Pleasanton Weekly

Community Pulse - January 29, 2010


Benjamin Cook Tarver III

A service will be held for former Mayor Ben Tarver at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd. The event is open to the public and will feature a mixed color guard from the Pleasanton Police Department and the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department.

Mr. Tarver died suddenly Jan. 4 from bilateral pulmonary emboli at age 63.

Benjamin Cook Tarver III was a Bay Area native and graduated from Clayton Valley High School and San Francisco State University. He began his lifelong career in information technology at Naval Weapons Station in Concord and retired in 2001 from the City of Concord as the director of information technology.

He lived a very active life, playing tennis, golf and rugby as well as scuba diving, water skiing and snow skiing. He made lifelong friends playing soccer in Pleasanton's adult soccer league for 20 years. He also coached youth soccer for many years, and organized adult soccer tournaments drawing teams from all over the state and filling the Pleasanton Sports Park.

Mr. Tarver and his wife Margo moved to Pleasanton in 1974 where they raised their three children. He became active in local politics in 1982 after becoming concerned about the burgeoning growth in Pleasanton. He was a planning commissioner, then was elected to the City Council in 1988, where he served for four years before being elected as Pleasanton's mayor four times from 1992-2000.

He had an infinite love for Pleasanton. During his years as an elected official, his primary focus was to reign in Pleasanton's fast paced growth and preserve open space. In addition, he spearheaded and helped to successfully pass measures that put a cap on residential development, protected the ridgelands against residential development and actively supported the development of an adjoining city and East Bay Regional Park. He was also an advocate for youth, supporting the development of parks and expanded joint uses for school district and city facilities.

During his years as a resident of Pleasanton, he was a longtime member of the Tulancingo Sister City Association, Pleasanton Blairgowrie Fergus Sister City Organization, Lions Club and acted as Honorary Chiefton of the Caladonian Club during the Scottish Games in Pleasanton.

After his retirement from the City of Concord, he moved to Colorado and married Jeanie, where he enjoyed being outdoors in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. They later moved to their current home in Penn Valley, Calif. to be closer to his family. During his retirement, he enjoyed spending time with his dogs, remodeling his Lake Wildwood home, boating, working out, following local and national politics, and most of all, vacationing with his wife, children and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Jeanie; parents, Ben and June Tarver; daughters, Tiffany (Dan) Nakken of Pleasanton and Melanie (Richard) Koontz DeMarchi, of Roseville, Calif.; son, Ben (Angie) Tarver IV of Livermore; grandchildren, Brayden, Isabella, Christian, Jaxon, and Baby Girl DeMarchi; first wife, Margo Tarver; brothers, Ben Hall Tarver of Olympia, Wash., Brooks Tarver of Santa Rosa; and Joe Pfeifer of Jeffersonton, Va.; aunt, Dorothy Droast Coultrap of Vallejo; as well as his extended family. He was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Kent Koontz.

Donations may be made to the National Stroke Association or Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Barbara Ruby Van Slyke

Barbara Ruby Van Slyke died Jan. 1 at her home in Pleasanton, surrounded by her loving family, at the age of 92.

Born Barbara Ruby Hadley Nov. 12, 1917 in Modesto, Mrs. Van Slyke was the first of two daughters of a farmer father and a schoolteacher mother. In the mid-1930s, she graduated with a degree in photography from the Art Center School in Los Angeles. Among her teachers was Ansel Adams. After college, she joined her family and crew members on a sailing trip to Alaska aboard the El Dorado, a 40-foot vessel built by her father, Loren.

During World War II, she was employed by the United States Air Force as an aerial photographer. She also worked for several years with the Department of Agriculture, documenting farms across the country in her photographs. After the war, she had a stint as a studio photographer in Hollywood, occasionally being asked to photograph portaits of celebrities current to that era.

Married in Oakland in 1955 to Dale Van Slyke, a teacher, they had three children, moving to Hayward to raise their family. In 1969, the family relocated to Pleasanton.

She was also a past Pleasanton Art League president and avid arts promoter. An award-winning painter and fiber artist, she worked to promote the construction of the Black Avenue Cultural Arts building and served for eight years on the Senior Planning Task Force. She established the very popular Peddler Shoppe at the Pleasanton Senior Center, supplying it with her beautiful handmade crafts. She continued to volunteer her time there, showcasing and selling the products of many local senior craftsmen and women, until recently.

She was an active member of the Bicentennial Festival Committee in 1975-76, helping to make the group's 11 projects a reality. The group shared annual reunion luncheons each December for more than 30 years.

She is survived by her daughters, Ruth and Jean; son, Jim; and granddaughter Ise Maeve Forsyth.


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