In Passing

John Barrett Bittinger (Jack)

John Barrett Bittinger (Jack), 82, of Sun Lakes, Arizona, passed away at Chandler Regional Hospital on Wednesday, December 27, 2017. He was born in Dayton, Pennsylvania, on September 17, 1935, to Clinton Bittinger and Clara Mae Barrett Bittinger. He grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, graduating from Cuyahoga Falls High School in 1953 after which he served three years in the United States Marine Corps at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. He then attended Kent State University.

Jack met the love of his life, Janet Elaine Kirk, in the fourth grade and told his mother that day that he had met the girl he was going to marry. They attended grade school and high school together where he was president of the class and she was vice president. He was King of the Prom and she was Queen. They married February 23, 1957, at the United Presbyterian Church in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2017. God blessed them with three children — Dawn Manning of San Antonio, Texas; Debbie Lang of Tempe, Arizona; and Douglas Bittinger of Fairplay, Colorado; and four grandchildren.

When Jack joined the Soap Division of Colgate Palmolive Company, he began his career in sales management in the food business. In 1971, he became a Regional Manager for Abbott Laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1973, he became National Sales Manager and subsequently Vice President of Sales for National Oats Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Dallas, Texas. His responsibilities included extensive travel in all 50 states and all of Canada working with food brokers. He believed in the H.A.I.R. Theory: Honesty, Accountability, Integrity and Responsibility.

After Jack’s retirement, he began a second career as a Staff Member of the IronOaks Fitness and Racquet Club in Sun Lakes where he worked for 15 years.

Many sales and leadership awards were bestowed on Jack, but his greatest achievement was his friendliness, his special gift of remembering people’s names, lifting their spirits and making them feel special. His philosophy was if you make someone else happy, you will be happy too. He was a kind and loving father and husband who adored his family, all people and life. His light was a beacon for all who knew him. He enjoyed sports – especially Ohio sports – Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers and The Ohio State Buckeyes football and basketball.

Jack was a member of the Sun Lakes United Church of Christ where he served on the Board of Trustees and the Diaconate.

He is survived by his wife Janet and their three children Dawn, Debbie, and Douglas (Cindy). Jack was preceded in death by his parents and his only sibling, brother Robert Clinton Bittinger.

A memorial service was held at the Sun Lakes Chapel, 9240 E. Sun Lakes Blvd. N., Sun Lakes, Arizona, on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be given to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

Rebecca (RJ) Joan Chase

Rebecca (RJ) Joan Chase of 24406 S. Starcrest Drive, Sun Lakes, Arizona, passed away on December 8, 2107. Born in Lima, Ohio, her parents were Robert and Margaret Justice of Wisconsin. She is survived by her husband Neal; daughter Michelle Goss (Floyd); granddaughters Amanda, Elizabeth and Samantha; and sisters Susan and Vicki of Madison, WI, and Judy of Phoenix, AZ.

One of her biggest interests was helping others be happy. She was always full of love. She was well-traveled, but preferred Arizona. Creativity was essential in her life.

Death is not the end, but the beginning of eternity.

Jerry L. Johnson

Jerry L. Johnson passed away peacefully at the age of 88 on December 10, 2017. He is preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Betty Johnson. He is survived by his daughters Vicki Chenvert, Terri (Lynn) Melling and Nancy Swann; son Tim (Gini) Johnson; grandchildren Michael, Lou, Eva, Breanne and Joshua; great-grandchildren Brooklyn, Jordan, Jake, Shane, Jenna, Erik and James; sister-in-law Ruth Erickson; and many nieces and nephews.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he moved his family to Arizona in the early 1970s. He was a United States Army Veteran serving in the Korean War. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed many years of living and golfing in the Sun Lakes community. He was not only a big fan of the Arizona Cardinals but remained a big fan of the Minnesota Vikings as well!

Our family takes comfort in knowing Mom and Dad are together forevermore!

Hal Mahaffey, Jr.

Hal Mahaffey, Jr., passed away on New Year’s Day, 2018, in Chandler, AZ, after a yearlong battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis and complications from Valley Fever. He was 74 years old.

Hal was born in Salisbury, NC, on October 29, 1943. He was a 1961 graduate of Cheyenne High School, Wyoming, and attended the University of Wyoming for two years before becoming a computer operator while working towards being accepted into the plumbers’ apprenticeship program. Eventually, he became a member of the San Mateo County (California), U.A. Local 467 Plumbers and Steamfitters’ Union. He was just recently honored to have received a certificate of recognition of 45 years membership.

