Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted anytime by graduates in 1984
Victor Valdez ’84, M.A. ’94 51, lay ecclesial minister and long-time catechetical leader who achieved Master Catechist status last year, died on July 17, 2013. He had suffered for many years from the effects of recurring brain tumors.
Wendy Scherbart, Director of Catechetical Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, said, “Over the 30 years I have known Victor, he has shown me how to put my trust in God. He lived with integrity and hope while carrying recurring health challenges.
“Victor chose to discern the will of God each day. He strived to do the will of God and now is fully united with God. I thank him for inspiring us with his courage and deep faith.”
Scherbart said that Victor had just made his second trip to Lourdes in May with the Knights of Malta and that he was seeking peace. “He told me that the day he went to the baths he didn’t want to hurry, but to be fully present to the experience.
“As he stepped through the waters, he felt sensations, the temperature, the placement of each foot, and he emerged feeling a deep peace,” Scherbart said.
At Valdez’s funeral Mass, July 24, at Santa Teresa Church, San Jose, Father Jose Antonio Rubio M.A. ’95, STD ’06 gave the homily, noting the Gospel reading, John 6: 37-40, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Father Rubio said Victor “had recurring benign brain tumors and had 12 surgeries — some 13 hours — until they couldn’t operate anymore. He had the tumors for more than half his life, but he did a lot in a life.
“Even as a boy Victor carried his cross. When he was born, an ear was partially developed and he endured a number of surgeries. When he was in grammar school, he was hit by a car, broke his hip and was in a cast for six months.”
“Victor had a strong faith,” Father Rubio said. “From his Mexican heritage he had great faith in Our Lady of Guadalupe, and he got strength from the writings and spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. After he was diagnosed with the tumors, he dedicated his life to God, working for the Church. He always paid attention to how God was working in his life.”
Valdez worked at St. John Vianney, St. Athanasius, St. Denis (Menlo Park) as Director of Religious Education, at the University of Santa Clara as a resident minister in the dorms and with the alumni association. He planned retreats, gave talks and workshops at faith formation conferences in San Francisco, Santa Clara and Ariz.
Father Rubio said, “Victor carried his cross behind Jesus, but he carried his cross like Jesus. The cross of Jesus changed the universe and lead to resurrection, his resurrection, Victor’s resurrection, our resurrection.
“Victor saw life as a pilgrimage. He liked to travel and went to Lourdes twice, to Fatima, and to Madrid for World Youth Day in 2011. He had
been looking forward to WYD Brazil this year.
“When he returned from Madrid he wrote an article for The Valley Catholic recalling standing in rain all night and sleeping on cement. He quoted the very text that was tonight’s Gospel reading, and he concluded: If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Victor wrote, “I know the call of Jesus calls for total commitment requiring great sacrifice. What we experienced at World Youth Day was an opportunity to trust in the Lord who never abandons us. In an exhibit along a Madrid parkway, we saw life-size reproductions of the Stations of the Cross. It is through the cross that we are led to freedom.”
“Free at last, Victor, free at last!” Father Rubio concluded.
Sharon Ann Fierro 84' on Thursday, December 4, 2008. A native of San Jose, she was 62 years old and lived in San Jose all of her 62 years. Loving mother of Michael (Liliana) Fierro and Stephanie (Denis) Eastwood. She was the cherished grandmother of Gabriela and David with another grandchild on the way, and beloved daughter of Billie Watts.
Ram-Mohan Savkoor MBA '84 passed away on November 7, 2009.
Jonnie L. Herring J.D. '84, a resident of San Jose, passed away peacefully on July 26 after a two-year struggle with brain cancer. She was born to the late Alfred and Dorothy Johnson on Sep. 27, 1941, in Oklahoma City, Okla. She was a proud older sister to the late Donald Johnson of Milwaukee. Jonnie earned her bachelor's degree in English from Rice University and a master's degree in the same subject from University of Houston. She was married to the late Robert (Bob) Herring, whom she met at Rice, for 49 years. After leaving Texas, Jonnie lived in Boston, Mass., and Scottsdale, Ariz., before settling in San Jose, Calif. A resident of San Jose since 1974, Jonnie was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Saratoga for many years. She was a stay-at-home mom and active member of the Dilworth Elementary PTA before earning her law degree from Santa Clara University in 1984. Jonnie practiced family law for almost 30 years, and developed a specialization in mediation. She was proud to have helped pioneer methods to minimize the strife of divorce proceedings. In 2000, she received the Henry B. Collada Memorial Award from the Family Law Section of the Santa Clara Bar Association for her many years of representing children. In 2011, she received the Justice Byrl R. Salsman Award from the Santa Clara County Bar Association. Jonnie was a voracious reader who filled her home with books. She loved music and listened to recordings every night. She enjoyed traveling and attending concerts with her husband, Bob. She is survived by her daughter, Katherine, her son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Christine, and her granddaughters, Virginia and Andria. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Gary Skinner MBA '84 passed away on March 16, 2011. He was from Chico, Calif., and a graduate of Chico High School and U.C. Davis. His obituary appeared in The Herald newspaper in Monterey County, where he lived for the last 28 years of his life. It also appeared in the Chico Enterprise-Record.
Elizabeth Julie Powers ’84, affectionately named "Missy" by friends and family, passed away from complications endured during a more than a two-year struggle with breast cancer.
Missy is survived by her sons, Joey Powers (18) and Matt Powers (15), and husband, John Powers ’83 all of Watsonville; mother Susan Scurich of Watsonville; brothers Tony Scurich ’81 and Mike Scurich ’84 of Watsonville and sister Mimi Scurich ’89 of San Jose. Missy was blessed to have the love of a large and supportive family including nieces Casey and Megan; nephews Jeff, Scott, Luke, and Zach; as well as sisters-in-law Julie ’82 and Jennifer ’83. She joined her father, Luke “Bud” A. Scurich ’54, in heaven who passed away nearly two years ago.
Chris F. Merryman MA '84 passed away May 20, 2010, Sunnyvale, Calif., age 69. A long-time teacher, administrator, and counselor in the Bay Area, he earned an MFT degree from University of Santa Clara. Chris enjoyed travel, cars, movies, games, jokes, and dinners with friends. Even after being slowed by the onset of Parkinson's disease later in life, he was a strong advocate for community youth programs, stressing leadership, communication, and support services.
Bobbi G. Hoover M.A. ’84, Aug. 20, 2011. Hoover was born in 1932 and lived in Los Gatos.