In Passing

Francis Gordon “Gus” Gustafson

Francis Gordon “Gus” Gustafson passed peacefully at the age of 89 at his Houston assisted living apartment the evening of Nov. 1, 2018.

He was survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Margaret Gustafson, whom he married on his birthday in 1953. He was survived by his two children: Scott Gustafson and wife Fidelia of Houston and Melanie Gustafson-Ropski and husband Steven Ropski, PhD, of Erie, Pa.; four grandchildren: Jessica and U.S. Army Major Clifford Pullig, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Eryk and Sara Gustafson of Spring, Texas; Meaghan Ropski, DVM, and Steven Conroe of Beltsville, Md.; and Nathaniel Ropski of Erie, Pa.; and great-grandchildren: Samuel, Madison, and Annaliese Pullig and Amelia Gustafson.

Born March 22, 1929, in Anaconda, Mont., Gus was the eldest son of Helen Winther Gustafson. At 16, he joined the U.S. Navy and served his country at the end of World War II and during the Korean War. After two honorable discharges, he settled in Butte, Mont., where he was the people’s banker until his retirement in 1994. Known throughout the Butte area, he was an active member of the B.P.O.E., the Chamber of Commerce, and was on the board of directors for the county’s American Cancer Society. He served as the youngest president of the Butte Lions Club in the 1960s and served on the Council of Commissioners for two years in the late 1970s.

Gus loved to fish and frequented the Montana waters of Georgetown Lake, Canyon Ferry, and Clark Canyon. His most favorite trip was to British Columbia to salmon fish with his son. He also enjoyed bowling, watching boxing, and anything related to the military. Gus and Marg loved to travel and toured Alaska, Hawaii, China, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, England, France, Italy, Mexico, Panama, and Russia. Retirement led them to Sun Lakes, Ariz., for 22 years and then Houston in 2016.

A memorial service with full military honors will occur at a future date. In lieu of flowers, Gus asks that a random act of kindness be done in his honor.

Margaret Mae Taylor Gustafson

Margaret Mae Taylor Gustafson

Margaret Mae Taylor Gustafson

“Marg” Gustafson passed peacefully in her sleep at 86 in her Houston, Texas, assisted living apartment the morning of May 23, 2020.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Francis “Gus” Gustafson. She is survived by their two children, as well as four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Born Jan. 9, 1934, in Woodburn, Ore., Marg was the eldest daughter of Winifred Mae and Sam Taylor. Like many of her generation, she was named after Princess Margaret. The Depression moved her family from Woodburn to Butte, Mont., in 1939. She graduated one year early from Butte High School and entered the workforce proficient in typing and stenography.

In 1952, she met the love of her life at a roller rink in uptown Butte. She told her girlfriends that she did not “like that showoff skater,” yet skated with Gus when first asked. The Navy veteran from Anaconda, Mont., courted Marg a few months, and they married on his birthday in March of 1953 (so he wouldn’t forget the date).

As a young housewife, she planned life on a very tight budget. She authored a cookbook. In 1967, she was named Mrs. Butte and competed in the Mrs. Montana pageant, a step from Mrs. America. She bowled competitively in numerous leagues. She loved playing the piano—her first purchase was a black Kimball spinet. Her grandson has it in his home.

Marg reentered the workforce once her children were in school. From the steno pool at the Montana Power Company, she advanced to executive assistant to the president, later transferring to human resources to lead sexual harassment workshops and help affected employees. She was an active member of the Knowledge Network of Women.

Marg and Gus retired in Sun Lakes in 1994. They would summer on Georgetown Lake in Montana and winter in the “big house” down south. Marg golfed, played Mahjongg, and frequented the local casinos. She beat the house most nights, and the winnings financed their trips abroad and to see family and friends.

Marg will be laid to rest with Gus in Houston during a joint memorial service at a future date. In lieu of flowers or visitation, Marg asks that a random act of kindness be done in her honor.

Ralph George Harper

Ralph Harper was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 12, 1926. His wife of 43 years, Mary Harper, passed away at the end of January this year. His parents George Thomas Harper and Ada Harper (Moody), his daughter Diane Louise Ramsey, and his son Ronald George Harper (Ingrid) preceded him.

