Tillie Gondak died peacefully at age ninety-nine at her home in Larkspur on September 16, 2019. She was born Mathilda Wilhelmina Vanderschoot in Napa, Ca. on March 28, 1920 to Felix J. Vanderschoot Sr. and Anna Koopman, both of the Netherlands. She was predeceased by Charles R. (Chuck) Gondak, her beloved husband of forty-seven years, and her seven brothers and sisters: John; Andy; Felix Jr.; Ann; Margaret; Bill; and Conrad.
Tillie was an honor student at public schools in Napa. In her school days she took up the violin and became a promising musical talent. In 1937, following graduation from Napa High she had to support herself and went directly to work for the Napa Valley Railroad, followed by ten years at Pacific Telephone in Napa. Once, as a lark, she magnetized all the tools of the switchmen working in the PT&T central office. Chuck had moved west after the war and was also working as a manager for Pacific Telephone. As family legend goes, they met dancing under the stars at Hoberg’s Resort on Cobb Mountain in Lake County. They married in 1948 and raised three children: Cris; Ross; and Matt. In 1956, the family moved to Larkspur which became the family’s home of sixty-three years. Tillie loved it there. Friendships and support from her neighbors were key to her long life.
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Tillie took to the role of full time Mom and homemaker with the same lively spirit she brought to everything. Whether baking cookies, making Halloween costumes, running fashion shows, cheering at her kids’ athletic events, or selling hot dogs for the PTA, she approached each activity with enthusiasm and a sense of humor. She volunteered for the PTA, Sunny Hills, Redwood Benchwarmers, the American Cancer Society, and other organizations. She was also an avid cook and gardener. For a time she and the kids raised pet ducks in the backyard.
In her early forties, Tillie’s interest turned to golf. She became a formidable competitor perhaps surprising even herself. She went on to win club championships for six years at Marin Country Club, followed by nine years at the Meadow Club, as well as several Marin County Women’s golf championships. Tillie and Chuck played golf together every weekend and developed a wide circle of good friends through golf. They also traveled with their friends (and their golf clubs) internationally through People to People Golf Tours. After Chuck died in 1994, Tillie continued to play golf at the Meadow Club. In addition she became an avid Giants fan, competed at Dominoes and Jeopardy, and read every chance she got.
Tillie is survived by her three loving children: Cristine of Santa Rosa; Ross (Julie) of Greenbrae; and Matt (Brenda) of Corte Madera as well as her grandchildren; Erin (Reese); Charlie; Will; Emily; and, Geneva. The Gondak children and grandchildren would like you to join us for a celebration of her life on Wednesday, October 23rd at 2:00 pm at the Meadow Club, 1001 Bolinas Road, Fairfax, CA. Donations may be directed to: Hospice By the Bay—Marin County. 17 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur, CA 94939 or https://hospicebythebay.org/service-areas/marin-county/