Pauline Beal Tooker
Sept. 9, 1923 – July 19, 2016
Palo Alto and Los Altos
At age 92, Polly died peacefully in her sleep at Palo Alto Commons, her home for the last 4 years. Polly was a remarkable woman, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. Polly had a talent for creating a warm and loving environment, complete with wonderful cooking and good conversation. She built a diverse community of family, neighbors, church friends, clients, classmates, Stanford Homestay students, and English in Action partners. She generously shared her time and talents with many.
Polly was born in North Adams, MA, the eldest daughter of Florence (Nott) and Jarvis Beal, who preceded her in death. She was also preceded in death by her devoted husband of 67 years Edwin W. Tooker, her brother Roger Beal, and her son-in-law Robert Gordon Stewart. Polly is survived by: her sister, Shirley Dallam of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; her daughters Carol Stewart of Redwood City, Jean Tooker (husband Ted) Stephens of Palo Alto, Christine Ruth (husband Roger) Thomas of West Linn, Oregon; and her grandchildren, Megan Elizabeth Thomas of Coos Bay, Oregon, Jacqueline Marie Thomas of West Linn, Oregon, Matthew Wilson Stephens of Woodside, Brian Keith (wife Dianne) Stephens of Redwood City, and Brenda Stephens (husband Scot) Smithee of Hollister.
Polly grew up in Vermont and New Hampshire, spending much of her childhood on the family dairy farm immersed in the solid values of an extended and loving community of family and friends. Self-described as a "string-saving, dyed-in-the-wool New Englander", she milked the cows, helped with the cooking, apprenticed in stitchery and quilting, enjoyed music (singing and piano), and spent wonderful times with her cousins and siblings.
At Bates College in Maine, Polly received her BA in French and met her husband Edwin. She followed Ed's career west through Illinois, Colorado, then to California, delivering daughters along the way. For many decades, she maintained an independent typing/editing business, working with many Stanford Ph.D. and MS candidates, as well as published authors. Her love for writing led her to a memoir writing class and, ultimately, she published her autobiography, By Thanksgiving It'll Be Funny, in 2003.
Polly was an amazing cook, authoring a cookbook, and mastering the new foods she encountered on her way across the U.S. In California, apricots, artichokes, and avocados were just the beginning of her extensive repertoire. A seat at Polly's Thanksgiving table was a wondrous experience, as were her generously shared trays of dozens of Christmas cookies, pies, casseroles, jams, jellies – a never-ending menu.
Polly will be remembered with great fondness by family and friends for her caring and warm heart, great sense of humor, and keen intelligence. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date. Donations in Pauline's name may be made to Alzheimer's Association
of Northern California, or another charity of your choice
. View the online memorial for Pauline Beal Tooker
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Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jul. 30, 2016.