Carol Brown, 69, died of a brain aneurysm on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Carol had lived in Sonoma, CA for the past twenty-eight years. She held jobs with the Visitor's Bureau, the Index-Tribune, and Napa Valley College. Upon retirement from NVC, she worked full-time as a volunteer with Sonoma Valley Library, Hospice by the Bay, and Sonoma Valley Hospital in their skilled nursing wing.
While at NVC, Carol Brown, served most ably as an Instructional Assistant at NVC for twelve years, primarily in the Writing Center, but also in DLS. She retired May 30, 2003.
Carol was an extremely disciplined and highly organized person, she found the time to complete her bachelor's degree and master's degree in English literature after age 40. She was compassionate toward and understanding of all people, regardless of their backgrounds, status in society, or personal beliefs.
As a hospice volunteer, she touched the lives of hundreds of individuals whose family members she sat with in their final hours. As a library volunteer, she went almost daily to sort book donations and coordinated the staffing of dozens of book sales. As a friend, she was always there in time of need, driving friends to medical procedures and ever ready to provide emotional support or a good laugh when it was most needed. She will be dearly missed.
She leaves behind her mother, Mary Sisak; sister, Mary Johnson; brother, John Sisak; son, Chris Faix; grandchildren, Jack and Lola Faix; numerous nieces and nephews; and husband, Eric Stern. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, October 18, from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Vintage House's Stone Hall, 264 First Street East, Sonoma, CA
Carole Chassereau, who taught nursing at Napa Valley College and worked as an ICU nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, died Feb. 7, 2015, at her home in Sonoma just two days shy of her 75th birthday.
"Many in the Associate Degree Nursing program worked with Carole many, many years before she retired. She was a mentor to both faculty and students," wrote Robert Harris, Acting Dean of Health Occupations, Kinesiology, Athletics, Health & Dance.
Chassereau was greatly loved by her friends and family. Those who knew her will quickly tell you about her contagious laugh and warmth of her smile. "When", "Where", and "What can I bring: wine or champagne" were her first responses any time she was invited to a party.
Chassereau is survived by her two sons Scott Guilliams and Todd Guilliams and their children, Julia, Gina, Grant and Garrett. Carole adored her daughter's in laws, Jacqueline and Denise. For those who feel inclined to memorialize her memory, her family asks you send donations to Pets Lifeline Animal Shelter in Sonoma.
Read the obituary at napavalleyregister.com
Patricia "Patty" Renfrow
Patty Renfrow died Feb. 7, 2015, after the onset of sudden illness.
Born and raised in Oakland she attended college at Chico State, where she completed a degree in Political Science and met her husband, Victor. They married in 1975 and have two wonderful daughters, Mary and Alicia (Lisa).
Patty loved people. She loved helping them find their potential. As soon as the girls were in school, she took a job as a teachers' aide so she could have the same schedule as the girls. She worked at Vintage High as an Instructional Assistant for Special Education classes, and went on to get a teaching credential so she could serve as a substitute teacher. Next, she became the instructor for the teen patent program that she named New Beginnings. From there she moved to Napa Valley College as a CalWORKs//EOPS Advisor. In 2002, she returned to teaching New Beginnings, but after a year, went back to NVC. She retired from there in 2008 but so loved the staff and helping students that she stayed on part-time.
Renfrow loved to read, listen to music, clean, and most of all she loved mischief. She never wanted to be in the spotlight, but was always working in the background making sure things got done and people had a laugh.
She is survived by her husband, Victor, her daughters Mary and Lisa, her mother Susie, her brother and sister, and many nieces and nephews, as well as her two dogs.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you donate in Patty's memory to the Napa Valley College Foundation in support of the Patty Renfrow Scholarship for Students at the college.
Read the obituary at napavalleyregister.com
Judith "Judie" Walter-Burke
Judith Patrice Walter-Burke, 63, of Napa, died Jan. 31, 2015. She worked at Napa Valley College for 25 years, retiring in 2013 as Dean of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.
Judie was born in Abington, Penn., on October 4, 1951. She attended Millersville State College and graduated with a degree in Geography.
After broadening her culture and horizons on a six-month backpacking trip through Europe, she returned to the States and joined the VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) program. It was her charitable work and the hands of destiny that brought her to Oakland in 1976, where, the following year, she met the love of her life--Pat Burke. Judie and Pat were married in 1978, in Berkeley. They have one daughter, Erin.
Burke went on to earn her MBA from St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif. She maintained her indomitable need for adventure, and with maps in hand, she lead Pat and Erin on the trips of their lifetimes, exploring the world and celebrating the love of one another.
Judie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. After several surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments her cancer went into remission. In June of 2011, she was re-diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in her bones and liver. She endured multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy treatments until December of 2014.
