City College Mourns the Loss of Five Prominent Figures of the City College Community



Eleni Balakrishnan 

Hannah Asuncion 




City College’s first Black Dean of Library and Learning Resources, Rita Joyce Williams Jones, died Jan. 12, 2020 in South San Francisco. She was 71. 


Under Jones’ leadership, Rosenberg Library won the Excellence in Academic Libraries award from the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2003. Jones was also a founding member of the Friends of the Library organization. She spent nearly 38 years at City College. 

Rita Jones poses for a portrait. Origin of photograph unavailable.

Jones was born June 17, 1948 in Memphis, TN, and moved to California before age two. She attended the University of California Berkeley for her undergraduate and graduate studies until 1972. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. 


After briefly teaching in Richmond, CA, she began her long career at City College in 1972. Jones moved to Pacifica, CA in 1973, where she started her family. Jones was very active in her church, serving as a church clerk and church council member at Ocean View Bible Fellowship Church, and as a representative for the San Francisco Peninsula Baptist Association. 


“She just had a heart of giving,” said Rita Donahue of the SFMTA, who became close with Jones after meeting her at church. “When you were in her space, you felt at ease, comfortable.” Jones was also a giver in the workplace, spending time mentoring her colleagues for professional success. 


When not working, Jones enjoyed shopping and was an avid traveler. “She loved the finer things in life,” said her younger sister, Paula Carter, remembering how Jones once bought her a faux fur coat. 


After retiring in 2010, Rita spent most of her time at church and with family. “Rita was very protective of her family and kids,” said Carter. “She had worked very hard, and I think toward her last years, when she retired, she really was interested in spending dedicated time with her family.” 


Jones is survived by her sons Terry and Brian, three of her sisters Anita Williams, Sandra Herbert, and Paula Carter, and four grandchildren. 


Due to COVID-19, no formal funeral services were held. Friends and family attended an informal memorial at Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Pacifica on March 15. 






Devoted educator and coach Neil T. Laughlin died on Sept. 25, 2020, of natural causes after a long illness. He was 82. 


Laughlin was professor emeritus at the University of San Francisco where he taught for 47 years. He also taught part-time in the City College of San Francisco’s physical education department for 30 years. Throughout his career, Laughlin published several research articles on physical and mental effects on athletics. 


A native San Franciscan, Laughlin was born Aug. 22, 1938. He attended St. Ignatius High School, then went on to San Francisco State University, where he was inducted into the football hall of fame. 


Laughlin went on to earn his masters and doctorate of education at Stanford University. Meanwhile, he worked as a deputy sheriff in San Francisco and began his teaching career at Oceana High School in Pacifica, where he coached wrestling and football for three years before starting his career at USF. 


According to his son Sean, Laughlin always thought outside the box, marching for gay rights and recruiting women to the sheriff’s department in the 1970s, before such advocacy was common. He was a “wild guy,” Sean said, loved by people from all walks of life. 


Now City College’s fitness center director, Sean said he grew up with the school, eventually becoming a student and then a teacher alongside his father. 


Today, the courses Laughlin built are still being taught. “He was very influential that way [even] as a part-time instructor, bringing more of the lecture [and] academic side of the ‘old-school physical education,’ as they called it,” Sean said. 


Laughlin is survived by Maryann of Daly City, who he married in 1963, sons Sean, 56, and Jimmy, 53, and grandsons Connor and Liam. 


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family held a private ceremony at Holy Angels Church to celebrate Laughlin’s life. 






Broadcast Electronic Media Arts (BEMA) classified member Dana Galloway died on Sept. 30, 2020 due to natural causes. 


Galloway is remembered for her “big personality, generous spirit, and warm heart” according to the BEMA department. Just like most classified staff employees, she attended City College in 1983, where she was introduced to the BEMA department.

Dana Galloway (right) poses for a photo with her friends, Rob Sham (back) and fellow BEMA faculty member Dana Jae Labrecque (left), during a late spring San Francisco Giants baseball game at AT&T Park, 2015. (Photo by Teri Ferrell)

She took all the BEMA classes and later on she began working in Media Services. Being a member of the Classified Staff consisted of her being a part of various committees and workgroups for program reviews, enrollment management, facilities etc.


“I remember her telling me that she had been a radio station student in the Broadcasting Department decades ago and had her own hard rock radio program,” Susan Boeckman longtime friend and co-worker recalls. 


The BEMA department was like a second family to Galloway and she was like a mother to everyone there. Whenever there was a party or event like baby showers or retirement parties, she was the one to plan it all out.


