Elaine Berntsen, age 85, of Roseville, Minn., and long-time winter resident of Sun Lakes, Ariz., died unexpectedly on Dec. 12.
She was born on Sept. 2, 1935, in Minneapolis, Minn., to Olaf and Gertrude Olson, and was the youngest of eight children. She graduated from Patrick Henry High School where she met the love of her life, Dean Berntsen, when they played husband and wife in the play Who Shook the Family Tree. The two were married on Dec. 17, 1955.
Elaine was a loving wife, a devoted mother, a wonderful, caring grandmother, and a long-time friend to so many. She enjoyed spending her summers at the lake and her winters in Arizona.
She is survived by her husband Dean, her two daughters Lainie Berntsen and Joanna Gau, son-in-law Michael, grandchildren Ben and Sean Gau, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brothers Donald, Lyle, Russel, Robert, and George and her sisters Shirley and Marilyn.
Funeral arrangements by Cremation Society of Minnesota. Private interment at Fort Snelling. In lieu of flowers, memorials to one of her favorite charities is preferred, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota (chlss.org).
Francis Patrick (Pat) Clear, Jr.
Pat Clear, age 81, went to his home in heaven on Christmas Eve. He passed away peacefully at his Sun Lakes home with his wife Kathy, daughter Dawn, and grandson Brad by his side.
Pat was born July 5, 1939, to Kathryn and Francis Patrick Clear, and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. He spent 33 years as a Toledo firefighter where he earned the position of Deputy Fire Chief. He retired in March, 1997. During his career, Pat received many certificates of accomplishment and many letters of appreciation and commendation for the work he performed to protect the citizens of the City of Toledo.
Pat and his wife Kathy moved to Sun Lakes in 2013. They spent their winters in Sun Lakes, and summers were spent with family at Lake Wilson in Hillsdale County, Mich.
Surviving are his wife Kathy; his daughters Dawn Clear, Shawn Englehardt, Shannon Clawson, and Heather Wettle; stepson Nick Crall; stepdaughter Angie Crall; brothers Steve, Mike, and Joe Clear; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Pat never met a stranger and made many friends during his time in Sun Lakes. He will be missed.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Althea Maxine (Lundberg) Cumming
Althea Maxine (Lundberg) Cumming, 96, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away on Dec. 20, 2020, at her home in Sun Lakes, Ariz. Visitation took place on Dec. 27, 2020, at the Dignity Mortuary Chapel. The funeral service and interment were held on Dec. 28, 2020, at the Valley of the Sun Cemetery at the graveside, with Reverend Marvin Arnpriester of the Sun Lakes United Methodist Church officiating.
Althea was born March 26, 1924, to Roy and Alice Lundberg on their farm north of Haxtun, in Sedgwick County, Colo. She attended Fairfield School nearby from 1st through 10th grade. Althea then finished the last two years of high school in Haxtun. The family was a member of the local Swedish Covenant Church, and Althea sang and played piano in the choir.
Following high school, Althea was a rural school teacher at Paoli, Colo., and then at a school south of Julesburg, Colo. After the war in 1946, Althea met Kenneth Eugene Cumming in Julesburg. That next year, they were married on Dec. 22, 1947, at the Chapel of Rocks and Roses, Medford, Ore. To this union, three children were born. They then made their home in Julesburg, and Althea enjoyed being a housewife and raising their young children there.
In 1960 they moved to a suburb in southeast Denver, Colo., where they built their home at 9141 E. Tufts Circle in Greenwood Village, across the street from the Cherry Creek Schools, so that the children could walk to school. She was an avid bowler and bridge player. Her volunteer work for many years as a Gray Lady in the ICU at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, gave her life added purpose. And ultimately, she was an excellent cook and a gracious host to visiting friends and relatives.
In the late 1970s, with the children grown, Kenneth and Althea moved back to Northeastern Colorado, where they lived in Sterling, Colo. Soon after that, they also built a second home in Sun Lakes, Ariz., where they were snowbirds and then retired there in 1985. Althea then went back to her volunteer work as a Gray Lady at the Chandler Regional Medical Center. She was also an avid bridge player in the Thursday Women’s Bridge Club in Sun Lakes for over 20 years.
