Lois Helen Martignoni Brown died peacefully at home on September 5. Born at home in Oakland on April 16, 1922, the second daughter of Walter Louis Martignoni and Olympia Aurelia La Franchi, formerly of Petaluma, she was a third generation Californian, proud of her Swiss/Italian heritage. At the age of 16, she met the love of her life, Robert Blinn Brown, through their church youth group at St. John's Presbyterian in Berkeley. This group connection continued for more than sixty years and Lois was the last survivor. She was an amazing young lady for her day rising to become Student Body President at University High School, attending CAL where she lettered in Swimming & Diving, and was a leader in the YWCA and International House. Lois and Bob's courtship was prolonged due to the War but after V-J Day they married, settled in Oakland and had three children. She was an active advocate for her children's schools and was usually elected PTA President. Her work with uninsured women as volunteer coordinator for Oakland Planned Parenthood led her back to CAL where she earned her Masters in Social Welfare. With her children grown, Lois began a 16 year career in Child Protective Services for Contra Costa County. In retirement Lois and Bob moved to Sonoma County, building a home in Bennett Valley they shared with their daughter, son-in-law and two of their grandchildren. Lois stayed active with local community groups and political campaigns concerned with development and environmental issues, especially preservation of agricultural heritage. She is preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Bob and her sister Ella Hornberger. Survivors include sons, Christopher (Susan) grandsons Christian and Kevin of Oakland, Corky (JudithAnn Wilkenson) grandsons Jeremy and Kyle of Davis and daughter Noni (Peter Verbiscar-Brown) and grandchildren Nathan and Arianna of Santa Rosa. A celebration of Lois's life will be held this Sunday November 11, 2012 at noon at their Burnham Ranch home. Lois's friends and neighbors are cordially invited and lunch will be served after the service. Donations may be made in her name to Global Partners for Development and the Sonoma County Land Trust.
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Published in the Press Democrat from Nov. 10 to Nov. 11, 2012