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More famous grads
August 11, 2014, 05:00 AM By Sue Lempert

In response to my July 28 column, a number of readers mentioned several local famous alums to add to the list. Patricia Lescroart Barile graduated from Notre Dame High School in Belmont, class of 1965. She remembers Merv Griffin (San Mateo High grad) singing in the choir at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. He also sang Ave Maria at the wedding of her in-laws. He was mentioned in my column but not her brother, John Lescroart (Serra Class of 1966). He was a good friend of another famous Serra grad, Bill Keller. Brother John was “a highly respected and nationally renowned New York Times best-selling author with some 24 mystery/courtroom drama books to his credit.”

Rob Gibson’s letter was printed in the July 30 edition of the Daily Journal about another famous Serra grad, Pat Herren, ’72. In case you missed it, Herren was the first American to win a European Grand Prix for motorcycle racing.

Lee Osborne, San Mateo High, ’44, sent me too long a list of some of the prominent people in his high school class to print here. But here are some of the highlights: Dean Mawdsley, well-known Peninsula surgeon; Conrad Lawrence Hall (son of James Norman Hall, a co-author of Mutiny on the Mounty). “Connie, as we called him, left San Mateo for the big time in Hollywood. There Connie became a cinematographer and over the years garnered many prizes for his work. But the frosting came when he was awarded Academy Awards for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty and Road to Perdition.”


San Mateo High is one of the oldest high schools in the area so is bound to have a long list of illustrious grads. Here are a few more: George Archer, ’58, won golf masters 1969; Kathy Baker, ’68, actress; Barry Bostwick, ’63, actor; Charles Ginnever, ’49, artist; Phil Goldman, ’82, co-founder of WebTV; Dennis Haysbert, ’72, actor; Bob Murphy, ’49, voice of Stanford athletics; Bill Neukom, ’59, former San Francisco Giants managing general partner; Debi Thomas, ’88, Olympic bronze metal figure skater; Cal Tjader, ’43, anglo latin jazz musician.

Hillsdale High School famous alumni also include Nick Vanos, former NBA player with the Phoenix Suns; Bill Hardwick, Bowling Hall of Fame; and Thomas Schumacher, theatrical producer. Aragon’s list also includes Neal Schon, guitarist for Santana and Journey; Robert Bazell, chief NBC science and health correspondent; Manase Tonga, NFL free agent; Eddie Williams, NFL free agent; Linda Bilmes, Harvard professor at Kennedy School of Business; and Justin Christian, most recently with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Serra has such a long list of famous athletes, it would take a column to pay tribute to each of them. But here are the names of some other famous grads in other fields: Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts; William Melville, founder Mayfair plastic; John Shields, retired president and CEO of Trader Joe’s; Michael Shrieve, drummer for Santana; Michael Trucco, actor; and Terrence Quates, R&B recording artist.

If you don’t see a name which you feel belongs on the list, I can understand your dismay. Some famous relatives in my family didn’t make it either.


The Rotary Club of San Mateo is looking for past recipients of scholarships from the club to determine where the recipients are now. Over the last 25 years, the club has awarded over $1 million in scholarship money to high school students unable to afford college on their own. “We believe many of the people our club has helped have gone on to great careers. We also believe many have made it a point to ‘give back’ and help others. We’d love to know their stories and get back in touch,” said Sheila Canzian, the club’s president for 2014-15. If you have any information about past recipients of San Mateo Rotary community college and four-year college scholarships contact the San Mateo Rotary Club at or you can contact me at

Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at



Tags: mateo, famous, school, column, former, serra,

Other stories from today:

Letter: Where are they?
More famous grads
Letter: Food, Inc.

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