In lieu of flowers, her family asks that you donate in Judie's memory to the Napa Valley College Foundation in support of the James M. Booth Scholarship for students pursuing a degree in computer studies at the college.
Read the obituary at napavalleyregister.com
Former Napa Valley College instructor and agricultural preservation champion Volker Eisele died Jan. 2, 2015, at his home near St. Helena after suffering a stroke. He was 77.
"Volker Eisele was largely responsible for Napa's foresight in protecting our agricultural community," Democrat Congressman for St. Helena Mike Thompson told The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat newspaper. "With his understanding of, and dedication to, land use policy, he leaves a lasting legacy for future generations to follow."
Volker Eisele was born in Münster, Germany on August 7, 1937, and recalled watching the Hitler Youth marching in the streets. His father left to fight in World War II and never returned.
In 1963, he was granted a fellowship to study at UC Berkeley, where he earned a PhD in sociology and met his wife, a landscape architect named Liesel. He got a job teaching at Napa Valley College. In 1974, the Eiseles bought 400 acres in Chiles Valley. He named his land Volker Eisele Family Estate, which is now managed by his son, Alexander.
Volker Eisele was one of the first Napa growers to farm organically, long before the concept was even well understood. For years he sold his grapes to Conn Creek Winery. In 1991, he began bottling his own wine.
Eisele became a tireless volunteer for the organization People for Open Space, which helped get a slow-growth measure passed in 1980. He became president of the Napa County Farm Bureau and used that as a bully pulpit to argue for a narrow definition of "winery", limiting social events.
Read the obituary at wine-searcher.com
Simone Fontaine, who taught French at Napa Valley college from 1953 to 1980, died Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014.
She was born just south of Paris in Auxerre, France, on April 12, 1920. At the age of 24, during World War II, she saved the lives of a French Resistance captain and his colleagues. Fontaine warned them away from a meeting place where French collaborators of the Nazis were waiting for them and as a result, she herself was captured and taken in a cattle car to Ravensbrück.
Ravensbrück was a secret, but now notorious, women's concentration camp during World War II. The camp was constructed under the orders of the infamous SS leader Heinrich Himmler and was unusual in that it was designed as a work camp primarily for women and children. Fontaine was put to work in the fields and also used as a subject for medical experiments. The German electrical engineering company Siemens & Halske is said to have also employed many of the inmates as slave labor.
Ravensbrück prisoners were liberated by the Red Army on April 30, 1945. Fontaine was taken to Sweden for rehabilitation. In 1946 she was awarded a silver medal by the French Minister of the Interior and authorized by President Charles de Gaulle. After the war, she told friends that her only desire was to flee all reminders of the conflict. She immigrated to America despite knowing no English.
Fontaine had previously earned a baccalaureate degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris in 1939, and had been working as an elementary school teacher when captured. In the U.S. she gradually made her way to California where — because of her education and nationality — she was hired by Napa Valley College to teach her native language. In 1960 she earned a master's degree in French at UC Berkeley while on sabbatical.
A lifelong supporter of good causes, she generously supported many worthwhile organizations, among them Doctors Without Borders, the Humane Society, Hospice of Napa Valley and the NVC Foundation.
Any contributions in her honor should be sent to NVC Foundation.
Read the obituary at napavalleyregister.com
Joseph C. Monaghan
Former Napa Valley College employee Joseph C. Monaghan died Oct. 22, 2014 in
Napa, following a series of strokes over the last eight years.
After moving to Napa in 1978, Monaghan was hired at NVC in 1984 as an
electronics technician, and in 1988 became a telecommunications technician,
working in the maintenance and repair of television studio equipment. He left
the college in 1994.
Monaghan was born on Oct. 24, 1949, in Upland, California, to Irene and Clem
Monaghan. He served honorably in the U.S. Navy as a medic. He leaves behind his
wife of 36 years, Sue, and his sisters, Ellen Teneriello of San Diego and Irene
Mathers of Upland. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert, in 2010.
Contributions to a charity of the donor’s choice are suggested.
Eugene M. "Gene" Swann died in Walnut Creek, California on October 1, 2014.
Eugene began his employment at Napa Valley College as economics instructor in
1994 and earned tenure in 1998. He retired in February 2007.
Gene obtained a bachelor's degree from Temple University and a master's
degree in economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the
mid-1950s. He earned his law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the
University of California and was admitted to the State Bar of California in
Equipped with these academic credentials and his lawyer's license, Swann
pursued dual careers in the practice of law and in teaching economics. In the
1960s he was a deputy district attorney in Contra Costa County, and went on to
serve as executive director of the Contra Costa Legal Services Foundation. In
the early 1980s he headed the newly-established Office of Citizens' Complaints
in San Francisco under the tenure of Mayor Dianne Feinstein. He argued several
cases before the California State Supreme Court.
