Cover photo for Alice Delwiche's Obituary
Alice Delwiche Profile Photo
1918 Alice 2014

Alice Delwiche

October 13, 1918 — May 20, 2014

Alice Kerr Delwiche died peacefully on May 20 after a long illness. She was 95. Born in 1918 in San Luis Obispo, her father, Norman Kerr was a hydraulic engineer who in his youth drove an 18-mule team in Death Valley, and witnessed first-hand the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and eruption of Mount Lassen. Her mother, Rachel Minerva Bledsoe held a teaching credential from Los Angeles Normal School, now UCLA. Alice lived briefly in Davis as early as 1926, but spent much of her childhood living in the Berryessa Valley (now Lake Berryessa). She received her Bachelor's degree in Zoology from UC Berkeley in 1940. Continuing on at Cal, she met Constant C. ("Connie") Delwiche, future UC Davis Professor of Geobiology, Major General, and her husband of 58 years while both were enrolled as graduate students. During World War II, Alice watched her best friend, a Japanese-American, interred at Granada in Colorado. She turned down an offer from the National Park Service to become a Yosemite Park Ranger, choosing instead to accept a position as a school teacher in Dinuba. In 1943 Connie, then the adjutant for the 88th Glider Infantry in Ft. Meade, South Dakota, asked Alice for her hand in marriage. Alice flew to South Dakota, and they were married on June 21, 1943. Their first child, Norman, was born in North Carolina while Connie was waiting to ship over for combat in Europe. Alice then returned to California, and spent the remainder of the war living in Twain Harte. Following the war Alice continued to teach high school in the Central Valley, with her students including several combat fighter pilots recently returned from the Pacific Theater, who presented an interesting disciplinary challenge. She also coached the school tennis team. After demobilization Connie completed his doctorate and soon accepted a position on the Berkeley Faculty, so Alice quit teaching and the family grew by three more boys: Mark, Joseph, and James. In 1956-57 the family spent a year of Sabbatical Leave in Piracicaba, Brazil, where Alice, who already spoke basic Spanish, learned Portuguese. Two more boys, Richard and Charles, followed their return from Brazil. Alice, Connie, and the five younger boys moved to Davis in 1963, where Connie had joined the Faculty. Civil Rights law had increased the need for teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL), and shortly after moving to Davis Alice, who was trilingual and had a teaching credential, accepted a position in the Winters School District. Starting out part-time, she quickly moved to full-time. Upon arriving to teach elementary ESL, Alice discovered that the school district held a special 8th-grade graduation ceremony for Spanish-speaking children, on the assumption that the children of migrant laborers would soon join their parents in the orchards. Horrified, she let it be known that she expected all of her students to work to achieve their full potential, and many of her former students (and their children) are now successful professionals working throughout California. She also used her language skills to participate in "International House," and "Connection Club" (formerly "Chatter Club"), an organization dedicated to providing companionship and community for the spouses of married students, an activity she participated in for nearly 50 years. While working full time, she spent her evenings working on a Master's degree in counseling. After finishing that degree she became a counselor, and eventually the Vice Principal at Wolfskill continuation school, where she was a tireless champion of the disempowered. Never one to be idle, in the mid 1970's Alice converted the old family home on 1st Street in Davis into "Daphne's Roost", a Bed and Breakfast Inn (named for a duck), which she ran while also working full-time and cooking a family meal every evening. As her younger children grew up, Alice began to travel extensively. She accompanied her friend Ida Wallace to Cameroon where they visited Ida's daughter Lois at her Peace Corps post. She also traveled to Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, Chile, and the remote Amazon in Peru. Alice was an avid horsewoman and skier, and doing both throughout her life. Starting in her 60s she ran or walked several miles every morning, a habit which she maintained through her 80s. She also had an artistic side, and was a founding member of the Dam Quilters. She was preceded in death by Connie in 2001, and is survived by her sister, Jean Stenmark of El Cerrito, CA; her six sons, Norman, of Omak WA; Mark, of Idaho Falls, ID; Joseph, of Denver Colorado; James, of Grass Valley, CA; Richard, of San Francisco, CA; and Charles, of Washington, DC; as well as by grandchildren Zaccharias, Leon, Benjamin, Brian, Katherine, Tyne, and Owen; step-grandchildren Mara, Ryan, Aaron, and Mike; and great-grandchildren Ian, Isaac, Neylan, Aria, and August. She will be missed. There will be a viewing Wednesday, May 28, 6-8 PM at Wiscombe Funeral Home, 116 D St., Davis CA, and a funeral mass will be held 10 AM, Thursday May 29 at St. James Catholic Church, 1275 B St., Davis, CA, with a reception to follow. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in July. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Yolo Hospice.

Previous Events

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Smith Funeral Home - Davis

116 D Street
Davis, CA 95616

Mass of Christian Burial
Thursday, May 29, 2014
St. James Catholic Church

1275 B Street
Davis, CA 95616

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