qualified applicants at the $1,000/month they were offering. That was more money than I was then making, so I submitted an application. I was the only one of three applicants who met the statutory qualifications for the job. I was hired. In June, I moved to a rented house at 6013 Joni Court in Pollock Pines while Julie stayed in Los Gatos to sell our house. By the end of August, that had been accomplished and we were together in Pollock Pines.
The job of El Dorado County Public Defender was unique in that I was the only full time employee in the department. My secretary worked most of the time in another department. It was essentially a private practice. For guidance, I relied heavily on Don Chapman, the Public Defender of Santa Clara County, and on Ken Wells, the Public Defender of Sacramento County, both of whom were always willing to answer my questions. There was so much I didn’t know and had to ask. Judge Robert Roberts, the ranking judge of the Superior Court, helped my development by demanding full formality in his court and requiring written motions on routine matters. The discipline of putting thoughts in writing for his review helped me learn. His encouragement gave me the confidence to appeal matters to the Court of Appeal where I had four reported cases, two of which were reversals of rulings unfavorable to my clients. I quickly developed a reputation as an energetic trial attorney. After hanging a jury in my first jury trial as a Public Defender, I had a string of successful defenses in court. 19 Among the more memorable were acquittals in my first murder trial and my first attempted murder trial. The major cases were often nerve racking because of the possible consequences to the client. Yet I got considerable satisfaction from more routine matters including the defense of a motorist who felt his conviction for a traffic ticket wasn’t fair. I was able to get his conviction reversed and then win an acquittal at his new trial. His simple, “Thank you!” kept my spirits up for months.
Julie and I liked El Dorado County and felt we would stay. For several months, we looked for a home before deciding on a tri-level, three bedroom, two bath home plan under construction inEl Dorado Hills, a new development near the Sacramento County line. After putting our money down, we made weekly trips to watch the builder’s progress. We made a few construction changes to make our house a little unique. On August 4, 1966, our second child, Jay Atkin, was born in Placerville. His first home was in Pollock Pines, but by Christmas of 1966, our family of four was in our new home. We had no landscaping, no curtains, and very little furniture. We loved it – at least until the first utility bills came. We were in way over our head financially, but somehow we managed.
We had some problems in common with our new neighbors in El Dorado Hills. Solving them together developed a true neighborhood feeling. We made common purchases for the materials to build fences, planting lawns and trees and did the work together. Each week, I’d buy eggs from local farmers for distribution to the neighbors. I was among a group of the men who had a weekly poker game. We became particularly close to the Whites next door and the Adams across the street. I ran the Stanislaus River with Cliff Adams; I went on the Jeepers Jamboree from Georgetown to Lake Tahoe over the old Pony Express Trail with Herb White.
Our third child, John Arthur, was born on February 14, 1968. Elaine Adams, our neighbor, watched Jill and Jay while I took Julie to the hospital in Placerville where I stayed until the doctor and Julie convinced me I wasn’t needed.
Later that year, I applied for and was appointed as Public Defender in Solano County at a salary of $1,306/month. I took the position in September, but commuted from El Dorado Hills until our house sold. It took longer than I expected; it wasn’t until March 1, 1969 that we finally moved to a rented house at 315 Dahlia Street in Fairfield which we used as a base until we found a tri-level, four bedroom, two bath home at 135 Elna Drive in Vallejo on a hill with a view. We moved in June, 1969. We were living there when Jill started school in September.
Organizing the new office was a challenge. I was authorized a staff of five attorneys, two investigators, and three secretaries. I began by hiring Lu Albertson as my chief secretary. Together we established the procedures the new staff would follow. 20 In my quest to hire attorneys who were familiar with the county, I hired two local attorneys who proved to have drinking problems. The quality of their work presented some problems during our organizational period. 21 I also hired Steve Camden, a young graduate from the University of Washington, who was to be with the office eventually as my assistant until 1982. We were fully operative by mid 1969 which gave me the flexibility to accept my first capital case: People v Earl. My opponent was Bill Mackey, the best trial attorney I ever faced. Because my client refused to cooperate with me, it was difficult to present a unified defense. The jury returned a guilty verdict with a death sentence which Judge Sherwin later imposed. 22
Our marriage began to disintegrate in the late 60’s and early 1970. Despite our mutual love of the children and pride in what they were doing, neither Julie nor I was happy. In August, 1970, Julie took the initiative by returning to her parents’ home in Santa Clara. For several months, the children were with me. Mom came to Vallejo to help. After Julie filed for dissolution of the marriage in Santa Clara County, the judge gave her physical custody of the children. 23 I was given visitation on alternate weekends and for four weeks each summer. I found it particularly emotional to return the children to Julie after a weekend visit. The realization that I did not share in my children’s daily triumphs and tragedies really sank in during the long drive back to Vallejo alone. 24 I enjoyed my time with my children and looked forward to it. There was always lots to do: work around the house, visits with Pretty Lady, trips to San Francisco, Warrior games, or picnics. We developed a pattern of going out for pizza on Friday and following it up with ice cream at Baskin Robbins. As the children got older and their school permitted, I often took one or more on my business trips. Over the years, Jill accompanied me to Denver, Chicago, San Diego and Washington; Jay accompanied me to New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle and Denver; John accompanied me to Boston, Washington, Chicago, and Albuquerque. 25. Our weekends together continued regularly until the children got older, developed interests in Santa Clara, and no longer enjoyed the visits as they had when younger.
