Former Menlo Park resident Marsha Diane Coto dies at age 69
Former Menlo Park resident Marsha Diane Coto, 69, died December 5, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. She was born May 24, 1951 in Upland, California, the youngest of four children of the Cochran Colombero family.
Growing up on the Colombero family ranch with her sisters Toni, Mary, and Linda, she faced many challenges, but she took great joy in raising 4-H livestock, especially dairy calves, and caring for barn cats that would have otherwise gone uncared for. One of her fondest memories from childhood was making lasagna with her grandmother who immigrated from Italy, a tradition she would later pass on to her own children.
In 1972 while studying at Boise State College she married and had three children, the youngest being Giovanna Coto. She traveled the world, living in Costa Rica and Mexico, touching the lives of many people, taking in animals to care for with great kindness and respect, and teaching English as a foreign language.
Although she cherished her time abroad she returned to California to work for her sister and brother-in-law’s business in the San Francisco Bay Area where she lived in Menlo Park and managed buildings for 22 years while raising her children.
She had many beautiful and many painful life experiences, but mostly she devoted herself to healing from her challenging childhood and early adult life and raising her girls with as much strength and heart that she could. This was much of her life’s work and her joy.
Marsha gifted those she loved with her deeply kind, gentle, and playful spirit. Simple life tasks became games, singing made everything more enjoyable to her, and she had awe and wonder for nature and animals that only grew more abundant with time. She was particularly fond of her sweet and loyal feline companion Tabby, who gave her joy for nearly twenty years. She took great pleasure in afternoon chocolate treats, and even wrote a playful poem about her one true love, chocolate. It was fitting she loved sweets, as she embodied sweetness in her way of relating to others, be it people or animals.
As she traveled through her journey of healing and watched her children grow, she starting taking daily long walks to find peace and a stronger sense of spiritual connection. She eventually became deeply inspired by Buddhism which fit her gentle demeanor. She had a later great love in her life and together they traveled, explored the outdoors, and loved to go bird watching. She had a knack for languages and taught herself Italian and was learning Japanese.
She survived and overcame many things, including two bouts with cancer. In later years, she developed a progressive illness. Despite this, she continued to touch people with her sweet disposition, playful sense of humor, and her love of music and animals. Her kind and gentle spirit will live on in the hearts and minds of many.
Marsha is survived by her three adult children, one grandchild, and her three siblings.