By Robert Haugh
Former Santa Clara City Manager and Councilmember Don Von Raesfeld, Sr. passed away at the age of 96. He died at St. Clare Church during Easter Mass on Sunday.
Don, Sr. dedicated over five decades of his life to serving the city, working in the Public Works department before serving as City Manager from 1960-1985 and as a City Council member from 1988-1992.
As City Manager, Don, Sr. was instrumental in shaping the Mission City of today. He led the effort for many of the developments in North Santa Clara.
Silicon Valley Power’s natural gas power plant is named after him.
Don, Sr. and his wife, Celine, raised nine children on Alviso Street in Santa Clara.
Three of their sons, Myron, Darryl, and Marty, became firefighters in the Bay Area, with a combined 70 years of public safety experience.
Don and Celine ran “Coast to Coast” Hardware on Franklin and Monroe Streets for 20 years, where each of her nine children spent many weekends working.
Don Von Raesfeld, Sr. was considered by many to be the Mission City’s greatest City Manager. He was also one of the most influential city managers in Bay Area history. Don, Sr. left an indelible mark on Santa Clara and will be missed.