Obituaries

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Born in Paducha, Tex., Royce Gladden soon after made the journey to California with his parents, Bea and Melvin and brother FE Gladden, to join other family members in Madera. There they raised rabbits and chickens for the local store. His father worked the fields of the Hoover Ranch. After a few years, they loaded up their panel truck and migrated to Alameda, where he and his parents lived out their earthly lives creating a legacy of hospitality in their small home. 

Royce graduated from San Jose State College, where he studied history and was very active in his fraternity, Phi Kappa Alpha. The brothers he had there continued to be lifelong relationships. The stories of living in the frat house were even longer, and Royce loved to tell them.

Within a week of graduation, Royce was drafted into the Army and sent to Fort Dix, N.J., where he was an admin and self-proclaimed New York Times crossword master. His military highlight was processing the discharge papers for Elvis Presley. 

As a history major, Royce inevitably held many interesting jobs completely unrelated to his education. This knowledge came into play later when helping his daughters with reports and essays for school and lessons for the grandchildren. In 1995 he retired from BART to take full advantage of the Monday to Friday golf course availability, primarily in Alameda, occasionally in Maui, but always in a Hawaiian shirt, regardless. 

Royce’s love of country music introduced him to a group of friends who gathered annually in Texas to honor his favorite singer-songwriter Mickey Newbury. Although he didn’t play music himself, he would stay up until all hours listening to their picking circles. 

Royce, along with his wife of 54 years, Betty Gladden, spent countless hours restoring and maintaining an 1893 Victorian to what would become the Garratt Mansion Bed and Breakfast. He could fix anything and his list stayed full. This list of “fix its” slowly came to a halt after a series of strokes that eventually led to Alzheimer’s, which he battled for the next 14 years until the Lord decided it was time for him to come home. During this time his sense of humor still found a way to enhance the lives of those around him.

He was a kind and loving father to Kelly Gladden Finn and Diana Gladden. He attended all their sports games, coached teams and entertained their friends and neighbors. He was a friendly face to all who knew him. His grandchildren: Curtis, Ryan and Rachel Finn, Daniel and Emma Jones were the light of his life and visits were never long enough. 

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 31, at 2 p.m. at Central Baptist Church, 2133 Central Ave., with a celebration reception to follow at Grandview Pavilion, 300 Island Drive. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer’s Association are welcome at http://www.alz.org.

Betty was born at the former Fabiola Hospital in Oakland. The hospital was replaced by Kaiser Hospital. She was the daughter and only child of Blanche and Leslie George Follrath, and a descendant of California pioneers with deep roots in Alameda. Her father was born in Alameda in 1902.

Betty graduated from Oakland Technical High School, and proudly sang the fight song.  
She is predeceased by numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins, including: Benjamin R. Follrath (Harriet), Robert H. Follrath, Sr., Donald A. Follrath, Gladys Follrath Thompson (Chester) and Charles A. Follrath, each either a resident or lifelong resident of Alameda. 

Betty is survived by: Jean A. Follrath, Karen Follrath, cousins Carol M. Thompson Johnson, Michael Alward (Connie), Robert Alward, Beverly J. Follrath Johnson (Michael), Geoffrey Johnson, Katherine Johnson, Carol Follrath Cole, Janet Follrath, Gregory Follrath and stepdaughters Valerie McCaffrey and Patsy Reid. 

Betty moved to Alameda in the 1970s and lived in the same house as her Aunt Alma Follrath Monteiro. Betty loved Alameda and looked forward to the Fourth of July Parade and walking her dog around her neighborhood. 

She explored the world traveling with her late cousin Myrtle and late Aunt Alma. In her 40s, Betty married her late husband Ralph McCaffrey, and they continued traveling together. Betty often shared fond memories of her travels to England, France, Greece, Israel, Jerusalem, Egypt, Turkey, Caribbean, Mexico, Honduras, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. 

Betty was active in the Humane Society of Alameda, W.E.T.S. and the Native Daughters of the Golden West. For many years Betty volunteered for Alameda Meals on Wheels, delivering meals several times each week. 

Betty loved her animal companions who gave her much love and joy, most recently Mugsy and little Bette. Betty was loved and cherished by many and will be greatly missed by her family and friends. 

