In Memoriam

Gerard Capriulo

Professor Gerard “Gerry” Capriulo, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Marine Biology and chairman of the Biology Department at Saint Mary’s College, died suddenly on Nov. 15 at his home in Clayton. He was 56.

Professor Capriulo was an internationally renowned scientist and a passionate professor and researcher who had taken students on a field trip to the ocean on the day he died. Yet his interests ranged far beyond science. He loved scuba diving, snorkeling, nature photography, playing guitar, writing poetry, examining the relationship between science and faith and serving in many ministries at his parish church, St. Bonaventure.

“Gerry truly embodied the values of our mission and tradition. His scholarship and his teaching were exemplary, and he promoted and fostered dialogue about our mission among his colleagues and his students,” Brother President Ronald Gallagher said.

Professor Capriulo came to Saint Mary’s in 1997 from the State University of New York at Purchase. He taught many courses in environmental science, evolution and ecology, marine biology, and was active in the College’s summer science research program.

Professor Capriulo authored The Golden Braid: the Symbiotic Nature of the Universe, which explores questions on the nature and meaning of creation. At the time of his death he was editing a book supported by the Aquarium of the Pacific with chapters contributed by researchers throughout the county.

School of Science Dean Brian Jersky said that Professor Capriulo was an energetic and visionary chair who built up the biology department, designed its website and led the hiring of three new biology faculty members in the last two years. He also helped design Brousseau Hall, the College’s state-of-the-art science building dedicated in 2000.

“Saint Mary’s and Gerry were made for each other,” Jersky said. “It’s a Catholic, liberal arts institution with a Lasallian tradition, and that’s what Gerry was looking for. He represented science in a very good way. He was catholic with a small c — he liked physics, math, chemistry and all sciences, and he infused it all with his Catholic-with-a-large-c faith.”

Before his death, Professor Capriulo had been working on transforming a large ship into a floating classroom on the San Francisco Bay. The plan was that it would be docked in Oakland and would be taken onto the bay with schoolchildren on board for educational trips, with help from Saint Mary’s students.

“He really wanted to get youth from the cities who might not have much opportunity to get into nature to appreciate it and to get them on the boat,” said physics professor Roy Wensley. “It would be provided free to people who couldn’t afford it to give them that educational experience.”

Professor Capriulo is survived by his wife of 30 years, Amelia, his daughters Lauren (a Saint Mary’s student) and Rebecca; his mother, Norma; his sister Clare Catanese (Peter); and many other loving relatives.

Saint Mary’s held a Memorial Mass for Professor Capriulo in the Chapel on Dec. 4, 2009.

– Erin Hallissy





  • Brother Luke Salm HON
  • Brother Raphael-Phillip ’59


  • Elvin E. Andrade ’49
  • Louis H. Bill, III ’57
  • Fred Bloomfield ’50
  • James T. Brady, Jr. ’51
  • Fred L. Burchfield EE ’87
  • Aggie L. Burns EE ’79
  • Mario L. Cabanero EE ’91
  • William J. Cady ’68
  • Roland V. Cannavo ’50
  • Lawrence A. Chandler EE ’77
  • Kathleen A. Clark EE ’86
  • Braun D. Collins ’50
  • Edward Flannery ’42
  • Edward D. Fleckenstein ’40
  • John T. Fricke ’43
  • Donald Furrer ’50
  • Thomas W. Grywczynski ’91
  • Richard H. Harkins ’43
  • Adolph T. Hill ’51
  • Warren P. Jannak ’60
  • Mark G. Lester ’84
  • Anthony T. Mason ’64
  • Joseph A. McCarthy Sr. ’39
  • LaVonne H. McDonald EE ’88
  • Edward B. McGiven ’50
  • Thomas J. McNamara ’50
  • James A. Moore ’50
  • Daniel J. O’Keefe ’72
  • Robert F. Olsson ’41
  • Sherman K. Posch ’42
  • Herbert V. Reynolds ’50
  • Ralph Robinson ’77
  • Robert “Bob” Salvas ’50
  • Kenneth J. Vils ’43
  • Edgar “Larry” Williams, Jr. ’50

Family and Friends

  • J.W. Aubry
  • Louis Batmale, grandfather of Louis Batmale ’90
  • Mary Ann Bellia, wife of
  • Charles Bellia ’59
  • Edward Fennelly
  • Anthony Gonzales
  • Edward Helms, father of
  • Edward L. Helms ’12
  • Marilyn Helms, mother of
  • Edward L. Helms ’12
  • John V. Hood
  • Yvette Kelly
  • Brad Kisner
  • Juanita C. Mansir, mother of Brother Donald Mansir
  • Richard Norton
  • John J. Niland
  • Dolores Owen, grandmother of Elyn V. Owen ’01
  • Ivan Owen, grandfather of
  • Elyn V. Owen ’01
  • Gene Powers, father of
  • Patrice Power ’85
  • William J. Rockett, grandfather of Aaron Rockett ’01
  • Agnes Simpson
  • John E. Sobczyk, father of
  • Brother Stan Sobczyk
  • Kenneth Stampp, father of
  • Sara Stampp

Saint Mary's magazine runs the names of recently deceased alumni, Christian Brothers and friends who have given to Saint Mary's.