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Abreu, Gertes - San Lorenzo  
Gertes Abreu 1920 - 2014 Formaer Resident of San Lorenzo Gertes Abreu passed away peacefully on December 8, 2014, surrounded by her loving family. Her devoted husband, Norris Abreu, and her son, Gary Abreu, preceded her in death. She is survived by her daughter, Kathleen Praske, son Neal Abreu, brother, Charles Gonsalves, sister-in-law, Aldora Gonsalves, grandchildren Greg Abreu, Alan Abreu, Steven Praske, Karen Bammer, Jeff Abreu and Brian Abreu, as well as eight great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. Gertes was born in Hayward, California in 1920 and lived in the Bay Area for most of her life. When she and Norris married in 1939, Gertes moved to San Lorenzo, where she raised her family and presided over a loving home for over 50 years. She resided for a while in Pleasanton, Folsom and Livermore, but the one constant in her life was her family. She was a truly loving and devoted wife and mother who always put her family first whether it was rising at 5:00 am to make breakfast for Norris or washing, cleaning and cooking for the kids. Family traditions were important to Gertes - a Christmas Eve celebration with Kathy and Dennis Praske and their family or a Thanksgiving feast with Neal and Elizabeth Abreu and their family. Most recently she delighted in great-grandchildren, Will and Ryely Bammer, Sebastian and Penelope Praske, and Kevin and Kyle Abreu. One of her favorite pastimes was presenting stuffed animals to the grandkids who continue to cherish these momentos from their Grandma Gertes. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:00am on Monday, December 15 at St. John's Catholic Church, 264 E. Lewelling Blvd., San Lorenzo, followed by a graveside service at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward. Family and friends are invited to a reception at Dino's restaurant in Castro Valley afterwards. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to your favorite charity. Further inquiries can be directed to Grissoms Mortuary Grissom's Mortuary 510-278-2800 grissomsmortuary.com
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 12, 2014
Bannister Jr., John Grant - Contra Costa  
John Grant Bannister, Jr. Dec. 1, 1941 - Dec. 13, 2014 Resident of Moraga/Walnut Creek John Grant Bannister, Jr. passed away on Saturday. He touched many lives with his giving spirit and positive outlook on life. John was born in Berkley, CA and graduated from Austin Catholic High School in Grosse Point, MI. Returning to California for college, he earned a Bachelors in History '63, a Jurist Doctorate '66 and Masters in Business Administration '68 all from Stanford University. He spent his career in legal and financial advisory positions in San Francisco. With six active children growing up in Moraga, he was extremely involved with the Orinda Moraga Pool Association and a supporter of Miramonte High School athletics and Parent Club. John's love of his family made a lasting impact in the lives of his children and grandchildren. As a 66 year resident of the Bay Area, he loved cheering on the Stanford Cardinal ,Notre Dame Irish, and the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. John is survived by his loving wife, Patricia; devoted children Bridget Corvera of San Francisco, Megan Jacoby of Concord, Courtney Earl of Ross, Colleen Shoop of Petaluma, Christopher Bannister of Greenbrae, Ryan Bannister of Santa Monica; and 13 beloved grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Peg Bannister of Orinda. He is also survived by his sister Anne Carter of Lake Oswego, OR. His generous loving spirit will be missed by all who knew him. Friends and family are invited to a funeral service on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ the King Church, 199 Brandon Road in Pleasant Hill. Interment to follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette. Memorial donations may be made to the John Muir Health Foundation. Christ the King Church (925) 682-2486
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 16, 2014
Beitelschees, Roy Edward - Toledo  
