Photo By:

Longtime Los Altos Resident


Los Altos lost one of its long time residents on Sunday November 25, 2012. Neil passed away at his home after a long battle with multiple health issues, surrounded by his wife of 63 years, Adele and their three daughters, Sharon, Sandra, and Linda.

Born August 30, 1929 in San Francisco to Dick & Dolly Van Straaten. Neil was the eldest of three children, sister Betty Jane DiTomaso of Los Altos and brother Donald van Straaten of Morgan Hill. The family moved to Los Altos in 1939 to join his grandfather N.J.C. Van Straaten at the “ranch” on El Monte Road, which he bought in 1926. Neil attended Los Altos Grammar School and graduated from Bellarmine College Prep in 1947. He followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps and became an apprentice carpenter. In 1948, he met Adele Casey at a skating rink in San Francisco and they were married the following year at Mission Delores Church.

He built their first home in Los Altos and 3 years later built a larger home as the family was growing. He was a superintendent at Dickman Construction in Mountain View when he retired in 1983.

In retirement, Neil and Adele enjoyed motorhome travels and fishing. When health issues slowed him down, Neil pursued a very in depth research of his family tree. Being very proficient with the computer and the Internet he was able to trace his family roots back to the 1700’s.

Neil’s family legacy includes wife Adele, daughters Sharon and husband Brigadier General(ret) Kevin Ellsworth of Shingle Springs, Sandy Mitro of Los Altos, Linda Mosto of Granite Bay, 7 grandchildren Jamie Ellsworth, Jodie Tollefson, Jonathan, David and Tim Mitro ,Megan and Melissa Mosto; 2 great-grandchildren Samantha Ellsworth and Kevin Gallagher.

In accordance with his wishes, services were held privately.

Obituary Policy

The Town Crier's obituary publishing rates are $3 per line with a minimum charge of $50.  Photos may be included at $40 per photo (in addition to the $50.00 minimum charge).

Deadline: Thursday at noon, for publication the following Wednesday (6 days later). If a holiday falls within that week, check with us about special publication deadlines. 

For more information and to submit obituaries, email

The Town Crier is not responsible for obituary content. Paid obituaries are provided by families or mortuaries. 

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos