Mary Carlstead
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Obituary of Mary Louise Carlstead

Mary Carlstead, 89, of Palo Alto, CA passed away December 15th, 2018 at Gordon Manor Assisted Living facility in Redwood City, CA.  Mary was born June 12th, 1929 in Quincy, IL to Milton John and Marie Louise Braxmeier.  Mary graduated from Notre Dame High school in 1947, and Quincy University in 1951 with a Bachelor Degree in History.  Mary began working as a hostess on the GM&O railroad in 1952, traveling routes between Mobile and Chicago, and loved to share her humorous stories about meeting famous celebrities, baseball players and unusual incidents on board.  She later received a Master’s Degree in Education from Marquette University in 1955, teaching high school in the Milwaukee, WI area until moving to California in 1957. While working at Lockheed Space and Missiles a chance meeting led to friendship and later marriage to Robert Carlstead in 1960. They raised three children in Palo Alto, CA where she retired from Stanford University in 1997 as a research contracts administrator.   

Mary was an avid sports enthusiast and loved to cheer on the San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors, and anything Stanford University related.  After her retirement from Stanford University she enjoyed working as a docent at Filoli Gardens in Woodside, CA sharing her love of art, history and gardening with visitors.  Mary and her husband Robert also spent time traveling to many parts of the USA visiting their daughters in the Seattle area, historical sites and battlefields, National Parks and even participated in a hilarious impromptu comedy routine on stage with Yakov Smirnoff in Branson, MO.  Together they went on cruises to Alaska and through the Panama Canal, toured many countries in Europe, attended the Passion Play at Oberammergau, and enjoyed golfing on the Big Island of Hawaii. They most especially loved driving though Foothills park looking for deer, wild turkeys, and admiring the views of the Bay Area from Vista Point.

Mary is survived by her husband of 58 years, Robert Carlstead, and two daughters:  Martha Carlstead of Seattle, WA and Carrie Carlstead of Mountlake Terrace, WA.  Mary was preceded in death by her son William Carlstead in 1997. 

Memorial services will be held Saturday at 1:00pm, January 26th, 2019 at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Palo Alto, CA with a Celebration of Life gathering immediately following at the church hospitality center.  Private burial will be held January 25th at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, CA. 

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Pathways Hospice (, a non-profit organization who provided Mary with loving care and compassion during her final days.