Obituaries

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Florence Rose Harvey passed away in Alameda on June 16, 2017, with her family at her side. She was born Oct. 6, 1917, to Giuseppe Giovanni Ravazzano and Annie Jenny Ferretti in the Castro District of San Francisco. 

Her family then moved to a small house on Twin Peaks where they had a cow, chickens and a garden that sustained them through the Great Depression. Giuseppe also generated income from making wine and whiskey in their basement. When Florence was 11 years old, Giuseppe took the family back to his home town in Piemonte, Italy, for a nine-month visit where she attended public school and experienced first-hand the rise of fascism. Upon returning to the U.S., Florence graduated from Presentation High School.

After entering the University of California Berkeley, Florence would rise early to take a streetcar from Twin Peaks to the Ferry Building, a ferry across San Francisco Bay and then a train to campus. She graduated in 1939 with a major in English and a minor in Italian. Florence then earned her teaching credential and taught at Portola Junior High School and Mission High School. She taught Italian and English during the day and typing in the evenings. 

One of Florence’s friends from Cal arranged a date for her with Melville George Harvey. They went to Mel’s UC San Francisco dental school fraternity dance and were married in 1943. After Mel finished dental school, they lived in Vallejo and Oakland where he practiced oral surgery. During the Korean War, Mel was recalled into the Army and brought his family to Yuma, Ariz., where he served at the Yuma Test Station. Florence and the family then settled in Concord and finally, Alameda.  

Florence’s pride as a second-generation San Franciscan, lasted her entire life. She insisted on giving birth to all four of her sons in San Francisco. She had a life-long love of the opera that began from childhood when she would go to the opera with her father. Florence volunteered at Children’s Hospital Oakland, Alameda Welfare Council and the Museo Italo Americano. She earned a Reading Specialist Certificate at Raskob Learning Institute and was active in the Southern Alameda County Dental Society Women’s Auxiliary. Florence had a great love for travel, frequently visiting Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean with Mel and her mother. She and Mel were active with Cal Alumni Bear Treks and loved the Swiss Alps, hiking in the Sierra Nevada and Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

Florence was preceded in death by her husband Mel, brother Joseph and sister Elma and is survived by her sister Marie; her four sons: David (Liza) of Redwood City, James (Kathy) of Montara, Dennis (Juli) of Kirkland, Wash., and Thomas (Kim) of Albuquerque, N.M.; her grandchildren: Claire Mauck, Erin and David Webster, and Keith and Samuel Harvey; and great grandchildren: Emma Grace and Julianna Wilder and Gillian and Kira Mauck. 

There will be a memorial mass at St. Phillip Neri Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 29. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the East Bay Opera League (www.eastbayoperaleague.org).

 

 

John Walter Vaughn (Jack), 87, died peacefully on July 8, 2017, after a battle with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Jack was born in New York City to Marjorie and Walter Vaughn on June 9, 1930. 

He leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Donna, his three children and their spouses: John and Amanda Vaughn, Meg and Kent Valentine, and Barbara and Mark Marucco, his six grandchildren: Gavin and Lyla Vaughn, Sam and Kat Valentine, and Tessa and Vinny Marucco, as well as his sister and brother-in-law, Sue and Dick Himes.

After graduating from Stanford University as a Phi Beta Kappa and George Washington Law School, Jack practiced law for decades in Oakland and in Alameda.

Services will be held on Saturday, July 22, at 1 p.m., in the First Presbyterian Church of Alameda, located at 2001 Santa Clara Ave. All are welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Friends of the Alameda Free Library.

 

Robert Dennis Harris, 68, passed away June 27 at his home in Alameda. Known as “Rocky” to family and friends, he lived an adventurous, colorful and extraordinary life, the type of swashbuckling character you might read about in a Jack London novel.

Rocky was born in Hanford, Calif., Nov. 26, 1948. He was one of eight children and the eldest son of Robert and Veda Harris.

He was raised in California’s Central Valley, but spent his life on the sea. After serving in the U.S. Army and returning from Vietnam in 1969, Rocky moved to San Francisco, where he launched a long and storied career as a crewmember aboard iconic San Francisco ships and as a captain of Bay Area ferry boats.

A natural born story teller, his life’s journeys provided no shortage of tales. They began along the San Francisco Wharf, where he crewed historic tall ships including the Balclutha, a National Historic Monument. Docked at Pier 41, the Balclutha is where he married Cameron “Cam” Orcutt Harris, inside the Captain’s quarters, in 1982. Later he worked aboard the Golden Hind, and was a member of the crew that sailed her to Japan to film the movie Shogun

During the 1970s and ’80s, Rocky was a familiar fixture around the waterfront. He could be spotted at the helm in the wheelhouse, sliding down 150-foot masts, or exchanging tales at the original Eagle Café.

He spent his days working on boats and his nights sleeping aboard his own sailboat, the Spray, docked at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. He and Cam lived aboard the Spray more than 20 years, including the five years they spent sailing around the world with their cat, Bummer.

When they returned from their five-year voyage, they moved to Alameda and Rocky became a licensed captain. Rocky spent 23 years criss-crossing the San Francisco Bay as a ferry boat captain, carrying nearly half a million commuters and tourists during his career with Harbor Bay Maritime and the Blue and Gold Fleet.

Rocky is preceded in death by his wife, Cameron Harris, sister Linda Brightwell, and brothers Bennie Ray Harris and Michael Harris.

He is survived by his son, Michael Harris of Hanford, daughter-in-law Natalie Harris and granddaughter Charlie Harris of Hanford, grandson Matthew Harris of Utah, brother Geno Harris of the San Francisco Bay Area, sisters Barbara Floyd of Tennessee, Helen Taylor of Tulare, Calif., and Starla Harris of Wyoming, as well as two dozen nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life is pending. 

Donations in Robert’s memory may be sent to Courage to Call, a veterans resource center at www.courage2call.com or, Courage to Call, 9465 Farnham St., San Diego, CA 92123

 

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