He is survived by his son Gerald Lee Harper (Nancy) of Grove, Okla.; seven grandchildren: Paul, Jared, Astrid, Skye, Casey, Kristi, and Melissa; and eight great-grandchildren: Trevor, Haylee, Reagan, Brannon, Arya, Tyler, Nick, and Ian.

Ralph joined the service in 1944 serving in World War II. He recovered from being wounded in Okinawa, and after the war, he was among the first American troops to enter Japan. During his two-year tenure in the Army, he earned the Purple Heart Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Philippine Liberation Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Medal with two stars, the Unit Citation Award, and the Japanese Occupation Medal.

After more than 50 years of working in the food service industry, he enjoyed his retirement living in Sun Lakes, Ariz. Family, friends, boating, bowling, cards, and travel (lots of travel) were his interests.

Ralph’s wishes were that there be no funeral services. At his request, his surviving family will soon be traveling to the Oregon coast where his and Mary’s ashes will join those of his daughter in the Pacific Ocean.

Rich Iovino

Rich Iovino, President of Sun Lakes Breakfast Lions Club

Rich Iovino, 65, of Mesa, Ariz., and formerly of North Patchogue, N.Y., passed away suddenly on June 13. Born on Long Island, Mr. Iovino was retired.

He is survived by his wife Carol and his children Kim, Rachele, Renee, RJ, and Jamie as well as his “children” through marriage Dustin, Kyle, and Amber and grandchildren Lilly, Riely, and Hunter.

Before moving to Arizona, Iovino was a long-time member of the Patchogue Lions Club. Rich continued his volunteerism with the Lions here in Arizona and was currently serving as the president of the Sun Lakes Breakfast Lions Club.

Memorial services were private in Arizona.

Merry Anne Lombard

Merry Anne Lombard

Merry Anne Lombard

Merry Anne Lombard, 76, passed away in Chandler, Ariz., on June 30, 2020. Merry was born and raised in Greenfield, Mass. Her parents were Clifford and Lena (LaPointe) Walsh. Merry was the youngest of their five children; she had three sisters and a brother.

In 1963, she married Charles Lombard. They had two boys, Todd and Peter. Merry was a stay-at-home mom who dabbled in real estate until her sons completed high school. She started her career at the Travelers Companies and then moved to United Health Care where she retired as a director after 25 years.

In her free time, Merry loved to travel with Charlie and her family. Her excitement of visiting new places began when Merry and Charlie started camping with Clifford and Lena and all her siblings, nieces, and nephews around New England. Once the travel bug had set in, the local adventures turned into traveling throughout the U.S., Europe, and many of the Caribbean islands. Some of her best memories were the vacations she spent time down in Saint Maarten with her mother and sister Shirley and her husband Donald.

When not traveling, Merry’s passion was in the kitchen. She loved to cook elaborate meals for her family, finding unique recipes to spice up the menu. One of her hobbies was creating beautiful porcelain dolls with her mother. Here in Arizona, she found playing mahjongg and canasta with her close friends was the best kind of entertainment, with the girls just sharing stories and laughs.

Merry is survived by her husband of 57 years, Charles, sons Todd and Peter and son-in-law Scott, and granddaughter Abbie. Merry has two sisters, Shirley LaShier and her husband Donald and Pat Ozdarski and her husband Paul, as well as numerous nieces and nephews back in Massachusetts. Her brother Charles Walsh and her sister Judy Reipold both predeceased Merry.

Patricia Merna

Patricia Merna

Patricia Merna

Patricia Darlene (Ryan) Merna, 89, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away peacefully on June 10, 2020. Pat was born May 7, 1931, in Cheyenne, Wyo., to Dudley and Isabel Ryan. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1948. She worked at Union Pacific Railroad and then the Wyoming Army National Guard until she was married and moved away. She lived in Oregon, North Carolina, and Hawaii. Pat retired from the Veteran’s Administration in 1996 as the director of the VA outpatient clinic in Honolulu. She moved to Phoenix and married Robert (Bob) Merna, a high school classmate, on July 2, 1996.

Pat is survived by her sister Sharon Richmeier of Cheyenne, Wyo.; niece Jennifer (Jay) Reed, nephew Matthew Richmeier, and great-nephews Dylan and Alex Reed, all of Denver, Colo. She is also survived by stepson David Merna (Marcia) of Gilbert, Ariz., and their children and grandchildren. Pat was preceded in death by her husband Bob on April 7, 2020, her son Guy D. Nicholas in October 2009, brother-in-law Maynard Richmeier in December 2019, and her parents.