She is survived by her daughter Janet and husband Alan Sachter of Ogden, Utah; son James of Sun Lakes, Ariz.; daughter JoAnn of Chandler, Ariz.; three grandchildren: Tina and husband Mike Reilly Sachter of Vancouver, BC; Corbett Sachter of Seattle, Wash.; Megan and Daryl Robinson of Gilbert, Ariz.; and great-grandchildren Jackson and Samson Reilly Sachter of Vancouver, BC.
Althea is preceded by her parents; three sisters: Norma Michael, Mary Alice Lambert, and Dorothy Lundberg; three brothers: Maynard, Lyle, and Melvin; and her husband Kenneth Eugene Cumming. Memorials can be made in Althea’s name to the Hospice of the Valley, 2020 E. Woodside Court, Gilbert, AZ 85297. God bless our mother, Althea. 2 Corinthians 5:8
Earl Lavern Cuyler
Earl Lavern Cuyler, age 84, of Chandler, Ariz., died Jan. 4, 2021. Earl was born on Aug. 17, 1936, in Union City, Mich., to Leo and Ethel Cuyler. He married Grace (Halstead) Cuyler on Oct. 3, 1959.
He is survived by his wife Grace. Also surviving are their children Katherine Hakeman of Queen Creek, Ariz.; Kyle Cuyler of Mesa, Ariz.; and Kris Cuyler, Phoenix, Ariz.; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister Ethelyn Collins. Also surviving are two brothers: Marvin Cuyler of Sun City, Ariz., and Louis Cuyler of Battle Creek, Mich., and Apache Junction, Ariz.
Earl was an electrician all his life, and after moving to Arizona in 1979, worked for the State of Arizona and the City of Mesa before retiring in 1995.
Earl had been a resident of SunBird for the past five years and of Sun Lakes for the 15 years prior. Before that, he had resided in family communities in Chandler.
Marcella A. Dawson
Marcella Agnes Dawson, 96, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at her home in The Renaissance in Sun Lakes, Ariz. Following Marcy’s gift to Science Care, Inc., she will be laid to rest next to husband Robert Dawson, in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, in Phoenix, at a later date. Friends and family wishing to leave a memorial gift in Marcy’s name may do so to the charity of their choice, or to St. Steven’s Catholic Church, 24827 S. Dobson Road, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248.
Marcella was born March 31, 1924, on the family farm on Dupanda Road in Otter Creek Township, Tama County, Iowa, to John E. Benda and Agnes E. Staricky. She attended a one-room school adjacent to the family farm through the eighth grade. Marcy was valedictorian of the Toledo High School Class of 1941 in Toledo, Iowa, and a 1946 graduate of St. Thomas Mercy Nursing School in Marshalltown, Iowa. Following high school graduation, Marcy was too young to enroll in nursing school, so she taught school in the one-room school adjacent to the family farm and then spent time with her sister Martha in Hagerstown, Md., and working at Fairchild Aircraft supporting the WWII war effort. On Nov. 23, 1946, she married Robert Dawson in Marshalltown. Marcy and Bob retired to Arizona in 1984, first to Tempe, and then to Sun Lakes. After a few years following Bob’s death on July 23, 1994, she married Douglas Parker in September of 1997, in Sun Lakes, Ariz., with Doug passing away Aug. 27, 2019.
Marcy was a registered nurse for many years, practicing first at St. Thomas Mercy Hospital, then at Marshalltown Area Community Hospital in Marshalltown, and finally at Chandler Regional Medical Center, in Chandler, Ariz. Following her retirement from nursing, she volunteered at Chandler Medical Center, plus spending many afternoons and evenings fulfilling her passion for bridge and other card games. She was an active member of St. Steven’s Catholic Church in Sun Lakes. Marcy was a very talented seamstress, making or altering just about anything for friends and family in Iowa and Arizona.
