Glen Richard Vierra's grandsons and his motorcycle dominated the photos in his Sebastopol home, a sign of what was most important to him in life.
They represented the three boys born to his only son and the Harley-Davidson Road King he was riding when he lost his life last week.
On Feb. 24, Vierra was astride the Road King en route to work as a welding inspector in San Ramon when a car pulled out of a parking lot and into his path on Highway 116, ending his ride. He was 58.
Vierra spent "my entire life and longer" on a motorcycle, said his son Andrew Vierra, 35.
Andrew said he and his family — wife Kelly and sons Dominic, 9; Daniel, 5; and Logan, 3 — as well as his father's many siblings, were still trying to come to terms with Vierra's death.
"He will be so missed," Andrew said.
Others who may echo the sentiment are those who benefited from his volunteer work with Sonoma County's Food For Thought AIDS food bank and the many veterans to which he gave van rides to Veterans' Administration appointments in San Francisco over the years.
Vierra chuckled with his family about the official "Food Fairy" plaque he once received for making weekly deliveries on behalf of the food bank, but in general he was private about the hundreds of hours he worked on behalf of veterans and people with AIDS, his son said.
"He didn't do it because he wanted people to know," Andrew said. "He just did it because that's what he wanted to do."
Born in Oakland and raised in San Lorenzo, where he graduated from Royal High School in 1971, Vierra was the third of seven children in a family dominated by boys.
His older brother was wounded in Vietnam and, according to family lore, accompanied Vierra in 1972 to the Army recruiting office so he could volunteer, avoiding the draft and serving "in-country," Andrew said.
It apparently worked. During six years with the Army as an auto equipment technician and an electronic technician, Vierra mostly served in the states and in Okinawa, Japan.
He later married and raised his son in Santa Rosa, working as a journeyman welder for many years at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Vierra was thrilled when he he became certified as a welding inspector.
"He was so happy that he never had to put on a hood again," his son recalled. It also led him to "a really good job" at Consolidated Electronics Laboratories, where he worked until his death.
About nine years ago, Vierra and his wife, Nancy Ann Vierra, divorced, and Vierra moved to his own place outside Guerneville to be near the Russian River, a source of great joy. His affiliation with river life earned him the moniker "River Papa" among his grandkids.
Vierra also lived for several years with his son, helping to care for his oldest grandson while he studied for the inspector's exam and busied himself with volunteer work.
Even after leaving Guerneville, Vierra kept his post office box there, maintaining that connection and an excuse to ride out there for his mail, said his son.
A 16-year volunteer with Food for Though, "he always showed up" for his Friday food delivery route, Food Program and Facilities Manager Linda Schram-Williams said, and also helped in a variety of other capacities.