Ruth McDaniel, a pioneer who helped to bring electricity to the High Desert, was elected Phelan’s honorary mayor in 1962, and also served as postmaster for 31 years in the town, has died. She was 101. Her death was announced by her daughter, Patty McDaniel, who said her mother died peacefully, in her Hesperia home on July 8, of natural causes. Ruth was born in Vernon Center, Minnesota on December 18, 1912. Two years ago she made local headlines when she celebrated her centennial birthday in Hesperia with five generations of her family. “She touched every one of us very much. She was a big support to all the five generations of family,” Patty said.
Her memoir entitled, “Phelan: The land of Champagne Climate,” written in 1987, chronicles her bequests and legacies, including the early days of bringing electricity to the High Desert. “We contracted the Rural Electric Administration in 1945 which federally funds organizations to give rural areas electricity. The power companies fought them. We formed Mesa Electric REA in 1945 to serve a large area of the High Desert all the way to Apple Valley. Then the electric companies came in and tried to get easements. Some people would not give them easements and [physically] sat in the holes to prevent them from putting in poles. Those were exciting days,” Ruth McDaniel wrote. After a couple months of negotiations, the local Baldy Mesa REA reached a settlement with the utility.
Ruth’s first husband, Gordon Mannigel, who was right beside her in trail-blazing the local electricity needs, died of a heart attack in 1947, one month after the lights came on. “Each pole (in the High Desert) is a memory to him,” wrote McDaniel. Ruth married her second husband, Alton McDaniel, in 1949. They were married 58 years.
In 1939, Ruth took over Postmaster duties after three days of informal training. According to her memoir, mail was delivered seven days a week, including holidays. Because of the demand, she was able to legally obtain California Driver licenses for her then 14 year-old children, Barbara and Stephen, in order to help deliver phone messages. Barbara died in 1989. Stephen currently resides in Baldy Mesa.
“She had a hand in everything,” McDaniel said. “If you’re in the High Desert and can turn on a light, then you have my family to thank.” “I don’t want this to come across like mother did this by herself, she worked with other families such as the Nielson and Howard families, as well as many other families, as a team, to get all these things going,” Patty said.
Ruth helped form the Phelan Chamber of Commerce in 1961 and Patty said that her father Alton McDaniel was instrumental in organizing street lights until the county took over in 1970.
Ruth was elected Phelan’s first honorary mayor in 1962, at the same time the street lights went up. Her inaugural ceremony was supposed to coincide with the street lighting ceremony, but was abruptly cancelled when a member of the board, Sam Curlet, died suddenly while on vacation.
Ruth also championed and took an active part in the Phelan Woman’s Club. For a time, the club provided hot lunches for Phelan Elementary school.
Also on the list of Ruth’s accomplishments, was being in charge of running the general store and the county library. At the time, according to Patty, they were all located in one building.
In 1950, Pacific bell put a pay phone in the general store. “One of the biggest thrills I ever had was when a new phone booth was sent to me. I really got a kick out of that,” Ruth wrote.
In 1970, Ruth retired with her husband and moved to Hesperia, in order to be closer to Leisure League, a Senior Center in Hesperia. Ruth and Al celebrated 58 years of marriage before he passed away in 2006. At the end of her memoir she writes, “I have enjoyed my life here in Phelan and [the town] is very dear to me and I have watched it grow into a beautiful community.”
Patty mentioned, “People would ask her what her hobbies were, Ruth always said, ‘Phelan.’”
She is survived by her two sons Stephen, and Thomas, and daughter Patty, as well as numerous great-great-great-grandchildren.
Ruth remained active until the age of 100, when, last Christmas, she participated in a fundraiser where she handed out stuffed animals to senior citizens whom she called the “Old People.”
A Funeral Service was be held at 11:00 am on Monday July 14, at Mountain View cemetery, 570 E Highland Ave, San Bernardino 92404, and was be open to the public.
Ensminger, Maria S. (Caballero)
Maria Ensminger, 67, passed away in Pomona, CA., on June 12 after a long illness. She was a resident of Phelan, CA. Maria was married 34 years to her beloved husband Jerry Ensminger who preceded her in death in 2004. She was also preceded in death by her father Albert Caballero. She is survived by her mother
Lupe Caballero of Lancaster, CA, brothers Mario Caballero of Brea, CA, Alfonso Caballero of Lancaster, CA, and Albert V. Caballero of Chula Vista, CA, and sisters Maria A. Bennett of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Anna Maria Caballero of Clyde, TX, Maria C. Edwards of Lancaster, CA, Matilda C. Rico of Long Beach, CA, and many nieces and nephews. Maria worked for more than 20 years with the San Bernardino County Court System as a systems technician. She was also a CERT volunteer in her Phelan community and had been a member of the Red Hat Society. A celebration of life was held on June 20 at Blessed Junipero Serra Church in Quartz Hill, CA. and internment was at the Good Shepherd Cemetery in Lancaster, CA. She is so loved and will be dearly missed by all her family and friends.
Aaron Cagle, 3/19/1971-6/30/2014
Aaron Cagle passed away peacefully from natural causes at home on June 30. He was born in Upland, and resided in Wrightwood for most of his life. He was father to daughter Mallory. They shared a very special bond and friendship, one that only a father and daughter can share. Aaron was the caregiver for his grandmother, Lorene Cagle. He gave her the care, love, support and laughter that only Aaron could give, in his own very special “Aaron way”. Aaron lived his life full of love for all of his family. He is now with God in Heaven, joining his son Casey who passed just 2 years ago.
Aaron will be missed by his daughter, Mallory Cagle, and her mother Carrie Cagle, and by surviving family members his father Jerry Cagle, his mother Debra Parrott, and his brothers Justin and Brandon Cagle.
Please join his family and friends for a Celebration of his Life on Friday, July 11, at 11 am at the Sunrise Church in Wrightwood.
Garry Curry is remembered
Submitted by Eric Steinmann
This week Wrightwood should celebrate the life of one its best sons, Garry Dean Curry, who on Monday, June 2 passed away at his home in Hermosa Beach, California. This is a story about the effect on the world that one good person can have and is not an obituary. Garry grew up in Wrightwood, the youngest in a family of three that lost their mother at a very early age and were then raised by their father in a house on Heath Creek Road. Their father Wendel used to operate the small market in town (before there were minimarts) at the location that now is home to Mile High Pizza. Older brother Larry Curry was a fixture for many years at the Holiday Foods market at the bottom of Park Street before that market moved across the street. Older sister Judi was a long-term employee of the Wrightwood mini mart and friend to many in town before recently moving to New Mexico. Garry’s nephew Eli still lives and works in town as a foreman for C. Ford plumbing.
When Garry was just graduated from High school at Apple Valley (where Wrightwood kids went at that time) his father passed away in a tractor accident. At the time, in the early 70’s, the way to fit in was to “tune in, turn on and drop out.” Garry, even lacking parental guidance, or perhaps because of it, did not go that route. He was simply fun loving and the best example in town of how you could have a lot of fun doing generally the right things. Garry always held down a job, supported himself and then went to college at night. Garry was the organizer of many activities in town and was never concerned with who or what age participated. This is where he changed many lives for the better. On any given day Garry could be found playing basketball or softball, which he generally organized at the school, coaching the Dodgers little league team when he was only 22 and had no kids, working on his 58 Bel Air that he bought for $500 and fixed up with mags and an Earl Scheib paint job, going down to San Bernardino to go bowling, driving to LA to see a Dodger Game, going down to San Bernardino to cruise E Street, going down to the swap meet in Saugus on a weekend. At all times, if he had room in the Bel Air you were welcome to join him at any age, provided you paid your share of the gas. A whole lot of us did, and a whole lot of us are still here and connected to the community we had fond memories of growing up in. We all saw Garry and his brother keeping a job and we all, for the most part, followed suit. We all saw Garry going to the junior college at night and many of us again followed suit. Garry also organized one of the most fun community experiences we ever had in Wrightwood, which was the summer basketball league that went on for about 5 summers. Garry bought the score books and whistles, organized the refs and provided the game scores and statistics and rankings to this local paper after every game. There were two full courts on the upper yard at Wrightwood Elementary (covered with portable buildings now) that were the height of activity, once a week all summer, with big crowds watching and for perhaps 40 people in town with a 30 year age range playing there was the highlight of their week.
As Garry got older he married a flight attendant, traveled a lot and ended up living and working and managing businesses in many different parts of the world, often with some of his friends from Wrightwood. Garry, who was a fantastic long distance runner, always returned to Wrightwood to run the Angeles Crest 100 mile race, He had completed the course every year since its inception (26 straight times) a record he shares with fabled and filmed runner Jussi Hamalainen. What is to be noted throughout this story of a fantastic individual and friend, is that Garry made all of this happen by just thinking, “that looks like fun,” or “that looks like a challenge,” and then approaching the task with discipline, ethics and character. And by doing so, he influenced me and my following friends that remain involved in this community to this day, Brent Speers, Tommy Boyles, Dan Walsh, Joe Walsh, George Keene, William Boyles, Scott Ahern, Richard Smith, David Gates, Brad Smith, Dean Mele, Steve Story, Russell Story, Dennis Nadalin, and many more who all have enjoyed a better life and set off on our own ventures often following Garry’s example.
In closing it should be noted that “only the good die young” is a time worn phrase. Garry passed in his sleep after the previous day having completed a 30 mile training run for this year’s Angeles Crest 100 mile race that will start August 2nd from the bottom of Park Street, and there may never be a better example to point to for this saying.
Dennis Jay Ruhl
Dennis Jay Ruhl
1956 - 2014
A loving father, always himself a kid at heart, longtime Wrightwood resident Mr. Dennis Jay Ruhl will be fondly remembered by his family and many friends.
He died late last month from a heart attack. He was 57.
The son of Elaine and Albert Ruhl, Dennis was born on Nov. 15, 1956, in Lynwood. He graduated from Lynwood High School, later working for more than three decades as a machinist and small business owner.
Recently retired, Dennis loved being with his children. He saved every Father’s Day card and every photograph. His favorite pastime included family vacations to Hawaii or day trips to play Frisbee at the beach or visit local amusement parks.
He was an honest man and a loving person with a quirky sense of humor and an infectious chuckle. Dennis had an appreciation for the small things such as macadamia nuts, scary movies and cooking tacos for holiday dinners.