Marcy is survived by her six children: Bill of Castle Pines, Colo.; Kate Hutcheson of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Christine of Astoria, N.Y.; Michael (Leslie Byrnes) of Toronto, Canada; Jim (Laura) of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Laurie of Ames, Iowa; grandchildren: Ashlee (Chris) Denning of Birdsboro, Pa.; Brian (Kim) Dawson of Keller, Texas; Jeff (Angie) Dawson of Herriman, Utah; Eric (Jaimie) Dawson of Rochester Hills, Mich.; and Danielle Dawson of Yucca Valley, Calif.; great grandchildren: Kyle (Denisa) Denning of Winchester, Va.; Jacob, Aidan, and Olivia Dawson of Keller, Texas; Kelsey (Quentin) Lanoue of West Jordan, Utah; Grace Dawson of Herriman, Utah; and Jaxson and Hayden Dawson of Rochester Hills, Mich.; sister Sister Ludmilla Benda, of Chicago, Ill.; and sister-in-law; Avonelle Dawson of Sun Lakes, Ariz.
She was preceded in death by her parents John and Agnes; husbands Robert Dawson and Douglas Parker; daughter-in-law Virginia Dawson in 2017; sisters, Hilda Zmolek and Martha Strachota; and brothers, Cyril, John, and Leo.
Herbert Geller, Herb to friends and family, died on Dec. 29, 2020, at the age of 91. He was born on March 5, 1929, to Isidore and Rebecca Geller who resided then in Paterson, N.J.
He grew up playing stickball with his neighborhood friends. He loved all sports and was an avid swimmer. He loved reading novels by Albert Payson Terhune, Donald Westlake, and Lawrence Block, and spent his boyhood summers working at Camp Unity in the Catskills, N.Y.
Herb graduated from Washington Square College, New York University with a major in English. He served his country for over two years in the Army and was honorably discharged with a rating of Corporal on March 27, 1952.
He enjoyed a long and successful career in the world of advertising. He always looked forward to taking on a new client and diving into everything about them to enable an effective approach to solving their problems, presenting and executing an effective campaign for them. He retired in 1995 to spend time with his family while still retaining one last client and dear friend.
Herb was married to his first wife Bette in 1957 and had two children, a son Alan and a daughter Karen. His pride for his two children and their accomplishments held no bounds. As young children, he would play “learning” games with them at the dinner table.
Later in life, he married Lucy Kastin, a widow with two children, David and Adam, and was equally proud of them and their accomplishments. Herb spent the next 35 years with Lucy in Maplewood, N.J., and then retiring to Hemlock Farms in the Pocono Mountains, Pa., where he spent many hours volunteering for the Red Cross and walking through the woods with his dogs Luke and Grace. As chance would have it, he and Lucy visited relatives in Arizona, falling in love with Sun Lakes, Cottonwood, Ariz. There he spent much time volunteering at Mercy Gilbert Hospital, but best of all, enjoying the view from his home of the lake and grounds right outside his door.
Herb enjoyed all aspects of his life, with the main emphasis on his children. Herb is survived by his wife Lucy, his son Alan and wife Jae, his daughter Karen, his first wife Bette, his step-son David and step-son Adam and wife Susan, and his grandchildren Daniel, Ben, and Adam, and step-grandchildren Liam, Natalie, and Brendan. He is also survived by niece Barbara Gerber and husband Alan, and nephew Neal and wife Carol.
He is preceded in death by his mother Rebecca, father Isidore and sister Lillian.
There has been a Friday night service at Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation, where he was honored, and a family Zoom gathering to honor him as well.
Margaret Grish, 83, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away on Jan. 1, 2021, at Chandler Regional Hospital, of pneumonia and respiratory failure. Despite recent health challenges, she maintained a positive attitude and lived independently with some support from her adult children and their families.
Born in Chicago, Ill., on Aug. 5, 1937, Marge joined a blended family of John and Margaret “Peg” Williams. Marge’s siblings included Jack (Dolores) Williams, Mary (Frank) Fenton, Patricia “Patsy” (Bob) Johnson, Jeannie (Bernie) Corrigan, Eileen (George) Peterson, and Bob (Fran and Donna) Williams. A bright student, Margaret skipped grades in primary school and graduated from Visitation High School in 1954. She attended a teachers’ college in Chicago before marrying Earl F. Mulderink, Jr., from whom she was divorced in 1966.
