Joann Rasmussen died June 25 at the age of 79 after a short hospital stay.
She was born Dec. 13, 1931, in Livermore and lived most of her life in the Tri-Valley, which she called "God's Country." She was the oldest of four children of Ed and Selma (Sally) Rasmussen. She was a cattleman's daughter and remembered ranch life and the single-room school she attended, walking up hill both ways, so she told her children. Many family members were pioneers of Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley. Her great-grandfather lived on Main Street in Pleasanton in the 1870s (where the museum stands now) and her mother was the first person to graduate from Amador High.
After high school, Ms. Rasmussen received her R.N. degree and worked at local hospitals, ending up at General Motors for many years. She was Santa Clara County's Nurse Consultant and after retiring from nursing still filled in at hospitals in emergencies. She combined the two things she loved -- this valley and the people who live here -- into a successful real estate business. In 1955, she had the first of three children and found ways to stretch a dollar and show them their beautiful country. She loved to travel the world, meeting many friends along the way. She enjoyed reading, especially newspapers, visiting with friends and relaxing watching TV. After finding her true love, she lost him three years later to cancer.
Ms. Rasmussen is survived by her children Bruce Corcoran of Pleasanton, Diane Corcoran of Vacaville and Wayne Corcoran of Pleasanton; and three grandchildren. She requested to be cremated and will rest in the Sierra where her former spouse, Richard J. McSwiggin, was placed. A celebration of her life will take place at her home at 2 p.m. July 5.
Madeline Margaret Tonda
Madeline Tonda died June 21 in the company of her family in Pleasanton, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease and dementia. She was 88.
She was born and raised in Santa Barbara, the youngest of five children of Henry and Eugenia Favro. She graduated from Santa Barbara High School and worked in Los Angeles as a secretary during World War II. She met her future husband, Oliver from Renton, Wash., through a blind date arranged by family friends. They married in 1942 and moved to Washington for a brief time before settling in Alhambra, Calif., to begin a family of their own in the 1950s and '60s.
Over time they returned to Santa Barbara and celebrated their 50 th anniversary in 1996. She was an avid tennis player, swimmer and an enthusiastic bowler. She also loved to travel and made several trips to Italy to visit relatives. Family and friends meant everything to her, as well as her Catholic faith.
Ms. Tonda is survived by her two children, Kathy Helfrich of Pleasanton and Gary Tonda of New York City and their spouses Joe and Linda; four grandchildren and their spouses, and two great-grandchildren. Donations can be made to Hope Hospice, 6377 Clark Ave., Suite 100, Dublin 94568. A funeral Mass was celebrated June 26 at St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Pleasanton, with interment at Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara on June 29.
Ruth E. Schaefer
Pleasanton resident Ruth E. Schaefer died in her sleep June 24 at the age of 87.
She was born Nov. 5, 1923, in Berlin, Germany, and moved with her family to Sacramento and then settled in Livermore. She loved animals and enjoyed taking her dog for walks in the park. She supported the Nature Conservancy and the Tri-Valley Haven women's shelter. She also loved her weekly German newspaper and especially doing German crossword puzzles.
She is survived by her children Wolf, Art and Brigette; daughter-in-law Ellen; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Family and friends gathered for a Shiva memorial service at the home of Wolf and Ellen Schaefer on the evening of June 26. Memorial gifts may be sent to either the Nature Conservancy or the Tri-Valley Haven.