Resident of Palo Alto
Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Army during World War II after which he majored in English at San Francisco State on the GI Bill and then became a journalist for the Ukiah newspaper.
His career as an editor began in the aerospace industry in Southern California where he gained experience and several lifelong friends. Lockheed brought him back to Northern California.
Adventure always beckoned in the form of long “leaves of absence”: trekking through Europe, skiing in Aspen, sailing on a schooner. Later, he became Chief Editor at IDA (Institute for Defense Analyses) in Washington DC for four years before returning to California for good in 1972 and working as a consultant on transportation, environmental and technology assessment issues.
The next phase of his life included co-authoring a book on The Future of the Automobile. And he wrote three books on science for the layman (John Wiley & Sons). The last in the series, published in 1997, was Heisenberg Probably Slept Here, a layman’s guide to physics.
A new adventure in 1987 was this Irish bachelor’s marriage to Carolyn Fratessa in Termonfeckin, Ireland with Carolyn’s cousins in attendance. He is survived by his wife of almost 27 years and an extended family of great friends, new and old; his brother, Jim, prede¬ceased him.
He spoke of science and literature with equal joy. We will miss his quick wit and intelligence. He was unique.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Rosalie Rendu Center, 1760 Bay Road, East Palo Alto, CA 94303 or Abilities United, 525 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306. A memorial mass will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Palo Alto on Thursday July 31 at 4 pm with reception at Allied Arts in Menlo Park to follow. Burial will be private.