Noe Valley Voice December-January 2001

Maud Volandri Remembered

By Mary Ada Sea

Grand View Avenue is a little less grand now.

Maud Oakes Volandri passed away at her Grand View home on Sept. 11 at the age of 101. She had been a resident of Noe Valley since 1958.

Born in Kansas and raised in Southern California, Volandri obtained her Phi Beta Kappa key at Pomona College. Late in the 1920s, she visited the Bay Area and fell in love with "the life." From hiking over Mt. Tam, to joining a writers group, to regularly attending the Opera, to collecting Asian artifacts (as well as many stray cats), she fully embraced that life.

Volandri was briefly married to a local stockbroker, but realized she cherished her independence more. She supported herself and her hobbies as a mathematics teacher at various high schools in the city and ended her 40-year teaching career at Lowell High School.

In a June 1988 story in the Voice, she reminisced about her good times in Noe Valley: "We all feel loyal up here [on Grand View]," she told writer Larry Beresford. "We all support each other. There used to be a lot of kids living up here. I remember once when I was working down in the basement and had both doors wide open for some air. There was a little boy with a dog coming up the 24th Street hill, and the dog was panting. I said to the boy, 'Ask your dog if he wants a dish of water.' The boy whispered in my ear, because he didn't want to hurt the dog's feelings, 'Lady, he can't talk.'"

She also remembered a San Francisco back before the bridges were built. In the 1920s, Volandri would take the ferry to Sausalito and from there catch a Northwest Pacific train to Mill Valley, to go hiking in the hills. "We'd change into hiking clothes...and then hike over the Dipsea Trail seven miles to Stinson Beach. We'd change into bathing suits for an afternoon at the beach, and at 4 p.m. we'd change again and hike back....

"Fourteen miles of hiking -- yeah, we were in pretty good shape," she laughed.

Maud Volandri is survived by nieces in Southern California and the East Bay (and their families), and especially by her grand niece, Gail Bakke, of Grass Valley, Calif.