Marge raised four spirited children who survive her: Earl F. Mulderink III (Rita Osborn) of Cedar City, Utah; Steve Mulderink (Gail Buchnat) of Sun Lakes, Ariz.; Margaret “Peg” (Thom) Newcomb of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Douglas (Lori) Mulderink of Chicago, Ill. Marge’s grandchildren include Alyson Hansen and Amy Osborn of Utah, Joe and Rachel Newcomb of Colorado Springs, Matthew and Anna Mulderink of Chicago, Katie Buchnat of Indiana, along with great-grandchildren Emmy, Evie, Peyton, and Skylar.
Marge married Joe Grish in 1975, and they enjoyed a quarter-century together before his passing in 2000. After both retired from jobs in Chicago in the 1990s, Marge and Joe settled in Sun Lakes, Ariz., where they loved the sunshine and healthy climate, along with travel and fun times with family and friends. Marge was a charter member and enthusiastic volunteer with the popular adult education program New Adventures in Learning (NAIL). As the widow of a Korean War veteran, Marge’s remains will be interred next to Joe at Arizona’s National Military Cemetery, and a celebration of her life is planned for August 2021 in Chicago.
In her later years, Marge remained an avid reader and engaging conversationalist. With a friendly disposition and a seemingly photographic memory of events and people, Marge will be remembered as an amusing storyteller in the best tradition of her (mostly) Irish forebears. She will be missed.
Her family appreciates many local doctors and health care providers who extended special consideration, particularly Dr. McDonald and her staff, and the visiting nurses from Kindred At Home Care. A fund in Margaret Grish’s name to support NAIL’s mission is being established; contributions may be made to New Adventures in Learning, Sun Lakes Center, 25105 S. Alma School Road, Sun Lakes, AZ, 85248.
Neil Harrison Lilley
Neil Harrison Lilley, 89, died January 6, 2021, at his home in Sun Lakes, Ariz. He was born February 11, 1931, in Kansas City, Mo.; the son of Neil G. and Lois Geske Lilley.
Neil attended the University of Kansas from 1948 until his graduation in 1952. He was active in the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and a member of the KU golf team. He represented the university at the national AAU collegiate golf championship at Purdue in 1951.
Upon graduation in 1952, Neil enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. After basic training at Quantico, Va., he was posted to the Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, and El Toro base in Santa Ana, Calif. He attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
After leaving the Corps in 1954, Neil embarked on his business career in sales, primarily women’s apparel with stops in Kansas City; Lincoln, Neb.; and eventually the Denver, Colo., area. He moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz., with his wife Donna in 1989, and became well known locally for his airport shuttle service.
Neil was an avid golfer, skier, and outdoorsman. He navigated most of the major U.S. western rivers as a boatman for Western Rivers Expeditions in the 60s. From 1995 to 2010 he organized and led the Sun Lakes Ski Club, which went on excursions to many of North America’s premier ski destinations.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife of 40 years Donna. He is survived by his daughter Deneille and her husband Richard Hoffman of Roanoke, Va.; son Eric Lilley of Dillon, Colo.; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
William Malinowski, 76, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away on Dec. 17, 2020.
He was born on April 3, 1944, in Springfield, Ill., to Joseph and Louise (Schmeckel) Malinowski.
William graduated from Joliet Junior College and Caterpillar Tractor Training Program.
William was married to Eloise Dorothy Scholtes Malinowski on May 8, 1965, and they remained married for a wonderful 55 years, until his passing.
He retired as a project manager at Caterpillar Tractor in Joliet, Ill., where he worked for over 30 years. After retirement, he was employed as a community manager by Pulte and Shea Homes in Arizona.
He was a long-time member of St. Steven’s Catholic Church in Sun Lakes, Ariz.
William enjoyed many hobbies throughout his life, including camping, boating and water skiing, tennis, traveling with his family, music, building, and carpentry. Spending time with his sons, including building a log home with son Mark, and playing music with his son Bill, gave him great pleasure. He loved living in Arizona, especially the time spent with his wife Eloise, exploring the state, enjoying their home and pool, and most recently working together on many stained-glass projects.
