Alyssa Ann Whitney was born in 1962 to Boyd and Esperanza Whitney at the entrance to the Golden Gate and departed this earth on Christmas Eve, 2019.
Alyssa was the last of Eppie’s six children, a real character. Surrounded by so many brothers and sisters it wasn’t always easy to get noticed, she developed some skills early on that allowed her to compete and participate in family life. She was wildly creative, determined and fun. Her fierce spirit shined through when she competed in sports; she could whoop almost anybody who challenged her to volleyball, ping pong, softball or frisbee. She was equally comfortable dressed stunningly in silks or in her bike leathers. She was beautiful and smart and never followed rules. There was never a dull moment when Alyssa was around.
She led with her heart and was indiscriminately generous. She would hear that you’d had a hard day and show up with something to eat (often chocolate cake, soup, or potato salad - always enough of it to feed a football team.) If a car was on the side of the road with hazards on, she always stopped to offer help. Once she pulled over to offer someone walking barefoot alongside a rural road a ride; when they declined her offer, she handed over the shoes off her own feet.
Of her careers, which there were many - leather seamstress, photographer and avian veterinary technician to name a few - the one she held dearest to her heart was the work she did with at-risk youth as a P.E. teacher and coach at the Hanna Boys Center.
She knew how to concoct a great prank - ask about the Christmas Tree Kidnapping of 2013, or the great Easter toilet papering - and put her whole self in to whatever plan she dreamed up. She was lucky to be partnered with Eric Parks, an incredible do-er who made many a wild idea come true. She was full of spark and mischief, and was all about life’s pleasures. She loved to PLAY; Drums, darts, ball, gin rummy, it didn’t matter - she was there to win but most of all to have a good time. She loved animals of all sorts and over the course of her lifetime befriended and helped a menagerie of creatures big and small. She relished a good meal (both preparing one and eating it), but a tall glass of ice cold whole milk was always required. She loved and protected her girls with the ferocity of a mama bear, and she knew how to throw around a healthy amount of maternal guilt to help them make the right choices.
She struggled in recent years with Systemic Scleroderma which limited her mobility, though never her spirit. After her terminal diagnosis, she kept her chin up and found ways to adventure and be joyful despite her body’s failures. We hope that her departure from this world is cause for celebration in the next as she is met by beloved family members who have gone before her and she is free from her burdens.
She leaves behind her devoted husband, Eric Parks, her lovely daughters Bryanna and Leila Whitney, her brother Giovanni Whitney, sisters Sheila Whitney and Luana Navarro and sisters in law Linda Whitney and Lisa BeberVanzo, nieces and nephews Bill Brock, Dorian and Daniela Whitney, Sophia Navarro, Jason Whitney, Marisa Shaff, Kelly Moore, and lifelong friend Marc Dal Poggetto along with many more cousins and friends that she made and gathered along the way.
We are grateful for all the people who stepped up to support Alyssa in her last months of life. A special mention for the two little rascally fur angel doggies named Koda and Bissous. These two provided much joy and comfort to Alyssa on her hardest days.
A gathering to celebrate Alyssa’s life will be held on Saturday, June 27th, 2020 in Bodega Bay, CA. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller
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