Notable People from Menlo Park

•   Joan Baez, folk singer—born 1941 in New York City. Joan attended Palo Alto HS class of ‘58 when her father taught at Stanford. She appeared at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival and a decade later at Woodstock in 1969. In 2007 she won a Grammy Lifetime Award. She lives in Woodside, but has a Menlo Park production company, Diamond & Rust with a PO Box in MP. Elected to the 2017 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

•   Isaac Baron, professional poker player—Born in 1987, Isaac lives in Menlo Park. In 2007, he was the On Line Poker Player of the Year.

•   Greg Buckingham, Olympic swimmer—born 1945 in Riverside and attended M-A HS, class of ’65. He swam for M-A but greatest success was for Stanford where he led team to 1967 NCAA championship. As the 1968 Olympics neared, Greg held the world records in both the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medleys and won a silver medal in the 200-IM. Greg, one of two older brothers of Lindsey Buckingham (see next), died of a heart attack in 1990 at age 45.

•   Lindsey Buckingham, musician—born in Palo Alto in 1949.  Lindsey graduated M-A HS in ‘66 along with Stevie Nicks, with whom he had a brief duo career before they both became members of Fleetwood Mac from 1975-87. After a 10-year solo career, he rejoined in 1997 and, as a member, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

•   Henry Cowell, composer—born in Menlo Park in 1897 to an Irish immigrant father and a bohemian author and poet mother from Illinois, Clarissa Belknap Dixon (included in this section). He began writing music in 1914 and toured as a pianist. He was known as an avant-garde composer and used his Irish lineage in composting The Banshee and other works. He died in New York in 1965.

•   Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants shortstop—born in Mtn View in 1987.  Brandon’s family lived in MP before moving to Pleasanton in the 1990s, Pleasanton’s Foothill HS. He joined the Giants in 2011 and played on the 2012 and 2014 World Series teams.

•   Clarissa Belknap Dixon, feminist and bohemian author—born in 1851 in Illinois, she married writer Harry Cowell, an Irish immigrant, whom she divorced in 1903. Her only published book was Janet and Her Dear Phebe, 1909, a love story about two littler girls who reunite as adults. She had friendships with San Francisco Bohemian authors, including Jack London. She died in 1916 from breast cancer.

•   Marion Dorn, textile designer—born 1896 in Menlo Park. Marion primarily designed wall hangings, carpets and rugs. She attended Stanford 1912-16 and got a degree in graphic arts. She married in 1919 and moved to New York, then onto London before retiring to Tangier, Morocco in 1962, where she died 2 years later.

•   Jeanne DuPrau, author—born in 1944 in San Francisco. Jean is best known for The City of Ember series, which are four mystery novels directed at young people, published between 2003 and 2008.  She lives in Menlo Park. She was interviewed regarding this series by Linda Hubbard Gulker for InMenlo in 2016.

•   Nancy Farmer, author—born in Phoenix in 1941. After graduate studies at Berkeley, she worked in Africa, where he met her husband in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. They married in 1976 and moved to Menlo Park with their son. She writes mostly children and young-adult books along with science fiction and won the National Book Award in 2002. She now lives in Arizona.

•   Charles N. Felton, politician—born in 1832 in Buffalo, New York. Charles arrived in California in 1849 and after a career in business and banking, began serving in the State Assembly in 1878. He moved onto the U.S. House of Representatives and was elected in 1891 to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate for California, caused by the death of George Hearst. He did not seek reelection and died at his home in Menlo Park in 1914. For his brief stint in the Senate, he served along with Leland Stanford, who lived just across the county line at San Francisquito Creek. Both men attended the Holy Trinity Church.

•   Jerry Garcia, founding member of The Grateful Dead—born in SF in 1942. Jerry graduated from Menlo Oaks school. His original band Warlocks in 1965 played at Magoo’s Pizza, 635 Santa Cruz Ave and later at Menlo College. As the Grateful Dead, they first played at Peninsula School. He and other bandmates lived at The Chateau, sw end of Santa Cruz Ave. Jerry died in 1995, one year after the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

•   Vince Guaraldi, jazz musician—born in SF IN 1928. As a member of the Cal Tjader trio, his first record appeared in 1954. In 1959 he began recording his own works and in 1963 won a Grammy for “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” He died in Menlo Park, Feb 6, 1976, age 47.

