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Lurline Coonan

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Lurline Coonan Obituary
Lurline Coonan

Lurline Roth Coonan passed quietly at her home on April 13, 2018, surrounded by family and friends. Lurline, also known as Lalan to many of her friends, was 97 years old.
Lurline was born with her identical twin Berenice in San Francisco to Lurline Matson Roth and William P. Roth. Her father led the development of the famous line of Matson cruise ships and her maternal grandfather was Captain William Matson (1849-1917), founder of the Matson Navigation Company. Lurline and her sister Berenice and older brother William grew up in San Francisco and later at Why Worry Farm and Filoli in Woodside, California.
A graduate of The Hamlin School in San Francisco, Lurline made her debut at Filoli in 1939. She married James F. Coonan in 1943 and they were married for 50 years until his death in 1993. They had three children, Lurline, Denise and James.
Lurline was an expert gardener and flower arranger. As an adult she achieved a Degree in Horticulture from the College of San Mateo earning the title of Master Gardener. Her garden received note in several national publications and she herself received numerous awards in Floral Design and Horticulture including most recently from the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club who created the Lurline Roth Coonan Medal for flower arranging in her honor. She also received awards from Garden Club of America and her garden is archived in the Smithsonian Library with other notable gardens.
Lurline was an outdoor enthusiast and was an accomplished horsewoman and breeder. She enjoyed fishing and spending time at her cattle ranch in Oregon, entertaining family and friends. Lurline was an avid skier and with her husband were part of the founding group of families for the Sugar Bowl resort in Tahoe. She was also a bridge enthusiast her entire life and took on all comers in any competitive activity.
Lurline's charitable activities included her service with the Red Cross during the Second World War and her beloved Filoli, as a long term Docent, and Head of Docent Training, as well as a Filoli Board Member.
Lurline is remembered for her kindness, style, warmth, wit, speaking prowess and sense of fun. She was always seeking to learn more and lived in the present, honored the past and looked to the future with optimism.
She is survived by her three children: Lurline C. Menzies (Michael), Denise C. Bates (John), and James R. Coonan (Debbie); her eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A service will be held at The Episcopal Church of St. Matthew in San Mateo on Saturday May 12th at 3pm. A reception will follow immediately. Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to Filoli or the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 22, 2018
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