He is survived by his wife Eloise Dorothy Malinowski of Sun Lakes, Ariz.; his son William Joseph Malinowski (wife Connie) of Earlville, Iowa; his son Mark Andrew Malinowski (wife Veronica) of Evergreen, Colo.; his grandsons Josh Malinowski and Jake Hosmer of Earlville, Iowa; his grandson Jacob Malinowski and granddaughter Abby Malinowski of Evergreen, Colo.; and his brother Jim Malin of Chandler, Ariz.
He is predeceased by his mother and father, Louise and Joseph Malinowski.
A private committal was held at Valley of the Sun Cemetery in Chandler, Ariz., at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31.
A memorial mass will be held at St. Steven’s Catholic Church in Sun Lakes, Ariz., at a later date.
Janet M. McDonald
Janet M. McDonald, beloved mother of Kathleen, Charlie, Patty, Eileen, and Jackie, died on Dec. 19, 2020, following a relatively brief illness. She was 87. Janet was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Patrick, who died in 2016, and her daughter Eileen, who died in childhood. She had six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her adult children and their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, were able to spend a considerable amount of time with her and provide in-home hospice care.
Jan was born in Dickinson, N.D., and before retiring to Arizona in the late 1990s, lived in Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky Missouri, and California. Her husband Pat, a successful labor relations manager, was transferred frequently and accepted many corporate positions through the years. In her 20s, she worked as a model for print advertising. She attended Ohio State University. Jan played the piano beautifully and was a fluent sight-reader. Her love of music, culture, education, and the arts was passed on to her family. Devoted to fitness and nutrition, she taught exercise classes in Louisville. Jan was a successful real estate agent and sold newspaper advertising for a Northern California paper. She was an animal lover, and her unabashed enthusiasm and encouragement of her family, friends, and even casual acquaintances was truly remarkable. Jan and Pat lived in Sun Lakes for over 20 years. Although she was unceasingly friendly and kind, she could be a fierce tennis player and was able to compete well into her 70s, often with opponents who were decades younger than she. From the mid-1980s on, her family members were scattered across the country, but they always stayed in touch and visited frequently. She will be greatly missed. The family’s charity of choice is the American Cancer Society.
LeRoy (Lee) Odell Melby
On Dec. 27, 2020, LeRoy (Lee) Odell Melby, a loving husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away at the age of 86 years old, surrounded by family, after a long battle with cancer.
Lee was born Jan. 14, 1934, in Canby, Minn., to Roy and Martha Melby and grew up with two siblings, Yvonne Green and Virginia (Ginny) Engfer.
He lived a full life with many adventures and occupations.
He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War from April 1952 until April 1956, as a KC-97 inflight Boom Operator. Lee married Janice (Jan) Larson on Dec. 15, 1956. Lee was a district manager for American Family Insurance from 1964 until 1977. He also owned several businesses after 1977, including a solar hot water equipment distribution company and energy conservation retail stores. He received his doctorate from Phoenix University of Theology in 1993. In his later years, he returned to his roots with insurance, offering death benefit insurance for seniors.
Lee and Jan raised four children: Julie, Jayne, Jon, and Jennifer. Lee and Jan celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on Dec. 15, 2020, in Sun Lakes, Ariz.
Lee had a passion for the outdoors, aviation, and reading, and enjoyed chatting with family and friends over a cup of coffee or a game of buck euchre. What he enjoyed most were the moments he was able to bless others with the Word of God and leading many to Christ. He was a kind, loving, and generous man who loved the Lord.
During Lee’s life adventures, he traveled throughout North America, Europe, and even New Zealand. Everywhere he and Jan traveled they forged new friendships.
Lee was preceded in death by his father Roy and his mother Martha. He is survived by his sisters Yvonne and Ginny, wife Jan, his three daughters Julie Stelter (Lyle), Jayne Peterson (Todd), Jennifer Keller (Mark), along with his only son Jon Melby (Joy). He is also survived by eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16, at Faith Family Church in Chandler, Ariz. More information can be found at www.FearBoss.com/LeeMelby.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.facebook.com/leemelby.
Cards may be mailed to Jan Melby at 1601 W. Queen Creek Road, #221, Chandler, AZ 85248.
In lieu of flowers, please support United Community Fund, a charitable organization formed by Lee and Jan Melby in 2004. You can find more information at www.ucfarmy.org.