Being single had some advantages. I had more time to travel. In 1971, I attended the ABA Convention in London. On the recommendation of friends, I bought a Mercedes Benz for delivery in Germany. After the convention, I flew to Stuttgart to get delivery. A few days later Karyn, my girlfriend, joined me. We took an extended trip thru Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, 26 and the Netherlands. Among the sights which left an impression were the Berlin Wall and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. We left the car in Rotterdam for shipment home. 27 On the train trip from Rotterdam to Frankfurt for the flight home, much of our luggage was stolen. There were few souvenirs from the trip.
On July 9, 1973, Steve Camden, Jay Eiger, and I were leaving the Courthouse for lunch. As we approached my car, we were confronted by Cleon Montgomery, an county jail escapee. After a court appearance, he attacked and disarmed an elderly bailiff. With the bailiff’s gun, he fled the building, came upon us and demanded we drive him to Vallejo. I refused until Steve called my attention to the gun pointed at me from under a towel in Montgomery’s hand. I let him in. With the gun at my head much of the way, I drove to Columbus Parkway near St. John Mine Road where he had me stop. At his demand, I surrendered the car and all my money. He drove off. The three of us hitched a ride to the police department. The Desk Sergeant, who knew Steve and me, thought we were pulling a gag when we told him what had happened. It took a call to Fairfield to verify the escape before they took action. Montgomery was captured the next day at his sister’s house in Richmond. My car was returned undamaged. 28
This incident attracted considerable news attention. When we got back to Fairfield, we were met by several reporters and a TV crew. Steve dealt with the Press. I had an appearance before Judge Healy on a motion to change venue in a murder case. Judge Healy was an unhappy person who, from the safety of his position, spent considerable time criticizing others. He was a long time antagonist of our office. I barely made it to the hearing on time. Judge Healy made no mention of the kidnap or the fact I could have been shot or that he was glad to see me. Instead he noted a typographical error on my pleadings, criticized the office, and asked the district attorney (who had not noticed the error) if he would waive the defect. He did. We got on with the matter. My motion was denied.
In 1974, at a girlfriend’s suggestion, I tried jogging. The initial challenge was to run a mile along Oakland’s Lake Merritt, rest, then run back. I was far from certain I could do it, but I did. It was exhilarating to know I could run a mile when I was nearly 40. I was encouraged to get up early 2 or 3 times/week for a run. Soon I was looking forward to starting my day that way. It became a daily routine. I increased my distance to as much as 9 miles. The regimen and discipline changed my outlook. Altho I never thought of myself as lacking confidence, my confidence improved. I could concentrate better. I had far more patience. I felt I was ahead of everyone when I got to work. I liked the way I felt.
My professional career was enhanced by my service to the National Legal Aid & Defender Assn. and to the California Public Defenders Association which I helped found in 1968. I went through the offices of CPDA and served as President in 1974-75. I was on the Defender Committee, Board of Directors, and/or Executive Committee of NLADA from 1968 thru 1983. Because these national committees met at least quarterly somewhere in the country, I had the opportunity to become familiar with a great many cities. Washington, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, St. Louis, Seattle, Cincinnati, Denver, New Orleans, and Detroit were places I visited more than once.
The meetings gave me the opportunity of working with some of the best defenders in the nation: Jim Daugherty of Chicago, Ben Lerner of Philadelphia, James Neuhard of Michigan, Vince Aprile of Kentucky, Shelly Singer of Chicago, and Jim Kura of Ohio. In California, there were Shelly Portman of Santa Clara, Jim Brown of San Francisco, Bill Littlefield of Los Angeles, Dick Erwin of Ventura, Bill Higham of Contra Costa, and Jim Hewitt of Alameda. Contacts in the defender community gave me a constant source of expertise to fall back on whenever a new problem came my way. I think many of them shared my view that the work we did advanced the entire civilization by building community support for the concept that someone accused of crime had the right to a clear minded ally who understood the law when he faced the government to answer the charge.
In 1974, I began dating Anne Cooney 29 who I had met in the course of her work as a Court Officer for the Welfare Department. Over the next three years, we spent lots of time together. We took trips to Hong Kong (74), Russia (75), and Japan (76). In 1976, we bought a distressed home at 622 Indiana Street in Vallejo into which we poured energy and money giving us a modest rental income. By 1977, I had no interest in any other woman and asked Anne to marry me. She accepted. I sold 135 Elna Drive to buy 1129 Valle Vista, a home with six bedrooms – one for each of the children. 30 Anne moved to the new home first. I took my children to England. We stayed with English families: a week in Scotland, a week in Yorkshire, and a week in London. I felt the trip would give me the opportunity of explaining my remarriage. They did not understand. I guess they saw it as compromising what little time we had together.
Anne and I were married in the garden of our new home on August 14, 1977. Judge Ellis Randall performed the ceremony. Anne’s sister, Alexis, and Steve Camden stood up for us. We took a honeymoon trip 31 to the Philippines in conjunction with the World Conference on Law. President Ferdinand Marcos hosted the Conference in grand style with lavish banquets for all attendees. After the conference, we took a ship to some of the outer islands as far south as Zamboanga. The cruise established that Anne was no sailor. She spent much of the trip in our cabin not feeling too well. On Mindanao, we were impressed seeing combat ready conditions a short distance out of town: roads closed with armed regulars on patrol.