Pat’s family thanks Hospice of the Valley and Chandler Regional Medical Center for their kind and compassionate care. Pat and Bob had some very special friends watching over them when they needed extra assistance, and our family is so grateful to them. Per Pat’s wishes, her remains were donated to science medical research. Final interment will be in the St. Mary’s Cathedral Columbarium in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Leopold D. Palmieri

On Sunday, June 28, 2020, Leopold D. Palmieri, resident of Belleair, Fla., passed away at the age of 90.

Born in Erie, Pa., in 1930, Leo married Doris Patricia (Patti) Potthoff in 1950. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he was an accomplished musician having played the tenor saxophone and the clarinet in his own band going by the name Buddy Palmer and his Orchestra. He later played with Charlie Catania and the Stardusters, entertaining at various venues around the Erie area in the genres of Big Band and Swing which was popular at the time.

Leo worked in Erie for Mopar Auto Parts then later managed the parts distribution operation for Chrysler Corp. in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Rochester, Mich.; and finally, Ramsey, N.J. He retired to Sun Lakes, Ariz., after a long career with Chrysler.

While living in Sun Lakes, he enjoyed golf, playing bridge, and singing karaoke with his friends and neighbors. As a retiree, he now had time to pursue a talent he had as an artist and began painting beautiful scenes in watercolor.

Leo was a devoted family man with a great sense of humor who could fix anything that needed fixing in his home or yard. He took pride in the beauty he created in and around his home. He always displayed unconditional love in his dedication and compassion to the care of his wife of 70 years, Patti. Leo and Patti moved to Belleair, Fla., in 2016 to be closer to their two daughters. Leo lost his beloved Patti in February of 2020 and followed her to his eternal rest four months later.

He is survived by his three children: David Palmieri (Gloria), Deborah Arfman (Dale), and Doreen Cassidy (Patrick); five grandsons; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Leo was preceded in death by his wife Doris Patricia (Potthoff) Palmieri, his parents Armando and Dirce Barbara (Medini) Palmieri, and his brother Gino Palmieri (Dorothy).

A private family ceremony will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association:


Edward K. Sloan, Jr.

Edward K. Sloan, Jr.

Edward K. Sloan, Jr.

Edward K. Sloan, Jr., passed peacefully at his home in Sun Lakes, Ariz., on June 30, 2020, at the age of 95. He was surrounded by family.

Ed was born in Toledo, Ohio, on Jan. 24, 1925, to the proud parents, Edward K. Sr. and Frances B. (Bridgeland) Sloan. While attending Woodward High School, he served as class president and was a member of the National Honor Society. He received varsity letters in football, basketball, and tennis. Ed received, upon graduation, the school’s highest recognition—the Achievement Cup for most all-round student. In 2000, he was inducted into the Woodward High School’s Hall of Fame.

Upon entering the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943, Ed attended Bowdoin College for a year, followed by a year at various air bases throughout the U.S. He spent 15 months in the Southwest Pacific Theater on Biak, manning the Air-Sea Rescue-Finder Operation. Ed was discharged as a sergeant in February 1946, after 35 months of service.

Edward earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Toledo in March 1949. He worked 15 years at Standard Oil of Ohio at both their Cleveland and Toledo refineries. In 1964, Ed moved on to Atlas Chemical Co., where he worked for 23 years at both their Wilmington, Del., and Dallas, Texas, locations. He retired in 1987 as the Manager of Nitrogen Products. In 1990, Ed and his wife Ruth moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz.

Ed’s pride and joy was his family. Family functions were a delight. He also enjoyed following sports, national and world affairs, travel, woodworking and photography. Ed faced life with humor and a constant smile. He was known for his quick wit, easy-going manner, and storytelling.

Ed is survived by his wife of 71 years, Ruth (Scheidler) Sloan; son David (Peggy) Sloan; daughter Carol (Michael) Hathaway; grandchildren Eric (Vickie) Hathaway, Landon (Jennifer) Sloan, Heather (Brian) Diekelman, Lindsay (Alex) Scott; eight great-grandchildren; three nephews; and 10 nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, and sister.

Due to the coronavirus, a Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date. Expressions of sympathy in memory of Ed can be made to the American Heart Association or Hospice of the Valley.