Hildegard (Heidi) B. Ryan
On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 2020, Hildegard B. Ryan got her wings with her husband of 37 years by her side.
Hildegard was born in 1937 in Augsburg, Germany. Augsburg was where the factory for the Messerschmitt airplane was located. She survived many air raids and spent much time in a bomb shelter. On Feb. 25 and 26 of 1944, American and English bombers bombed the city around the clock. One raid consisted of 594 bombers. When it was over and much of the city was destroyed and/or burning, the older people and children were put on trains with the clothes on their backs and relocated. Hildegard, her little brother, and her Omi (grandmother) were sent to a farm approximately 100 mi from Augsburg. Her father was a soldier, and her mother had to stay in Augsburg, because she worked in the train station. Hildegard spent three years on that farm. There was plenty to eat, and she went to school and would take the cows to the meadow and stay with them while they ate, and then bring them home for milking.
After returning to Augsburg and being reunited with her mother, she graduated from high school as a seamstress for a trade. While working as a seamstress, she met an American soldier. After he was discharged from the service, they married and moved to America, settling in Lakewood, Colo., in 1956. They had three children: Anita, Steven, and Jennifer. Separating in 1973, Hildegard worked in furniture sales to support her family. She met Roger in 1979, and they married in 1983, and Hildegard then gained a step-son, Kolby.
As time went on and the children were grown, for improved health, they moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz.
Hilda enjoyed gardening, homemaking, grandkids, and traveling. In her travels, she got to see 46 of the U.S. states, seven European countries, and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Hildegard was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, and a grandson-in-law. Hildegard is survived by her husband, all four children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Hildegard was cremated and will be relocated to Colorado when a memorial is held this summer once it is safe to have a gathering!
Bob (Robert) Schmoekel
Bob (Robert) Schmoekel, 73, passed away peacefully at home on Dec. 10, 2020.
Bob was veteran who proudly served his country in the Vietnam War. After the service, he worked for Detroit Edison as a construction foreman. He could fix or build just about everything, earning him the nickname “Bob the Builder” from his grandchildren.
He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and brother. He is survived by his wife Barb of 46 years, daughter Tracy (Krause), grandchildren Ryan and Katie, and three sisters: Debbie, Renee, and Susan.
Bob lived his life to the fullest. He always had a positive attitude and a smile on his face. He always had a kind word for everyone, which earned him many friends wherever he went.
He was happiest on the golf course, wearing shorts and a windshirt year-round. He split his time between his home in Northern Michigan and Sun Lakes, Ariz. In Michigan, he loved boating and golfing. Over the years, he enjoyed skiing, snowmobiling, motorcycling, dancing, and socializing with his many friends. He was loved and will be missed by all who knew him.
Donald Lester Steinman
Donald Lester Steinman, 93, of Sun Lakes, Ariz. (formerly of rural Kenton), passed away peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Don was born Dec. 29, 1927, in Kenton, Ohio, to Lester and Lavon (Collins) Steinman. On April 3, 1949, he married Velma Fleming at St. John’s United Church of Christ, as officiated by Reverend Herbert Pfister. They celebrated 71 years of marriage, and she survives, along with sons Steven (Linda) of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Thomas (Janet) of Findlay, Ohio, and daughter Diane (Stephen Harper) Steinman of Sammamish, Wash. Six grandchildren survive: Christopher Steinman and Stephanie Curran of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Michelle Reichel and Bradley Steinman of Columbus, Ohio; Jamie Steinman of Holland, Mich.; and Stuart Harper of Sammamish, Wash. Great-grandchildren include Emelia and Alexis Curran, Rowan Reichel, and a soon-to-be born second great-grandson Reichel. Don was preceded in death by his parents, brother Nelson Steinman, and sister Mildred Wagner.
Don was a member of the Kenton High School Class of 1945, then served in the United States Navy from January of 1946 to March of 1947 as an aviation machinist and earned his pilot’s license following discharge. While working at City Dairy, he entered into a farming partnership with his father, milking registered Jersey cows until his father’s retirement. During his 48-year farming career, he expanded the grain farming acreage and added hogs and beef cows to the farm. He took great pride in having clean fields, never letting a button weed get away. As a self-taught carpenter, he proudly added several rooms to the house in Cessna Township, then for a few years, carpentered with farming colleagues during winter months on select home building projects around Kenton. Upon retirement, he and Velma enjoyed trips with their friends and many years as “snowbirds,” living in both Ohio and Arizona.