Dennis is survived by his children Zach, Taylor (and Ashleigh), Elizabeth, and Hunter as well as the mother of Dennis’s children, Karen. He also is survived by his siblings Glenn (and Susie), Kurt and Brian.
A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. this Sunday, June 22, at McKenzie Mortuary, 3843 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach. For details, call the mortuary at 562-961-9301.
5/21/1922 to 5/2/2014
Mrs. Miriam Safford of Grass Valley, CA died of heart failure on May 2, 2014. She was 92.
Miriam was born in Boston Massachusetts, May 21, 1922. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts and was a teacher for the Lompoc School District for 20 years. Miriam moved to the Wrightwood area in 1978.
Daughters Linda Strahan of Riverside, CA, MaryAnn Kirschenheuter of Alameda, CA, and Debbie McKitrick survive Miriam. She had five grandchildren and three great granchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Alley Cat Rescue, P.O. Box 585, Mt. Ranier, MD 20712
Veteran Photographer Dan Elliott Died Monday, April 21, 2014
Freelance photographer Dan Elliott died Monday April 21, 2014. His work was featured in the Mountaineer Progress for more than a decade, capturing memorable moments at Serrano High School and breaking news in the Tri-Community. He went on to cover events for the Daily Press, Press-Enterprise and the San Bernardino Sun, as well as numerous magazines and websites with his prep sports and breaking news photography.
For many years Dan was a volunteer photographer for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, capturing photos of firefighters at work. He loved being part of the team, dressing in his fire-gear, and capturing incredible shots on the frontline. He was also a Citizen Patrol member and volunteer photographer for the Sheriffís Department. After years of volunteer service Dan was offered, and he accepted a part-time position with County Fire in September 2006. During his tenure, he captured historical fires such as the Sawtooth fire, residential fires, traffic collisions, Haz-Mat incidents, retirement parties, and department celebrations with his lens.
Though Elliott recently overcame his battle with cancer, he faced many ailments throughout his life. For many years Dan was on regular kidney dialyses while he was on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. After he received his first of two transplants, Elliott contracted cancer. Dan believed it to be a side effect from the anti-rejection medication for the transplant.
ìDan always had a great attitude, and big grin,î said Daily Press Chief Photographer James Quigg. ìBut he really smiled about covering any fire department-related assignments, from toy drives to thousand-acre fires. He loved the fire department.î
According to spokeswoman Tracey Martinez of County Fire, Elliott never stopped talking about ìhis brothers and sistersî and what a privilege it was to work so closely with the people of County Fire.
Thoughts and cards can be sent to The Elliott Family, at 12949 Nellibell Dr., Victorville, CA 92392. Services are being planned and will be held at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovahís Witnesses in Phelan.
December 25, 1941 – March 24, 2014
Noel Miloveck, longtime resident of Wrightwood, California, passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 24, after a two year battle with cancer. Noel died at home in the early morning hours Monday where he had been lovingly carded for by his closest friends and leaves behind a community where he is remembered fondly.
Noel was born and grew up in Los Angeles where he attended Saint Dominic’s Grammar School in Eagle Rock and Saint Francis in La Canada, California.
He worked for Cal Trans as land surveyor and after retirement, continued to work as a private contractor in the same field.
Noel loved the outdoors. In the winter, he skied Mammoth Mountain, always attending opening day at Lake Crowley, and fishing the streams all summer. Later in life, that favorite pastime was spent at Eagle Lake. He enjoyed riding his Harley, and restoring classic Corvettes. Having a passion for aeronautics, he built and flew radio-controlled airplanes, and excelled at everything he did.
Services will be held Saturday, April 5, 11:00 am at Our Lady Of The Snows Catholic Church located in Wrightwood, at the corner of Acorn & Lark.
Hans G. Steinmann
As we move through this period of deep sadness, his wife, a large immediate and extended family and a number of loving friends and valued work colleagues deeply mourn the passing into eternal rest by Hans G. Steinmann while at home on February 8, 2014 after a lengthy illness. Throughout his suffering with cancer, Hans endured the illness with the quiet strength, personal perseverance and unfaltering love for his wife of 36 years, Hannelore. Despite the knowledge of his terminal condition, Hans continued to lavish his love and attention on his children and their families. His daughter Heidi and her husband Robert and children Becker and Rylan; sons Gregor and wife Robin and children Bergen and Eric; Lance and wife Lili and children Annaliese and Kaitlyn; and, Kristan and wife Kristen and children Aiden, Hunter and Kaia continued to bring many pleasures into his life. Hans’ family, here and in his homeland of Switzerland, brothers Kurt and Heinz and sisters Edith, Isabella and Toni and more than 40 nieces and nephews always enjoyed a long life of sharing mutual pleasures and love. Hans lived a very rich and fulfilling life with many personal and professional achievements that truly marked him as a leader of men and a very successful business in the field of structural engineering for more than 50 years, retiring as the President and principal owner of King, Benioff, Steinmann and King.
Although he devoted considerable time and talent to the success of KBSK, Hans also exhibited highly successful leadership skills while participating in the family management of general operations and ski school manager for Holiday Hills resort in Wrightwood, California---where he met, courted and later married Hannelore. Hans’ father established Holiday Hills in 1948 and in 1959 relinquished the resort management to his sons Heinz, Kurt and Hans. Although Heinz assumed full operational management in 1962, Hans continued management of the ski school for nearly 30 years until it was sold to a management group that renamed the resort property as Mountain High East. Throughout his management of the ski school, Hans was active and maintained certification in the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the Far West Ski Instructors Association, often presenting seminars and training session for both organizations.
Hans also owned and raced a number of thoroughbred horses that competed and won a variety of local track races. In his spare time he focused on golf, recording two lifetime holes-in-one that are documented by the World Golf Hall of Fame. All of these personal and professional achievements were accomplished with the mutual support and undying love of his wife and partner, Hannelore. Hans began his professional development at an early age when he designed the family home in Switzerland at age 13. After reaching age 19, Hans helped his father build a five-story family residence. He then continued to mark his achievements by graduating with a Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich Switzerland in 1949—one of Europe’s most prestigious universities. ETH is well-known for its excellent education, groundbreaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice. ETH is an important member of the 90-country Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research (CESEAR), a conference of 90 countries. Its successful students come from more than 100 countries of the world. Hans also continued educational endeavors through lifelong learning endeavors at UCLA and USC over a period of more than 40 years, as well as being an active participant in professional organization conferences and workshops.
Hans was very proud of his obligatory military service in Switzerland. His success in work endeavors, physical requirements and leadership were evident in his rapid promotion to become one of the youngest military officers of the Swiss Army. Hans served with distinction as a cavalry and artillery officer during his brief military career.
After immigrating to the United States, Hans worked for McKeague and Associates in Honolulu, Hawaii and Ammann and Whitney in New York City before joining KBSK in 1954. He was named President and principal owner in 1966. Not only was the firm successful in the construction of many projects with the US Navy; major film studios (Universal, Warner Studios, CBS, Burbank, Columbia and Paramount Studios); banks (Bank of America Headquarters in Los Angeles); churches (Holy Rosary Church in Pacoima, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Encinitas, and Bethel Lutheran Church in Encino); hospitals (Valley Presbyterian in Van Nuys); and schools (the Administration Building of LA Unified, Alfred Nobel Junior High School, El Camino Real High School, the Engineering Building at the University of California Santa Barbara as well as serving as the prime design professional or structural consultant to schools and facilities design teams for more than 125 projects); but KBSK also created such landmarks as the US Federal Building in Westwood, the Tupperware International Headquarters in Orlando Florida, the unique inverted boat-shaped Henry’s Restaurant in Pomona, the Safeway Distribution Center in Santa Fe Springs, the Sheraton Universal Hotel as well as buildings and exterior facilities for the Los Angeles County Fair Association along with many other projects.
Hans also dedicated himself to the continued professional development of his colleagues by his selfless service in organizations such as The Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (serving in a variety of leadership positions, including President in 1978-79) and California; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Concrete Institute (President 1990-91); American Consulting Engineers Association; Coalition for Adequate School Housing, and California Association of School Business Officials. Hans was appointed and served with distinction as a member of the Los Angeles County Building and Safety Department Appeals Board beginning in 1985.
Hans and Hannelore developed and fervently maintained a bond of mutual respect, love and commitment to one another. Although Hans has preceded us in death, all the members of his immediate, extended family and all of his close friends and respected colleagues will always continue to respect and appreciate Hans as a person and a consummate professional. We will share the fond memories---but we can also contemplate the inner strength of character, the appreciation of quality in all aspects of his life and the respect for quiet confidence. This we can do when we are able to see and appreciate his life work---both as a man of principal and ethics and his professional endeavors that will serve as a physical reminder of his professional achievements.
Memorial services for Hans G. Steinmann will be held on March 15, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, located at 975 Lark Road, Wrightwood, CA 92329. The family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in Hans’ name to St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Cancer Services, 1100 W. Stewart Drive, Orange, CA 92868.
Lupe Esther Mayer Karlen
Born: 7/19/1919 Passed: 2/14/2014
Lupe was a resident of Wrightwood for 38 years. She enjoyed living in what she called, “Her Beautiful Mountains.” Lupe participated in all of the Wrightwood Celebrations, especially Mountaineer Days. She was the Wrightwood Queen and rode in the parade down Main Street. She loved to sing and dance especially at the Wrightwood Inn and The Yodeler. Everyone who met her loved her. She is survived by her husband Leo Karlen; her daughters Celeste Bowman and Carole Berwick; five grandchildren; five great grandchildren and many friends and relatives. She was predeceased by her husband of 53 years Stanley D. Mayer.
Services will be held on March 1st at 1:00 PM at Rose Hills Memorial Park, in the Memorial Chapel, 3888 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier, Ca. 90601. A reception will follow. A viewing will be held Friday Feb 28th from 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM.
Margaret Mary Boisen Goossen Cramer
1920 – 2013
Margaret Mary Boisen Goossen Cramer, age 93, passed away July 12, 2013 in Apple Valley, California. She was born March 7, 1920 in Dickinson, North Dakota to Anton Peter Boisen and Marguerite (Lardy) Boisen of Sentinel Butte. She graduated from Sentinel Butte High School in the class of 1936 at the age of 16. She later attended Business College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1943, Margaret enlisted in the Coast Guard. In 1946, she married Theodore Bernard Goossen, who was also in the Coast Guard. She then worked in the Narcotics Bureau of Los Angeles as a secretary. Later, she worked at Bank of America and retired in 1978 as an Investment Officer and Secretary to the Manager. After 49 years of marriage, Ted passed, and she married Nelson Cramer in 1997.
