Since 1988, Avenidas has been honoring a group of older adults for the contributions they make to the community with the Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement Awards.
Catch the honorees on the front page of the Palo Alto Weekly and read their in-depth profiles starting from page 22.
Gloria Hom is a fourth-generation Californian who has spent her life in pursuit of the best for her family and community. She is an economist, professor, lecturer, businesswoman, community leader and administrator with extensive civic and community involvement. Dr. Hom was awarded a Bachelor’s degree from Dominican College in San Rafael, a Masters degree from San Jose Sate University, and completed a Doctorate in Education in Leadership and Organization at the University of San Francisco. She did further graduate work at Stanford and the University of California.
Gloria loves teaching and taught generations of students for 35 years. She was the Chairman of and Professor in the Economics Department at Mission College and Division Chairman for the Social Science. She was named “Outstanding Educator of America” and Trustee Emeritus for the California State University System, and received the Seal of California in recognition of distinguished and devoted years of service as a member of the California State Board of Education, among other awards.
Gloria attended every Republican National Convention from 1980 through 2008, and was a delegate on the Rules Committee at the 2004 Convention. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the Advisory Council of the White House Conference on Library and Information Services in 1990, and appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the Sallie Mae Board of Directors in 1991.
She participated on the Board of Directors for Avenidas, United Way, Leadership Palo Alto, Girl Scouts, AAUW, and more. She is currently an active member of the Palo Alto Rotary Club, Palo Alto Garden Club, Chi Am, Chinese Historical and Cultural Project, First Congregational Church and more. Her loved ones are thankful for her energy, attention, and time with family, including three daughters, five grandchildren and her large circle of friends.
Robert Kelley was born in San Francisco, raised in Palo Alto, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA in English/Creative Writing. He was a keyboard player in some local bands, a novice at Children’s Theater and an actor at the Community Theater. In 1970, Kelley founded TheatreWorks and his life has been interwoven with the company ever since! The first show TheatreWorks put on was Popcorn, a multi-cultural musical aimed at bridging the gap between generations in a town much like Palo Alto. An overnight sensation, it convinced the City to offer ongoing support, and established the values that define the company today: innovation, diversity, education and a celebration of the human spirit.
First performing throughout the area, then settling at Lucie Stern Theatre and the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, TheatreWorks grew into one of the Bay Area’s most-acclaimed professional theatres and one of the 50 largest regional theatres in the country.
The musical Memphis, first developed then premiered here, won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical. TheatreWorks has produced 430 shows, 70 world premieres, and over 100 new play readings, many of which Kelley directed.
Additionally, Kelley has been a guest director around the country, a lecturer at local colleges, and has won many awards for Directing from Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Theatre Bay Area, and Backstage West, among others. He has also served on the Council for the Arts in Palo Alto and is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Occasionally, Kelley also enjoys mushroom hunting on California’s North Coast with Ev Shiro, his partner of 38 years.
Ginny Lear attributes her lifelong volunteering habit to her parents and larger family. Hard work, simple values, and modesty were the order of the day, always with a sense of humor included. Along with her husband, King, and their two sons, Craig and Todd, they had great years together, just not enough. When Todd, their younger son, died tragically at 17, their community of friends surrounded them with love and support, which reinforced to Ginny the value of being part of where you live, helping out and being there for others. Following that awful loss and life changing experience, Ginny decided she needed to work at something new. Aided by the Career Action Center, then based in Palo Alto, Betsy Collard took Ginny’s volunteer resume and created one that allowed her to be hired. From that first part time job, she gained the experience to be hired by the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce.
Ginny has volunteered tirelessly for numerous organizations over the years, notably the Rotary Clubs of both Los Altos and Palo Alto, the Foothill College Foundation Commission, and early on, with the El Camino Hospital Auxiliary, to name a few. She co-founded, with Penny Lave, the Los Altos Community Foundation’s “LEAD” program, which continues to this day, to encourage residents to know and become better involved in their town. The Foothill College Foundation Commission has also been an important commitment of Ginny’s, as she has worked with the Commissioners, fundraising for the college. Their major event last year, celebrating Dick Henning’s 50 years at the Celebrity Forum, raised over $100,000 that night to support student innovation projects. Additionally, Ginny was a Fundraising Co-Chair with Bob Grimm to raise the initial $1.65M of $3.5M total for a new Los Altos History Museum, which opened in 2001.
While the recognition and awards she’s received over the years are always enjoyed, what truly motivates this giver is helping other people and feeling good along the way, sharing her abilities and learning new things.
Ward Paine has fond memories of his childhood, getting a BSE in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University, and working jobs such as a camp counselor, on a commercial fishing boat and in the coal mines of West Virginia and factories in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ohio. Next, he joined the US Navy, went to Officers Candidate School and was assigned as an Air Intelligence Officer to a squadron of patrol planes in Washington State. Ward met Mary Pearson in Washington, DC, and they got married, upon which she joined him when the squadron went to Iwakuni, Japan.
At the end of his USN tour, Ward joined a college classmate in Palo Alto who was starting a new tech business in magnetic tape drives. They obtained financing locally and when the company was sold, Ward entered the small business financing business. His first efforts in financing were associated with the Ocean, and the business was called Ocean Science Capital. As Silicon Valley grew, the business grew more diverse, the name changed to OSCCO Ventures and along with his partner, Steve Halprin, Ward became one of the area’s earliest Venture Capitalists, growing with the industry until they finally closed shop in 2000.