Roy Edward Beitelschees Aug. 25, 1922 - Nov. 26, 2014 50 yr. Resident of Moraga Roy died peacefully at home in the loving care of his wife of 65 years, Alyce, and Hospice of East Bay the morning of Nov. 26. Roy was born in Toledo, Ohio, the first of two boys, to W. Edward Beitelschees and Minnie D.(Goodeman) Beitelschees, and spent his early years there attending local schools. He entered the U.S. Army during The Second World War, studied at Carnegie Tech. in Pittsburgh, PA, and took part in the Army's occupation of Japan. After the war, Roy returned to Toledo and was employed by Owens-Illinois, Glass Container Division. There he met his wife, Alyce R. Baumgartner, a graphic artist. Roy was an engineer and spent his entire career there, going from designer to division manager.Roy and Alyce had three children: Alan, Eric, and Joan. The family lived in Toledo, transferred to West Virginia, New Jersey, and, finally California, where they settled in Moraga. He retired in 1983.Roy was a member of Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church in Orinda, Acalanes Fellowship Masonic Lodge #480, Lafayette (where he served as Master in 1994), and Oakland Scottish Rite. Roy was predeceased by his son, Eric. He is survived by his wife, Alyce, son Alan Beitelschees, daughter Joan Gilbert (Stephen), daughter-in-law Rolinda Beitelschees, three grandchildren: Benjamin Gilbert, Molly Gilbert, and Jonathan Beitelschees, and by his brother Alvin J. Beitelschees (Gerry) of Carmel, Indiana. Roy was a kind, true gentleman and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. At his request, there will be no public services.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 14, 2014
Bell, Marilyn (Lynn) - Contra Costa  
Marilyn (Lynn) Bell August 30, 1930 - December 7, 2014 Rio Vista Marilyn Bell passed away at home surrounded by her loving family after a long illness. Lynn was predeceased by her devoted husband Thomas Bell. Tom and Lynn lived in El Cerrito and Lake Berryessa before finally settling in Rio Vista. They were members of the Lake Berryessa Seniors Center where they made many friends and where Lynn taught line dancing. They loved fishing and boating and spent most of their time on the Lake. Lynn is also survived by her daughters Laurie Albonico (Terry), Leslie Walsh (Dave) and her son Tom (Connie). She was the proud grandmother of 7, Jennifer Walsh, Joseph Albonico (Lilli), Michael Walsh (Jennifer), David Albonico (Stephanie) Gina Albonico (Sean), Kimberly Bell (Joe) and Nicholas (Marissa). She was the beloved great grandmother of 8, Isaiah, Faith, Paige, Thomas, Samuel, Damion, Dominic and Ryann. She is also survived by her sister Phyllis. In her honor a private family remembrance will be held at a later date.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 12, 2014
Bengtson, Edla C. - Walnut Creek  
Edla C. Bengtson Sept. 30, 1925 - July 27, 2014 Walnut Creek Edla Charlotte Carolyn Johnson Bengtson, 88, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2014, during hospice care in her home, with her sons Bruce and John, and daughter-in-law Lyra by her side. Named for her mother and both grandmothers, Edla was born September 30, 1925 in Dallas Texas to the Rev. Emil J. and Mrs. Edla E. Johnson. Her family called her Honey. Edla's grandparents immigrated to America from Sweden, and she grew up amid Swedish culture. With her older brother Daniel, her family moved to Bay City Michigan in 1926, and then to Houston Texas in 1928, where her younger sister Lois, and brothers David and Paul were born. Her family moved again, to Chariton Iowa in 1941, where Edla graduated high school as an 11th-grade senior in 1942. Following a year of junior college, Edla began attending Bethany College in Lindsborg Kansas in 1943, where her sister Lois also enrolled in 1944. Graduating with a degree in Music Education in 1946, Edla rejoined her parents, who had since moved to Bakersfield, and began working as a public school music teacher in nearby Delano. Edla married Carl Anders "Andy" Bengtson on August 28, 1948, in a service officiated by Edla's father, and Andy's father, the Rev. C. O. Bengtson, at the Lutheran church in Bakersfield that Rev. Johnson established. Andy's job as an exploration geologist for Chevron required the couple to move frequently around California early in their marriage, from Pittsburg to Paso Robles. Settling in Los Angeles, Edla taught public school music in nearby Bellflower for three years before retiring from teaching to give birth to Bruce in 1954. Relocating to Bakersfield, Edla gave birth to John in 1957. The family moved once more to Fullerton in 1964 before relocating a final time to Walnut Creek in 1971 that remained her home. A devoted wife and mother, Edla was an accomplished musician, knitter, and tennis player who loved to travel, and delighted in baking, sewing, studying French and Swedish, and entertaining family and friends. She planned and arranged for her family to take extended camper-van trips across Europe in 1971 and 1976, and returned to Europe on trips with her father in 1972, her sister in 1982, and friend Barbro in 1993. During the 80s and 90s Edla took master level piano classes, bought a concert grand piano, played Rachmaninoff and Chopin recitals in San Francisco, and was active in the Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, hosting many programs at her home. Edla especially delighted in being a grandmother to Linden and Arden born in 1993 and 1994. After 54 years of marriage, Andy passed in 2002, at the same time Edla's health declined. Alert to the end, Edla spent her final years quietly enjoying reading, following current events, working puzzles, and watching tennis on TV. Edla will be remembered as a warm and loving woman with many talents and interests. A memorial service will be held Saturday, December 27, at 1:30 p.m., at the Club Room of the Heather Farms Park Community Center in Walnut Creek.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 17, 2014