Margaret lived in Oak Springs Valley from 1978 to 2003 and Pinon Hills from 2003 – 2013. She was a member of Blessed Junipero Serra Catholic Church, Phelan.
Margaret is survived by her husband, Nelson Cramer of Pinon Hills, 3 daughters; Judy Arlotti of Wrightwood, Vicki Brooks of Lake Arrowhead and Bonnie Tallis of Albany, Oregon; plus 4 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Ginny Rantala of Spokane, Washington, brothers Don Boisen of Diamond Lake, Washington, and Bud (Lawrence) Boisen of Hauser, Idaho. Margaret is preceded in death by her parents, Anton Peter Boisen and Marquerite (Boisen) Ogilvie, her brother John Boisen, and sisters Kathleen Buffett, Eleanor Alrich, Angeline Boisen and Mary Ann Fletcher.
Services were held at Blessed Junipero Serra Catholic Church on Friday, July 19, 2013. Internment was held at Riverside National Cemetery on July 22, 2013 with military honors. She will forever remain in our hearts.
Gerald Bradford Quinn
1936 - 2013
Gerald Bradford Quinn, 77, left his earthly home on July 21, 2013, after a valiant battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully at home in Wrightwood, California, in the presence of his loving family. Born on May 13, 1936, in San Bernardino, California, to Robroy and Marie Quinn, he was raised in Colton. In 1962 Gerald married Lisbeth (Libby) Ballard. They then moved to Lancaster where they began raising their family of 7 children. He worked for 20 years at US Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale as a Civil Engineer with Rockwell International Space Division on the Space Shuttle program. While in Lancaster he was actively involved in civic organizations including the Kiwanis Club and the Antelope Valley Board of Trade. In 1976 the family moved to Wrightwood where they have lived for the past 37 years.
After retiring from Rockwell he began a new career as the Building Facilities Manager for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He retired from this position in 2001. Jerry was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he served as a Missionary, Branch President, Bishop, and Stake President. He also served as a Mission President in Asuncion, Paraguay and San Antonio, Texas. He later served with his wife, Libby, as a missionary to oversee the construction of the Redlands, California Temple. He was the driving force behind one of his favorite projects, which was the building of the LDS Chapel in Wrightwood. He lived a full life, faithfully served the Lord, loved his family and was a wonderful teacher and example to all. He loved working on cars, finding new adventures, traveling, and always had several projects in the works. His most recent project was remodeling a home in Island Park, Idaho, which became the family gathering place. Jerry and Libby had just celebrated their 50th anniversary in December of 2012. He is loved by his family and friends and will surely be missed.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Libby, and his seven children, Kenneth Quinn (Beverly) of Wrightwood, Kevin Quinn (Wendy) of KaoHsiung, Taiwan, Deborah Walgren (David) of McCall, Idaho, Robroy Quinn (Cecilia) of Wrightwood, Rebecca Berger (Roger) of Richmond, Utah, William Quinn (Julie) of Huntsville, Utah and Brian Quinn (Danielle) of Littleton, North Carolina; and 23 grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his only sibling, his sister Marlene Fawcett. Viewing will be from 10am to 10:30am, with funeral services at 11am, on Saturday, July 27th, 2013, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 888 Highway 2, Wrightwood. Interment will be in Montecito Memorial Park, Waterman Avenue and Barton Road, Loma Linda. Emerson-Bartlett Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements. You may send your condolences to www.ourfuneralservices.com
Obituary Chris Rezek
1963 – 2013
Durango resident Chris Rezek died Monday June 3, 2013, in an accident. He was just 16 days short of his 50th birthday. Chris was born June 19, 1963, to Jerelyn Rezek Hawkins and Ray Rezek in San Bernardino, California. He was a go-getter from the start. Walking at seven months and causing plenty of trouble for being “too hyper” in school, he eventually learned to channel that energy as a teenager into playing water polo and running cross-country. Always selling something and often winning prizes at school fundraisers, he was a born businessman. Despite his mother’s insistence on attending college, he assured her that college was not necessary to achieve his life’s goal. He was going to be a “very successful businessman.”
Chris had many friends along with his two stepbrothers, Rick Cronk (manager of Jensen’s for many years) and the late Curt Cronk. He worked for twelve years for his father, Ray Rezek, at what at the time was Holiday Foods. He loved to water ski at Silverwood Lake and snow ski in Wrightwood. He also coached Little League at Wrightwood Elementary School.
On December 7, 1985, Chris married Sue Kiverzis in Wrightwood, and gladly accepted the role of being father of her two children, Joseph and Breanne. They built a home in the Old Wright Ranch building and their family quickly expanded to 4 when Brett arrived followed by Caden two years later.
Armed with a single carpet cleaning machine and a burning desire to start a business, the family moved to Durango in 1992. Working incredibly long hours, Chris not only took care of his four children and wife, who was suffering from breast cancer, he also managed to expand his company. After Sue’s passing, in 1998, he became a single parent and continued to provide the best life possible for his children. Happier then ever, the last couple of years were a true testament to the rewards that Chris had earned over his many years of backbreaking work. He had recently purchased his dream property, a ranch in Mancos, where he planned to make a home with Silvia Pina and her two young daughters.
He is survived by his father, Raymond Rezek and stepmothers Karen Rezek of Irvine, and Karen Rezek of Phelan, Jerelyn Hawkins, and stepfather Victor Rempel of San Bernardino; companion, Sylvia Pina of Durango, sons Joseph Huntsinger and Caden Rezek of Durango; daughters Brett Rezek of Durango and Breanne Huntsinger Rezek of Colorado springs; and three grandchildren.
Chris was a loyal, honest and generous man who loved wholly. He genuinely cared about those he encountered and wanted to have fun. Although his life was cut short, Chris was a fun loving man who was blessed with a great many happy days enjoying his family and his time on Lake Powell.
A celebration of Chris’ life will be held in Wrightwood, for all family and friends, date to be announced.
Mike Mathias, 62 of Wrightwood, CA went to be with the Lord on June 10, 2013 after a long battle with cancer. Mike was born July 14, 1950 in Buffalo New York, he lived his early years in California. Then moved to Florida where he learned the electrical trade and worked for the next 10 years before returning to California. He then became the owner of Mike Mathias Electric. Mike was a master electrician, well known throughout the community. Mike is survived by his brothers Rick and Mark, sister Corinne, stepdaughter Jody and grand children. Mike is preceded in death by the love of his life Millie. There will be a Celebration of Mike’s life on July 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm at the Wrightwood Country Club.
Kathryn (Katy) E. Smith
Kathryn (Katy) E. Smith, born January 11th 1928, passed away at the age of 85, from lung cancer on June 21st 2013, while being watched over by her devoted family. The eldest of nine children, the mother of five is survived by her two daughters, three sons, her brother Eddie, and her sister Pat, as well as a step daughter and a step son.
Katy had a long and until recently, surprisingly healthy life. She was lively and loved meeting people. Her many friends and neighbors will miss her. For the past several years she had a favorite saying when asked how she was. She would respond, “Mean, ornery and ugly!” All would agree she was rarely mean, never ugly and most definitely ornery. She said it was her orneriness that kept her going.
Katy had close ties to the community. She was a Bookkeeper and Tax Preparer for many of the local residents and area businesses and continued to do so for many years after moving to Hesperia in 1978. Her daughter Jada Speers, teaches at Wrightwood Elementary and her stepdaughter, Mary McHenry, teaches at Quail Valley Middle School in Phelan.
In keeping with Katy’s formal wishes and those of the immediate family, there will be no service held. We would prefer to have her remembered as she was and to keep our grief private. The family does however wish to express our gratitude to all of Katy’s friends and to the healthcare professionals who also became her friends over the past year or so. Knowing she was loved and cared for eased her passing for us all.
Maxine Taylor 1932- 2013
Maxine Taylor, age 80, of Victorville, CA, passed away on Monday, May 20, 2013. She was born on December 1, 1932 in Irene, SD to her parents, Lester and Irene Christenson. She was the oldest of three children.
Maxine married Bill Taylor on February 14, 1954. She graduated from Riverside City College in 1952 with an Associate in Business. Maxine and Bill moved to Wrightwood in 1975, where Maxine was involved with the Tri-Community Art Association. An artist, Maxine won several awards for her paintings of birds, flowers and nature.
Maxine loved spending time with her grandchildren, and enjoyed painting, needlework, reading, and jigsaw puzzles.
Maxine will be remembered by her children Mike Taylor (Patti) of Maryland, David Taylor (Liz) of Virginia, and Kathy Walsh (Dan) of Wrightwood. She is survived by her loving grandchildren Jessica Taylor, Alec Taylor, Allison Taylor, Mark Taylor, Sean Walsh (Michelle), and Ryan Walsh. She is also survived by her brother Don Christenson, her sister Shirley McGrath, and many other loving family and friends. Maxine was predeceased by her loving husband Bill Taylor.
Relatives and friends are invited to a service for Maxine at 2:30pm, followed by a 3:30 burial, on Friday, May 24, 2013 at Desert View Funeral Home, 11478 Armargosa Road, Victorville, CA. A gathering will be held in Victorville after the funeral.
Alvin Francis McLean
Alvin Francis McLean passed away at his home on March 15, 2013.
Al loved his country, the Air Force, State Farm, and women – pretty much in that order. Al overachieved at everything he tried, from flying F4 Phantoms over Viet Nam to decades as a State Farm agent. He was highly instrumental in the development of the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial and served as the First Husband of Wrightwood when his beloved late wife Jan Stroud was Mayor.
Al’s prodigious confidence, thirst for excellence, and never failing sense of humor inspired everyone he touched.
Al is survived by his two sisters, Madeline and Cora. Al was the proud father of six children: Robert (and Becky) McLean, James (and Georgia) McLean, Deborah (and John) Barrett, Linda (and Drew) Dye, Dennis (and Kim) McLean, and Vicki (and Tom) Hightower. He has 17 grandchildren and growing numbers of great-grandchildren. He is loved by many and will be missed by all.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 20 at 1PM at the Wrightwood Methodist Church with a pot luck reception at the Wrightwood Inn.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial Fund through the Tri-Community VFW Post 9415.