Our married routine settled in. I had a difficult time adjusting to Elizabeth and David. Elizabeth was conditioned to throw fits when she didn’t get what she wanted. As I didn’t believe in giving in to tantrums, there was frequent friction between us. David was dishonest and disturbed, frequently quitting age appropriate activities when things didn’t go right. I had a real fondness for David, but as time went by, I grew to distrust him. The five children got along pretty well together, but there was a definite feeling on my part and on Anne’s that we favored our own children and that strained our relationship. It’s questionable if the marriage would have worked had all five children lived with us.
Jill and David presented the most serious problems. Both smoked, used marijuana, and experimented with illegal drugs. They often cut classes. Their grades suffered. David stole from us. Jill eventually became beyond Julie’s control and came to live with us in the hope a change of environment would be beneficial. We enrolled her in a private Christian School. At first her grades and attendance improved, but she eventually found the drug subculture and snuck out at night to be a part of it. In 1981, she ran away and was gone for months. On her return, she had to be placed in a group home, Pride House in Van Nuys, where she remained for over a year during 1982 and 1983. David just quit school and ran away. He lived a while with his father, but he eventually lived on the streets.
Through all this, Anne and I tried to lead normal lives. We twice opened our home to exchange students: Akito Ito of Japan was with us in the summer of 1978; Sari Pajunen of Finland was with us in the summer of 1985. 32 In 1982, I was elected President of the Fairfield Host Lions Club of which I had been a member since 1974.
In 1979 Don Hancock, fellow Lion and owner of the Fairfield Daily Republic, asked me to enter a 10K race his newspaper was sponsoring. In the five years I had been jogging, I had never considered racing. I accepted the challenge. I ran a 44:54 (7:13/mile). I was neither encouraged nor discouraged, but I did have some fun. In 1981, I ran my first Examiner Bay to Breakers and began entering races in earnest. At the end of the year, I ran my first Marathon finishing with a time of 3:41:59 (8:26/mile). Racing became one of my favorite pastimes. Jay and John entered the Bay to Breakers for their first time in 1982. Every year thereafter until her death in 1988, Mom treated us all to Sunday Brunch after the race. I ran my 100th race in 1986. I became very competitive in my age category and won a number of local races over the years. 33
In 1979, Anne resigned her position with the County to take a job as director of Drake House, a girl’s group home in Concord. She eventually purchased a house for the program which she leased back to it. In 1980, she was offered the position of Executive Director of the Napa-Solano Girl Scout Council which had its headquarters in Vallejo. She took that job to be closer to home and for the opportunity to work with achievers instead of troubled and delinquent children as she had been doing throughout her professional life.
In addition to administering the Public DefendersOffice, I retained an active caseload. I tried over 100 cases to juries, 17 of them involving the defense of clients charged with murder. I argued 13 cases before the State and Federal Appellate Courts. I twice made bids for an appointment to the Bench while Jerry Brown was governor and once when George Deukmajian was governor, but was not selected.
Anne and I tried to take a vacation trip outside the country each year. We managed trips to Mexico (1977, 1978, 1985 – 1987), Spain (1979), 34 the Caribbean (1980 and 1982), the Bahamas (1982 and 1987), England (1984), and Central America (1987). Additionally, in 1981, we bought two time shares in Reno which we exchanged for visits to other resorts each year. This allowed us trips to other states on which we could take one or more of the children. Liz went with us to Utah (1984) and Oregon (1985); John went with us to Idaho (1983) and Utah (1984); Dave went with us to Carlsbad, California (1986); Jay went with us to Guatemala and Costa Rica (1987).
Jill recovered nicely with the help of the Pride House Program. She graduated from Central High School in Los Angeles in 1983 and left shortly thereafter on an eight week Lions Exchange Program to Queensland, Australia as the guest of several Lions host families. She returned feeling good about herself. She had no interest in college, but got a job and became self supporting. 35
In 1982, The Board of Supervisors, on the recommendation of Richard Watson, the County Administrative Officer, split the Public Defenders Office into two separate offices. I was left in control of the office in Fairfield; Steve Camden was given control of a new office in Vallejo. 36 The purpose of the move was to reduce costs in providing counsel for clients who we could not represent because of a conflict of interests. Under the new structure, we would represent clients the Vallejo Office could not ethically represent; the Vallejo Office would represent clients we could not ethically represent.
The concept was sound, but it did not work. Steve asked Linda McKenna, an attorney on our staff, to tell him what we were doing in the office. Linda reported the request to me and the rest of the staff. There was staff distrust and suspicion of Steve which was aggravated by persistent rumors that he had business dealings with the assistant administrator, Paul McIntosh and with Osby Davis, a member of the Board of Supervisors.
I was unable to stem the distrust. I had no explanation for the staff when the Board, on the Administrator’s recommendation, diverted new resources to the Vallejo Office leaving our already overworked staff to deal with the increases in work as the County grew and the Public adopted a “get tough” attitude on crime. Staff felt Steve had influence with the Board that I lacked. Where there should have been cooperation, there was jealousy. Our job became harder to accomplish.
In 1984, Richard Watson handed me a lengthy letter criticizing a number of things I had done and labeling me a poor manager. I did not have time to deal with him directly. I hired Clint Peterson (later a Justice on the Court of Appeal) to deal with Watson. Meanwhile I called a staff meeting to advise them of the letter. The staff gave me their complete support. After a few weeks of negotiating, Watson agreed to back off if I made a few cosmetic changes within the department. I came out of that experience convinced Watson was both misinformed and a weak leader. What I did not know was the source(s) of his misinformation or why he would direct so much energy on me.
