87, devoted husband and beloved father, died peacefully at home in his sleep on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 following a courageous battle against heart and lung disease. He touched many lives with his smile and genuine interest in people. Born August 3, 1925 in Modesto, Alton is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dorothy of Rohnert Park. He is also survived by his four children, Gerald Fountain of Sonora, Kathleen (Tim) Cole of Karuizawa, Japan, Elizabeth (Marshall) Swett of Novato, and Barbara (Mike) Bacciocco of Petaluma. He was a devoted grandfather to his 13 grandchildren: Heather (Clay) Howell, Megan Fountain, Levi (Sarah) Cole, Silas Cole, Emma Cole, Amos Cole, Caroline Cole, Gary Swett, Drake Swett, Brittany Nixon, Ryan Fountain, Jessica (Blake) Bryant and Jeff Bacciocco. He has four great grandchildren: Phoebe, Max, and Phin Cole, and Kayden Swett. Alton is also survived by his twin sister, Alta Jane Johnson, of San Luis Obispo. They were the youngest of seven siblings raised on a farm in Modesto by their mother after their father died at a young age.
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Alton served as Radioman 3rd Class for the US Navy during World War II. He attended Modesto Jr. College and USC before graduating from San Jose State University in 1950. Alton taught high school for over 30 years, 23 of them at Novato High School. He also taught at Le Grand High School, San Quentin Prison and Indian Valley College. He is a past president of the Marin Retired Teachers Association and founder and past director of the MRTA Scholarship Foundation. Alton taught what he calls "dinosaur courses" in the Business Department - typing, shorthand, office machines, and bookkeeping. Following his early retirement in 1981 he volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 20 years, worked at Novato Florist, and volunteered as an adult education teacher.
Alton moved to Novato with his wife and family in 1957 and lived there until July of 2010 when they moved to a retirement facility in Rohnert Park. He loved life and enjoyed hobbies like gardening, camping, birds, cooking, pinochle and spending time with family and friends. He and Dorothy loved to travel and enjoyed trips in the US and around the world. He loved flowers and was busy tending the rose garden where he lived into this past spring. He was an avid antique collector and also enjoyed collecting stamps, coins, and carved wooden animals.
In lieu of flowers and in keeping with Alton's request, the family asks that contributions be made to the scholarship fund he helped create, MRTA Scholarship Foundation, 1036 Lea Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903.
Published in Petaluma Argus-Courier from July 11 to Aug. 10, 2013