After retiring in 2000 to Sun Lakes, AZ, Hal and Dolores traveled extensively all over the United States and hit almost every continent abroad. Additionally, he spent time enjoying his many interests, including softball, tennis, billiards, golf, bowling and his most recent addition, bocce ball. Unfortunately, in vain, Dolores tried to get him to see the enjoyment and fun of Bunco but, sadly, that never made his list.

In September, 2016, Hal was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis – a chronic and progressive lung disease. Although he lost some independence over time, Hal lived an active lifestyle, despite the debilitating and ugly effects of this disease. Hal impressed everyone around him with his charismatic sarcasm and knowledge of the most unusual pieces of trivia, probably acquired through his frequent reading of the newspaper from the very first article until the very last and his favorite show, Jeopardy.

Hal was a wonderful and devoted husband and father. He is survived by his beloved wife Dolores, whom he married on November 18, 1967. They recently celebrated their 50th anniversary in Maui. He is also survived by his three loving children, Cynthia (husband Tom), Brian (wife Raquel) and Kelly (husband Drew); five grandchildren (Alexandra, Addison, Annabelle, Evelyn and Benjamin); his brother Randy and several North Carolina cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents Hal Mahaffey, Edna Stager and Stanley Stager.

Hal was an extraordinary man. His intelligence, wit and humor will be missed by everyone who had the privilege to know him.

A Celebration of Life Ceremony will be held at the Sun Lakes Palo Verde Country Club dining room with an informal lunch at noon on Monday, March 19, 2018. Kindly RSVP to Dolores by March 9 at 480-895-3840 or email [email protected]

Irene Elizabeth Reyher

Irene Elizabeth Reyher (Ahnstedt), a longtime resident of Colorado, died January 9, 2018, surrounded by her family in Castle Rock, CO.

Born November 19, 1922 in Haxtun, CO, to Hazel and Arthur Ahnstedt, Irene was a graduate of Haxtun High School, who worked for the railroads in Haxtun and Torrington, WY during World War II as a Morse Code Operator. Following the war, Irene earned her beauty school certification in Denver, CO, and subsequently moved to California, where she met the love of her life, Floyd Reyher at a Lawrenece Welk dance. Irene and Floyd were married at The Little Church of Hollywood shortly after meeting, and moved back to Haxtun to start a family and run the local telephone company.

Irene and Floyd raised two children, Beverly and Michael, and eventually retired to Sun Lakes, AZ to spend their golden years together. Irene later moved to Bonaventure in Castle Rock, CO to be near her family.

Irene spent her life and later years making the world a more stylish place and keeping her family on their toes with her candor and wit. She was an avid bowler, and a fierce bridge opponent.

Irene is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Floyd Reyher; her parents; her brothers, Lawrence and Walter Ahnstedt; and her sister-in-law, Esther Ahnstedt.

Irene is survived by her daughter, Beverly (Jerry) Slaughter; her son, Michael Reyher; her granddaughters, Minda (Troy) Carmann and Ashlee (Rod) Roydhouse; her great-grandsons Grant, Weston and Jayden; and her sister, Eleanor Ahnstedt.

A celebration of life in honor of Irene was held on Saturday, January 27, 2018.

Irene, better known as Grandma Bunny, will be forever loved and missed.

Janice Howden Schroeder

Janice Howden Schroeder passed away peacefully on November 24, 2017, in Arizona at 70 years old. She was born in Suffern, New York, to Joseph and Eleanor (Compton) Howden. She was married to John Frederick Schroeder of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, for 46 years. They moved around the country for several years, finally settling in Denver, Colorado, in 1983 where they raised their two boys Jeffrey and James.

Janice made friends easily and always enjoying being involved socially. She was an avid reader and Bridge player and frequently volunteered her time at art galleries and various charitable organizations.

She was preceded in death by John in 2014 and moved to Sun Lakes, Arizona, in 2015 to be closer to family. Once again, she made many friends and enjoyed Bridge, trivia and area tribute band concerts.

She is survived by sons Jeffery (wife Debby) and James (wife Erin), brother Bob Howden and grandchildren Ellie, Bennett and Gabe.

Harvey Trachtenberg

Harvey Trachtenberg, age 81, of Sun Lakes, AZ, passed away on December 17, 2017, after a short battle with cancer. Harvey is survived by his loving wife Eleanor of 55 years; his sister Ruth Siegel of Framingham, MA; his son Robert and wife Catherine of Portland, OR; daughter Fredda and husband Richard of Brookhaven, PA; son Barry and wife Jennifer of Winton-Salem, NC; as well as six grandchildren: Michaela, Abigail, Samuel, Keturah, Carsen and Harley.

Harvey was born in 1936 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Irving and Leah Trachtenberg. He served in the U.S. Army during peacetime and received his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston in 1962. He married Eleanor later that year. In 1963, they moved to Connecticut, eventually settling in Newington, where they lived until their retirement.

