Murder victim identified as former Atherton arborist

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on December 14, 2018

The woman who was fatally stabbed at her home at 925 Valparaiso Avenue in Menlo Park last Wednesday has been identified by the San Mateo Coroner’s Office as Kathleen Hughes Anderson, who served for many years at the arborist for the Town of Atherton. Atherton Deputy City Manager Theresa DellaSanta issued the following statement:

“It is with deep sadness the Town must announce the unfortunate passing of former Town Arborist Kathy Hughes Anderson. Kathy began employment with the Town in November of 1989 and worked as the Town’s Arborist in the Public Works Department for more than 22 years until her retirement in November 2011. Kathy provided stellar service managing Town trees to help promote the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life for all Town residents and visitors.

“Kathy was very passionate about her work as an arboriculturist and had a profound understanding of tree conservation and removal and landscape development and renovation. She was instrumental in developing a heritage tree ordinance for the Town and in picking out trees for planting around Town. Kathy was active in helping designate Arbor Day in Atherton and in getting City Council to support efforts to protect trees for future generations in Atherton. Kathy worked diligently in meeting the standards required to get the Town certified as a Tree City each year. Kathy was the staff liaison to the Atherton Tree Committee and assisted the Town with its environmental programs.

“Kathy was tremendously respected by Atherton residents. She had a deep passion for landscaping and trees and she shared that love with many of our Town residents, spending time with them in their gardens and providing insight on how trees should be trimmed and planted. It was the little things that Kathy performed around Town that residents remember and grew to love about her. Kathy was a beacon of positivity for all who came into contact with her, and her impact on trees in Atherton will carry on for many generations.

“’Kathy will be missed by all whose lives and trees she touched,'” said Mayor Widmer. ‘On behalf of the City Council and staff, our deepest condolences go out to Kathy’s family and friends.””

The Atherton Tree Committee will discuss plans to dedicate a tree in Kathy’s memory at their next meeting.”

The link between the deceased the suspect in the case, Francis Wolke, has not been determined.

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