•   Chris Gulker, photographer, writer—born in New York City 1951. A photo editor for the SF Examiner, Chris became a pioneer in electronic publishing, which including accepting an executive position at Apple Inc. and then being a product manager for the Acrobat family at Adobe Systems. He was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2006 and died in 2010 at his home in Menlo Park, survived by his wife, Linda Hubbard Gulker.

.•   Jack Herrick, founder of wikiHow—born in 1969 in Palo Alto. Jack received a history degree from Stanford and a degree from Dartmouth. He began wikiHow in 2005 and 4 years later, had a readership of 20 million per month. He is co-founder of Luminescent Technologies and lives in Menlo Park.

•   Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., former governor of Utah—John was born 1960 in Redwood City and attended high school in Salt Lake City. He served as Governor of Utah 2005-09 and was the U.S. Ambassador to China 2009-11. His father, Jon M. Huntsman Sr., is a billionaire entrepreneur who enrolled in M-A HS in 1952 when his father worked toward a doctorate degree at Stanford. Once his father was employed, the family moved to Palo Alto, where Jon Sr. transferred to Paly HS.

•   Dave Johnston, USGS volcanologist—born in Chicago in 1949. Dave (David A.) graduated in geology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and did graduate work at the University of Washington.  In 1978, he began working for the USGS, stationed in Menlo Park. When earthquakes first shook Mount St. Helens in March 1980, David contacted a former UW professor and went to work on the mountain as the first geologist there as well as a leader of the USGS team. On May 18, David radioed his USGS co-workers with the message, “This is it!” before the signal was lost. A community center is his hometown of Oak Lawn, Illinois, was renamed in his honor. Locally, a tree has been planted in his honor at Burgess Park.

•   Ken Kesey, author—born in Colorado in 1935, Ken graduated from the Univ. of Oregon in 1957 and attended graduate school at Stanford. Married and living on Perry Lane, just off Santa Cruz Ave., he wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion, both published in the early ‘60s and made into movies. After spending the rest of the ‘60s involved with the Merry Pranksters and the Acid Tests, Kesey returned to Oregon where he died in 2001, age 66.

•  William R. Larson Sr., founder of Round Table Pizza—Bill opened up his Round Table Pizza Parlor on El Camino in Menlo Park in 1959. After establishing a business of corporate and franchise-run locations, he sold the business in 1978. His son Bob owns the Menlo Park and Palo Alto restaurants. Bill died in 2006.

•   Milton Latham, railroad baron and politician—1827-1882, 6th governor of California and U.S. Senator from California. In 1872, bought Thurlow Lodge off what is now Laurel Street and Ravenswood Avenue.

•   Josie Maran, supermodel—born 1978 in Menlo Park. Josie attended Castilleja School in Palo Alto. At 17, she signed with a Los Angeles modeling agency and appeared on the cover of Glamour in 1998. She had small roles in some films and television shows. In 2007, she launched Josie Maran Cosmetics.

•   Abraham Maslow, co-founder of Humanistic Psychology—born in 1908 in Brooklyn. A psychologist, Abraham is best know for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which focuses on self-actualization.  He died in Menlo Park in 1970, ranked as the 10th most cited psychologist of the 20th century by a Review of General Psychology.

•   Bill Mills, firefighter and police officer—Bill (William C.) was born in 1936 and raised in a house his father built in Menlo Park in 1941. He graduated from the first M-A HS class ’54. After serving in the fire department and while active in the police department, Bill passed away from an autoimmune disease in 1970 and was honored with a redwood tree planted in his honor at the Civic Center. His widow, Constance, still lives in Menlo Park.

•   Fred Moore, political activist—born in 1941. Fred was a co-founder of the Homebrew Computer Club in 1975 with Gordon French, created in Menlo Park, and a company seen as central to the history of the personal computer. As a UC Berkeley freshman in 1959, Fred led a hunger strike against the compulsory ROTC program and later became a leader in the draft resistance. He died in an auto accident in 1997 in eastern Arizona.