Three other events impacted our lives. Dave dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army. After his basic training, he was sent to South Korea and assigned to helicopter maintenance. He seemed to like the military and responded well to its structure. However, on a random test, he tested positive for marijuana. He was given the option of assignment to the infantry or leaving the service. He left the service and returned to Vallejo. We offered him a room until he got on his feet. He got minimum wage job with commissions at a service station, but felt it was beneath him: “I think I’m worth more than minimum wage.” His dissatisfaction was probably reflected in the quality of his work. He was discharged. He returned to the streets and the local drug culture. Thefts followed. We could not keep loose cash around. All gold jewelry had to be placed in the safe deposit box. We told him to leave. We were then periodically burglarized. Eventually most of our electronic equipment was taken. We reported each burglary to the Vallejo Police and to our insurance carrier (which eventually canceled us). Dave was not caught until May of 1987. The thefts stopped, but David was in the criminal justice system and eventually was given a sixteen month prison sentence. The tragedy of losing a relative to drugs and the prison system was aggravated by the feelings of family humiliation.
Elizabeth began dating black men. Anne disapproved because of the social barriers those relationships often created. She tried to discuss her feelings with Liz, but was rebuffed with accusations of racism. The accusation was absurd, but in making it Liz closed her mind and would not listen to any discussion of potential consequences. Our concerns intensified in 1985 on Elizabeth’s announcement she was pregnant, that the father was black, and that she was determined to bear her child. Neither Anne nor I felt it a wise decision, but Anne’s arguments simply made Liz more determined. On May 8, 1986, Raymond Cooney was born at Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo. There was no difficulty accepting Raymond.
Perhaps these two family sagas contributed in some degree to the third. In November 1987, Anne resigned, under pressure, as Executive Director of the Girl Scouts. This was a terrible emotional blow coming after so many years of work and on the heels of the disappointments involving David and Elizabeth. Anne had become active and involved in the O A Program in 1983 and found the strength to deal with it all with the help of her friends in that program and in keeping to the program. Anne later took a part time position with the American Cancer Society as a fund raiser. She enjoyed the limited hours.
In February, 1988, it was my turn. In July of 1987, I had been called before the Board of Supervisors to answer inquiries about my dealings with the Attorney General on behalf of a client who made allegations of illegal activity by Steve Camden. Nothing had come of my dealings because our client cut off communication with us. Months later he contacted the Vallejo Police with similar allegations. The Police used him as an undercover agent to elicit compromising statements from Steve. Those statements led to Steve’s arrest in February, 1987 for matters entirely unrelated to what I had discussed with the Attorney General. 37 During the press inquiries which resulted, my dealings with the client and the Attorney General came to light along with the fact I had asked an investigator in our office to determine if Steve was romantically involved with the Administrator’s Analyst assigned to conduct a comparative study of our offices. Two members of the Board were upset with what I had done and, over the next few months, were able to convince the others to demote me from my position as Public Defender. 38
The demotion came two months before my mother suffered the seizure which kept her in bed until her death from cancer on May 24, 1988. Anne’s support and my mother’s death kept the Board’s action in perspective. Staff support was continuous. I decided to remain in the Office while I completed work for three of my clients who faced murder changes. That work took several months. On September 2, after 32 years of government service, I resigned.
On October 22, 1988, the Defender Staff sponsored a retirement banquet at the Fairfield Holiday Inn, complete with the presentation of a gold watch. The party was attended by nearly 200 well wishers. Assemblyman Tom Hannigan presented me with a State Assembly Resolution honoring my public service. S. F. Public Defender Jeff Brown, Dick Grable, and local attorneys, Dan Russo and Tom Hagler were among those who spoke. I was terribly flattered and proud.
Despite our lack of jobs, Anne and I were financially secure. From the beginning of our marriage, we had invested a significant amount of our salaries into tax deferred shelters. We had also invested in stocks and real estate. At the time I resigned, our house was nearly paid for. In addition to our investment and rental income, I was eligible for a pension of $2,400/month. I also had income from my Mother’s estate my partnership with Susan which included the Miguel Street Property and its rental income.
I had no desire to establish a legal practice. I did not want the pressure of making enough money to pay staff and make expenses month after month. I felt it would compromise my ability to do other things and to take trips when the opportunity arose. Although I did not practice law, I did work as a Referee in the Juvenile Court as I was needed. In deciding the issues placed before me, I learned how difficult it often is to patiently listen to competing claims remaining alert for the indications which indicate which of the claims was true. I enjoyed the work a great deal. It provided me the opportunity of keeping links to the legal community and many of the people I had worked with for so long.
In 1989, I satisfied a long suppressed desire by designing and building a rental unit on the rear of the land we owned at 622 Indiana Street in Vallejo. I hired Art Alexander, another former county employee, as my builder. Jay and I broke ground in July. John joined us a few weeks later. The three of us worked together until John left for Taiwan as an exchange student for the 1989-90 academic year. Jay and I continued until his school year began. I finished the job in October. We had our first tenant in November. The additional rental income added to our financial security.
In the weeks I did not sit as a Referee, I was eligible for unemployment benefits. One of the conditions of that eligibility was that I look for work which I did. In 1990, Bill Martin, an attorney in Modesto, offered me a job in his firm for a draw of $5,000/month against a share of the firm profits. He invited Anne and me to a weekend in San Francisco where he put us up in a $750/night suite at the Union Square Hyatt, wined and dined us, and took us to the opera.
We accepted his offer. Before my first day on the job, Bill took us on a tour of all the new housing developments in Modesto. We decided on a home at 552 Blue Canyon Drive near a new golf course. While the house was being built, I spent the work week living with Jill and Larry in Manteca and the weekends at home in Vallejo. The job with Bill Martin lasted less than six months. In July, Anne and I returned from a trip to Asia to find a letter from Bill saying he couldn’t afford to pay me and I’d have to go. 39 I remained with the firm through August trying cases each week. In the meantime, the California real estate market had collapsed. The house for which we paid $229,000 now sold for $189,000. Our $50,000 down payment was now worth about $10,000 – just enough to pay a commission to sell the house. Luckily, we had not sold our home in Vallejo, so we had the option of returning.
While we were considering where to live, I began accepting appointments from the Court. I was soon getting 2-3 appointments/week and, in 1991, I was appointed on two capital cases: Brenda Prado and Richard Vieira. Because I was working out of my home, I had few expenses. I was soon making more than I had ever made as an employee. We decided to stay in Modesto. Anne quit her part time job with the American Cancer Society in Vallejo (the salary was not enough to cover the cost of the commute). She concentrated on developing her interests in music. She began teaching cello in our home while filling in as needed as a mucician for local productions.
The Prado trial (on which I was co-counsel to Robert Winston) ended when the jury did not return a finding of special circumstances. The Vieira trial (which I defended alone) did not end well. The jury returned four of five possible death verdicts. I was depressed for weeks. I have been opposed to the death penalty as long as I have given the matter thought. I cannot comprehend how the State does anything but play to the instincts of its baser citizens when it kills one of its citizens. It certainly doesn’t make us any safer. I see that as degrading us all.
Anne and I had many opportunities to travel. In addition to many trips within the country including Hawaii (1989 and 1993) and Alaska (1995), we went to Southeast Asia (1990), Japan (1990 and 1993), Australia (1993), Europe (1994 and 1996), New Zealand (1994), Canada (1995), and the Caribbean (1995 and 1996). On November 10, 1991, Anne and I left for our only trip around the world. The trip took ten weeks. We started with a three day tour of the Pearl River area of China and a short stay in Hong Kong followed by a week in Thailand. We flew to India where we spent a week – enough time to see the Taj Mahal. We flew on to Rome where we spent five days before beginning a train trip which took us to San Marino, Cremona (where Anne bought a cello), Paris, Lisbon, and Spain. We were on the Costa Brava for the Christmas and New Years Holidays where we were joined by the Sheehys, Edna, and Liz. We made day trips to Morocco, Gibraltar, Seville, Cordoba, Malaga, and Grenada. It was a wonderful vacation. After New Years, the others went home. Anne and I went on to England and Ireland before returning home late in January 1992.
Under the tax laws of the time, it was advisable that we sell our house in Vallejo by June 1, 1992 – two years after we bought our home in Modesto. We put the house on the market only to discover it was in need of $30,000 in repairs. The best offer we could get within the time we had to sell was $190,000 – about $40,000 less than what our Realtor felt the house was worth. We were unwilling to take the offer. Our alternative was to return to Vallejo before June 1 and make the recommended repairs ourselves. That is what we did. Over the summer of 1992, Jay and I, with the help of hired handymen, completed the repairs: a new roof, new heating ducts, new plumbing in two of the bathrooms, double paned windows and glass doors, and replacing much of the exterior wood structure. We rented our home in Modesto with hopes the real estate market would improve and cut our losses.
I established a limited law practice by accepting appointments from the Solano courts and running a small ad in the Yellow Pages. In 1993, I volunteered for pro bono work thru Legal Aid. That work exposed me to family law – a field that was completely new to me. For my pro bono work, the State Bar gave me Wiley W. Manuel Awards in 1993 and 1994.
On September 8, 1993, as a result of a liaison with Shelby McDonald, a drug abuser, Dave Cooney had a daughter, Brandy. Complications at birth kept Brandy in the hospital several weeks before she was released to her homeless mother. Shelby left Brandy with a sitter who eventually turned her over to Liz who, at that time, was a single parent raising Raymond and Duke, her two sons. A third child was beyond her means. Anne took Brandy from Liz and brought her into our home until something could be worked out for her. I did not want the responsibility of raising another child. I looked for help in finding someone to adopt her. Anne resisted. Over the months I grew to love Brandy. In April of 1994, Anne and I left Brandy with Liz while we spent a month in Europe. I missed her while we were apart. In July, we took Brandy on a trip to Albuquerque and Colorado. She fit right in and we took her with us on every trip thereafter. Within three years, she had been with us on visits to 24 of the States and 24 foreign countries. By 1995, it was clear Brandy would be with us a long time. We began regular attendance at the Lassen Street Church of Christ to provide her with a Christian upbringing. Brandy was fortunate that her mother successfully completed a rehabilitation program and began taking an active interest in her with weekly visits. We all agreed Brandy was better off with us. On October 31, 1996, with her parents’ consent, we adopted her.
Brandy’s adoption changed our lives for the better. Anne had a blood relationship and the opportunity of raising a child in a stable environment without the distraction of an active career. She saw it as an opportunity to redeem herself for the mistakes she felt she made while raising David and Elizabeth. I longed for the responsibility of raising a child I lived with every day and I believed that if I could rescue one child my life would have served a purpose. Brandy provided the opportunity. I loved reading to her at bedtime when she was small. We read children’s versions of the Bible until she knew all the familiar stories. We made countless trips to J.F.K. Library, combing the Childrens’ Section for books of interest. I loved walking her to and from Cooper School as she advanced from Kindergarden through 5th Grade. It provided an opportunity to talk about her school day. Brandy made friends easily and many of those friendships endured for years as she went on to M.I.T. Middle School and St. Patrick/St. Vincent High School.
