Burton Kendall
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Burton "Burt" Kendall
Dec 15, 1940 - Jun 22, 2020
Burt died at home on his own terms following a steady decline due to ALS. Sally Towse, his wife of forty-one years, and son James were with him. Sam Kendall, son, and Anne Kendall Arl, daughter, lived too far away and he insisted they not travel during the pandemic.

Burt was an only child, fifth generation San Franciscan, seventh generation Californian. José Joaquín Castro came to California in 1776 at age seven with his family as part of the DeAnza expedition.

San Franciscans always asked, as they do, "What school did you go to?" but by the time he entered school, his father, Nathaniel Kendall, and mother, Helen Born Kendall, had moved down the Peninsula. He entered school in Palo Alto before moving to Saratoga and attending Oak Street School halfway through fourth grade. He graduated Los Gatos High, class of 1958, and earned his degree in Physics from Stanford, class of 1962. He went on to earn a PhD in experimental high energy particle physics from Brown University and then spent time on the East Coast doing post-doc work.

In 1969, he moved with Anne and his first wife to Santa Barbara to teach at UCSB. He left UCSB in 1973 when Reagan cut the UC budget 10%, mandating that the cuts be across the board. Burt was the only non-tenured physics professor.

He had job offers at Wisconsin, UMich, and Fermi Labs (outside Chicago) but, as he told the story, he'd been in Ann Arbor in the bitter winter and he'd been in Ann Arbor in the hot sticky summer and worried that someone would get hit by a truck and he'd get tenure and be stuck in that weather.

He decided to take his chances back in the Bay Area. He'd learned a trade (computers) through his physics research and was soon hired by Systems Control, Inc., a fledgling computer company founded by former SRI employees. He met Sally through SCI and after they married in 1979, he started work at Measurex (Cupertino) and then moved on to Octel (Milpitas). He was a co-founder of LifeMasters (originally HiLife) in South San Francisco, which used cutting edge computer tech (and hundreds of nurses) to manage the health of patients with chronic illnesses. He joined SnapTrack in 2000 as they were being acquired by Qualcomm and spent the rest of his career at Qualcomm, working on location technology for cell phones. He retired from Qualcomm in 2015 shortly before he turned 75.

Earlier, he had relocated to San Francisco, as he'd always intended, and for fourteen years he and Sally lived on a walking path off the Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill. They relocated to Pacific Heights at the beginning of 2019 when his ALS made it impossible to use the stairs in his home and he could no longer walk up to Montgomery, the nearest street.

Burt and Sally traveled extensively on walking trips with Stanford Travel/Study, group travels with OAT and other providers, as well as far-flung adventures with Betchart Expeditions. They also traveled on their own to countries around the world. Burt enjoyed the SF Symphony and organ recitals and volunteered with the Exploratorium, was a docent at the California Academy of Sciences, and enjoyed leading walking tours with City Guides.

There were a number of organizations Burt and Sally supported financially but favorites include Food Runners, SF Marin Food Bank and North Beach Citizens. Support your local non-profits!

The family would like to thank Home Care Assistance and especially caregiver Gil Rio Baldono for their help since last December. The Kaiser ALS Clinic and Kaiser Home Hospice teams were outstanding and helped make his last months easier.

Burt is survived by Sally, Anne Arl (Ed), James (Bill Stivers) and Sam (Alyssa Casey) as well as grandchildren Wednesday Jordan, Ashley Arl and Cole Arl.

Consider supporting Compassion & Choices, which helped make Burt's end of life decision possible.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jun. 25 to Jun. 28, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
July 10, 2020
Burt was a brilliant man with a great sense of humor! He was also a genuine nice guy. I worked with him at Octel and LifeMasters.
Dagmar
Coworker
July 9, 2020
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Michael Forcina
July 9, 2020
Fred Hewston, Burt's cousin, and I always enjoyed those occasions when we got together with Burt--particularly enjoying times at The Wilder Ranch for the Castro family reunions where many stories were shared. Our condolences to his family, Leila Menzies and Fred Hewston
Fred Hewston and Leila Menzies
Family
July 8, 2020
Our friend and colleague since 1969 at UC Santa Barbara and together again at Measurex. We will miss you Burt. All our sympathies for your family. Bruce & Susan Worster
Bruce Worster
Friend
July 7, 2020
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Kimberly Goosherst
June 29, 2020
What sad news, Sally. You and Burt were such happy, fine neighbors on Bellecourt. We just recently sold the house and moved to Palo Alto. We're sorry your partner has gone. What great memories must be stored in your mind and heart, however. Bob and I wish you the best. Kathie Maxfield
Kathie Maxfield
Neighbor
June 29, 2020
To Burt's Family: I had the great good fortune to share many days at the Academy of Sciences with Burt. He was an amazing docent who shared his knowledge and enthusiasm with guests, other docents, and who willing mentored new volunteers. Burt loved the Ichthyology cart and the leaf cutter ants - his passion for these animals was evident to all. I was sorry to learn of Burt's diagnosis and admired his fortitude and efforts to continue to volunteer. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

With sincere condolences,
Nancy Stuart
Nancy Stuart
Acquaintance
June 29, 2020
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Michelle Tanaka
June 28, 2020
Miss you, Burt.

Now you can teach God how to improve the control system.
Hsin-I Huang
Friend
June 27, 2020
Burt and I worked together at Octel from 1988 to 1992. He was a brilliant engineer and system architect and also an incredibly kind and gentle soul. He and I went to Japan together on an early scouting trip to figure out if there was a voice mail market in Japan. He was easy to be with, and always interesting. Rest in peace, Burt... (I posted this to an Octel alumni group on LinkedIn... everyone who knew him at Octel will be sad to read this news and reminded about how lucky they were to have known him.) -- Dave Torrey
Dave Torrey
Coworker
June 27, 2020
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Zoltan Biacs
June 25, 2020
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Paula Mc Cabe
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