March 28, 1921 – August 8, 2017
Helen died peacefully at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View on Tuesday, August 8th.
Helen was born in San Jose in 1921, a third generation California, and the daughter of Clarice and John “Paul” Shearer. They and her brother Clyde lived primarily in Atherton, Mountain View and Los Altos. They moved to Pismo Beach for a short time where her father helped build Highway One as part of the Irving Ryder Paving Company. Her uncle, Irving Ryder, was a San Jose City Engineer and Santa Clara County Surveyor.
At Mountain View High School, Helen and Clyde formed lifelong friendships. Several girls called themselves the Dix Ingenues (DI’s for short) and got together every year for decades. Besides Helen, there was Dotty Hoffman Stillens, Miriam Ellsworth Temple, Jean Ellsworth Frick, Lucille Maritz Davis, Virginia Barkley Gejaris, Shirley Shelby Loomer, Peggy Atkinson Johnson, June Gross Nash and Elaine Marcetti Shearer (who married Helen’s brother and is the last surviving DI).
After attending San Jose State, Helen found a job as administrative assistant to the owner of Permanente Quarry. She fell in love with a young flyboy, Lt. Carl Barnes, and in 1941 they had a double wedding with her brother and Elaine. They lived in New Mexico while Carl trained as an Army/Air Force pilot, until he was deployed overseas. When he was killed in WWII, she moved back with her parents.
After awhile she met an old friend from Palo Alto High School, Willard Krogh, and they started dating and eventually married. They lived in Berkeley while Willie worked in a clothing store and In 1948 their son, Derek, was born. In 1950 they moved to Los Altos where Willie became a master carpenter and they built a home beside the railroad tracks. Her parents moved next door. The families remained in Los Altos as it changed from orchards to suburbs.
The Kroghs spent summers in Twain Harte with friends; or travelled to the Black Mountain Family Ranch (actually located on Mount Day) which Helen’s grandfather had originally homesteaded. Folks would camp out in rustic cabins, hiking, relaxing and enjoying the scenery and wild animals.
Helen would often fix snacks for her son’s friends, who remained fond of her and continued to visit many years later. She also enjoyed music and when her son, Derek became a professional banjo player, she was his biggest fan.
Besides friendships, Helen’s hobbies included collecting antiques, gardening, garage-sailing and going to the beach. She loved the excitement at the Art, Wine and Pumpkin Festivals. And she loved pets, especially house cats. More than one neighbor’s cat adopted Helen instead of going home at night. She had a four foot toy stuffed leopard, Tige, who she dressed up with seasonal holiday sunglasses and hats. She was also active with Saint Simons Catholic Church benefits, especially their annual rummage sale.
In later years, Helen became a caregiver for her parents and husband.
She had a great fashion sense and was known for her style and love of bright colors. She could make anythings look snazzy. She had a strong zest for life, a wonderful laugh and she rarely complained. If she got in trouble (like being locked out of the house) she would giggle and exclaim ”what a wonderful adventure” as she and her friends figured out how to get back in.
Special thanks to her caregivers, Lesieli, Lani, Lavinia and Lolo for making her comfortable in her later life.
She is survived by her son, Derek, and his wife, Paula, who will always love her very much.
A viewing will be held on Tuesday, August 29th, from 5pm-9pm at Spangler Mortuary located at 399 S San Antonio Road, Los Altos CA 94022