Brandy traveled well. We were expert in moving her diaper bag, stroller, and infant seat and storing them in an overhead rack on an airplane. For the first several years of school, Brandy was on a year round schedule that had vacation times in the Spring and Fall rather than Summer. That allowed considerable flexability in planning trips to popular destinations in the off-season. We took full advantage. Israel/Egypt and the pyramids in November 1999, the Caribbean in March 2000 and April 2004, South America in February 2001 and March 2002, and Hawaii in April 2003. When she entered M.I.T. Middle School in 2004, she was on a traditional schedule and we had to compete with all the other families with children during the Summer breaks.
Wherever we went, if we could find a Church of Christ, we attended. I struggled with their teachings, but I agreed with Anne that Brandy was be better off for having a Christian background and a church family. Were it not for Anne’s beliefs in the teachings of the Church of Christ, I would have experimented with other denominations, but I was pleased with Brandy’s acceptance of the environment and delighted with the support of the congregation in accepting us despite my misgivings in accepting the Bible as God’s word and Jesus as the only son of God. In 2007, after hearing a radio spot bout the North Bay Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, I began attendance there while Anne continued her attendance with Brandy at the Lassen Street Church of Christ.
What I considered an ideal life changed dramatically when Anne died. In retrospect, I was fortunate she was in relative good health well into 2008. She did pretty well on our last foreign trip together to Japan in August, but by Thanksgiving at the Ridge Tahoe, she was unable to walk uphill at the altitute. She managed Christmas, but had to be hospitalized two days later – no longer able to walk from our bedroom to the car. I found it very difficult to witness her decline over the next five days as her body bloated and the doctors tried to monitor her medications to abate her failing systems. I’m glad she did not have to endure the suffering any longer than she did.
I am grateful Alexis was here to manage the funeral arrangements and deal with the many calls and expressions of condolences over the next several days. I was pretty much numb and in a private daze and not paying much attention to Brandy or appreciating the impact of the loss of her mother at 15 years. As the weeks passed, I had to devote considerable time to taking control of the the family financial matters that Anne had managed for years. I never did understand her system. All I knew was that it worked.
Brandy broke down when it was time to return to StP/StV in August for her Junior Year. She left home for several days to stay with a friend. When she returned, she accused me of taking her Mother’s death unemotionly while she had suffered such a great loss. We talked, but I remain convinced I had no more comprehension of the depth of her loss than she did of mine. They were just different. Over the next several months things got better, but there was no recovery of the family sense that existed when there were three of us. Brandy did not do well in school that year. She needed extra help from several of her instructors to get through.
Lu was with the Office until her death from cancer in 1985. ↩
Distance: Time: Mile Pace: Place: Date:
5K 18:36 5:59 Oakland, California 06/16/85
10K 37:34 6:03 Travis AFB, Calif. 06/07/86
15K 1:02:18 6:41 Berkeley, California 12/02/84
5 Mile 30:34 6:07 Napa, California 06/01/86
10 Mile 1:05:08 6:31 San Francisco, Calif. 11/02/86
Half Mar. 1:27:39 6:42 Davis, California 02/09/86
Marathon 3:11:26 7:19 San Francisco, Calif. 07/21/85 ↩
|AGNES CHRISTINE LIGDA||Born: 1911-12-11|
|Father: PIERRE LIGDA||Mother: AGNES C. MAGNESON|
Agnes was the only child born to Peter Ligda and Agnes Magneson. She was born on December 11, 1911 at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. Her parents were then living at 2712 College Avenue in Berkeley.
Her father abandoned the family in 1912, so Agnes was raised by her mother. There was little contact with the Ligdas. Barbara belied Agnes attended Berkeley High School. The 1930 City Directory lists her as living with her mother at 2721 1/2 College Avenue.
Edith believed Agnes attended the University of California during some of the time her cousin, Victor, was there between 1924 and 1928. They did know of one another. Barbara beleived Agnes attended after 1928, which is more likely given her age at that time.
Agnes was probably unmarried at the time of her grandmother’s death in 1931 as her family name is Ligda in the obituary. Edith believed she later marrried, but could not recall her married name. It may have been Byers as the informant at her mother’s death in 1985 is listed as a granddaughter named Judith Byers then living at 7096 Ann Arbor Way in Dublin, California.
In the 1960’s, I tried to locate people who knew Agnes or her mother in the area around 2712 College Avenue. In 2001, I tried to locate people who know them in the area around 7096 Ann Arbor Way in Dublin. I was unsuccessful.
|MILDRED SCOTT||Born: 1906-03-28||Died: 1973-08-15|
|Father: Unspecified||Mother: Unspecified|
|Children: ALAN SCOTT LIGDA|
Mildred was Ted Ligda’s third wife. She was the mother of his only child, Alan Ligda, who was born on June 4, 1942, prior to the marriage which occurred on December 2, 1943. They were divorced on April 22, 1954. What little we know of her is included in Ted and Alan’s biographies.
|THEODORE PAUL LIGDA||Born: 1912-01-28||Died: 1997-10-20|
|Father: PAUL VICTOROVITCH LIGDA||Mother: EDITH F. LIGDA|
|Children: ALAN SCOTT LIGDA|
|Siblings: MYRON GEORGE HERBERT LIGDA, MARY BARBARA LIGDA, VICTOR WORTHINGTON LIGDA|
Ted was the third child and second son born to Paul and Edith Ligda. Shortly after his birth, his father’s business collapsed forcing his father to leave home to find work to support the family. Hence, Ted was raised primarily by his mother during his pre school years.