Thomas Joseph Moseley
1950 - 2013
Thomas Joseph Moseley, 63, of Phelan, CA, passed away on March 7, 2013 after a short battle with Esophageal Cancer.
Born in Upland, CA on February 12, 1950, he graduated from Chaffey High School in 1968 and received associates degrees from Chaffey Community College. Tom served on the Upland Fire Department for 27 years where he retired as Captain.
Tom was a collector and historian of the Old West. He was known as “Tom Muley” to the Single Action Shooters Society and a volunteer docent at the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville. A talented artist in wood, leather, drawing and carpentry; his passions included his three mules, his John Deere tractor, landscaping, chuck wagon/dutch oven cooking, prospecting and fishing.
Tom was married to Sandi (Drake) for 36 years. Tom is also survived by son Kurt and his wife Kassee, daughter Lori, daughter Tarah and her husband John Karr and their children Kya and Kase, mother Doris, brother Mark, sister Dorothy, mother-in-law Pat Drake, and brother-in-law Dean Drake. Tom is preceded in death by his father Robert and father-in-law Don.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the California Route 66 museum in Victorville, CA or to various cancer research foundations.
Anita Louise Funk
1944 - 2013
Anita Louise Funk passed away on Saturday February 16, 2013 in Lake Havasu City, Arizona at the age of 68. Anita was born on May 1, 1944 in Upland, CA to Merle Winston and Dorothy Louise (Beck) Sloate.
Anita was raised in Ontario, CA where she met the love of her life, Jerald “Jerry” Funk. Following graduation from Chaffey High School in June 1962, which was one of her greatest accomplishments, Anita and Jerry were married on June 24, 1962.
Anita and Jerry were blessed with two wonderful daughters, Debra Lynn and Denise Renee. Anita was very active in their school activities, assisting in classrooms and PTA, and supporting the girls in their sporting activities. In 1976, Anita and Jerry moved to Wrightwood, CA. where she continued her involvement with the girl’s activities. Anita also learned the bartending profession while working at a fine dinner house, she worked as a checker at the local grocery store and became the merchant/head teller at the only bank. She was also active in the Sweet Adeline Chorus.
Growing tired of the cold winters and the continuous threat of forest fires, Jerry and Anita moved to Lake Havasu City in September 1999 which brought new adventures as Anita became involved with the Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary #4299, serving on several charity committees and rising to the honor of Past Madam President and serving as a State Auxiliary Officer. She was also involved with the women of the Moose Chapter #1608 and was honored as a member of the Academy of Friendship. Anita enjoyed bowling, collecting dreamcicles and frogs. During warm weather, she could be found in her pool listening to her wind chimes. Most importantly was enjoying her 5 grandsons.
Anita is survived by her loving husband of 50 years Jerry, daughters Debra Orr and Denise Blair of Lake Havasu City; sister Donna (L. Darryl) Hill of Apple Valley, CA; sister in law Karen (Steven) Jones of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; 5 grandsons, 1 niece, 3 nephews and her beloved pets, Sara and Nibbles. Anita was preceded in death by her parents Merle and Dorothy Sloate and her in laws, John and Georgene Funk. Anita was respected and loved by all that knew her.
Viewing will be on Friday March 1, 2013 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home. Services will be held on Saturday March 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home. A reception will follow at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 1561 Marlboro Drive.
Donations may be made to Hospice of Havasu-Polidori House, 1970 Bahama Avenue, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
Thoughts and condolences may be submitted to the family at www.lietz-frazefuneralhome.com Arrangements were placed under the care of Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home and Crematory.
Edward J. French, Jr.
1923 - 2013
Edward J. French, Jr. aged 89 passed away on February 12, 2013 in Riverside, CA after a short illness.
He was born in Cleveland, OH to Edward J. French, Sr. and Florence Rhodes French, who predeceased him.
Edward was married to his wife Elizabeth Gittings French for 31 years before her death in 1975. They are survived by their five children; Suzan French (Greta) of Ashburn, VA, Rae Anne French-Ducharme (Roger) of Sandown, N.H., Thomas French of Orange, CA, Valerie Brown (Peter) of Phelan, CA, Nancy French of Phelan, CA, eleven grandchildren, ten grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Edward was a WWII veteran, having served in the 8th Air Force. He was a waist gunner in a B17 serving 25 missions in France, Normandy, Rhineland, Air Offensive Europe and Western European Offensive.
He was happiest in his later year’s square dancing in several local clubs, where he was affectionately known as, “Just Ed”. He loved taking long walks, reading stacks of history books, and hiking the deserts of California collecting the western artifacts which filled his home.
Private graveside services with military honors will be held on February 20, 2013 at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, CA
In lieu of flowers, his wishes were for donations to The Wounded Warrior Project for disabled veterans or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
William “Bill” Carl Donnan,March 23, 1967 – January 20, 2013
William “Bill” Carl Donnan
March 23, 1967 – January 20, 2013
William “Bill” Carl Donnan of Wrightwood passed away on January 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm at Glen Helen raceway at the SRA Grand Prix, from a heart attack while doing what he loved, racing his motorcycle.
Bill was born on March 23, 1967.
Bill loved his family more than anything. He loved his kids dearly; he had a passion for plants and loved working in the desert as a biologist. Bill spent most of his time in the mountains of Wrightwood working out, hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding. Bill lived to race his motorcycle. He was one of the most kind and loving persons plus the best friend you could ask for. Bill looked out for everyone. He would give you the shirt off his back. Bill will be truly missed by all.
Bill was very proud to carry the #4 plate on his motorcycle from the SRA Grand Prix at Glen Helen.
Bill is survived by his daughter Tesa Donnan, son Trent Donnan, parents David and Julie Donnan, and brother Brett Donnan.
Funeral Services will be held at the Wrightwood Methodist Camp 1401 Linnet Rd, Wrightwood, CA, in the dining hall, on January 26, Saturday at 2:00 PM.
You will be missed dearly my friend. Ride wide open to the clouds R.I.P. Wild Bill.
Gary “Griff” Vincent Griffith
Gary “Griff” Vincent Griffith
Apr. 16, 1940 to Nov. 22, 2012
Griff passed away peacefully in his Palm Springs home on November 22, 2012. Griff had been battling cancer for a year. He was 72 years old. Born in Laramie, Wyoming on April 16, 1940. Griff grew up in Long Beach, California
Griff was well known in the San Gabriel mountain town of Wrightwood. Beginning in the mid-sixties and for over two decades he owned and operated the Yodeler, the very popular pub (best hamburgers) in town. People would come from afar to spend time in the fresh mountain air and relax in the sunshine on the outdoor patio at the Yodeler. He then went on to continue spreading his wit and wisdom and amazing stories at the Wrightwood Inn for several years. He had many friends, including several celebrities and famous sport figures that loved his “Large the Life” personality.
Griff is survived by his mother Shirlee, sister Candee, brother Mark and nieces April and Raphaela.
Speaking of stories, there will be a “Celebration of his Life” at the Yodeler in Wrightwood on Sunday, January 13, 2013 from 4pm on. All are welcome come rain, snow or sun.
Michael Roland Carone
Feb. 14, 1946 to Dec. 8, 2012
Michael Roland Carone leaves behind the love of his life, his loving wife Melissa Carone. Michael was so very proud of his son Nick Carone, his wife Jamie and their children Tanner, Riley and Jason. Michael touched so many lives in a wonderful way and he will be greatly missed.
Our Guardian Angel, Beloved Wife, Mother, and Grandmother, Shelley Hanson was called Home to be with our Lord on Nov. 24, 2012. She is survived by her husband, Robert Hanson, three daughters, Roxie Critton, Gaby Seeba, Kim Abdelmuti, and five grandchildren, Joshua, Reis, Kashus, Harper, and Elle.
A Celebration of Life will take place Sunday, Dec. 2 at the Wrightwood Country Club 1387 Oriole Road Wrightwood, Calif. This will be an open house event please feel free to come by anytime between 12 p.m to 3 p.m.
Betty Jane Brunette-Schneible
On Nov. 10, 2012, Betty Jane Brunette-Schneible passed on to be with our Lord at the young age of 90 years. Betty Jane was a woman of great faith. She had a tremendous love of life and was an inspiration to all that knew her. Betty would have you smiling just by her presence with her beautiful blue twinkling eyes. Her compassion and kindness for others will never be forgotten. She will be deeply missed by all.
Betty Jane was very blessed with the “Voice of an Angel” and began singing at the age of 13 years. She sang a multitude of songs throughout her life. Her last precious angelic voice was heard in the mountains of Wrightwood, CA at the Snowline Players Talent Contest held outdoors on Aug. 4, 2012.
Betty Jane’s passion for tennis began in the late 1930’s. She is known in the tennis communities of the High Desert. She coached tennis in the High Desert for more than 30 years and 20 years in Long Beach, CA.
She is survived by four children, James P. Brunette and his wife Barbara Brunette, Jan P. Brunette, Jill P. Brunette, Jean Brunette-Dougherty and her husband Peter C. Dougherty, 9 Grandchildren, 21 Great-Grandchildren, 2 Great-Great-Grandchildren, many Cousins, and an abundance of Friends.
Betty Jane is preceded in death by her husband Douglas E. Schneible (12/1986), son Jay Paul Brunette (Long Beach, Ca. 4/1986), Granddaughter Lonai Jayne Brunette (Wrightwood, CA.12/2005). Visitation: Friday evening, Nov.30, 2012 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Westminster Memorial Park.
Services: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 at 12:00 noon in the Westminster Memorial Park Main Chapel with a graveside service also. Followed by Reception in the main building next to the Chapel.
Westminster Memorial Park, 14801 Beach Blvd. Westminster, California 92683. 714-893-2421
Betty’s Dignity Memorial Website:
www.dignitymemorial.com Type: Betty W. Schneible or Google Search.
David Hanly Baker, 80, a respected teacher and counselor, died from advanced dementia on the evening of Nov. 20, 2012. Born and raised in E. St. Louis, IL, he joined the USMC in 1951. His stint in the service included a Mediterranean tour and participation in special exercises related to the first detonation of an atomic weapon, at Camp Desert Rock...later the Nevada Test Site. He retained his pride as a Marine throughout his accomplished life.
While deployed in NV, he was attracted to Las Vegas, where he would relocate upon being discharged in ‘54. There he met his wife Frances at Nevada Southern University. He obtained an MA in Counseling & Guidance from U of N, Reno. His two children Linda and Stuart were born in Reno during this time, before the family moved to Las Vegas. David taught high school before becoming a vocational counselor for underprivileged students. In the late ‘60s he was director of the federal Upward Bound program at UNLV.