Over the years Swann taught macroeconomics, microeconomics and the law of
economics to multitudes of Bay Area students. His quick wit and provocative
commentary made him a favorite of many. In addition to NVC, Swann taught courses
through the UC Berkeley Extension, in the Sloan masters program at Stanford
University, and at Golden Gate University, City College of San Francisco and
John F. Kennedy University.
Gene always had a keen interest in Democratic politics. He enjoyed the banter
of debate, and he liked good food, fine restaurants, Jack Daniels whiskey, big
bands, Dixieland jazz and intelligent women.
He was married to and divorced from fellow lawyer Cherie Gaines, with whom he
had three children, namely, Liana, Michael and Elliott. They all survive him as
does his sister Dariel, among other family members in Pennsylvania.
In Gene's memory, listen to a recording of Mahalia Jackson singing "Take My
Hand, Precious Lord" or Count Basie doing "It Had To Be You" or a Preservation
Hall Jazz Band rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In." Then, in lieu of
flowers, please make a donation in his honor to the UNCF at www.uncf.org. He believed in the
importance of its mission to enable students to attend college for the education
they need and the nation needs them to have.
Judi Watkins, Associate Dean of the Upper Valley
Campus, passed away at home on September 17, 2014.
In a message to the college campus, NVC President
Dr. Ron Kraft recognized Judi’s inspirational and steady strength and spirit and
expressed how much she will be missed by all who had the joy of knowing
Judi was born Jan. 1, 1961,
in Berkeley and was raised in Walnut Creek. She graduated from UC Berkeley and
went on to study fashion in Paris. Judi began her career at the IRS and then
transitioned to the apparel industry, working in production management and
design for companies such as Fritzi of California, O’Neill, and Esprit. In
addition, she was an adjunct lecturer in Fashion Illustration at SFSU and
Fashion Design at FIDM.
Judi received her master of education from San Francisco State
University and changed careers to education administration. She focused on
workforce and economic development at San Francisco City College, Diablo Valley
College, and Chabot-Las Positas Community College District before becoming the
Associate Dean of the Napa Valley College, Upper Valley Campus. She loved her
work and thoroughly enjoyed working with the wonderful people at Napa Valley
College. Judi touched many of us during her 23+ years of
work throughout the California Community College system, economic workforce
development programs, and the Bay Area Community College
Consortium. She was an inspirational leader, collaborative colleague, and
spirited soul who was always there to lend a hand and contribute to helping our
students. Judi is known for her outstanding leadership in Workplace Learning and
her ability to work across sectors and programs to make things happen for the
betterment of our communities.
Judi was a painter and a trained yoga instructor. Yoga gave her an
outlet of peace right up until her untimely passing.
Judi is survived by her husband of 20 years, Jim Watkins; her sons,
Gabe and Will Sasser; her daughter-in-law, Casey Sasser; her beloved dog Lucy;
sisters Teresa Hollidge of Pleasanton and Katie Dyos of San Francisco;
brother-in- law Jamie Dyos; nieces and nephews Heneli, ‘Alakoka, and Langitau
Kailahi and Stuart and Cole Dyos; Uncle Tom Gloy and wife Sue; Aunt Konny Murray
and husband Dave; and many close and dear friends.
Those who knew Judi remember a smart, funny and talented artist with a
strong character and a fiery red-headed spirit. She will not be forgotten and
will always live in our hearts.
In her honor, a memorial scholarship has been established for a Napa
Valley Cooking School student in need of financial support. In lieu of flowers,
her family asks that you consider a donation to this scholarship (via the Napa Valley College
Foundation) or a donation to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center or a
charity of your choosing in her name.
Ailana "Lana" Denison
NVC is saddened to announce the passing of Ailana “Lana” Denison on Jan. 4, 2014, of end stage renal disease. She was 71 years old.
Lana is fondly remembered by her friends and colleagues at Napa Valley College for her breadth of knowledge, expertise with the English language, sense of humor, and care for the students at NVC. She was a mentor for many, encouraging the professional and educational development of her colleagues and friends.
Lana held a master’s degree in education from Montana State University. She taught English in Montana, until the early 1980s, when she moved to California. Beginning in 1984, she worked at Napa Valley College in the Office of Instruction, the Office of the President, and the Office of Student Services. She was a graduate of Leadership Napa Valley in the early 1990s.
Lana enjoyed reading, music, making crafts and jewelry in all mediums, travel, and her family. Lana is survived by her daughter, Karen; her brother, Wayne; many loving nieces and nephews; and a host of longtime friends.
Lana’s POSITIONs at NVC
11/84 – 6/86
Executive Secretary to the Superintendent/President
7/86 – 8/97
Administrative Assistant, Student Services/Matriculation
3/00 – 6/03
Hourly Secretary, Office of Instruction
1/07 – 2/07
Hourly Secretary, Student Services
3/07 – 4/07; 10/11 – 12/11