He was enrolled in kindergarten at 4 1/2 in August, 1916. His mother noted that he was, “very proud of himself as a schoolboy.” Ted developed well. In 1921, when he was 9, his mother observed:
“I guess Theodore is our cleverest . . . His teacher told me yesterday he did the best of 100 children of his age [in the Binet tests], and was by far the most intelligent and advanced child in her room altho the youngest.”
Ted attended the Trinity Episcopalian Church where he was confirmed in March, 1923. His mother felt Rector Thomas was a good influence for Ted and commented: “Wouldn’t it be fine if Theo should enter the ministry eventually?”
Like his older brother, Victor, Ted was an active Boy Scout. As early as 1924, he attended summer camps. Ted enjoyed scouting and remained in the program for several years, earning several merit badges. His mother mentioned, in the summer of 1927, that Ted went to Scout Camp, “as usual.”
Ted spoke fondly of his Grandmother Ligda who died on November 27, 1926, when he was 14. He was fascinated with her ability to speak in so many languages. He also got along well with his Aunt Val who taught him some elementary Russian.
Despite the normal influences of his family, the Scouts, and the Church, Ted was attracted to trouble. His mother first mentioned it in a letter of September 5, 1928:
“Ted is in trouble again; last week he rented a new Chrysler roadster to make a splurge after school for an hour or two and let a 16 yr old girl drive it. She ran into a stone porch, and damaged the machine to about the extent of $80, and the porch too. I don’t know yet what it will cost to repair the porch. Legally he or we are not liable, but Paul and I don’t feel we can let him do anything but earn the money to pay for it. He got a job today as a linotype operator 1 at 7 cents an hour, to work two nights a week for six or seven hours. I hope he can keep it till he earns the money, but he is better at getting jobs than holding them. Hasn’t much perseverance or energy.”
Ted liked the work and stayed with the job. His mother was duly impressed, writing: “Ted is certainly doing wonders and deserves due praise. It is so nice of him to be good so I can be happy here not worrying over him.”
Ted graduated from high school in 1929 during the Great Depression. He considered college, but felt the expense too great and felt he should work instead. His Grandmother Griswold sent him some money as a graduation gift. His mother was not impressed with the results:
” . . . about your gift to Ted . . . I was very much annoyed that he should waste the money you need for comfort and necessities. Ted has been working most of the time since he graduated, and has paid only $20 on his debt, spending the rest of the money for foolishness . . . It seems wrong that Ruth should be spading the garden while your money goes to give presents to lazy and husky boys like Ted . . Of course, you didn’t realize that Ted is so wasteful; if I had known that he had the money, I would have seen that it went in some sensible way . . .[he] does not seem inclined to make the financial strain any easier on [us].”
According to his sister, Barbara, Ted came to the attention of the authorities for writing worthless checks. The checks were passed so skillfully that, at first, the Police did not believe it had been done by a juvenile. Ted was held overnight in Juvenile Hall before being released to his parents. Later, according to his sister-in-law, Caroline, he compounded his problems by forging his Aunt Val’s name on a Capwell’s charge account and also by taking money from her. He was declared a Ward of the Juvenile Court. There was some concern that he would be institutionalized, but the Judge took a liking to him and allowed him to ship out as a member of a crew. Ted was 17 at the time.
Ted’s maritime career lasted until his ship reached New York. There, he jumped ship and made his way to his mother’s family home in Worthington, Ohio. He spent Thanksgiving of 1929 with his Grandmother Griswold. She reported he, “was not a bit of trouble,” the few days he was with her before going on to Cleveland to stay with his Aunt Carrie. She thought him a, “fine young man.” From Cleveland, Ted went on to Chicago where he stayed with his Uncle George Griswold. His mother visited him there in July of 1930. She observed:
“He is terribly thin and stooped. I am worried about him. I got him a hearty breakfast and gave him some money also. He wanted to come with me to Worthington, but the fare one way is $11. I stayed in Chicago 3 hours visiting him in the station and walking around the streets. He does not want to come home yet, but I think he ought to on account of his health. He says if he came without any money, that would be “another failure.” Ted thought he might come down [to Worthington] after he has had a pay day. I advised him not to but to use the money for food.”
While in Chicago, Ted attended the Greek Orthodox Church where he met Olga Brashavetz, 2 the eldest daughter in a family which had immigrated to the United States from Russia. Her parents managed what Ted described as, “not a very classy apartment building” on Cornelia Avenue. After a brief romance, Ted and Olga secretly married. After the marriage was discovered, her parents insisted on a formal church ceremony after which they provided the newlyweds an apartment. Ted and Olga lived in the apartment a short time before moving to California.
Ted and Olga made their first California home with his parents at 6165 Chabot Road. Adjustments were awkward. Ted’s marriage was the first for any of the Ligda’s children. His wife came from a family which gathered frequently to drink and socialize. Olga liked her father-in-law, Paul, who shared her Russian heritage. She felt he went out of his way to make her welcome and comfortable, but her mother-in-law, Edith, was too austere for her liking. She felt Edith looked down on her because her parents were immigrants. After Paul’s death in 1932, Olga felt more estranged and homesick for Illinois.