In ‘89 he moved to Wrightwood, CA and began employment as a special education teacher at Hesperia High School. He retired in 2000. Shortly thereafter, he experienced the first in a series of small strokes that ushered in the slow advance of dementia, which he battled with humor and bravery during his declining years.
David was a skilled photographer; antique collector; tennis enthusiast; devoted long-distance runner; WWII history buff. He was an ironic man, unreligious and committed to science and rational thought.
Throughout the cruelties of his affliction, his family remained humbled by his devotion and singular concern for their well-being. A selfless man by nature, his family will remember him as a consummate provider and protector.
David Hanly Baker is survived by sisters Margaret and Virginia; life-long spouse Frances; daughter Linda and son Stuart. Services are pending at the Veteran Cemetery in Boulder City, NV.
Hobart Dean Belknap Jr. passed away on Oct. 14, 2012, in Murrieta, California. Aside from living in Murrieta, the family resided in LaVerne (12 years) and Wrightwood (19 years). Hobie was born Feb. 1, 1932, to Hobart Dean Belknap Sr. and Lucille Snyder Belknap in Portland, OR. In 1943, his family moved to Pasadena, CA, where his father served in the United States Army as a doctor. Hobie graduated from McKinley Junior High School in 1948 and then from Pasadena City College in 1950. In 1951, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps proudly serving as an artilleryman during the Korean War. In 1952, he attained the rank of sergeant. After the Korean War, he attended the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. There he met his future beloved wife, Nancy Toliver. They were married in 1956 in Weathersfield, Essex, England, at the 20th Tactical Air Force Base. They returned to the United States where Hobie briefly attended the University of California, Los Angeles. Hobie moved the family to Kentucky so he could attend the University of Louisville to study law. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science law degree in 1959 and a Juris Doctorate law degree in 1961. Hobie then enlisted in the United States Army for 3 years as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer attaining the rank of captain. After his term in the Army, he returned to civilian work spending 5 years as an attorney for Lockheed in Ontario, CA. In 1970, Hobie began working for Southern California Edison where he specialized in air quality management. He retired 20 years later, an attorney on SCE’s Senior Counsel. Hobie is preceded in death by his father Hobart, mother Lucille, sister Marilyn, son Jeffery, and grandson Cameron. He leaves behind his wife of 56 years, Nancy, his two daughters Suzanne (Steven) Giorgi and Barbara (Jeffrey) Sprague, his two sons Hobart (Bart) Belknap III (Gerda) and Gregory Belknap (Katherine), 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on November 17, 2012, at 11:00 am, at The Colony, located at 40710 Avenida Florida, Murrieta, CA, in the Club House. Interment will follow at 3:00 pm, at Montecito Memorial Park at 3520 E. Washington St. Colton, CA.
1928 – 2012
Margaret (Marty) Amann passed away Aug. 23, 2012 in Fontana, CA. Marty was born Jan. 25, 1928 in Borger, TX to Cleveland Columbus and Gladys Ruth Melson.
She was married to Earl R. Amann in 1943. After raising their family, Marty and Earl moved to Wrightwood, CA in 1972 and later to Phelan, CA in 1976. After Earl’s death Marty moved to Fontana, CA.
Marty is survived by son Timothy R. Amann of Phelan, CA; daughters Theresa E. Thackeray of Proctorville, OH and Toni E. Laws of Corona, CA; seven grandsons, three granddaughters and six great-grandchildren; brothers, Dud Melson of Idaho and Andy Melson of Missouri.
Marty was preceded in death by her husband Earl, her parents, eight brothers and two sisters.
Graveside Services were held at Riverside National Cemetery on Sept. 13, 2012.
1953 – 2012
Connie chin 59, co-owner and operator of Chin Family Day Care in Wrightwood parted from this life on September 1, 2012
Connie was born April 21, 1953 and grew up in La Habra, California. She lived in Wrightwood for more than 30 years and had worked as a waitress, a housekeeper and a Camp Wrightwood until she began caring for many children over the past several years by providing a day care service in her home.
She is survived by her husband, Michael Chin of Wrightwood, her children Erik Stafford and Katrina Stafford, a granddaughter, Nixie, her Mother, Irene Rodriquez, brothers, Mike Ruelaz and Dr. Robert Ruelaz, sisters, Lillian Florida and Dr. Evelyn Ruelaz-O’Leary. Connie was preceded in death by her sister, Margaret Ruelaz. She also had many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Connie will be fondly remembered for her shining personality and unique sense of humor.
Her family is asking that her many friends join them for a celebration of Connie’s life on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM at Camp Wrightwood located at 1401 Linnet Road in Wrightwood, CA.
Fred W. Hayden
1940 - 2012
Fred W. Hayden, Jr., 72, of Moorseville, NC, passed away suddenly, August 27, 2012. He was born May 20, 1940 in Santa Monica, CA to Fred and Norma Hayden, long time residents of Wrightwood. Fred, Jr. made his residence in Wrightwood for many years during his life.
He is survived by his mother, Norma Watkins Hayden of Salisbury, NC, brother, Robert Hayden, Simi Valley, CA, daughter Sheryl Hayden-Lenhart, sons Richard Hayden, Philip Hayden, Tony Hayden and Fred W. Hayden III, step-daughter Crystal Southard, granddaughters, Jessica and Ashley Craig and numerous nieces and nephews.
Fred is now in the presences of his Heavenly Father, earthly father, Fred Hayden, Sr. and grandson Todd M. Lenhart. Those left behind will miss him.
Cynthia Gail Schinke
1978 - 2012
Cynthia, surrounded by her family, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Sunday, August 5, 2012. Cynthia was born January 20, 1954 in Brownfield, Texas. She found her faith in Christ at a young age and chose to dedicate her life to serve her Savior. Cynthia graduated from L.I.F.E. Bible College in Los Angeles in 1976 and began her ministry in serving at Calvary Foursquare Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. There she met and married Dale Schinke in June of 1977, and the two of them began a journey of service to Christ. Cynthia served as Sunday School Superintendent at Calvary and also worked with her husband in the churches mid-week children’s program.
Cynthia lived for time with her family. Her first child, Melissa, was born in 1978 and her second, Valerie, was born 1980. Her life was dedicated to them. Involving herself in their daily life’s, sports, concerts, and other performances there wasn’t an event that Cynthia missed. Every family vacation was packed with events and memories that Cynthia wanted her family to remember. Cynthia gained a son, through marriage, in 2007 when her daughter married Joshua Sullivan. Cynthia wanted grandchildren and before her daughter had any she made sure to adopt all the little ones in the church. Cynthia’s wish came true in 2009 and 2011 when Melissa and Joshua had Riley Dale and Abigail Joy, her long awaited grandbabies. She spent as much time as possible and made it a passion to spoil and pamper her two little ones. “Roca” as Riley calls her, became very important to their lives and they were Cynthia’s pride and joy.
In the early months of 1990, God called Cynthia and Dale to the High Desert of Southern California to continue the new found work of a small church in Phelan, The Fountain of Living Waters Foursquare Church, which Cynthia served as Co-Pastor with her husband until her home-going. Cynthia had a deep desire and passion that God’s children should read and mediate upon the Word of God. Soon, with the help of a Bible Journaling Program, she was encouraging everyone to ‘get into’ the Word of God, the Bible, to see what the Lord was saying to them individually, and then to write down their thoughts and special insights into a journal that could become a tool of personal strength and growth in the Lord. Soon there were Bible journaling classes, which Cynthia called ‘Read For Life Sessions,’ happening all over the Tri-Community, and Cynthia attended them all. Cynthia recognized the need for women to hear from God personally, so she began a Women’s Bible Fellowship once a month where the ladies would gather for dinner and a study from the Word. Cynthia tailored these meetings around special themes that would help draw the women’s attention to relevant issues that affected them on a daily basis.
Cynthia was also very instrumental in helping to start a Community Women’s Bible Study and Fellowship with friends from Wrightwood, that blessed our community for several years. More recently, she supported and involved herself in the local Women’s Aglow chapter that ministers here in Phelan.
Cynthia also had a heart for the youth of our church and community, serving as a leader in our church youth programs, and organizing and supporting a program she called ‘The Fifth Quarter’ which came together on Friday nights after every Serrano home football game. These special activities gave the young people of our community a place to gather in a safe environment to have fun and food after the game. Cynthia also enjoyed working in our School District, volunteering at many school functions, and substituting in the offices of the district and at several school sites.
Cynthia is survived by her husband Dale, two daughters, Melissa (Joshua) Sullivan of Wrightwood, CA and Valerie of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, two grandchildren Riley Dale and Abigail Joy Sullivan. Also, her mother Bonnie Sanders of Fort Worth, TX, her brother Donald Ethington of Seattle, WA, a Sister Erlene Bates of Fort Worth, TX a brother Ronald Ethington of Cortez, CO, and a step sister Jaime Hamilton of Odessa, TX, as well as many nieces and nephews. A memorial has been set up with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel Missions Department in Cynthia’s name. Donations in her name can be made to that organization.
Tom Cambroto, who along with wife Barbara built his dream home in Wrightwood in 1974, died August 12 in Redding, CA. He was 75.
Born May 14, 1937, in Youngstown, Ohio, Tom moved with his family to Fontana in the early 1950s. After graduating from Fontana High School, he married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Bertolina. They were married in 1957 and had three children, son John and daughters, Kim and Kris.
Tom spent his entire professional career at Kaiser Steel in Fontana, working his way up through the ranks to manager of the accounting department. When Kaiser closed down its operation in the early 1980s, Tom was one of the last people on site, handling inventory control as the firm dispersed its assets.
Meanwhile, he and Barbara were entrenched members of the Wrightwood family, with friends throughout the community. Barbara worked at the Mountaineer Progress, where the couple forged many lasting friendships. She later a headed up a large home rental business at Devlin Realty, with Tom’s able assistance with the bookkeeping.
After retirement, Tom and Barb bought their first RV in the mid ‘80s and began a life on the road together, traveling to most of the country and often extolling the life of the RVer. The two worked for several years as goodwill ambassadors for Camping World, talking to similar travelers about the joys and challenges of life on road.
While making cross-country treks, they were never far away from their Wrightwood home and their many friends. Tom was a man known for his ability to lift other people through his sheer kindness and his skills of being able to do most anything.
