In Memory

Andrew Berte

Andrew passed peacefully at home in Redwood City, California.  He was the son of D. William and Betty A. Berte of Palo Alto, CA.  He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1973, and he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University in 1982.

Andrew pursued an early and keen interest in cooking.  He attended the renowned Madeline Kamman International Cuisine Professional Cooking School in New Hampshire and France, earning his Chef’s certificate in 1986.  During his cooking career he was a head chef at hotels and restaurants in Southern and Northern California.  While head chef of the International City Club in Long Beach, California, the restaurant received the Chefs In America Award as one of “America’s Finest Restaurants.”  By 1997 debilitating injuries to his back required him to retire from professional cooking.  He spent another 17 years working as a manager for Barnes & Noble Booksellers before he retired in 2014. 

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04/23/16 10:55 AM #1    

Russell Johnson

Andy and I shared several adventures in high school.  The most notable was our bicycle ride back from Lake Tahoe in the summer after 10th grade.  We figured it would be easier to ride back from Lake Tahoe (versus riding up).  We discovered that there are also perils to riding back.  Although there is an 8652 foot downhill from Carson Pass on Highway 88 down to Jackson, its actually fairly up and down, with significant uphills.  Also, we weren't very good at planning the trip or where to spend the overnight.  Instead, we just rode until it got dark.  So, we ended up along side the Clements Diner on HIghway 88, at mile 148.  There was nowhere to sleep except right on the side of the road.  We threw our sleeping bags down by some oak trees on the side of the road.  There were large semi-tractors roaring by all night so we got little sleep -- it was very uncomfortable.  I had just gotten my braces off and I was supposed to sleep with a very uncomfortable positioner in my mouth.  Luckily, I accidently left that positioner near the oak tree in Clements and never saw it again.  I just lied to the dentist about consistently using my positioner. 

Day 2 was even worse.  Today Altamont pass is full of windmills, and there is good reason for that.  We rode along Highway 4 and finally arrived at Vasco Road (near Altamont Pass).  Vasco Road back then was just a winding country 1-lane road (nothing even remotely like today's multi-lane freeway) with a horrible headwind.  We were probably bucking a 30-mph headwind all the way up Vasco Road into Livermore.  This was probably the toughest section of road I've ever been on (worse than any uphill).  Another interesting point, back then some sections of our route were still dirt road, e.g. Camino Diablo road. 

Anyway, we both made into Palo Alto by the end of the second day( day 2 was 107 miles, total 2-day trip was 255 miles.  Quite an accomplishment considering the crappy old early 70's bikes we were riding -- they were nothing like the kick-ass carbon-fiber Cannondale I have now).  It was a great adventure.  Andy apparently had enough of that for a lifetime and never did the Lake Tahoe bike ride again.  I've done it many times since (both directions).  That first time was probably the most memorable.

I had not seen Andy since high school until the 40th reunion.  I was happy to see him and discuss some old memories.  I'm very sad that he's gone now.  Rest in peace Andy Berte.

04/23/16 12:30 PM #2    

Michael Huntsberger

Andy and I were two of the three members of the class of 1973 who trekked off to the University of Colorado Boulder for college. (Dave Crane was the third.) We thought of ourselves as young explorers who intended to learn about life in the Rocky Mountains.  I knew Andy mostly from sitting together in classes at Paly, and he was always a friendly and helpful presence. But when we decided to make the same college journey, there were some months when we were a bit closer.  Soon after we got to Boulder, we lost track of each other (on campus, not in the back country) and went our separate ways.  I didn't see him again until the 40th reunion when we caught up a bit. So it goes that all of us must pass one day.  Fare the well Andy.

04/24/16 02:10 AM #3    

Bill Strubbe

04/24/16 10:48 AM #4    

Mal Schoen

I didn't know Andy but of course his passing at this age saddens me.  I did a little sleuthing and learned that his father passed in 2014 age 91.  Someone should look into this trend - many folks from our parents' generation are living to ripe old ages while many of our generation are dying prematurely.  In my own family my dad died at 82, my mom is 81 now, and I've been struggling with advanced cancer since 58.  (I'm doing well and hope to see you at the next reunion!).  But it's something I've noticed when reading obituaries - many people dying in their 40s and 50s and 60s are survived by aged parents.

07/18/16 10:51 PM #5    

Russell Johnson

Sadly, Andy died of respiratory failure.  This was caused by perforated anaplastic carcinoma of the esophagus.  Contributing factors were pulmonary emphysema and smoking.

07/18/16 11:35 PM #6    

Paul Freitag

Andy .Was A good friend in school.Always real nice .So sorry to hear this.


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