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Melvin Curtis Kerwin


1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Melvin Curtis Kerwin Obituary
Melvin Curtis Kerwin
July 3, 1932 - October 31, 2017
Atherton, California
Melvin Curtis Kerwin was born at the height of the Great Depression on July 3, 1932 in Redmond, Washington to Weston and Hazel Kerwin. He passed away on October 31, 2017, in La Quinta, California.
The first of his family to go to college, Mel not only relished life, but he attacked it. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend who had a passion and spirit for everything. He loved practicing law, tennis, flying airplanes, golf, skiing, dancing, his dear friends and especially his family.
Upon his graduation from Lake Washington High School in 1950, he attended Everett Junior College for two years on a football scholarship where he played quarterback. The team's roster referred to him as "small, but rugged". In 1954, he graduated from Eastern Washington State College courtesy of another football scholarship.
Upon college graduation, Mel enlisted in the United States Navy serving on active duty as a Naval Aviator from 1954-1958. He reached the rank of Lieutenant and flew fighter jets while stationed at Alameda NAS. He continued to fly his own plane as a private pilot until just a few years ago.
In 1957, Mel met Georgeanne Cannon, his wife of 54 years while skiing at the Sugar Bowl Resort in the Sierras. In an effort to impress her, he once flew his navy jet under the Golden Gate Bridge at 350 miles an hour and then performed aerobatics over Alcatraz. They married in 1958 while Mel was enrolled at U.C. Hastings College of the Law.
Following his graduation from law school in 1962, he immediately entered what was to become 54 years of private practice in San Mateo County. Active in local politics, serving on numerous bar association committees, and an active supporter of U.C. Hastings School of Law as a member of the Board of Governors for many years, is the short list of Mel's myriad activities and contributions to his profession and community. Mel was also appointed by the California State Controller as a San Mateo County Probate Referee and served in this role for the last 42 years.
Mel's love and passion for the game of tennis began over 70+ years ago. He played tennis in high school and for his college teams. He raised his children to play tennis and loved nothing more than to play and share his court in the backyard with the tennis community. Mel successfully competed in local and national tournaments and captained and represented the US team in the Osuna Cup.
At the center of his life was Georgeanne and their children, Patrick Cannon Kerwin, Anne Kerwin Payne (Reed), and Kathleen Kerwin Britschgi (Steve). Together Mel and Georgeanne built a life filled with trips to their vacation homes in Lake Tahoe and La Quinta for water and snow skiing, tennis and golf. They had an enormous circle of family and friends and enjoyed years as members of The Menlo Circus Club, Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club and PGA West.
In addition to his three children, he leaves behind his beloved sister, Bonnie Kerwin Tallakson (Roger), and his six grandchildren Weston Payne, Caitlin Kerwin, Madelyn Payne, Spencer Britschgi, Melissa Kerwin and Jake Britschgi as well as his niece and nephew Constance O'Brien and Michael O'Brien. To all of them he was a friend, hero, mentor, and unfailing supporter. He is predeceased by his wife, Georgeanne, and his grandson, Michael Cannon Kerwin. He spent the last few years of his life with the companionship, love and support of Mattie Rice, a lifelong friend.
Mel lived his life to the fullest. He will be loved and missed forever.
A Celebration of Life to follow.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the veterans organization of your choice.


View the online memorial for Melvin Curtis Kerwin
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Nov. 12, 2017
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