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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Harold Everton, R.I.P.


My dad, Harold M. Everton was born on January 2, 1924, in Grants Pass, Oregon, to Percy Thomas and Grace Josephine (Hiller) Everton. He was the second youngest of eight children and was the last to go when he passed away this past Tuesday (March 3, 2015) at the age of 91. He also outlived most of his friends.

My dad attended Grants Pass High where he played football, basketball, tennis, and track. After high school, he was drafted into the US Army and helped with the liberation of Normandy. Before heading to Europe, he spent some time in DC where he attended Georgetown University, an experience he treasured all his life. In the war he was awarded the bronze star for saving the lives of members of his squad by leading them from behind enemy lines back to their platoon "under heavy enemy artillery, mortar and machine gun fire." In so doing he was shot in the leg for which he received a purple heart (and a several month stay in a local hospital). In writing home to tell mom and dad of his adventures, he didn't get around to mentioning the bullet wound until the 5th page of the letter.

After being discharged from the Army in January 1946, he enrolled in the University of Oregon where he joined Theta Chi fraternity, majored in accounting, and married Mary Ellen Carolan, also from Grants Pass. He remained a life-long Ducks fan, suffering through many football seasons in the 60s and 70s before Rich Brooks turned the football program around and finally giving Duck fans something to cheer about. Thank goodness Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly, and Mark Helfrich carried on the tradition.

After graduating from Oregon in 1948, my dad worked as an accountant for the State of Oregon and then for a local Grants Pass CPA firm. In 1951 he and Mary Ellen moved to San Jose where he joined the international accounting firm, Peat Marwick (now known as KPMG). At the same time he began working on a law degree, first at Santa Clara University and then at Golden Gate. After graduating in 1955, he passed the Bar and eventually left Peat to practice law, something that kept him busy for the next 50 years. By the time he retired, he was considered one of the best estate tax attorneys in Santa Clara County (although he was also known for throwing a file or two at his secretaries...)

My dad loved the outdoors, which he satisfied by playing golf, fishing, and hunting. He also loved animals, which probably helps explain why his home was chock full of dogs, cats, and horses. It might also help explain why he never shot a deer while hunting. My working theory is that he went "hunting" because he loved camping with his friends and riding his horses in the backcountry. He was too good of a shot to keep missing all those years.

Once I began showing an interest in sports, my dad coached and helped with all of my youth teams. He was a great Dad. He also served as Los Gatos Little League's Treasurer, not only while I was in the league but also long after I played my final game at Balzar Field. When I played sports at Los Gatos High, my dad was forced to sit on the sidelines, but he kept himself busy by snapping lots of photos (a trait I apparently inherited) and sharing them with anyone who cared (and perhaps with a few who didn't). And when I played baseball at Santa Clara University, my dad and mom seldom missed a game, traveling with the team whenever they could. He snapped a lot of photos during my four years there too.

My dad was beside himself when his grandchildren, Brendan and Tara, were born. He worshipped the ground they walked on (and vice versa). When they were young he babysat them, and when they got older he attended almost all of their baseball, football, soccer, and volleyball games, at least up until health problems prevented him from doing so. He was a great Grandpa. When Brendan was accepted into the University of Oregon, the buttons on Harold's shirt nearly popped he was so proud, and he carried a copy of Brendan's acceptance letter around with him to show his friends. No doubt, he would have felt the same if he could've lived a couple more years to witness Tara getting accepted and heading off to college.

In recent years, he unfortunately suffered from dementia, which eventually forced him to retire from his law practice. Even to the end, though, he knew members of his family when they came to visit. He is survived by me, my mom, Mary Ellen (who remained his best friend), my wife, Deanne, Tara and Brendan, and his favorite nephews, Eldon, Gary, John, Jon, and MacDuff. He will be sorely missed.

Note: A memorial service will be held at First Congregational Church of San Jose (1980 Hamilton Avenue, at the corner of Leigh and Hamilton) on March 24th at 2:00pm. A reception will follow at the home of Sean, Deanne, Brendan, and Tara Everton.

13 comments:

  1. So sorry for your loss. This was beautiful to read, and I learned a lot. So thankful for the life you shared.

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  2. Sean, sorry to hear about your dad's passing and sending good thoughts to you and the family.

    Matt Montano

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  3. Aristotle said, "No man is the equal of his father." I wasn't. My father died thirteen years ago and I miss him still.

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  4. Sean, I am sorry to hear this news. Heartfelt writing--you truly captured the spirit of the man.

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  5. Hail to Hal for a life well lived. I enjoyed the heck out of him. Greg Maggipinto

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  6. Thanks for all the kind thoughts

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  7. Sean - Sorry to hear of your loss. My condolences. He was truly devoted to his family and friends. It was an honor to have worked w/ Harold at E&O. The running joke when I was hired was that he'd be "retiring soon" ... it was some 20+ years later and he was stll going strong. He will be missed both by his family, friends and the community he serviced so well.

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  8. Sean, I had a great fondness for your Dad. I really enjoyed working with him, he was brilliant and a lot of fun! I was one of those secretaries... you might recall. My heart felt condolences to you and the family. Teresa Austin

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  9. It is with a very heavy heart that I have learned of Harold's passing. I wish I had known back in March, so I could have attended his memorial, but I am so glad that I had two years of working and getting to know him. I have very fond memories of your dad. He was such a character to say the least. I know he lived a long, wonderful life. He will surely be missed and forever in the heart and mind. -Mishele-

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  10. I'm so sorry to have just learned about your fathers passing. I worked for him many (many) years ago, and despite being on the other end of a few of those airborn files, I always had a tremendous respect and a soft place in my heart for him. He was a character(!) with a deep love for his family and community that was apparent to all who knew him. For many years after I had moved on, he still invited me to the E&O Holiday Luncheon and I was always so touched to still be included. He crossed my mind today, and a google search led me here. My condolances to your family. - Diane (McKinley) Robson

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