Albert Michael Maher passed away peacefully on April 25, 2010, at home in Aptos, California, of complications from prostate cancer. He was 88. Mr. Maher, known as "Al" to his friends and family, was born on October 11, 1921, in San Jose, California, to Edward and Ethel Maher. He spent his childhood in San Jose, San Francisco, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
After graduating from high school, he joined the Merchant Marines in 1942, and served on transport supply ships during World War II. He saw duty in the Atlantic, Italy, and the Pacific Islands. Al returned to college after the war, graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in History, and began teaching high school. In 1955, he married June Wilkin, and had four children.
Al was a man of wide-ranging talents and interests. He enjoyed writing and music. He loved nature, especially trees, and planted many of them along the streets of San Jose. Al loved seamanship and the ocean, and delighted in taking his hand-built kayak out in the bay. He was a lifelong member of the Sierra Club and led many hikes in the high Sierras and the coastal mountains. He built a cabin in Foresta, near Yosemite National Park, where he and his family spent many wonderful vacations together. He also built a home in Aptos, moving his family there in 1968.
Al retired in 1986, and devoted himself to a number of volunteer organizations, including the Gray Bears, the St. Francis Soup Kitchen (his turkey soup is legendary), and the Red Cross. Al was an active member of the
Unitarian Fellowship in Aptos. He was an extremely kind, caring man with humanitarian values, who lived in a simple manner, true to his beliefs. He rode his bicycle rather than drive whenever possible. Al participated in community and international activism, traveling widely in Japan, Russia, Europe, India, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. to demonstrate for peace and the environment and to exchange knowledge with other cultures.
Al is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, June, and four children, Carolyn Occhipinti of Portland, OR, Warren (Cherie) of Portland, OR, Grant (Ann), of San Jose, and Norman (Natali), of South Lake Tahoe, as well as nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends who loved him dearly. Al's ashes will be scattered according to his wishes. In lieu of flowers, you may take a hike in the wilderness with your children or other loved ones, or make a donation to the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club, or to Heartland Hospice Services in Santa Cruz.
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