Benkert, Helen Christian - Concord  
Helen Christian Benkert Jan 1, 1923-Dec 6, 2014 Resident of Antioch Helen was born in Oakley, Calif., to Robert W. and Lucinda Christian. She was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Bryce F. Benkert, and her grandson, Johnathan D. Benkert. She is survived by her children Bonnie Dugan (Jim) of Nevada, Judith Benkert (Jim Newman) of Colorado, Jeannie Benkert of Pittsburg, Richard Benkert (Lisa Blair) of Pioneer, and Barbara Scudero (Terry) of Concord. She is also survived by eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Helen was a secretary at Camp Stoneman during World War II and was active for many years in St. John's Lutheran Church, Girl Scouts, and Babe Ruth baseball. She also served as a commissioner for the Parks and Recreation Department. Helen was the foundation of her family and she loved nothing more than being involved with her children and grandchildren. Graveside services will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 17th, at 11 am at Oakview Memorial Park, 2500 E. 18th Street, Antioch. The family wishes to sincerely thank the staff and caregivers at Concord Royale assisted living facility for their kind and loving care. Helen requested donations be made in her memory to the Bay Area Crisis Nursery, 1506 Mendocino Drive, Concord, Calif., 94521.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 14, 2014
Betschart, Michael Louis - Hercules  
Michael Louis Betschart April 3, 1964 - Dec. 10, 2014 Resident of Hercules Michael Louis Betschart was born on April 3, 1964 to Louis and Geraldine Betschart in San Pablo. Michael was raised alongside his beloved siblings Steven Betschart and Susan Betschart, with whom he enjoyed fond memories of growing up together and sharing a group of close friends with in Tara Hills. After graduating from De Anza High School in 1980, Michael pursued a career in construction management, which led him to a rewarding and successful 19-year career with Turner Construction. Notable projects executed by Michael include the Oakland Children's Hospital, the Hercules Public Library, the Aetna Springs Golf Club House in Polk Valley and San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 2. Michael was not only a successful supervisor and mentor during his time at Turner, but also a beloved friend and support to his colleagues. On April 29, 1991, Michael married Karen Betschart. During their 23-year marriage, Michael and Karen raised two daughters, Justine Betschart Arnold (born May 5, 1992) and Haley Betschart (born March 2, 1998). Michael enjoyed spending quality time with his family during road trips, sporting events, camping trips and vacations to his favorite destination – Maui. After fighting his illness for two years, Michael passed away on December 10, 2014 in Hercules surrounded by the love of family and friends. Michael will forever be known for his joking nature, his love of the Oakland Raiders and his devotion to his wife and daughters. Michael is preceded in death by his father, Louis Betschart. Michael is survived by his loving wife, Karen, his daughters, Justine and Haley, his son-in-law, Kainoah Arnold, his mother, Geraldine, his siblings, Steven and Susan, and numerous loving aunts, uncles, nieces, nephew, cousins and cherished friends. In lieu of flowers, Michael requested that memorial donations be made to the Hercules Community Library Foundation, 109 Civic Drive, Hercules, CA 94547. The Hercules Library and Turner Construction have honored Michael's commitment to the library by engraving his name outside of the library's atrium. The dedication of his engraving took place on November 21, and Michael was honored to have his work recognized by his colleagues and family. There will be a memorial in honor of Michael's life on December 15, 2014 at 11:00 am at Hilltop Community Church, 3118 Shane Drive, Richmond, CA 94806. A reception will follow directly after the memorial.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 14, 2014
Blackford, Michael Edward - San Ramon  