Outside business, Ward helped start and served on the Board of the Peninsula Conservation Center (later combined with Acterra) and then formed a non-governmental organization called the Peninsula Open Space Trust. Other boards Ward has served on include Avenidas (when it was the Senior Coordinating Council of Palo Alto), the Amazon Conservation Team, and the Board of the Archbold Biological Station. Of all these memories, his fondest are of the time he’s spent with his wife, three children and 10 grandchildren.
Mary Pearson Paine started life in Sheridan, Wyoming, but soon her architect father was called into military service at the beginning of WWII, and the family began moving annually, from Tacoma, WA, to the Carolinas, Kentucky and Georgia, returning to Wyoming after Pearl Harbor. Then after the war, they were the first dependents to be deployed to war-torn Manila, then Hokkaido, Japan. Mary attended Carlton College in Minnesota for a year before she joined her family in Munich, Germany. With extension courses and three semesters at the University of Geneva, she was able to graduate from Carleton in 1957, and took a job with the newly formed National Security Agency in DC where she worked decoding Russian during the Sputnik era.
This is where she met and married Ward Paine and they left for naval deployment to Iwakuni, Japan, where Mary taught English to Japanese students. Once settled in to Palo Alto, Mary volunteered with Navy Relief and was the Chair of Volunteers for the Palo Alto Red Cross. As the family grew, they moved to Atherton where they lived for 18 years. She was active with Trinity Parish School and served on the Board of the newly formed Phillip Brooks School. She also served on the first lay Board of the Woodside Priory School and served on the Vestry of Christ Church, Portola Valley.
Mary had also joined the Junior League of Palo Alto and during a research project, discovered a small non-profit called the Peninsula Conservation Center, formed to meet the growing interest in the environment. She served on their board and formed a spin-off which became the Environmental Volunteers (EV), introducing natural history and environmental science to school children. Mary also wrote grants and co-chaired the second funding phase of the restoration of the former SeaScout building to become the new EcoCenter and EV headquarters. Mary has been a member of the Woodside Atherton Garden Club since 1990 and President from ’97-’99. One of Mary’s favorite pastimes has been exploring the equestrian trails of Woodside and Portola Valley. She feels blessed to live in this beautiful area where she enjoys tennis, golf, opera, symphony, ballet, theater, friends and family.
Mike and Ellen Turbow graduated from Stanford in 1962 and then returned to Palo Alto in 1972 when Ellen began law school at Stanford and Mike continued his medical training as a Fellow in Medical Oncology. Mike became involved with end of life care and the hospice movement in 1977. He was involved in establishing Mid-Peninsula Hospice, which has since expanded and is now known as Pathways Hospice. He volunteered as a Hospice Medical Director for almost 20 years, and in 1992 he received the One from the Heart Award from Mid-Peninsula Hospice. Mike testified multiple times before the California Legislature and played an important role in the passage of the End of Life Option Act, which allows medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients. He still volunteers with Compassion and Choices, helping individuals deal with end of life issues as well as making presentations to community and professional groups.
In addition to being a board certified medical oncologist for 35 years, Mike is a founding member and past president of ANCO, the Association of Northern California Oncologists, as well as being a founding member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He served on the Clinical Faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine for over 25 years and still teaches first and second year medical students. Mike was on the Medical Advisory Board as well as a volunteer with Breast Cancer Connections, now Bay Area Cancer Connections, for many years and in 2004 was given the Volunteer Special Recognition Award by the organization.
In addition to his medically related activities, Mike has been active in the Jewish community. He and Ellen have been members of Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City for 45 years, where he served on the Board of Directors. In addition, Mike has been a volunteer with the Jewish Community Fund and Jewish Family and Children Services. In conjunction with the California Native Plant Society and California State Parks, Mike directs the Carmel River State Beach Habitat Restoration Program in Monterey County.
Ellen and Mike Turbow met as undergraduates at Stanford-in-Germany in 1960, and they have been married for 55 years. They have one son, Jason, who is a writer; a daughter-in-law, Laura, who is a photographer; and two grandchildren, Mozi (13) and Reuben (10). They have lived in Palo Alto since 1972. Ellen attended Stanford University, graduating in 1962, and received a Masters Degree in 1963. While Mike was in medical training at UCSF, Ellen taught high school English for a few years, worked for the Federal government in Community Action which was part of Lyndon Johnson’s Poverty Program, and then attended law school, receiving a JD in 1976. She was a partner with the law firm of Blase, Valentine and Klein, specializing in estate planning and leading seminars in estate planning for women.
Their younger son, Matthew, who died in 2012, was a special needs child who attended school at the Children’s Health Council. Because of Ellen’s involvement with children with disabilities, she joined the CHC Board of Directors for two terms and later the Board of Directors of Abilities United, where she also participated on the Capital Campaign Committee. With the Issues Committee of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Ellen advocated for better coordination of services for families with disabled children, and in coordination with Abilities United, helped convene a two-county conference on the issue. Her other non-profit work included the Board of Directors and Chair of the Palo Alto Community Fund, Board of Advisors of the Palo Alto Community Fund, and Board of Directors, Chair, and teaching docent for the Environmental Volunteers.
One of the most satisfying results of her non-profit work was the restoration of the Sea Scout Building in the Palo Alto Baylands. With other dedicated volunteers, Ellen worked on the capital campaign and participated in the transformation of a derelict building into the beautiful EcoCenter, which is now a nature center and headquarters of the Environmental Volunteers. In her spare time, Ellen enjoys traveling, hiking, gardening, cooking, and being a grandma.