In June of this year, our organization suffered a terrible loss when our dear friend Janice Delfino passed away. Janice was one of our founding members and our institutional memory. She and Frank have been the keepers of maps current and historic of our baylands. Janice and Frank could be relied upon to tell us not only who owned a particular tract of land, but also relate that parcel's history.
We depended upon Janice when we needed a thorough and accurate accounting of what had transpired at previous meetings. She would pull out her handwritten notes, which she seemed to be able to find at a moment's notice and who had said what.
Janice was dedicated, tireless, tenacious, effective, knowledgeable, gracious, and beloved. We will miss her and send our love to Frank and family.
On Saturday, November 22, 2008 family and friends celebrated her life and accomplishments at the refuge she helped to create. Linda Patterson designed a beautiful memorial bench that is at once a wonderful addition to the wildlife refuge and lasting tribute to Janice's efforts to protect our bay. The vantage point from the bench will provide current and future generations a glorious view of the bay and wildlife thriving in an area that might have been developed and lost forever were it not for the tireless struggle of people like Janice.
Thanks to Linda Patterson, the staff of the DESFBNWR, and donations made in Janice's behalf for making this well deserved tribute possible.
We have lost a beautiful and gracious friend. The Bay has lost one of its most knowledgeable and effective advocates.
Janice's knowledge of the South Bay was legend. Rick Coleman, when he was manager of the refuge, never had to look up pond acreages when he needed them in a hurry —he could just turn to Janice who would give him the answer, correct to the nearest one tenth of a square foot! When she might not have information available immediately, she would refer to her files. We all have files, but Janice could find things, given "a couple of minutes"!
It was not only Janice's brilliant understanding of both the natural and political features of the shoreline that made her so effective; it was also that cheerful and warm way she had of expressing her love of the marshes, the ponds and the creatures that inhabit them.
Many of the land battles on the Hayward Shoreline have been resolved, but not all. Those of us who knew and loved Janice will continue her work.
San Francisco Bay would be a very different place had not Janice and her husband Frank devoted decades advocating for the protection of the natural shoreline.
Deepest love to Frank, his sons and daughters-in-law.
Dear Frank, Florence, Philip and all of Janice's Friends:
I really wish I could be there for the dedication of Janice's bench, a permanent reminder to all that venture up the refuge hill that one person can really make a difference in our natural and public world. Janice did just that with a passion and positive attitude that inspired refuge managers and staff, volunteers and citizen activists. From this hill top, you can see wetlands in every direction that Janice helped to protect, forever!
I knew Janice as a refuge volunteer and as wetland protector. She brought Frank along, to keep the conversation going when she stopped to take a breath, or to get some more delicious home grown fruit or Skippy peanut butter out of the back of Frank's tidy truck. I recall many volunteer events pulling weeds at Anticoch Dunes or vegetation work with Janice. She gravitated to the botanical opportunities of refuge management. She worked so hard and made us all work harder just trying to keep up.
I also remember how kind and thoughtful Janice was, especially to my young daughters, Ann and Julie. She always greeted them at volunteer events and would help them be "helpful" in the cause, whatever the task. We have a great picture of the girls covered in mud after helping Janice and Frank with the first boardwalk construction to LaRiviere Marsh. Of course Ann and Julie loved the home-grown fruit as well, especially the raspberries, jewels from their garden.
Janice was the Bay Area walking encyclopedia on wetlands and pending development projects. Ask her anything about a bay wetland and she could recite the acreage, wetland type, vegetation and the pending threats to that wetland. She had a vast knowledge of contaminants and salt-making propaganda as well. During the campaign to double the authorized size of the refuge, Janice was always there front and center to make a public statement and encourage legions to follow her lead. I was one of those first to follow, as she never ceased to press on, to hope and to inspire all of us to dream bigger dreams and act on those dreams.
Most of all Janice was a friend, a warm hug, a big beautiful smile and she flashed a radiant gleeful glint in her eyes. We miss her and honor her today and always, as she made a difference, a legacy, that will last forever.
We also lift up Frank today, as the full partner in the Delfino - Delfino legacy. Thank you Frank for sharing Janice with us for all these years. We want to return the blessing, by sharing our love for you today and always.