“She was a hard worker and she loved her work and was dedicated to CCSF and our students. She had a large personality – a big heart and would do anything for you. She always kept my classroom running with the broadcast technology I needed,” History and Political Science instructor Darlene Alioto said. 


Her favorite time of the year was Halloween and she always found ways to come up with creative costume ideas and encourage everyone else to do the same. 


Galloway is survived by her daughter Danielle and son Teddy. 


Due to COVID-19, the family won’t be holding a public gathering at this time, but her coworkers are hoping to plan a Halloween-themed celebration of her life in the near future. 





Retired Dean of City College’s School of Health and Physical Education Linda Squires Grohe died on Sept. 29, 2020 due to AML Leukemia. 


According to the SF Examiner, she is the recipient of The California Wellness Foundation’s Champion of Health Professions Diversity Award. She worked at City College for 41 years.


Grohe believed that community colleges like City College allowed students to have an education that was accessible to students with different backgrounds. 


She helped create an emergency medical technician program at Galileo High School, where students are allowed to get high school and college credit for taking a medical terminology class. It’s a way for students to gain employment opportunities and give them the chance to feel like a college student. 

Linda Squires Grohe smiles bright for a portrait. Photograph courtesy from Grohe’s Facebook profile.

Timothy Berthold, former Chair of Health Education, believed that Grohe was never afraid of different opinions and “she was the very best that City College has ever had in terms of leadership.”


She also helped create the Metro Academy Program, which is a 30-year partnership transfer program with San Francisco State University. It focuses on students of color and 1st generation students. It has a “82% success rate helping students at CCSF to transfer to four years… it’s still thriving and growing,” Berthold said.


Grohe went to George Washington High School in 1961 and went to San Jose State University after graduating.


“Her legacy and support still remains at City College,” Berthold said.


Grohe is survived by her sister Carol, two nephews Chris and Rico, stepchildren William and Sara, and grandchildren Brain, Michelle, Stuart, and Jacquelyn. 


Due to COVID-19, there won’t be a public memorial service until able to do so.




Retired counselor and Executive Board Member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT 2121) Rosemary Brinson died on Oct 1, 2020. She was 70.


Brinson was hired at City College as a fulltime counseling faculty member in the General Counseling Department in 1980. She even served as the Dean of Counseling.


Brinson was a huge supporter of LGBT students and the LGBT Community. She was a trained hospice volunteer during the AIDS crisis. She was an advocate for the creation of Gay Lesbian studies, which was the first in the nation. She counseled at both the LGBT counseling office at the Ocean Campus, and the Castro Valencia campus.


When Brinson first started out her career at City College, she was the student peer adviser coordinator in the general counseling department, which allowed students to pursue careers in counseling and politics.

Rosemary Brinson poses for a portrait. Origin of photograph unavailable.

She was also a big supporter of students and faculty of color. Brinson worked well with diverse populations, which was reflected in her work. 


For example, she was on the board of the San Francisco Branch of the NAACP to help support the Philippine Studies Department, she supported all the various Multicultural Retention Programs, and attended all campus activities hosted by students of color and the various faculty of color associations.


Brinson was a very active member and officer in the AFT 2121 for many years. She first started off as a precinct representative and was a member of the AFT2121 negotiation team.


“Rosemary had the unique ability to make each person feel very special and deeply appreciated. Several of her students stayed in touch with her many years past her retirement. Her humor was often outrageous and her laughter infectious,” retired counseling faculty member and close friend Joan Vitorelo said.


Brinson had a brain aneurysm many years ago and was told by her doctors that she would never be able to live alone or work, but she proved them wrong and returned to work at City College. She was very open about talking about her disability with students and she’d tell stories about surviving her aneurysm.


“Rosemary had a gregarious personality and was beloved by many from all walks of life. She will be missed by all,” retired counseling faculty Sarah Thompson said. 

3 thoughts on “City College Mourns the Loss of Five Prominent Figures of the City College Community

  • Julie Thomas

    Rosemary was an incredible role model and a dear friend. We worked on the AFT 2121 contract negotiations team together with Sue Conrad, and her priority was always the well being of CCSF and its people. She worked hard and enjoyed life to the fullest. Rest in peace, dear friend.

  • Jean Brinson

    Jean Brinson
    October 28, 2020
    Rosemary was my dear niece and always fighting for the causes most dear to her heart. She had
    this brain that just kept working in a world where there is so much need. I remember our trips in
    our motorhome to visit on several occasions always left me with ‘ inspiration and awe’…
    Love and Peace!
    Aunt Jean

  • Karen Camp

    My cousin Rosemary was such a warm and upbeat woman. She always had a kind word for everyone. Such a bright and shining star. I’ll always miss my sleeping buddy on our Cuzzie’s weekends!

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