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Patricia Fank

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Patricia Fank Obituary


Patricia Brown Fank

Resident of Los Altos Hills

Died on July 17, 2012, from complications arising from Parkinson's disease. She was born on March 1, 1928, in Los Angeles, California, and was the only child of Hazel and William F. Brown, DDS. Although she contracted polio as a young girl, and endured several phases of wearing full body casts, she was able to recover and lead a very full and active life. She graduated from Glendale High School and entered Stanford University at the age of 17.

A bright and accomplished woman, she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in educational counseling. In her undergraduate years, she was very active in University programs and was elected to Cap and Gown, the Stanford women's honor society. At Stanford, she made lifelong friends and met fellow Stanford student, Frederick "Berin" Fank, the man who would be her husband for more than 63 years. Patricia and Berin married in the backyard of her parent's Glendale home, on June 21, 1949. After graduating from Stanford, they moved to Syracuse, New York, where they lived for several years, and where Patricia gave birth to their twin daughters and then their first son.

They returned to live in Palo Alto, where she gave birth to their fourth child. Later, she and her husband built a new home in Los Altos Hills, where they lived for the rest of her life. Patricia had many professional skills. After graduating from Stanford, she worked for Dr. Strong, the developer of the Strong Interest Inventory. When her youngest child was in high school, Patricia worked to establish a vocational counseling center at Gunn High School. She returned to several local colleges to study computer programming, which became a lifelong passion. She was hired to work as a mainframe computer programmer at Saga Corporation, in Menlo Park, and later was promoted to programmer analyst. After Saga was acquired by Marriott, Patricia was offered employment at Marriott headquarters in Maryland. However, she decided to retire and devote her time to various volunteer opportunities, including the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, where she had been volunteering since the 1960s. She was a bright, elegant, sensitive, beautiful, caring, and thoughtful woman. She loved to read, play bridge, watch and listen to the quail outside her home, eat chocolate, and take walks, especially near the ocean.

She is survived by her husband, Berin, and their four children: Debora L. Fank, Carolyn L. Fank, Gregory B. Fank, and Christopher W. Fank. She greatly appreciated her many friends, including those from Stanford, from her bridge clubs, from her volunteer work at the Allied Arts Guild, her investment club, and her neighborhood.

Her family will scatter her ashes at sea in a private service. Donations in her memory may be made to the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Spangler Mortuary is assisting the family.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Aug. 5, 2012
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