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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Obituaries strike close to home in this season.

Uploaded: Nov 19, 2019
In my season of life, reading obituaries has become personal. Earlier, it was reading about parents of friends from my youth who were passing. Now, it’s contemporaries.

That was the case last week when I read of the passing of Skip Hinsley and Rob Lindquist. Skip, who worked with Todd Utikal to put together the Sidetrack restaurant in downtown Pleasanton, spent about 20 years running his own restaurants and catering business in town.

His first restaurant venture, Girasole, was a favorite spot to meet clients for lunch.

What I remember about Skip goes well beyond the quality of his food and the service—it was his commitment to the community. He was always up for helping with a fundraiser for a worthy cause. This was during the time that the business parks that now shape north Pleasanton were just coming out of the ground so there was lots to do. His heart for others as well as his bright smile will be how I remember Skip. He returned to actively pursue his Christian faith in recent years, brightening the lives of others as well as his own.

I knew Rob professionally—we both spent our newspaper careers working at Sparks Newspapers (owned by the late Floyd Sparks) that became ANG Newspapers with publications in Oakland, the Tri-Valley, Fremont and Hayward. Rob worked as a photographer and then the photography director before moving over to the challenging job of managing the computer systems for the newsroom.

I remember his calm and competent manner as we pushed forward on the cutting edge of publishing technology. He was a pleasure to work with—in contrast to some of our hard-driving colleagues. After I left the paper in 2006, we lost touch. Rob was one of those balanced people—in addition to professional photography, formidable technical skills, he also was the organist at St. Michael’s Catholic Church for 20 years. He operated his own organ repair business for the last several years.

Finally, sympathies to fans of Bent Creek wines and the two families who own it after its key partner, Tom Heineman, passed this month. Tom, his wife Pat, and their friends Carol and Rich Howell, launched Bent Creek after he retired from his career as an educator in the Livermore school district.

I remember the delightful tasting we enjoyed one Sunday with a group from our church where Tom personally poured the wine and sat chatting with us. It was an enjoyable and educational time with the down-to-earth winemaker.

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