His daughters, Kris Cambroto and Kim Miller, and brother John Cambroto, preceded Tom in death. Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Barbara; son John Cambroto of Auburn, Wash.; brother and sister-in-law Andy and Louise Cambroto of Rialto; and sister and brother-in-law Dolly and Jack Anderson of Fontana.
A funeral service was held August 21 at the Family Funeral Center in Rialto. Memorial comments can be made and viewed at www.familyfuneralchapel.com. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions in Tom’s memory to Hospice of the Owens Valley, an organization that assisted the family during their daughter Kim’s illness. The hospice’s address is 155 Pioneer Lane, Bishop, CA 93514.
Phyllis Marie Olden
Longtime Phelan resident Phyllis Marie Olden passed away in Fall River Mills on July 3, 2012
Phyllis was born May 28, 1921 in Chino, CA to Henry and Violet Bickmore. She was the oldest of six children. She lived all of her life in Southern California, 28 years in Phelan. She spent the last four years in Fall River Mills with her youngest daughter Helen.
Phyllis is survived by her children Diane Nichols and husband Bruce of Phelan, Suzie Hall and husband Bob of Phelan, Cyndi Seddig and husband Dick of Denver, Colorado, Pete Bellis and wife Judy of Claremont, CA. Debby Bynum of Phelan, Helen Albaugh and husband Andrew of Adin, CA and step-son Del Olden Jr. and wife Georgia of Bullhead City, AZ, 17 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, 6 great-great grandchildren, her sister Nita McPherson of Antioch, brothers Bob and Bud Bickmore and numerous nieces and nephews. She was loved so much and will be missed by all of her family.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at Phelan Community Church, 9852 Sheep Creek Rd., Phelan CA
November 1935- June 2012
Bob Jones, a fixture in Wrightwood due to his various involvements with the Snowline Players and, for thousands of Wrightwood children, his years representing Santa Claus at Christmas Shop at Home events, passed away on June 22, 2012.
Bob moved to Wrightwood in 1977, bringing his love of the theater to his new hometown. He joined Lora Steinmann’s Snowline Players and performed in a variety of roles, including his last major role as Andrew, the local judge, in their production of “Oklahoma.”
To his credit, Bob appeared in over 50 stage productions over his part-time “career” of 48 years. “Bob’s effort in “Man of La Mancha” and his outstanding performance as Captain Von Trapp in the “Sound of Music” showed what a performer he was,” stated Steinmann.
A love for singing, Bob performed with local choral groups and sang with the community Methodist Church choir.
With a gift for working with figures, Bob’s career led him to Roadway Trucking where he handled manifesting and scheduling. He retired from their Adelanto facility in 2002.
The son of Elizabeth Perry and Robert K. Jones, Bob was born on November 21, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York. His mother passed away when Bob was ten years old, presenting his with responsibilities well before most of his peers.
Bob is survived by his long-time companion Babs Thompson, his four sons, Greg, Ken Bob and Steve, his sister, Elizabeth Fennie, his three brothers, Canning (Perry), Pete and Kenneth (Paul), his ten grandchildren, Chris, Troy, Tessa, Madeleine, Claire, Hudson, Weston and Nathan, his eleven great-grandchildren, his nieces, nephews, and of course family and friends.
A family service was held in Yucaipa on Friday, June 29. A local celebration of life for Bob is planned for August 5 at the Wrightwood Inn, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
January 1,1939 – May 13, 2012
Sam Spada, beloved husband, brother, father and friend passed on to be with the Lord on May 13, at 6:30 PM at St. Bernadine’s Medical Center. Sam always had a smile on his face and a ready laugh. When someone needed help, he was there.
He was born in Sicily, in 1939, and moved to the United States after World War II. He was a very proud Marine and as a Marine he got to visit Japan. When he returned to civilian life, he worked at Chrysler and enjoyed pointing out the cars he built that were still on the road. He had a long career as a furniture mover and a truck driver. He worked for Snowline School District as a maintenance and custodial person at Phelan School, Serrano High School and Heritage School.
He will be greeted in Heaven by his mother Leona Spada, his father, Leo Spada and his beloved first wife, Bonnie Spada.
He will be sorely missed by his loving wife, Liz Wolf-Spada, his devoted sister Jo Remillard, the many children he helped to raise, Lewis Leighton, Cindy Leighton, Dina Spada, Leo Spada, Johnny Leighton, Karl Buchanan, Will Buchanan and Josh Wolf. He will be missed by his niece and nephew, Lisa and Tommy Remillard, his grandniece, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren.
There will be a Memorial Service to celebrate Sam’s life at the Methodist Church in Wrightwood, on Wednesday, June 13 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers please donate money in his name at Antelope Valley Bank for a special fund to purchase another log bench on the Village Trail that will be dedicated to him. Checks should be made payable to Liz Wolf-Spada and can be taken into the bank or mailed to Liz at PO Box 2235, Wrightwood, CA 92397
(Jerry) Gerald C. Peterson
(Jerry) Gerald C. Peterson, from Pinon Hills, passed away quietly in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., on April 17, 2012. Jerry was 94 years young and lived a long, extremely happy life. He was a very sweet, intelligent, wonderful loving man and will be greatly missed.
Jerry grew up in Iowa and after some college, joined the Army. He was proud to be a part of the 358th Fighter Group, on the staff of the ‘Orange Tail’, overseas in England, France and Germany. After moving to California with his wife Lillian, he started a family, enjoyed fishing and boating, opened his own business, received his Master of Photography, was President of the Professional Photographers of America for two years, was part of the Covina Power Squadron, started riding horses around the age of 48 in support of his daughter, Jill and spent years riding his horse “Cimarron”, trail riding, parades and as a Los Angeles County Reserve Deputy Sheriff Mounted Patrol. After moving to Pinon Hills, Jerry wrote as a correspondent for a few newspapers, volunteered in his grandkids classrooms, traveled and took some cruises. In 2000, Jerry’s wife Lillian passed away after over 60 years of marriage.
Jerry is survived by his daughter Jill Wilson, grandsons David Bakanas and Charlie Bakanas, granddaughter Alicia Wilson, his loving partner of over 11 years, Marguerite Wheeler, her sons Terry Wheeler, Gary Wheeler, Lawrence Wheeler, William Wheeler and Mike Wheeler, as well as her several grandchildren who also loved and admired him.
Collin “Q” Quick
1938 - 2012
Collin “Q” Quick passed away on April 5, 2012, in his former wife’s home with son and Janice by his side.
Collin lived in Wrightwood, California, where he had made his home for nearly 50 years.
Collin was born in Monterey Park, California on March 12, 1938 to Lee and Pearl Quick.
Collin had a very intelligent and acquiring mind and was in the first graduating class from Cal State San Bernardino in 1967 with a degree in psychology.
Collin was a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He had a great love of flying and owned numerous planes throughout his life. He could fly anything from a Lear Jet to an Ultralight.
He had a great love for animals, especially his dogs.
For the past 20 years families around Wrightwood have depended on him for pine needle removal. He was known for his excellent service and had many out-of-the area customers who would rely on him to look out for their property.
He will be greatly missed by his son, Collin, who meant the world to him, by his former wife, Janice, with whom he remained close and by his many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and a sister.
A memorial service is to be held at the Hillside Community Church, 3221 Hwy 2, Wrightwood on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.
Rest in Peace “Q”. You will be missed
John David Gregory
1943 - 2012
John David Gregory, resident of Pinon Hills, passed away at home peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, on March 16, 2012. John was born November 16, 1943 in Ohio. He fought a courageous battle for 6 months, but his type of cancer was rare and aggressive.
John ran a successful construction business in Lake Havasu Landing, CA and in the Tri-Community.
John had many interests and hobbies as well as being a huge NASCAR fan.
John is survived by his loving wife, Jennifer, mother Frances, 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 9 devoted children, 10 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild, plus many in-laws, and friends.
John was a man like no other. His kindness, devotion to his family, and ever lasting love, touched everyone who knew him.
We now have our “Buddy Angel” watching over us, from Heaven above.
If you wish to honor his memory with a donation, please send it to: The City Of Hope, In Memory of John David Gregory, 1500 E. Duarte Rd. Duarte, Ca 91010-3000
1934 - 2012
Neva Lyons, 78, entered into heaven March 9, 2012 from heart failure at her home with her loving family by her side. She was born in Oklahoma to Mr. and Mrs. Wells. She has lived in California for 75 years. Neva has lived in the West Cajon Valley for 38 years with her husband of 59 years.
She is survived by her loving and devoted husband Robert “Arky” Lyons, son Rob Lyons of Phelan, CA, daughter Diane Murphy of Idaho, daughter Brenda and Collins Fees of West Cajon Valley, CA, daughter Linda and Darrell Courier of Oregon, 16 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. And, countless family and friends who loved her dearly.
She is preceded in death by her daughter Karen Britner of Phelan, CA, and parents Mr. and Mrs. Wells of Rialto, CA.
She was a devoted wife, mother, aunt and friend. She loved to garden, play cards, go fishing see friends and hang out with her husband everyday.
Services will be held at a later date.
Wilfred “Bill” Campbell
December 5, 1929 – March 4, 2012
Wilfred “Bill” Campbell, resident of Pinon Hills, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday morning, March 4, 2012. Bill was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 5, 1929 and moved to California with his parents at the age of seven. Bill served in the United States Navy, CEA BEES construction battalions during the Korean War stationed in Japan and Philippines for four years.
Bill was the youngest son, one of five children born to the late Robert G. Campbell and Frances Campbell.
Bill and his beloved wife, Carol Campbell, were married for 57 years. They lived together in Pinon Hills for 47 years. Bill was a construction superintendent in Southern California and retired around 1995.
Bill will forever be remembered by his devoted son Jeremy Scott Campbell, a ’94 graduate from Serrano, treasured grandchild Bradley Steven Campbell, along with countless other friends and family whom were blessed to know him.
Bill loved to build and fly model airplanes in El Mirage with several of his buddies. Bill was most proud of the real airplane, a Vari Viggen, Rutan model that he built and was one of only five that ever flew. This airplane is now housed at the aeronautical museum in Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. On his property in Pinon Hills, Bill built and maintained a trout hatchery for many years.
Bill is survived by his wife Carol, son Jeremy, and grandson Bradley.
Bill loved the area around Pinon Hills and the Tri-Community and enjoyed his friends, family and activities and will be greatly missed.
