ObituariesThomas Lee Pitka
Thomas Lee Pitka died Jan. 6 at home surrounded by his wife Carla and children Candice and Matthew Nydam. He was 58.
Mr. Pitka was born Sept. 1, 1951 in St. Paul, Minn. He graduated from Cal Sate Hayward. He was a longtime employee at Amdhal, and currently worked at Cisco where he was an IT project manager. He was an accomplished tennis player and a member of USTA.
He is survived by his sister, Lynn Revell; and nephews, Chuck and David Revell. Services were planned to be held Jan. 14 at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Concord. Donations can be made to The Wellness Community in Walnut Creek or Vitas Hospice Care of Newark.
Veronica Lynne Hansen
Veronica Lynne Hansen died Jan. 12 at the age of 39.
Mrs. Hansen was born Dec. 15, 1970 in Salinas, Calif., the daughter of Alex and Rosalinda Herrera. The beloved daughter, sister, wife and mother was courageously fighting cancer.
A native of Pleasanton, she attended Amador Valley High School. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Cal State Hayward. She worked in technology in the Silicon Valley and in Pleasanton.
Mrs. Hansen loved music, art, reading and planning birthday parties for her three boys. She was happiest when she was with family and friends. She was a giver. Her battle with cancer never stopped her from helping others in need. She was an amazing lady that got so much out of her 39 years. She had a wonderful passion for life.
Mrs. Hansen is survived by her husband, Tim; sons, Jack, Ryan and Andrew; parents, Alex and Rosalinda Herrera; brother, Alex Herrera Jr.; and numerous family and friends.
A service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Saint Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church with a celebration of life following at the Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the ValleyCare Charitable Foundation at 1111 E. Stanley Blvd., Livermore, CA., 94550.
Dick LeLaurin died Jan. 14 at the age of 81.
Mr. LeLaurin was born May 17, 1929 in Little Rock, Ark. to Tige and Bernice LeLaurin. When he was young, the family moved to Cleveland and then to San Diego. He attended San Diego High School and graduated with the class of 1948. He attended San Diego State where he met and married Margie Tyson. His first job was a brief stint as a policeman with the San Diego Police Department.
He left the department to form an import company with his father. They traveled to Mexico, bringing in goods to make silver spurs, bits and other horse show equipment. Soon this developed into the largest western mail order catalog business in the United States as well as a western manufacturing business and three western stores in Salinas, Anaheim and El Cajon, Calif. He sold the business in 1963 and went to work at the Bahia and Catamaran Hotels in San Diego bringing conventions to the properties and managing marketing and sales. In 1966 he joined the fastest growing hotel group in the United States, Royal Inns of America as the senior VP of marketing.
In 1969, he left and moved Margery and his children to Santiago, Chile. Here he partly owned and operated the No. 1 disco in South America. The family lived there through the Allende years and had many adventures traveling in South America.
Mr. LeLaurin returned to the United States in 1975 and started a couple of seafood restaurants. He and his wife Margie were divorced in 1975. In 1979 he found and married (as he said) "his perfect mate," Barbara Murphy. She became ill with ovarian cancer in 1993 so they moved to La Crosse, Wisc. to be near her family, however they traveled all over Western and Eastern Europe, the Southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. He also pursued his favorite pastime, cooking.
Barbara passed away in 2002 and LeLaurin moved to Hilton Head, S.C. for two years. He was often visited by his children and enjoyed traveling with them to Savannah and Charleston. In 2004, he moved to Pleasanton to be near his family. He continued to travel to Europe and to different parts of the United States and pursued his passion of cooking.
He passed with his children and grandchildren around him.
Mr. LeLaurin is survived by his children, Vic LeLaurin of Pleasanton, Louie LeLaurin of Concord, Suzanne West of Hume Lake and Bob LeLaurin of Manteca, as well as Bob Martin of San Diego (who he had informally adopted) and step-daughter Jordan Just. He also leaves 10 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter and many adventures which his family will all enjoy retelling at the dinner table as they relish the cuisine from hundreds of recipes he created. There will be a private service for the family.