Pleasanton Weekly

Community Pulse - April 29, 2011

Obituaries

Donald Taylor 'Russ' Gerton

Donald Taylor "Russ" Gerton of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, formerly of Pleasanton, died March 18 at his residence.

He was born Oct. 26, 1946, in San Francisco. He was a waiter at Spatz Restaurant at the Hyatt Kaanapali.

He was preceded in death by his parents Bernie and Margaret Gerton and is survived by his brothers Ron Smith of Pleasanton and Mark (Kim) Gerton of Milpitas, and his sister Charlene Henshaw of Lodi, and several nieces and nephews. A private gathering for family and close friends will take place in the near future.

Ralph Peter Juhl

Ralph Peter Juhl, a dentist with the varied interests of a Renaissance man, died of leukemia at home April 15 at the age of 78.

He was the only child of Peter Dowd Juhl and Jessica Martha Stangland Juhl and lived his early years on 58th Street in Oakland where he pursued his passions for woodworking, model airplanes and sports. After the family moved to Fremont, he excelled in athletics at Washington High School, earning letters in track, basketball and baseball. He was offered a minor league contract in baseball but instead pursued his interest in dentistry. He started at UC Berkeley in 1951, then transferred directly to the UC San Francisco dentistry school in 1953. At Cal, he met the love of his life, Claudia Rasmussen, a member of the Tassajara Valley pioneer ranching family, and they married June 19, 1955. After graduation, they moved to El Paso, Texas, to fulfill his Army obligation. As he was finishing his service, his mother-in-law called to inform him that a dentist was retiring in Pleasanton. He set up an office on St. Mary's Street in Pleasanton in 1959 where practiced for 35 years until his retirement in 1994. He took a sabbatical for one year to practice in Denmark with the children attending local schools. The Danish connection was a deep one for Ralph, whose father was a Dane.

Dr. Juhl was a past-president and founding member of the Rotary Club of Pleasanton as well as a member of the Pleasanton Men's Club. An avid golfer, he was a member of the Castlewood Country Club. He had a full woodshop in his home and routinely made furniture. He was also a gardener and skilled at flower arranging, played golf and enjoyed trap shooting.

After retiring, he and Claudia traveled around the world. In 2007, they took a three-week trip around the world.

He is survived by his wife Claudia; daughters Colleen Skewes-Cox (husband Peter) of San Francisco, Carol of Pleasanton, and son David of Walnut Creek; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Services were held Wednesday at the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery. Donations may be made to Centerpointe Presbyterian Church, 3410 Cornerstone Court, Pleasanton 94566, or Hope Hospice, 6377 Clark Ave., Suite 100. Dublin 94568.

Lillie Pellegrinelli Rotta

Lillie Pellegrinelli Rotta died peacefully in Pleasanton with her family by her side Sunday, April 24, at the age of 100.

She was born Aug. 2, 1910, in Montague, Texas. When she celebrated her 100th birthday last August, President Obama sent a certificate to her from the White House. She lived in Pleasanton for 41 years and was a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church, known as "Nana" to all.

Ms. Rotta is survived by her five children, Vincent Rotta Jr. of Utah, Lenora DiDonato of Modesto, Maryann Hallum of Pleasanton, Betty Kaufman of Livermore and Glenna Rotta of Colorado; 10 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren. A vigil was held Wednesday at Graham-Hitch Mortuary, and a Mass was celebrated Thursday at St Augustine's.

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