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Sallee Storz

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Sally (aka Sallee) Geisel Storz

On Saturday March 2, 2013 Sallee Storz departed, most unexpectedly and much too soon, from Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame after being admitted with respiratory difficulties.

Born in Los Angeles on November 30, 1935, Sally McClarty Geisel was the daughter of Charles William Geisel and Dorothy Neef Geisel. Somewhere along the way she decided that "Sallee" suited her better than "Sally" and so has been Sallee ever since.

Sallee and her older sister, Gail, grew up in San Marino and attended South Pasadena High School. After graduating in 1952, Sallee attended Cal Berkeley and became a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

She completed her undergraduate studies and earned a Master's Degree in Renaissance Literature at Arizona State University where she later taught English.

While at Berkeley, Sallee met Fori (Forrest) Storz and the "Sallee Meets Fori" adventure began. They married and she followed her Air Force fighter pilot husband from base to base, finding herself living in out of the way places like Great Falls, Montana and Malden, Missouri. Along the way they made many good friends with whom they remained in touch throughout the years. In 1987 Sallee and Fori settled in Half Moon Bay to enjoy a slower paced life with friends, neighbors and each other until Fori passed away last August.

Sallee and Fori both appreciated good jazz. She liked to tell about the time she and Fori sat in a smokefilled jazz joint, listening to Dave Brubeck and Stan Kenton perform together. Another favorite story was about the fellow who played drums for a dance class she took as a girl. The drummer, bored with the stodgy ballroom music and shuffling youngsters, broke into a raucous drum solo that earned enthusiastic applause from the class but exasperated sighs from their teacher. The rowdy musician turned out to be none other than the famed Gene Krupa.

The English language played an important part in Sallee's life. She taught English literature at Arizona State University, loved to read and devoured stacks of books - mystery novels being the mainstay of her literary diet. This provided her with a stellar vocabulary which enabled her to navigate the most challenging crossword puzzle with relative ease.

An art lover, Sallee looked forward to visiting San Francisco art museums to see the latest exhibits. Trips to her doctor at El Camino Medical Center always included a therapeutic bask in the richly colored light reflected from the two-story Chihuly glass sculpture in their lobby. Things that caught the light captivated her.

Sallee kept up with the "Kindergarten Club" - a group of girlfriends who had attended kindergarten together in San Marino - journeying to Southern California to meet over iced tea and catch up on current events. Sallee always had room for new folks, too. Because she was interested in others, she made friends everywhere she went.

She hated slow drivers - her car carried a license plate holder warning, "I'm not driving fast, I'm just flying low." The warning was in fact true as Sallee did have a pilot's license (probably in order to keep up with Fori).

As for matters more mundane, tapioca pudding, chocolate ice cream and Kentucky bourbon (not all at the same sitting) were among her favorite comestibles. "A place for everything and everything in its place", her housekeeping philosophy, was evidenced by tightly packed, but highly organized, closets and cupboards. If one removed an item from its place, one was expected to return it to the exact spot from which it came. No exctions.

Sallee will be fiercely missed by the family she leaves behind: sons Michael Storz, Duane Clements, and Jeffrey Storz; daughter Ann Marie Price; grandchildren Ryan Storz, Brianne Storz, Trisha Kirk, Elizabeth Price, Edward Price, Kelsey Storz and Van Storz and great grandchildren James Kirk and Savannah Kirk.

Friends are invited to join the family to say goodbye and "Chers" to the inimitable Sallee Storz on Saturday March 16, 2013, 11:00am at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 10, 2013
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