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Richard Mesa

Richard Mesa Obituary
Richard Peter Mesa

Aug. 29, 1929 - January 2, 2014


Pete was born in Santa Monica, a son of R.C. Culton and Mariana Mesa, and followed the crops with his mother and seven siblings until they settled in Sunnyvale. 


A celebrated high school and college athlete, Pete played in the Pacific Coast League in the 1950s. He pitched for San Diego, Portland and Sacramento, in addition to playing professional winter ball in Mexico, Venezuela and Panama. As a baseball player traveling in the South in the early 50s, he experienced discrimination that influenced his later career decisions. 


Pete settled in San Jose with the love of his life, Elida, and his young family. He earned advanced degrees in education at Stanford, while teaching English and coaching at Sunnyvale High, and working as a scout for the Mets. He served in leadership positions in education, as principal of San Jose High, administrator in Mountain View/Los Altos School District, and superintendent of Milpitas and Oakland Unified School Districts. Pete was Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction for California, Program Officer for the National Science Foundation, and Executive Director of the Urban/Rural School Development Program, a federal program for impoverished schools. He taught graduate education students at Stanford, San Jose State and at Mills College, where he helped create the Administrative Credential Program and the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.


Pete and Elida moved to Woodside in 1974. They took advantage of their proximity to San Francisco, with season tickets to the SF Ballet and Opera. They enjoyed traveling, and made friends around the world in their many trips.


In addition to his wife Elida, Pete is survived by his children Terrie (Mike), Christina and Tim. His son, Tom, predeceased him. He also is survived by his grandchildren: Justine, Conor, Nora and Thor, 24 nieces and nephews and 36 grandnieces and grandnephews.


A memorial service will be held Monday, February 3, at 4 pm at the Stanford Memorial Church. For directions and reserved parking information contact [email protected]


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 19, 2014
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