George Francis Tillitson
1931 - 2012
George Francis Tillitson, April 17, 1931 – February 4, 2012 died after suffering a stroke. George was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan but relocated to Auburn, Washington with his parents, graduating from High School there.
After high school he worked for Safeway Stores as a produce manager, but decided he liked electronics more and joined the Navy. After serving 4 years in the Navy, he began working first as an Electronics Technician for Convair. He was promoted rapidly to an Electronics Engineer. George worked in the defense industry in nearly all of his professional career. George most recently worked at Lockheed in the “Skunkworks” as a Project Manager. His family never really knew what he did because the projects were and still are classified as Top Secret.
George was interested in microwave radio. He was a charter member of the San Bernardino Microwave Society, established in 1955. In 1962 he and Tommy Thompson talked by bouncing a microwave signal between Pearblossom and Corona off of Mt. Baden-Powell. This was a historical event in the development of microwave communication. With the advent of computers, George used them to a great extent. Throughout his life, George loved to take photographs and spent much time digitizing his large collection of slides which documented much of the traveling he did, mostly in the Western US.
George lived the early part of his adult life in Pomona, California moving there in 1954. In 1974 he and his family moved to Wrightwood where he lived the remainder of his life. In Wrightwood, he was active in the historical society and at one time was appointed to the MAC board.
George was the son of George and Frances Tillitson who are both deceased. He was married in 1953 to Marvine Joan Herron who survives him. They are the parents of Donald, Nadine, Lenore, Beth, and George. He also leaves several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be missed greatly by his family and friends. A simple service is scheduled for February 24, 2012 at Riverside National Cemetery, Staging Area 4 at 11:45 am.
Celebrating The Life Of
Donald Michael Oster
June 9, 1923 – January 31, 2012
Born June 9, 1923 in Fresno, CA, Don was the eldest of three sons.During his youth, the family moved to Pasadena, CA where he enjoyed the great outdoors, wildlife, and the family pets.His admiration of soaring hawks and birds spurred his interest in flying airplanes resulting in Don obtaining his pilot’s license at the age of 15 prior to obtaining his driver’s license.
After high school, Don became a decorated Marine pilot and served in WWII earning several honors.He also briefly served in the Korean War.
In 1948, Don married his wife Jane and made Rosemead their first home.Together they raised two children, daughter Susan and son Rob.His many interests included wood craftsmanship, gardening, fishing, camping and traveling with his family, often to remote locations.In later years, he and Jane enjoyed flying in their Comanche plane to visit friends and enjoyed seeing interesting new locations.
He was a successful businessman having established two thriving businesses.In the early 1950s, Don and Jane moved to their new home in Monterey Park where, after receiving his Contractor’s License, he started and managed a very successful pool business having several employees.
In the mid 1960s, Don and Jane relocated to San Gabriel with their family where he continued his business.He was also very active in the local Lions Club.During this time they discovered Wrightwood and Don decided on a second career in real estate.He and Jane very much enjoyed the real estate business and eventually moved to Wrightwood permanently in 1980 having built a custom home he designed which included some of his custom woodworking.As a broker, he operated Don Oster Realty until retirement in 2006.
Don was very active in the Wrightwood community.He was a member of the Wrightwood Municipal Advisory Council (MAC), and a member of the Chamber of Commerce including a term as President.In the early years, Don helped organize the annual Mountaineer Days parade.
Don enjoyed the mountain living of Wrightwood and could be seen frequently walking his dog or hiking one of the many trails in the area.Visiting in his office with many of his local friends and clients along with watching the children at play across the street at the Wrightwood Elementary school, brought him great pleasure.Throughout his life and accomplishments, Don was most proud of and loved his family.
A long time Wrightwood resident, Don passed away on January 31.He is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, Jane; daughter and son-in-law Susan and Jim Billings of San Diego and their children Michael and Melissa; son Rob Oster of Highland and his son Chas; brother Owen “Bub” Oster of Arcadia; the widow of his youngest brother Richard “Alan” Oster, Milbrey Oster of Arcadia,and several nieces and nephews.
Private services with the Marine Honor Guard were held in Redlands, California on Saturday February 11, 2012 with final resting place at Riverside National Cemetery.
Todd Michael Lenhart
December 19, 1990 – January 12, 2012
Todd Michael Lenhart graduated from Palm Springs High School in 2009 where he lived with his mother. Todd was the great grandson of Fred and Norma Hayden, who lived in Wrightwood for over 40 years. About ten years ago Norma moved to North Carolina to be with her son. Todd was also grandson to Tom and Carol Fishburn, weekenders in Wrightwood for 44 years. Todd and his mother, Sheryl Lenhart, loved to visit both sets of grandparents in Wrightwood as he was growing up. Todd is survived by his mother, a cousin, three uncles, two aunts and his grandparents.
Services were held on January 21 in Palm Springs, CA. His family was very touched by all of the kind words and stories shared at the gathering and appreciate those that participated.
Todd will be deeply missed by his many friends and family.
Colonel James L. Weeks
Colonel James L. Weeks, USAF Retired, passed away peacefully on January 25, 2012, ninety-five years after his life began in San Bernardino. Jim, as he was known for his fifty-two years in Wrightwood, was active till the end drew near with his loving wife of 46 years, and best friend, Margaret. He had proudly told friends recently how he had renewed his driver’s license and both he and Margaret were still able to attend social activities until just a few weeks before age caught up.
A quiet and methodical man, Jim was born of a second-generation pioneer family of San Bernardino. His maternal great-grandmother, Sarah Weeks, had been on the wagon trains into the San Bernardino Valley in the 1850’s. He grew up in San Bernardino, graduating from San Bernardino High School during the Great Depression.
With little or no work available, the tenacious young Jim joined the Naval Reserve so that he could continue his “Ham Radio” skills that began in high school, operating high frequency radios and performing Morse code. His part time work and small stipend from the Navy wasn’t enough and Jim found that the new Army Air Corps was looking for talented radio operators. His enlistment in 1939 led to an exceptional career that was never talked about, as his talent took him deep into the clandestine efforts of military intelligence, with most of his World War II service in the Southeast Asia/Burma/India Theater. As the war moved closer to the Japanese homeland, Jim, now an officer, had 600 specialists under his command. He was promoted to full Colonel at 34 years of age, as he continued to serve through the first ten years of the Cold War. Jim’s efforts were underscored when the President presented the Legion of Merit to Colonel Weeks for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services,” from 1954 through 1956. It goes to the grave what Jim was doing for that commendation, but he was forever proud of his service.
Arriving in Wrightwood in 1959, the Weeks family went to work to make the small village their new hometown. Jim commuted to San Bernardino for a few years, first as Trust Manager at Bank of America and then as General Manager of Van Wyk Volkswagen. When the dealership sold, Jim ventured to Victorville and spent the next seven years in the engineering department of California Interstate Telephone, later Continental Telephone and now Verizon. His last working assignment was as a part time instructor in the Electronics Department at Victor Valley College.
Margaret came into Jim’s life while he was at Cal Interstate and their marriage in 1966, at the Mission Inn, led to an active role by the couple in Wrightwood’s growth from adolescence to adulthood, the decades of the ’70s and ‘80s. Jim’s radio skills never left him and he was till the end involved in the amateur radio and disaster preparedness efforts/emergency response program in Wrightwood. While Margaret developed her artistic skills and was involved with others bringing culture to Wrightwood, Jim took his skills and was appointed to the Wrightwood Fire District Board where he served until it was consolidated into the Wrightwood Village Council, and then formally, the Wrightwood Municipal Advisory Council (MAC), bringing community government, although still under the wing of the County Supervisor, to Wrightwood. Jim was the first MAC Chairman.
During Jim’s tenure the plans were developed for the new fire station, with a strong effort made by local community leaders to make sure the funding would be forthcoming for the needed station. Jim was there as Wrightwood worked to stop Riverside Cement from building a quarry at the 5000 foot level of Hwy 2, there when the Lions donated the Community Building to park and recreation arm of the MAC, and in the thick of it when the state attempted to close off much of Wrightwood to building due to the San Andreas Fault.
After eight years “in the trenches” Jim opted to spend more time with his beloved Margaret. They enjoyed performing organ music in the Mountain Organeers and the Apple Valley Organ Club, and were very active in the Community Methodist Church. Jim continued his amateur radio work.
To some newcomers to Wrightwood, Jim will forever be known as that older gent who took to the dance floor or parking lot with his lovely Margaret, to dance, and not just the slow numbers.
He is survived by his wife and best friend Margaret Weeks, daughter Sandra Rakestraw and husband Jeff Solomon of Atascadero, step-children; Dan Ainsworth and wife Francie of Pismo Beach, Diane Krajsa of Pismo Beach; grandchildren Cyndee Smolik and sons Gavin and Garet of Paso Robles, Craig Ainsworth and wife Dana and daughter Alexis; and adopted families; Grandson Weston Smith and his father Richard Smith and Bob and Elaine Bailes. It should be added that Jim is also survived by his friends, the community of Wrightwood.
A memorial service is being planned at the Community Methodist Church on February 25. The tribute to Jim’s life will begin at 2 p.m.
WWII Veteran, Educator, Outdoorsman
1914 - 2011
Alton “Longbow” Safford, long-time Wrightwood Resident, died peacefully in his home on December 21, 2011, having just turned 97. He was known throughout the West as an expert in Indian craft, primitive archery, flint-knapping and tanning in particular. He was also an expert marksman, fly-fisherman and a tireless hiker of the High Sierras.
Alton was born where his father, Lee Ashton Safford, worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Toppenish Reservation near Yakima, Washington, on December 6, 1914. His mother, Alice Agnes Lugton, was born in Magdalena, U.S. Territory of New Mexico. As a child he learned to make Indian bows and arrows and to brain-tan deer hides, lessons he never forgot. Indians from all over the west lived there; Sioux, Arapaho, Utes and Cheyenne. He watched Indian women brain-tan buckskin and men make their small plains-style flat bows. They taught him to shoot when he was six and he made his first bow, of willow, when he was eight. He learned to make his own moccasins and baskets.
Alton’s parents were told by a doctor that Alton and his brother, Lee, were not thriving as they should be because of the damp climate, so the family moved to Greater Los Angeles. Alton joined the local Boy Scouts and attained Eagle Scout rank. While in high school in Burbank he and his brother sneaked off to Catalina Island and shot a buffalo with their handmade bows and arrows. They were eventually caught and paid a penalty.