•   Stevie Nicks, musician-- born in Phoenix in 1948. Stevie graduated M-A HS in ‘66 along with Lindsey Buckingham, with whom he had a brief duo career before they both became members of Fleetwood Mac in 1975. Their album Rumors won a 1978 Grammy. While still a member, she began recording solo in 1981 and continues to do so. The group Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

•   Elizabeth Osborn, equestrian vaulter—born in 1990. Elizabeth started vaulting at age 10 in Woodside. She represented the U.S. at the World Equestrian games in 2006 and in 2007 became the U.S. Equestrian Federation gold level zone champion. In 2008, she won the U.S. Vaulter of the Year Award. She graduated from the College of Wooster in biology in 2012 and was a research intern at Stanford. Elizabeth lives in Menlo Park and is currently a vaulting coach.

•   Ariel Rittenhouse, Olympic diver—born 1990 in Menlo Park and grew up in Santa Cruz. Ariel attended Halstrom, an online HS. She won silver at the 2007 Pan Am Games and placed 4th in the 2008 Olympics on the 3-meter synchronized event. She then went onto swim for USC, scoring points as a freshman for their 2010 NCAA Championship team. Her mother, Sharon Finneran (now Rittenhouse), had won silver in the women’s 400-individual medley in the 1964 Olympics. Ariel’s uncle, Mike Finneran, also a diver, won gold in the 1971 Pan Am Games and placed 5th in the 1972 Olympics. (Atherton has a Rittenhouse Avenue but any relation unknown.)

•   Dick Roth, Olympic swimmer—born 1947 in Palo Alto. While attending M-A HS, class of ’65, Dick won gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley in October 1964 in Tokyo in world record time while competing with acute appendicitis. Dick also held the record in the 200-IM. He later swam for Stanford and was on the 1967 NCAA championship team.

•   Courtney Thorne-Smith, actress—born in San Francisco in 1967. Courtney grew up in Menlo. Her parents divorced when she was 7, leading to her living with both parents separately. She attended M-A HS and graduated from Tamalpais HS in 1985. She first appeared in the 1986 film Lucas, in which Wynona Ryder debuted.  Her most notable television role was a Alison Parker on Melrose Place, 1992-97. She later appeared in seasons 7-12 of Two and a Half Men. In 2007, her novel Outside In was published. In 2008, age 40, Courtney gave birth to her first child.

•   Kavitark “Ram” Shriram, founding investor of Google—born in Madras, India in 1957 and educated at the University of Madras. Ram is a founding board member of Google after serving as an office of He currently resides in Menlo Park. He is also a Stanford trustee and has donated $57 million toward the Shriram Center for Bioengineering & Chemical Engineering. As of the end of 2016, Forbes had his wealth estimated at $1.93 billion.

•   Thorstein Veblen, sociologist known for "Theory of the Leisure Class"—born 1857 in Cato, Wisconsin to Norwegian immigrants. He received a PhD from Yale in 1884. His book, The Theory of the Leisure Class, published in 1899, was critical of “conspicuous consumption,” a phrase he coined as well as “conspicuous leisure.” In 1906, he was fired from the University of Chicago and appointed to an associate professorship at Stanford, resigned 3 years later. Upon retiring from teaching elsewhere, he returned to Menlo Park. One of his two stepdaughters looked after him until he died in his home off Sand Hill Road in August 1929, just before the stock market crashed,

•   John Vesely, musician/songwriter and Secondhand Serenade—John, the son of Czech immigrant, formed Secondhand Serenade in his hometown of Menlo Park in 2004. The band’s name comes from John having written songs for his love, Candace, who became his wife. The serenades that her performed for her were then recorded “secondhand” for the rest of the world.

•   Bob Weir, founding member of The Grateful Dead—born 1947 in San Francisco. Bob was adopted and raised in Atherton. Afflicted with undiagnosed dyslexia, he did poorly in school and was expelled from M-A HS. After meeting Jerry Garcia in Palo Alto New Year’s Eve 1963, he was invited to join in the formation of a band that eventually became The Grateful Dead, with its members inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2016, Weir received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Nashville.

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