Michael Edward Blackford September 22, 1939 - October 22, 2014 Resident of San Ramon Mike Blackford passed away in Magdeburg, Germany while traveling with his wife in Europe, trying to meet their goal of visiting every country in the world. His death, due to pancreatic cancer, was unexpected and occurred while pursuing his favorite pastime, traveling to exotic places and meeting interesting people. Mike was dearly loved by his family and passed away surrounded by as many as could be there under difficult circumstances. Mike was born in South Bend, Indiana. His family relocated to San Francisco when he was young. He attended Riordan High School and Cal, receiving a degree in Geophysics. Mike moved his family around the country to many states including, California, Alaska, New Jersey, Maryland, and Hawaii. He worked for various government agencies as a Seismologist and Tsunami expert. He was renowned in his field and traveled around the world from Russia to Indonesia and beyond, attending conferences, continuously learning and staying up to date in his field of work, even after retirement. Mike's love of travel began with camping trips all over California and Nevada. If there was an unpaved road, Mike found it, accompanied by his wife and children, anyone else he could talk into going, and always faithful traveling companions, Bev and Walt Sykes. Mike volunteered extensively after retirement. He worked with young people at locations all over the Bay Area, sharing his love of science and the environment. He could, and did, go on for hours on the wonders of the Foucault Pendulum. With his white beard, he was recruited to play Santa at Forest Home Farms for several years. He also enjoyed his service to various Catholic churches, including St Joan of Arc in San Ramon, the city where he lived with his wife, close to the homes of his daughters. He helped his children with many duties including pet sitting, driving the float in the Homecoming parade, and just being there when they needed him. He was forever a Cal fan, a Cal Band member until the end. He attended almost every football and basketball game, cheering on his teams, in good times and bad. Go Bears! Mike is survived by his wife, Charlotte, his children, Tavie Knapp (Steve), Dana Chavarria (Stan), Jenny Jensen (Dave), Tim Blackford (Juliet) and Cameron Blackford (Evelyn), 9 grandchildren, Sinjin and Hunter Knapp, Kimberly, Cody and Casey Chavarria, Jamie and Haley Jensen and Katie and Jonathan Blackford. He is also survived by his older brother, Patrick Blackford of Santa Clara, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Mike loved genealogy and traveled extensively to research branches of his extended family. He has friends and relatives all over the world with whom he kept in contact and treasured. He will be missed by many, especially his closest group of friends dating from the Cal days, fondly known as the Piñata People (you know who you are, thank you for being such a big part of Mike's life). Services will be held at St Joan of Arc Catholic Church in San Ramon on Saturday, December 27, at 11:30am. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in Mike's name to California Academy of Sciences, Chabot Science Center, Forest Home Farms, Hidden Villa, St. Joan of Arc or Cal Band.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 14, 2014
Boscacci, Timothy John  
Timothy John Boscacci April 25, 1952 - Dec. 4, 2014 Resident of Fernley Long-time resident of the Bay Area. Tim is predeceased by his father, Ralph Boscacci, Port Costa. Survived by brother Glen Boscacci (Jennie), Clayton, daughter Shannon Moore (Jerry), and sons Ralph and Tim Boscacci, Fernley, Nevada. Also stepmother Jan of Rio Vista. A private family remembrance will be held at a later time.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 14, 2014
Brandenburg, Jon C. - Antioch  
Jon C. Brandenburg Aug 19, 1959-Dec. 7, 2014 Resident of Antioch Jon Charles "Charlie" Brandenburg passed away unexpectedly at home on December 7, 2014 at the age of 55 with his loving wife Katie by his side. Jon was born in Oakland, CA in 1959. He was raised in Alameda where he attended Mastick, Washington and Encinal schools. Jon worked in Alameda for the Parks and Recreation Dept. for 28 years. He always took great pride in his work and was often a volunteer. Jon was predeceased by his mother Gloria Alaniz, his fatherly uncle Joe Alaniz, his sister Melinda and his boy Scooby. He is survived by his wife Katie, sister Melissa and his brother-in-law Michael, aunts, uncle and many cousins. Jon was loved dearly and will be missed by all who knew him. A visitation will be held on Tues, Dec. 16th from 10am-12pm at Higgins Chapel in Antioch with a funeral service at noon. Burial will take place immediately following at Roselawn Cemetery, 1240 N. Livermore Ave. in Livermore.
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Published in Contra Costa Times on Dec. 14, 2014
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