Alston graduated from high school during the Great Depression and among other jobs, he cleared trails in the Civilian Conservation Corps (Roosevelt’s CCC), worked in a junk yard, as a “grease monkey” in a garage, on oil rigs, in mines, and for the railroad. One job that stands out was his co-ownership of an archery shop in Hollywood, where he became well-acquainted with all the great Southern California archers of the time, such as Howard Hill, Captain Jack Hoefer, Frank Garske, and his close friends Hugh Rich, Howard Mathisen and Fred Bear. He recalled great camaraderie with this group, as they hunted deer in the California foothills with their self-made 100-pound bows and broadheads. Also, because he had a tuxedo and could work as an usher in theaters, symphony halls, and other venues for live performances, his life became enriched by this education in drama and all kinds of music.
In 1937,influenced by his reading of Ernest Hemingway, Alton traveled to Spain in support of the Loyalist democracy against Franco’s fascist opposition. He drilled troops with wooden machine guns, expecting a shipment of arms to arrive from the Soviet Union. The arms never came. When Barcelona fell, he and others hiked over the Pyrenees to France, where he was arrested and deported back to the United States.
Having taken some machine shop courses in high school, he was able to get a job with Lockheed as the country geared up for World War II, working on Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. At that time he met and married his first wife, Margaret Blankenship. He was promoted to Senior Machine Parts Inspector. In 1943 he was drafted even though he was then 29 years old and working in the defense industry.
In the Army Alton was first posted to England with the 9th Air Corps but in June,1944went ashore at Omaha Beach, Normandy, landing on D-Day + 17. As the best shot in his outfit, for a time the Army made him a sniper. He once said it was a strange duty because he always felt that when he was aiming, the enemy sniper was probably sighting him. He worked across France preparing advance air field bases, was in Paris for its liberation, was witness to de Gaulle’s triumphant return, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war he ushered at the Nuremburg Trials before coming home.
Back in California, Alton returned to work at Lockheed and became the father of two children, John and Jeanne Safford. Laid off for lack of production, he decided to use his G.I. Bill to get a higher education at nearby Occidental College. He earned a B.A. degree in education and taught 5th grade for about 8 years while working on his M.A. degree.
Divorced, Alton met his second wife, Juliana Brailovsky in Eagle Rock. They lived and taught in Ojai briefly before returning to Los Angeles where he administered academic tests for the Palos Verdes school district. Alton entered the doctoral program at USC and earned his degree in Education in 1965 at age 51. From his second marriage he now had three more children, Monique, Kimberly and Tony Safford. For the rest of his career he worked for the County of Santa Barbara as head of its Special Education department. Always an unusually good listener, he also used his skills and education as a practicing educational psychologist. Divorced, he met his third wife, Miriam Sacks Coker, a local Santa Barbara educator. They remained together for the rest of his life.
Since his father had died of a stroke at age 54, Alton decided to retire at age 63. He and Miriam moved to Wrightwood in 1977 where he continued with a limited practice for a few years. It was here for thenext 34 years that he flourished,passing on the old ways of bow- and arrow-making, bone work, tanning, and hunting to whoever would listen and work with him. Alton found a group of wonderful friends and students at the annual Wrightwood Flintknapping Rendezvous, which drew Indian-lore aficionados from all over the West. Alton attended the first California Flintknapping Rendezvous in 1983 set up by Ray Harwood at California State University at Northridge. Subsequent Wrightwood Flintknapping Rendezvous were held at Jackson Lake, Camp Guffey, and Indian Hills Ranch. He participated in archer shoots across the state and particularly enjoyed the annual Mountain Men Rendezvous in the southern Rockies. He was known as “Longbow” among flintknapping friends and collected a room full of rare and significant Indian artifacts.
Alton was active until the very end, continuing to hike and camp and even renewing his driver’s license for two more years late in 2011. He had many circles of friends, including the Saturday and Monday Hiking Groups, the flintknapping friends,the Thursday Breakfast Group, the First Friday Reading Group (where his wide knowledge and expansive reading were particularly appreciated), ex-students and clients, and hundreds of people with whom he corresponded. A memorial was held for him on Wednesday, December 28, at the home of Ed and Phyllis Gallagher. Half of Alton’s ashes were interred at the Riverside National Cemetery with full military honors on January 13, 2011. His friends and family plan a spring flintknapping memorial and will also scatter his remaining ashes in the High Sierras as soon as weather allows.
Alton is survived by his wife, Miriam; his son and daughter from his first marriage, John and Jeanne Safford; and former wife Juliana and his children from that marriage; Monique, Kimberly and Tony Safford. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Joseph David Safford, Janet Arlene Safford, Miles Jameson Safford, Sophia Rose Mindas, Benjamin Jacob Safford and one great-grandchild, Benjamin David Safford.
Alton Safford–, one of a kind.
Aaron Casey Cagle
Beloved son, brother and friend.
Aaron “Casey” Cagle
1-15-92 to 1-18-12
Viewing at Sunrise Church, Wrightwood, on Thursday, January 26 from 12-2pm. Small gathering at the Cagle home afterwards for loved ones.
Florence M. Bard
Florence M. Bard, of Inver Grove Heights, MN, formerly of Wabasha, MN, died Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at Southview Acres Health Care Center in West St. Paul, MN. She was born May 24, 1932 in Glen Haven, WI, the daughter of John and Ellen (Petsche) Blum. She graduated from Prairie du Chien High School in 1950. She worked in data processing for Lockheed Aircraft in California for 28 years, retiring in 1990. She married Robert Bard May 23, 1964 in Las Vegas. He died June 4, 1993. Florence moved from Pinon Hills, CA to Wabasha on October 31, 2000 to be near her niece, Mary Rohowetz. After Mary and her family moved to Inver Grove Heights in early 2011 Florence moved there to again be near them on May 31, 2011.
Florence was a member of St. Elizabeth’s Auxiliary in Wabasha and the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary. She had a special love for animals especially her cockatiel, Pollyanna.
She is survived by sisters and brother-in-law, Agnes Bronder, Greenbush, NY, Margaret and Clyde Noggle, Prairie du Chien, WI, Ellen Skaife, Janesville, WI; brother and sisters-in-law, Martin and Florence Blum, Okeechobee, FL, Bobbie Blum, Cedar Rapids, IA; nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews among whom is Mary and Paul Rohowetz and family. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, her parents, two sisters, Rose Mary Christen, and Alice Recker and two brothers, Ora Blum and infant, Bernard Blum.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, January 16, 2012 at 1pm at the Abbott Funeral Home in Wabasha. Interment will be at Victor Memorial Park in Victorville, CA on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. The Abbott Funeral Home of Wabasha is in charge of arrangements. www.abbottfh.com
Dillie Thomas 1932-2011
Dillie Thomas, beloved and devoted wife of Ed and mother of Barbara and Melody, passed away on December 17, 2011.
Dillie Iris Thomas was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1932, daughter of Gayl Elwood Giberson and Clara Louisa Giberson. Her early life was lived during the great depression of the 1930’s. They traveled west and ended up in Mill Creek Canyon, in the San Gorgonio Mountains. Later she attended college in Redlands to study Fine Art. She always shared her wonderful memories of her childhood with her children. She said growing up in Mill Creek was like a little bit of heaven. She also had many wonderful stories of her summers spent with her grandparents and cousins back on the farm in Nebraska.
Dillie married husband Ed in 1957, and lived in Wrightwood for all of their married life. Family life was full and wonderful. In their studio she had a place to create, while Ed worked beside her on his model aircrafts. Many happy and fulfilling years were spent this way.
Dillie was an energetic and devoted mother.As well as teaching her daughters different aspects of the arts, she got involved with the Girl Scouts and became a scout leader. She continued as leader throughout their childhood, teaching many of the classes in art, outdoor skills and camping.
There were many summer vacations in the travel trailer filled with wonderful times and sweet memories. She gave the girls the benefit of her theatrical expertise in teaching them puppetry, puppet making and stage building which were so well done that the girls were asked to perform a show at the local elementary school. Dillie also loved designing many award winning Halloween Costumes for the girls when they were young and in later years she taught them to sew many of their own clothes. She always encouraged their individual creativity,
Dillie became a Master Oil Painter.She began painting in 1960, taking lessons from Nancy Templeton in Wrightwood. While her girls were still small she practiced her craft.She was a founding member, and then became president of the Tri Community Art Association. In 1974, she was finally able to fulfill her dream of opening an art gallery. The Four Seasons gallery was opened as a co-op where other artists joined in and shared the gallery. Some of her Art Association friends who were involved included Lila Carter, Fran Ouimette, Nancy Nauer, Shirley Pinard, Norma and Fred Hayden, Jan Barton, Barbara Ahern, Lora Steinmann, and many others. After seven years it became a corporation, and Dillie ran it as a successful business for 24 years.
Dillie and Ed traveled all over the Southwest and up the California Coast doing many art shows from 1977 to 2009. During these years they also spent their winters at their Indio home doing shows at Borrego Springs and throughout the Palm Springs Area. Dillie’s paintings can be seen in art galleries across the country, and in her home studio.
Dillie was a loving grandmother to her two grandchildren Aaron and Dillie Elizabeth, babysitting and hosting many birthday parties when the kids were small. Later, she taught them to draw and paint and loved going shopping with her granddaughter.
In 2009, Dillie was diagnosed with a terminal illness and fought the battle for two and a half years. 2011 was a very good year for her, as she got to go through her wish list and do everything on it.
She is survived by her husband Ed, daughters Melody Thomas and Barbara Marrujo, son-in-laws Peter Hunkins and Steve Marrujo and her grandchildren Aaron Marrujo, 25, Dillie Elizabeth Marrujo, age 20, and stepdaughterDelores (Rose) Hagge and God-daughter Christine Rice.
Throughout her long life she touched many lives.
Service will be held on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 2 p.m. at the Wrightwood Community United Methodist Church, at 1543 Barbara Street, Wrightwood, CA 92397. A reception will follow in the Social Hall at the Church.
In lieu of flowers the Thomas’ have requested that friends contribute in memory of Dillie Thomas to herforeign sponsored child of many years “Flavia Jasline Pinto” .
Please make your checkpayable to the Wrightwood Community United Methodist Church In reference to: Flavia Jasline Pinto.
The address is: P.O. Box 62, Wrightwood, CA 92397.