At Betty’s request a private service was held on March 1 at Alameda Funeral & Cremation Services. For more information contact Harry W. Greer, Funeral Director (FDR-745).

Sharyle (Sherry) Blythe Yeates was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second of five children of Russell Kenneth and Alberine Larsen Yeates. She was raised in Salt Lake City and the nearby cities of Ogden and Orem.

An independent sort who struggled in school, she dropped out at 15 and went to work, both to support herself as she made her way in the world and then to help provide for her immediate and extended family. At 18, she was hired by a Salt Lake City bank, which launched her lifelong career in banking. 

Her only child, Laurel, was born in 1953. In 1957, she purchased two one-way plane tickets to San Francisco, packed two suitcases with summer clothes, toys and albums by Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. With $200 in cash and her four-year-old daughter, she moved to a state where she knew no one. To borrow from a John Denver song, she was born in the summer of her 25th year, coming home to a place she’d never been before.

The mother-daughter duo first landed in budget hotel rooms in San Francisco, then crossed the bay to a furnished studio in North Oakland where they used their coats as blankets. It wasn’t long before Laurel blabbed about the sleeping arrangements to neighbors, who opened their hearts, supplied bedding and insisted the pair come over for dinner several times a week. Sherry soon found a job at Bank of California in Berkeley and began to forge bonds with friends who became their “California family.” 

Hungry to advance professionally, she earned her GED and began a gradual ascent in her banking career. She retired from Union Bank in 1992 as a personal banking officer. 

Her early retirement allowed her to embark — solo — on adventures in Europe, Tahiti, Australia, New England and to her favorite destination, South Carolina. She encountered health challenges along the way but quit smoking and attended to doctors’ orders and her common sense, which carried her into her mid-80s. When she was told by a doctor in November that her heart was beginning to slow, she said, “I’m sorry to hear this. It’s been a beautiful life and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Sherry was cut from a unique cloth. She was cussedly independent; proud to a fault; ferociously principled and honest; notoriously kind and compassionate to children, animals and the elderly; interested in all that life might offer. She was optimistic, believed in the goodness of people and had an amazingly admirable work ethic born of the pioneering spirit of her ancestors. 

She was funny. Her sparkling eyes dazzled, and her unique commentary and reflections about life could startle, surprise and amuse. People always felt welcome in her home. Laurel’s school-girlfriends loved to sit in the Yeates kitchen and discuss school, politics, boys or the world with Sherry. She was the mom who heard teenage confessions and didn’t judge.

Her cookie jar was always full. She loved garage sales and antiquing, especially for miniature dolls. She took great pride in her Christmas tree, festooned with care every winter. She enjoyed long walks with her beloved dog, Nosy, and after his passing, to visit and feed the neighborhood cats. Her garden enchanted all who entered or passed; her quaint cottage was the site of countless dinner parties and potlucks. She got her driver’s license at 40 and relished 42 years of the freedom that driving her own car afforded. 

Her heart finally did just give up — gratefully in her sleep. It was right and it was time, but we all miss her desperately. She was our first stop when we had interesting news to share or a problem to discuss. We can’t begin to list the ways she taught us how to live life, rarely from spoken lessons, more often from her actions.

Sherry is survived by Laurel and her husband John Petersen of Alameda; her granddaughter, Tarrin Petersen-Rice, grandson-in-law Jason Rice, and great-grandson Theo of Salt Lake City; her brother and sister-in-law Philip and Judy Yeates of Murray, Utah; her sister Tamyrra Vowles of Bountiful, Utah; many adoring nieces, nephews and cousins in Utah; and many “family members by choice” in California. She was predeceased by her parents and brothers Ken and Rodger Yeates.

Sherry didn’t care about having a service, but she would feel grateful to have her memory honored through genuine attention paid to a child or an animal, a seized opportunity to lend an ear to someone in need or a random act of kindness. And when you are struck by how beautiful life is, know that in that moment you are seeing the world through Sherry’s appreciative eyes.

If you knew Sherry and have a remembrance you would be willing to share, please write to Laurel at likelaurel@gmail.com.

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