Oct. 15, 1918 - Dec. 19, 2013
Resident of Mountain View
Donald Nils Granholm passed away peacefully on December 19, 2013 at a nursing home in Mountain View, California. Don leaves behind his wife of 53 years Mary Jane (Budrow) Granholm; two sons, Steve Granholm and Dean Granholm; as well as four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Don was born on October 15, 1918, the oldest son of Nils Olaf Granholm and Victoria Erica (Lundquist) Granholm, in Yakima, Washington. He was preceded in death by his two brothers, David Granholm and Victor Granholm.
Don and Mary met in the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, California, where they were married on April 9, 1960. Members at the time, they have remained so to the present day, often drawing on the strong church community for support but always returning the favor many times over. Don and Mary have been residents of Mountain View, California since the mid-1950s.
Don graduated from Wapato High School in Wapato, Washington and received his Bachelor's degree in 1939 from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He went on to earn a Master's degree from the University of Washington in 1948 and pursued other post-graduate work at the University of California Berkeley, Denver University, the University of Chicago, and Stanford University.
A lifelong educator as well as learner, Don spent sixteen years as a science teacher and principal at several high schools in Washington State before moving to California in 1956. There Don taught chemistry, as a charter member of the faculty of the new Cubberley High School in Palo Alto. He especially enjoyed the Advanced Placement course he helped initiate and the science department coordinator role he held for a number of years. After Cubberley closed, Don taught for several years at Palo Alto High School, where he retired in 1982.
During his teaching career, Don was actively involved in the major chemistry curriculum changes that the National Science Foundation funded in the post-Sputnik era. He also served on the board of the California Science Teachers' Association, including one year as its president.
Don and Mary shared a passion for building international relations, especially one person at a time. Their hosting of international students began while their son Dean was in high school, with a one-year stay by Ethiopian exchange student Eabisa Guteta, who remains (with his family) a close part of their circle. For many years thereafter they opened their home to students through Stanford University's international student program, where Don was an active volunteer.
In their wide-ranging travels throughout the world, Don and Mary often stayed at the homes of families whose children they had hosted. Don's photographs of their travels are legendary, demonstrating both his eye for beauty and the spirit of friendship that he and Mary fostered on their adventures together.
The life of Donald N. Granholm will be celebrated at a memorial service at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2014, at the First Baptist Church, 305 N. California Avenue, Palo Alto, California. Don's wishes were that in lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto or to Linfield College, McMinnville Oregon.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Dec. 26, 2013