In Passing

Gordon “Bud” Arneson

Gordon “Bud” Arneson, 80, a 23-year resident of Sun Lakes, a Phoenix retirement community, passed away August 16, 2017, after a long bout with Parkinson’s disease.

He was born and raised on a farm in south central Nebraska. His mother Effie called their second son her little Buddy. He spent his youth working alongside his father Glen doing the chores of a man, which undoubtedly developed the work ethic he was respected for and strengthened him for playing sports. He rode a horse to grade school, showed a baby beef through FFA and rode the train with his dad, taking cattle to Kansas City – just a few of the stories he shared from those early years. Frequent get-togethers of the area Arnesons were a major source of entertainment in those days, and he always talked about the time spent with his cousins.

Basketball and baseball in Inavale in grade school and football added at Red Cloud High School – he excelled in them all and won many awards. After a 1955 graduation and attending Kearney State for one year, Bud went on to N.U. at Lincoln, joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity and obtained a B.S. in business administration. That last semester, he met his future wife, a freshman from South Dakota. He went six months to army reserve training and worked in Denver one year before returning to N.U. to pick up the pre-med courses he would need to apply to medical school, got married, had a son and ultimately decided against being a doctor.

With a farm background and added science courses under his belt, he was employed by Corvel, Eli Lilly’s vet branch, and then Elanco, its ag chem division, where he found his niche within the Kansas City district, covering Northwest Missouri.

He lived 24 years in the “Coves” in Kansas City North, full of pride as he watched his two sons grow up. Finally, he retired to Arizona where he took full advantage of the golf courses and enjoyed softball and tennis, just like in his younger days. Following Husker football remained his very favorite pastime.

Bud is survived by his wife of 55 years Peggy, son Jeff (Georgia), son Scott (Rhonda), grandchildren Kaley and Brayden, brother Dick, sister Carole (Jr) Glenn, one niece, four nephews and many great Arneson cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and nephew RG.

No service is being held, but the family would appreciate your cards and notes with particular memories you have of Bud. They can be sent to Williams Funeral Home. Interment is in the Red Cloud Cemetery. Once a Nebraskan, always a Nebraskan.

Evelyn Louise Axon

In loving memory of Evelyn Axon of Sun Lakes, Arizona, who passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, at the age of 97. Evelyn was born on April 10, 1920, in Detroit, Michigan.

In her youth, she was an avid softball and tennis player. She was happily married to her childhood sweetheart Richard (deceased) for 56 years. She worked as a bank teller and with charitable organizations; mostly, she was a loving mother and wonderful homemaker. The couple retied to Venice, Florida, in 1980, then moved to Sun Lakes, Arizona, in 1991 to be closer to their family. In 1966, Evelyn took up golfing where she continued to play the game until the youthful age of 90. She had her first hole-in-one at the age of 65 and then another hole-in-one at the age of 80. Evelyn enjoyed reading books and kept a diary of every book she read with a short summary and her review.

She is survived by her three sons Thomas, David and Kenneth and their spouses Diana, La Reina and Donna; her five grandchildren Kevin, Jennifer, Joel, Keith and Luke; and her great-grandchildren Alex, Justin and Danica. She will always be remembered for her strength of character, her desire to see others succeed, her thoughtfulness, her deviled eggs and her love of our Lord.

In lieu of flowers, please donate in her name to the Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014. A memorial mass will be held on November 6 at St. Steven’s Catholic Church, 24827 S. Dobson Road, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248, at 10:00 a.m.

Shirley W. Echols

Shirley Echols passed away on August 2, 2017, at the Puyallup Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Puyallup, Washington, after a three-year battle with cancer.

Shirley was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, to Philip and Mary Webster. She graduated from Long Branch High School and Monmouth County Vocational School.

She married a classmate, Jim Echols, and had two children, Denise and James Jr. She worked as a supervisor in the dietary department at the hospital where she was born, Monmouth Medical Center.

In 1977, the family relocated to Washington State and still resides there. Shirley worked part time for the Puyallup School District at Wildwood Park Elementary School. In 1987, she was hired as a diet tech at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Washington. She was employed there until 2010 when she and Jim purchased a home in Sun Lakes, Arizona, as a fall/winter residence.

Shirley was predeceased by her parents Philip and Mary Webster, as well as sisters Rebecca Webster and Dorothy Gaskin. She is survived by her husband Jim; two children, Denise and James Jr; six grandchildren; two great grandchildren and sisters Mary Jones, Irene Hundley and Marjorie Tittle.

Memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society or your favorite charity.

Details relating to a Celebration of Life gathering will be given at a later date.

Helen E. Mahlik

Helen (Owen) Mahlik passed away at home in Sun Lakes, Arizona, on Saturday, July 8, 2017. Helen was born on January 14, 1937, in Kinsley, Kansas. Helen and her husband Darrell raised their two sons, Doak and Todd, in Littleton, Colorado. She had an adventurous spirit which took her to places across the globe – from college at the University of Kansas, to post-graduate education at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia, to teaching school at the Department of Defense school in Ludwigsburg, Germany (where she met and married Darrell).