For most of his career, Harvey worked as a salesman for General Mills, proudly winning “Salesman of the Year Award” multiple times. He was an avid tennis player and dedicated Boston Red Sox fan. After retiring to Sun Lakes full time in 2000, Harvey was active with the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation and Tennis Club, and he often volunteered with schoolchildren at the Children’s First Academy in Tempe, which brought him great joy.

“Life well lived doesn’t end any more than music ends; it echoes through time with whispers of beauty and grace. If we listen, we can hear the encore with our hearts, for the song plays on, just as love lives on.”

Donations in Harvey’s name can be made to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

Carmene Hazel Vignovich

Carmene Hazel Vignovich, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully on December 22, 2017, at the Dobson Home-Hospice of the Valley in Chandler, Arizona. Carmene “Mimi” was born to Silas “Jack” and Ethel Chambers on April 13, 1933, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the youngest of seven children. She grew up in Wyoming and Colorado and lived also in Mexico, Massachusetts, Illinois, Brazil, California and Arkansas before finally settling in Sun Lakes, AZ.

Mimi was an avid golfer and loved the time she spent on the golf course with her husband and friends.

Mimi is survived by her loving husband Nicholas “Nick” Vignovich, two daughters Carol (Thomas) and Barbara (Robert), three grandchildren Bethany (Damion), Jacqueline (Mark) and David. She was preceded in death by her parents and six siblings. Mimi will be missed by her family and many friends. A “Celebration of Life” was held in January.

Allan J. Wagenheim

Allan J. Wagenheim, 89, a resident of Sun Lakes since 1992, transitioned from this life on December 8, 2017. He was born October 27, 1928, in Newark, NJ, to Bess and Nathan Wagenheim. Allan was co-founder of the Sun Lakes chapter of Wisdom Seekers, a composer and author of John Field and the Nocturne, published in 2006. A former teacher of creative writing and literature at colleges including the University of Denver, Eastern Illinois University and Miami-Dade Community College, Wagenheim also pursued a parallel career in music. Starting the study of piano at age six, he gave private music lessons for many years and performed with the Aldenori Piano Trio. As founder of the Chamber Music Players Association, he enjoyed performing his own compositions with others for local audiences.

Active in the community and a church member of Unity of Sun Lakes, Allan will be fondly remembered and sincerely missed by his many friends.

Allan was preceded in death by his parents as well as by his beloved wife Sandra (Sandi) Lee Wagenheim in 1998. He is survived by son Steven Wagenheim of Roselle, NJ; younger brother William Wagenheim of Delmar, NY; and niece Susan Rosenberg of Delmar, NY.

Charitable contributions in Allan Wagenheim’s memory can be sent to Matthews Crossing Food Bank, 1368 N. Arizona Ave., #115, Chandler, AZ 85225.

Collin Dana Wilson

Collin Wilson, 59, was killed in a rollover accident the morning of December 24, 2017. Collin was born in Mile City, Montana. He was mainly an interior trim carpenter. He had done several homes here in Sun Lakes from 1990 on. Collin was a fun-loving person. He also loved pets, fishing and riding his motorcycle.

He is survived by his mother Gloria Wilson of Sun Lakes; sister Connie Wilson of Scottsdale; two daughters, Chelsea Frost and Courtney Walker; and one granddaughter, Alexis, all of Destin, Florida; four uncles, Hardy Wise of Sun Lakes, J.D. Wise of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Rodney and Morgan Wise of Lammon, South Dakota; as well as numerous cousins.

Collin was preceded in death by his father Johnnie Wilson in 1975.

A Celebration of Life will be held on February 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Mulligan’s in Sun Lakes.

Delwyn Ziegler

Delwyn Ziegler passed away on December 23, 2017, at the age of 85, in Sun Lakes, AZ, after a long illness. He was born in Nebraska. He lived in Illinois and California. He was an Army statistics (secret) analyst. Later, he worked as a CPA and consultant for a national CPA firm and had his own consulting firm. He was a CFO for many health care organizations.

With his wife and family, he joined the Peace Corps (1970-1972) and was in Colombia, South America. After retirement, he moved to Sun Lakes, and for years was active in many committees at the Oakwood development.

He is survived by loving wife Claire of 53 years, daughter Colette from Sun Lakes, son Andre, daughter-in-law Laura and grandchildren Alexander and Sara from San Antonio, Texas, sister Donna and two brothers Billy and Orlen from California.

There was a mass celebration at St. Steven’s Catholic Church in Sun Lakes on January 19 at 10:00 a.m. Del’s remains will be buried in Nebraska in June of 2018, with his parents Dale and Pearl.