Wed11262014

Obituaries

Sheldon A. Block, 90: Beloved photographer, community supporter

Sheldon A. Block, whose good deeds and photos of Los Altos community life were well-known for decades, died June 27 after health complications. Mr. Block was 90.

As founder and owner of Sheldon of Los Altos, Mr. Block was an in-demand wedding photographer who won numerous awards for his work during his 40 years in Los Altos.

The studio continues to operate today.

A native of Chicago, Mr. Block married his high school sweetheart, Davia Geliebter, in 1943. She later became his business partner at the photography studio. They were married 66 years.

He moved his family to California in 1961, where the talented engineer took a job with Lockheed in Sunnyvale. But family members said photography was his first love and passion. Mr. Block took early retirement from Lockheed in 1977 to devote full time to photography.

He retired from the photography business in 1995.

Mr. Block also was known for his community good will. According to a 1986 Town Crier article celebrating his 25 years in the business, Block volunteered at Los Altos High School, Foothill College, the Association for the Blind, the Los Altos Conservatory Theatre and several churches.

He often took photos free of charge, such as providing publicity stills for the local community theater. And he felt it inappropriate to charge grieving families for copies and prints of photos of deceased relatives.

“I feel that if a person is in a place, a town, they should help out wherever they can,” he said.

Mr. Block received an honorary baton in 1971 from members of the Los Altos High track relay team for a photograph he took that allowed the team to qualify for an important meet. A judge’s mistake resulted in the team being disqualified, but Mr. Block’s film, developed overnight, proved otherwise.

Mr. Block loved sports. He was a San Francisco 49ers season ticket holder for more than 30 years. One of his favorite pictures was a shot taken with Joe Montana at the studio. He also loved gardening and, most of all, family.

“Dad taught us about passion, strong work ethics and the importance of loyalty,” family members said in a statement. “His humor and love for life was evident until the last moment of his life. …

Known as Uncle Shel to so many, he always went out of his way to make you smile and make you feel part of the family. Dad’s life should be honored with joy not sorrow as he lived it to the fullest and as he always told us – ‘Never sweat the small things.’”

Mr. Block was preceded in death by his father Maurice, mother Eva, younger brother Robert and wife Davia.

Mr. Block is survived by daughters Sharon Block Gantman (Mel) and Marsha Block Colendich (Barry), son Steve Block (Kim) and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family prefers donations to Guide Dogs for the Blind, Mr. Block’s favorite charity.

Per his wishes, there will be no services.

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