43 East Bay Residents Who Made a Difference

We bid farewell to 43 individuals with local roots who died in 2014 and honor the fascinating and full lives they led in this remembrance.


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ROBERT J. BAALMAN, 74. Cal State Hayward professor emeritus of biological sciences. Baalman received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma before beginning work as a high school science teacher and then later teaching at CSU Hayward for 35 years. Known for his sense of humor and love of fishing, Baalman was a favorite professor for thousands of students over the years.

BOBBI JEAN BAKER, 49. Transgender activist and minister. An outspoken and unafraid advocate who championed transgender women of color, Baker was an ordained minister at City Refuge United Church of Christ and a lay minister at Transcending Transgender Ministries. Baker gave freely of herself with various Bay Area nonprofits, serving as a peer advocate, domestic violence specialist, and housing manager.

ANDREW BARBERA, 82. Founder of Barbera-Pangelinan Insurance Agency in Alameda. A lifelong Bay Area resident, Barbera started his business in his garage in 1959, before moving to its present location. Even after retiring, he continued to stay active in the business to help his loyal clients.

DAVE BURGIN, 75. Veteran newspaper editor with knack for pulling troubled publications back from the brink. Although he made his name as a troubleshooter, Burgin served as editor in chief of seven different American newspapers over the course of his career, including the Peninsula Times Tribune, the Alameda Newspaper Group, and the San Francisco Examiner.

ROBERT CONNICK, 97. UC Berkeley professor emeritus of chemistry and former college administrator. Although most known for his research into nuclear magnetic resonance, he also worked remotely from the Berkeley campus on the Manhattan Project, which researched and developed the first atomic bombs. Connick became a principal investigator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1974, a post he held until he retired in 1988.

J. CALIFORNIA COOPER, 82. A prolific, Berkeley-born playwright and author. Cooper was known for six short story collections. Her play Strangers won the 1978 Black Playwright Award, and her short story collection–Homemade Love won the 1989 American Book Award.




ALVIN DARK, 92. Shortstop and former manager of the Oakland Athletics. Dark also led the 1951 New York Giants in their surprise victory that won them the National League pennant. Known as one of the most-skilled shortstops of his day, Dark retired from baseball with a career total of 2,009 hits and 1,064 runs in 1,828 games.

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