A Glimpse of their Lives
Having had enough of war, Burch convinced an army radio station to hire him. At age 19, he became director of the army radio station in Osaka.When Jim Burch considers the pursuits that earned him a Lifetimes of Achievement award, his attitude is characteristically humble.
"If I had a lifetime of achievement, it's because of her," he said, gesturing to his wife since 1950, Wileta. He credits his community, not personal actions, for the bulk of his achievements.
Born in Evanston, Ill., to a World War I veteran and a religious pacifist, Burch grew up in the shadow of war, which, along with the dangers of nuclear power, was to become his greatest concern later in life. Burch was drafted into the military in 1944, serving in a South Pacific unit that didn't see combat. In the devastating aftermath of two atomic bombings, Burch's unit climbed up Wakayama Beach in Japan to participate in occupying the country. He toured the streets of Osaka and Hiroshima and found them to be strikingly similar."Block after block after block was just rubble. Hiroshima didn't look too
Growing up, Betsy Collard moved 19 times and went to 21 different schools. Adaptability was important.
Throughout her years of service, Collard has worked tirelessly to help others adapt to changes in the ever-evolving world of Silicon Valley, in addition to her roles as community volunteer and educational administrator.
Collard moved to California from New York during high school, attended Scripps College in southern California and then went to grad school (studying counseling) at Stanford University, which subsequently hired her as assistant dean of women. She was working as acting dean of students when, in 1965, a new University of California campus, set in the coastal redwood forests of Santa Cruz, opened.
"I was the token woman," she said of being offered the position of associate director of student affairs. "It was an incredible time, being part of something brand new, with wonderful professors. It was exhilarating."
But two years later she was moving on again, getting
As a child, Jan Fenwick loved the sunshine and the outdoors. She would roam the woods behind her home in rural Dayton, Ohio, climbing trees and even conversing with imaginary friends.
Nowadays, her favorite pastime still involves a close connection to nature. She enjoys taking children on hikes in the pastures of Stanford or on learning expeditions to the salt marshes. She's done so for nearly 35 years for Environmental Volunteers, a local nonprofit that gives children hands-on environmental education.
"I used to be a teacher, and I love the fact that I continue learning with kids," she said.
"Kids are excited and appreciative of the subjects we cover, and it's our hope that through this, they will become stewards."
When Fenwick was growing up, her parents were heavily involved with the community. "My father was a judge, and he was very giving and had all kinds of civic involvements. My mother was a psychologist, and she volunteered all her
As the founder of Foothill College's Celebrity Forum Speaker Series, Dick Henning has hobnobbed with everyone from movie legend Cary Grant to the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But it's the education he had received growing up in Taft, Calif., a rustic yet wealthy oil town west of Bakersfield, that served as early inspiration for his own long career of educational and community service.
It "formed the foundation of where I am today," Henning said. "I appreciate it more and more."
Henning worked summers in the Taft-area oil fields before earning a "teeny" boxing scholarship to San Jose State University. He eventually completed two master's degrees and a doctorate in education administration.
After working seven years as a high school English and speech teacher in Sunnyvale, Henning said he "jumped" at the chance in 1967 to apply for the job of Foothill College's director of student services.
At the time, the college was struggling with dwindling interest in its student-services card. Job seeker Henning
In 2007, three years into Carolyn Reller's battle with a brain tumor, she and her husband, Bill, were approached to be honored with the Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement award.
As board president of Avenidas decades earlier, Carolyn Reller had been among the creators of the award -- and firmly disagreed later when the qualifying age was dropped from 70 to 65.
"She was a person of a lot of things, and one of them was principle, sometimes expressed as stubbornness," Bill Reller recalled of his wife, who died a year ago at 68.
"When they approached us for the award in 2007, I said, 'You know, Carolyn, this might be our last chance.'
"The handwriting was on the wall," he said, referring to her terminal diagnosis. "It was a hard thing to say to her.
"But she said no, she was not yet 70 -- it didn't make any difference."
This year, when Bill Reller again was approached for the award, Avenidas agreed that his wife, posthumously, could be honored along with him.
The eclectic decor of Veronica Tincher's retirement residence in Palo Alto reflects the diversity of her life experiences -- and of her life rooted in the Midpeninsula.
Among the exotic bric-a-brac and European paintings, a pair of prominent watercolors grace the eastern wall of the living room. Impressionistic in style, they show scenes of the garden of her childhood home in Los Altos.
"I loved my mother's garden as a child -- I would run around and pick the fruit off the cherry and peach trees," Tincher said.
The watercolors were done by a Hungarian friend of the family. Tincher was born of Hungarian parents who had moved to Koenigsberg, the capital of East Prussia, a small region east of Germany.
"The artist and my father were in the Austro-Hungarian army together during World War I," Tincher said.
Through the sponsorship of the Rockefeller and Jewish Community foundations, Tincher's family came to the states in 1934, living in St. Louis, Mo. In 1938, the family moved to Los Altos after her father, formerly a professor at