Willam (Bill) Tarr, June 17, 2019

We are sad to report that William (Bill) Tarr, retired social science faculty member passed away on June 17, 2019.

Bill joined the social science department in January of 1956. He attended the University of Missouri for three and a half years prior to receiving his AB and MA degrees from San Francisco State and his Ph.D. from the University of Sarasota, Florida.  Bill retired from DVC in 1988.

Bill was described as well-read and witty. He loved sailing, history, teaching, singing, and the NFL. Survived by wife, Lois Shimizu Tarr; daughters, Jesakka Tarr (Diana Souverbielle) and Annemarie Scott (Steven); Joyce Tarr, mother of Jesakka. Also niece, Marijane Rockers with daughters Stefanie and Tess; nephew, Ron Tarr (Bonnie). In lieu of flowers, please kindly make any donation in Bill’s memory to The Choir (in memo) at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal or the charity of your choice. A memorial will be held on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 12 pm, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 13601 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga 95070



Bill Tarr joined the Social Science “Area” the late 1950’s, when the major focus was on General Education, executed through the Social Science 110-111 sequence. His fellow teachers: Grote, Hooper, Manley, McCune, Murphy, Pope, Porterfield, Reardon, Sapper, Scott and Watson all taught sections of the courses. Bill worked to ensure strong mutual agreements, with shared texts and high academic standards, all undergirded by the Open Door philosophy. Constant talk and meetings polished agreements that all could share and pursue, Due to efforts by teachers like Bill, the courses were coherent with the philosophy.

In 1964, Bill and Bruce Watson wrote The Social Sciences and American Civilization. Following the teaching group’s outline, the text was geared to stimulate critical thinking via an integrated and interdisciplinary approach. The text supported course goals of exploring the interrelatedness of knowledge in the social sciences.

A partial definition of Open Door, accepted by the original Governing Board, stated “the institution exists for the student and not vice-versa.” Committed to the philosophical foundations of the College, Dr. Tarr spent hours building collegiality and community. Student-centeredness required much participatory decision-making. An avid sailor, he found sailing with faculty a way to continue school oriented talk. His efforts with College B, the Cluster College experiment, derived from his belief that size mattered. His 1971 Doctoral Dissertation dealt with “Governance – Decision-Making under the Pressure of Growth.”  He called the shots accurately and brilliantly.

He served as Senate President, Night School Dean and on many statewide governance committees. In all things, he was a generalist.  Respected by his peers, he was part of a committed group who were all proud to call themselves teachers. Bill helped build a foundational legacy for DVC. A good friend and loyal colleague, he deserves our thanks for his style and professional dedication.

Beverly Reardan Dutra