She was a committed and beloved educator, teaching English for over 30 years in Littleton public schools at Euclid Junior High and Arapahoe High School. After retirement, Helen enjoyed travel throughout the 50 states, numerous cruises, a tour of China, as well as volunteer work. In recent years, Helen valiantly fought the debilitating effects of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

A celebration of Helen’s life and her inurnment was held on August 11, 2017, at the 7-Stones Botanical Garden in Littleton, Colorado. An on-line guestbook is open at or

Mitzi Irene Pinsly

Mitzi Irene Pinsly, 86, passed away peacefully on August 8, 2017. Mitzi was born September 8, 1930, in Poughkeepsie, New York, to the late Sam and Dora Dinerstein. She is predeceased by her sister Evelyn. She is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, Arnold Pinsly; her children Gary Pinsly and wife Sue of Nashville, Roy Pinsly and wife Debbie of Forked River, New Jersey, and Sandy Zeises and husband Michael of Marlton, New Jersey; 10 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Mitzi had a master’s degree in education, taught first and third grade, owned a travel agency in New York and was an avid golfer and world traveler. In the past decade, she became a CASA advocate and a member of the Maricopa County Foster Care Review Board. She fostered two children. Mitzi was the life of the party and will be dearly missed.

The family is deeply grateful to Hospice of The Valley, including Jeannie, Cheryl and Barbara.

A memorial service was held August 10, 2017, at Sun Lakes Chapel for All Faiths.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Hospice of the Valley Development Fund, 1510 East Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

Barbara Jean (Vaerewyck) Reeves

Barbara Jean (Vaerewyck) Reeves, 82, of Sun Lakes, AZ, passed peacefully on Wednesday, August 9, in the arms of her beloved husband Bob and surrounded by her family. Married 61 years, Bob and Barbara were deeply in love and devoted to one another. She described always feeling loved, safe and secure with him. Barbara dedicated her life to her family. Her greatest joys were her children and grandchildren and the special bond she shared with her younger sister Diana. She leaves her family with warm memories of her unconditional love and selflessness.

Barbara was born in Mishawaka, IN, on March 22, 1935. She is preceded in death by her parents Emilie and Frank Vaerewyck, her sister Betty Vaerewyck, her brother Robert Vaerewyck and her young daughter Cynthia Lynn Reeves. Barbara is survived by her husband Bob Reeves of Sun Lakes, AZ; her son Rick (Polly) Reeves of Loveland,her daughters Cheryl (Matthew) Mathis of Mesa, AZ; Kathy (Steve) Dorman of Gilbert, AZ; and Therese Simpson of Gilbert, AZ; her grandchildren Nicci (Anthony) Kirlew of Gilbert, AZ; Michael (Audrey) Mathis of Kansas City, MO; Kristina Moore of Mesa, AZ; Joe Simpson of Gilbert, AZ; Emily Mathis of Mesa, AZ; and Sarah Reeves of Loveland, OH; her siblings Diana (Neil) Barrett of Mishawaka, IN; and Richard Vaerewyck of Mishawaka, IN; her nephew Alan Mueller of Mishawaka, IN; and countless loving friends. We are comforted in the knowledge that she is with God and is healed, whole and free. She is greatly missed.

A Celebration of Life was held in Sun Lakes on Saturday, September 9. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name by mail to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memorial and Honor Gifts, PO Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142; by phone at 800-822-6344 or online at Barbara supported St Jude’s since the loss of her 12-year-old daughter in 1968.

Those we love don’t go away; they walk beside us every day

Unseen, unheard, but always near

Still loved, still missed, and very dear.

John Stravers

Sadly on June 15, 2017 we said goodbye to John Stravers at the age of 95. He was a long time resident of Sun Lakes. A WWII veteran, he was also a New York City policeman for 20 years and then worked for GMAC for another 20 years. He lived and loved life as a true American. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband.

He and his wife, Winnie, moved to Sun Lakes from New York in 1986. After a short illness Winnie passed in 1991. He later met Mary Flannery. After a few years, they married and were a great comfort to one another. They had 19 happy years together.

Mary would like to thank all of their wonderful friends and neighbors in Sun Lakes for all the cards and prayers, etc.

Also, a special thanks to St. Stevens Church.

With gratitude, God bless you all. From the Stravers and Flannery families.

Elizabeth “Betty” Snodgrass

Elizabeth “Betty” Snodgrass, 80, died peacefully in her sleep on August 14, 2017.

Betty was born June 30, 1937, in Ashland, Kentucky, to Marjorie and James Flowers. Betty attended Ashland High School alongside her future husband Bill Snodgrass. She graduated in 1955. After high school, Betty continued her education at Ohio Wesleyan College, eventually transferring to and graduating from University of Cincinnati with a teaching degree. Betty was active in Alpha Chi Omega in college and as an alumnus.

Betty and Bill were married in Ashland on August 2, 1959. Betty used her skills as a seamstress to make her own wedding gown. Throughout her life, she would use her skills to create cherished items for her kids and grandkids, such as handmade quilts, dresses, Halloween costumes and Christmas stockings.

After college, Betty and Bill moved to Midland, Michigan, to begin their careers and raise a family. Betty loved her life as a homemaker in a new neighborhood of young families. Betty stayed busy raising her kids, participating in social activities on the block and being active in the schools and community.

Once her youngest child was a first grader, Betty joined the workforce as a home economics teacher at Central Junior High, and at both Midland and Dow High Schools. Hundreds of students in Midland learned to cook, sew and manage a household under her guidance.

In the late 1980s, Bill and Betty moved to the Madison, Wisconsin, area, and eventually ended up splitting time between Madison and Sun Lakes, Arizona, in their retirement. During this time, they enjoyed visits from family and exploring the Arizona desert climate and culture after so many winters in the upper-Midwest. A favorite activity was their bi-annual drive across the country between Arizona and Wisconsin.

Betty is survived by her three sons, Alan (Becki), David and Neil (Heidi); five grandchildren, Haley, Trevor, Olivia, Loralee and Spencer; and brother, James Flowers (Jo).

The family would like to thank the entire staff at Hyland Crossings for caring for Betty the last 18 months and then Agrace Hospice for providing a beautiful and peaceful setting with exceptional care in her final weeks.

A private family memorial service will be held later this year. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association,