Cornelia Calhoun Obituary (1930 – 2023) – San Francisco, CA

Cornelia Calhoun
August 28, 1930 – November 25, 2023
Cornelia (Connie) Jones Calhoun passed away at her home in San Francisco, California, on November 25, 2023, with her husband of 70 years, Sandy, at her side.
Connie was born on August 28, 1930, to Henry and Louise Jones, in Spokane, Washington. She spent a depression-era childhood in this idyllic community and especially enjoyed summers on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, playing with her sister, Mary, and their beloved grandfather, Charlie, among others.
Connie attended St. Paul’s School for Girls in Walla Walla, Washington, then Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Connie’s parents moved to San Francisco, which precipitated her move to Stanford University, where she graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
Connie met and married Alexander (Sandy) Calhoun Jr. in 1952. According to verified family lore, they met at a mutual friend’s party in San Francisco, left for dinner at The Buena Vista cafe, and were engaged to be married within three weeks. Connie soon joined Sandy on one of many adventures they shared, moving to Japan where Sandy opened a law office for Graham, James & Rolf in 1953. There she began her family in earnest, giving birth to twins Peter and Thomas, and daughter Mari.
Connie and Sandy returned to San Francisco in 1958 and had their fourth child, Alexander, in 1963. In the 1960s she was a founding member of Ikebana International San Francisco, played a small but significant role in bringing the Asian Art Museum into existence, and was active in opposing the Vietnam War.
Connie had a life-long passion for nature and science. The first she enjoyed by spending time in Bolinas and Inverness, where she hiked the trails and had an orchard, and on her many backpacking and bird watching trips in the Sierras, Alaska, Latin America, Borneo and beyond. The second she engaged with by learning about the many birds and plants around her – volunteering at Audubon Canyon Ranch, for instance – and eventually returning to school at San Francisco State University to obtain a Master of Science in Mycology, in 1984. While writing her thesis, a survey of Audubon Canyon Ranch, Connie discovered and named two fungi.
Connie went on to have a 20-year career in science, working as a research associate at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, as a cell biologist at the Life Sciences Division of Stanford Research Institute, as a lab technician at the VA Hospital in San Francisco, and as a lab technician at the Naval Research Station in Richmond, California. Connie is the inventor on two patents for DNA diagnostics.
Connie is survived by her husband, Alexander (Sandy) D. Calhoun, Jr., four children, Peter (Marianne), Thomas (Emilie), Mari, and Alexander III (Katie), eight grandchildren, Natalie, Eli, Walker, Ray, Marie, Dorothy, Charles, and Virginia, extended family, and numerous dear friends.
She was predeceased by her sister, Mary, by three months.
In lieu of flowers, make a donation to a cause you are passionate about. A private celebration of Connie’s life will be held at a later date.

Published by San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 7, 2023.


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