Obituary: Donald Francis Kendall Oct. 4, 2020


Donald Francis Kendall passed away peacefully in Los Alamos, New Mexico on Oct. 4, 2020, shy of his 86th birthday. He was a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather. He and his wife of 63 years, Frances, raised 5 children in the SF Bay Area, first in Oakland, then in Concord, CA.

In 2007 they moved away from their home of many decades in the Bay Area to Los Alamos, NM to retire and be near their son and oldest child, Gregory.

Donald was born the oldest child, and only son, to Ellen and Donald Kendall Sr. in Ross, CA in Marin County, CA near Sausalito, but grew up traveling up and down along the Pacific Coast and beyond while he and his family worked as migrant farm workers picking crops and, at times, living on the beach in a tent along with other families in Southern California during a housing shortage.

He often spoke fondly of these times, talking about the joys of having the Pacific Ocean as his childhood backyard, and frolicking alongside “sea dogs” (as he referred to seals) in the Pacific ocean. It was here that he first developed a lifelong love of the outdoors and camping, which he shared with his children. He, his parents, and his two younger sisters, Mary and Sylvia, lived in many other places up and down the California and Oregon coast as well as Colorado, Washington State and Michigan. He graduated from Santa Barbara Catholic High School in 1953.

Donald began working at the Woolworth Co. in 1952 at age 17, and was eventually promoted to associate manager of a store. He met his wife, Frances, while pricing merchandise at a competing drug store she worked at, Cornell’s, on Fremont Street in Las Vegas, NV. They were married in 1957.

He was drafted into the Army in 1957, was sent to the Army Information School in Long Island Sound where he acted in a few skits with his fellow serviceman, actor George Segal. He returned to working at Woolworth’s after serving 2 years in the Army during peace time. He spent most of his career at the San Francisco Woolworth store on the corner of Market and Powell, where he was the candy buyer for the candy counter, as well as other departments. He occasionally was interviewed for local and national news about candy trends. He retired in 1997 after 44 years of faithful service.

He was a sweet man whose Catholic faith informed his life choices. He loved nothing more than spending time around the dinner table with family, attending church on Sundays, working diligently on his beautiful yard with his wife, enjoying the fruits of his labors poolside, and taking comfort in prayer and his faith, which served him well throughout his life working for the Woolworth Corporation, chasing shoplifters down Market Street to retrieve stolen goods, and as he battled prostate cancer, and then Alzheimer’s.

Donald will be remembered as one who never bragged, boasted, or complained, and always lived his life with a gentle dignity, humility, and sense of humor.

He enjoyed many hobbies including camping, downhill snow skiing, water skiing, sailing, square dancing with the Oakland Square Dance Club, enjoyed working in the yard in his homes in Oakland and Concord, CA, singing in the St. Bonaventure Church Choir in Concord, CA, and with the Los Alamos Lads of Enchantment. He also enjoyed traveling around the world including a world tour of Europe, a tour of the British Isles, visiting Malaysia, Indonesia, and a month in Singapore to visit his daughter, Monica, and her family, and a trip to Alaska to visit his daughter Barbara and her family. As well as many cruises to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, and beyond.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Frances (Long); son Gregory Kendall (of Los Alamos, NM) and his wife Karen; daughter Melissa Kendall (of Okinawa, Japan,) her children Ryan Darfler, Kendall Toomey and Jenna Darfler; daughter Monica Goodstein (of Colorado Springs, CO) and her husband David, her children Rexford Goodstein, Francesca Goodstein, and Sophie Goodstein, daughter Barbara Kendall (of San Francisco, CA,) and her children Leonardo Kendall and Julian Solovyov; and daughter Suzanne Osborne (of San Francisco, CA) and her husband Matthew.

Predeceased by his parents and sisters Mary and Sylvia, Donald will be missed by many other friends and relatives who loved him dearly.

There will be a Celebration of Life as a small ash scattering ceremony takes place in the San Francisco Bay on Saturday, July 9th at 5:00 pm from the Blue Runner Boat at 350 Harbor Drive, Sausalito, CA. At a later time, some ashes will be scattered privately in Yosemite to be mingled with those of his wife.

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