With the help of her sister-in-law, Barbara, Olga got work as a life guard at the Woman’s Athletic Club. She was elated to get out of the house and to earn some money. With her earnings, she and Ted were able to rent their own apartment
at 2346 Valdez Street in Oakland. 3 They developed a circle of friends which included Meryl Grinton Jones, who was to become Ted’s next wife. Olga and Ted separated in 1933. 4 Ted returned to his mother’s home on Chabot Road. In January, 1934, his sister-in-law, Caroline observed:
“Ted is out of a job and actually lazy. I never saw two brothers so different as Vic and Ted. Ted continuously raves about his girl friends. He is skinny and stays out ’til 3 or 4 in the morning and sleeps ’til 3 in the afternoon. He irritates his mother, but she says she doesn’t want to excite him. It’s bad for him.”
On June 10, 1934, Ted enlisted in the Marines. He was initially assigned to a base at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. His military career reflects he was twice reduced in rank to Private. Nonetheless he completed his enlistment and was discharged at the expiration of his term of enlistment on June 9, 1938. He returned to live with his mother 5 and found work as a printer and linotype operator. He enjoyed the work and developed considerable skill. He eventually acquired an interest in a linotype shop, but gave it up in 1940 to go to work for the Gazette, a local newspaper.
On June 18, 1939, Ted married Meryl Grinton Jones. 6 In 1940, they rented an apartment at 2318 Leavenworth Street in San Francisco which they shared with Mildred Scott Bennett. In 1941, Mildred became pregnant with Ted’s child. Ted and Meryl moved back to Chabot Road with his mother. In November, Ted left, moved to a rooming house in Vallejo, and took work repairing submarines at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Meryl remained at Chabot Road until an interlocutory decree of divorce was granted on November 20, 1942. 7
Mildred gave birth to Ted’s only child, Alan Scott, on June 4, 1942 in San Francisco. Neither Ted nor Meryl told the family of Alan’s birth. Ted first shared the news with his brother, Herb, after swearing him to secrecy. This was probably in October of 1943 when Herb was in California between Army assignments. Herb convinced Ted to tell their sister, Barbara. Edith, his mother, did not learn of her grandson’s birth until sometime in 1944, 8 well after Ted’s marriage to Mildred 9 on December 2, 1943.
Ted was not drafted during the War as he was classified as an essential industrial worker. He worked in the defense industry at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, for Matson, and for Bethlehem Steel Company where he was trained as an instructor.
After the War, Ted and Mildred established a home on the Peninsula. Ted returned to work as a linotype operator. He is listed in 1948 as working for the Margaret Davis Co. and at Palopress in Palo Alto, a business he and his wife owned. At that time, they were living at 700 Menlo Oaks Drive in Menlo Park.
Mildred developed an interest in real estate. She began speculating in property: buying homes in need or repair, living in them while improving them, then selling at a profit. Ted helped in the repair of the houses, but had little interest in business and did not like the frequent moves which were required as the homes were sold. He felt that their differences on these ventures caused the decline in their feelings toward each other. Ted and Mildred were divorce April 22, 1954.[refMildred remained on the peninsula and continued investing in real estate making a good living. She became well known in the 1960’s as a leader in the fight to prevent Pacific Gas & Electric Company from extensive construction of overhead power poles. She never remarried. She died of cancer in Los Altos on August 15, 1973. She left 10 acres of land to her son, Alan Ligda, who was also the beneficiary of a $25,000 life insurance policy.[/ref]
Ted remained in Los Altos after his divorce and returned to his work as a linotype operator. In 1953, he and his sister-in-law, Dorothy, helped his mother bring the Griswold Lineage up-to-date. Ted printed 200 copies. He was still living on the peninsula when his brother, Victor, died in 1955.
In 1956, Ted married Mary Ann Woody 10 who he met at a party years earlier. From 1957 to 1960, they lived at 1662 Laurel Street in San Carlos. They later moved to a house on Easy Street in Mt. View. The directories list Ted as a publisher in 1958, 1959, and 1960. By 1963, Ted owned his own typesetting service in Redwood City. He and Mary Ann moved to a home they rented in Palo Alto. Mary Ann inherited a good deal of money from her mother with which she bought a villa on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. She and Ted moved there about 1965. He was living there in 1967 when his younger brother, Herb, died. About that time Mary Ann left Mexico, but Ted remained for some time. In 1968, he hosted his niece, Carol Ligda, who stayed with him a year while attending school in Merida. He later returned to the Bay Area and resumed work as a linotype operator. 11 He did not resume living with Mary Ann. 12 For a period, as a relaxation, he played the french horn at a club near Bush and Powell Streets in San Francisco.
In 1974, Ted was the owner and operator of A & P Typesetters at 1526 Stafford Avenue in Redwood City. Ted was spending the weekend with his mother at her home on Haste Street in Berkeley when she died on April 28, 1974. He was left a bequest of $2,226. Family members felt the relatively small bequest reflected Edith’s distaste for her son’s lifestyle.
In 1983, Ted sold his remaining typesetting equipment and returned to Mexico. He maintained limited contact with the family, primarily with his sister, Barbara, and his sister-in-law, Evelyn. He rarely contacted his son, Alan, who last heard from him in 1996. Ted’s was living at Petan 435 Colo Narvarte, Mexico, D. F., a home he shared with his mistress, Enriqueta Faubert, when he died October 20, 1997. His body was cremated the next day.
|HAROLD DRUMMOND||Born: 1905-11-11||Died: 1989-09-25|
|Father: Unspecified||Mother: Unspecified|
Harold married Barbara Ligda on October 11, 1940. They had two sons, Harold Jr., born April 6, 1944 and James Root, born October 6, 1947. What we know of Harold is included in Barbara’s biography..