Don was a former member of Fairview Methodist Church west of Kenton and St. John’s United Church of Christ in Kenton. He served for 15 years on the Hardin Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees representing Cessna, Washington, Marion, and Goshen Townships. Don perfected his love for a good hand of cards and a good game of pool while in Ohio. He complemented those activities while in Arizona with activities like a good frame of bocce ball and a good ride on his golf cart—in spite of his golf score. He was also an avid reader and loved to tinker in his garage. As a dad, even if the sun was setting on a long day in the fields, he never refused a request to hit grounders or fly balls or play horse.
It was Don’s wish to be cremated. The family will hold a private memorial, as was his desire.
Mary Ellen (Ellen) Stricker
Mary Ellen (Ellen) Stricker passed away peacefully in her daughter’s home surrounded by loving family members on Dec. 29, 2020. She joined her husband John (Jack) Stricker who passed away in 2001. Ellen is survived by six of seven children (Sue Douglas, Mary Ellen Kohut, Nancy Brodie, Jim Stricker, Bill Stricker, and Patricia Carson) (brother John Stricker passed in 2006), 16 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Ellen Stricker (nee Lybarger) and twin sister Elaine were born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Feb. 14, 1926. She married Jack Stricker in 1947 and raised seven children in Richmond Heights, Ohio. Children and grandchildren remember delightful summer days spent on the lake at the Willard Ohio “Landing.” Ellen, nicknamed “Coach,” was dedicated to family first and then her community. A true trailblazer, she was a basketball coach at a time when most women did not play sports. Ellen was the first pool manager for Richmond Heights and ran the lifeguard training and swim programs for Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), mentoring a generation of lifeguards. She was an active volunteer in Girl Scouts and CYO. She taught daughters and granddaughters there were no boundaries to what they could do or be in this world. When she and Jack moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz., she continued volunteer work in the community and taught her grandchildren to bake her famous bread.
Her grandchildren describe her legacy: Beautiful Grandmother, you are the foundation of the most amazing family anyone could have. You have modeled the true meaning of grace, class, determination, and unconditional love which you have taught us are the components of the most important unit in the world: FAMILY. As long as we love and respect each other, we remember and honor our grandma.
A Celebration of Life is planned for Summer 2021.
Donald Wayne Taylor
Donald Wayne Taylor was born on March 23, 1931, in Redford, Mich., to Bernice and Harry Taylor. Donald passed after a lengthy illness and was welcomed into the arms of Jesus on Jan. 1, 2021. He was preceded in death by his sister Dorothy Willoughby (Leon) and brother Russell (Loraine.) Don was the beloved husband of Doreen Taylor; they spent most of their 32 years together in Sun Lakes. As members of the Sun Lakes Community Church for 25 years, they held a number of positions. Many will remember how he led the congregation in singing and the special poems he would recite. Early on, he was a part of the Meals on Wheels program and Neighbors Who Care. Don leaves behind many who will mourn his passing.
Donald was the father of Thomas, Bruce (Cathy), the late Frederick (Karen), Robert, Doug, and Timothy (Gloria). He was the former husband of the late Barbara Babcock Taylor. He was a loving stepfather to Michael and Mark Franklin (Caroline) and Catherine Scheele (Jack).
Don was a grandfather to Ryan (Jennifer) and Daryl (Regina), Lindsay, Shannon, Susan Wooton (Derek), Jennifer Neve, Michael (Brianna), and Stephen. His great-grandchildren include Samantha, Andrew, Sofia, and Dylan/Taylor Nowland.
Donald was an Army veteran and served in Korea. He owned a small construction business for many years in Michigan. He leaves behind a legacy of kindness, trustworthiness, and caring.
Ward R. Tenney
Ward R. Tenney of Sun Lakes, Ariz., and former long-term resident of North Mankato, Minn., passed away peacefully on Dec. 21, 2020, at age 84 from lung cancer. He was born and raised in Redwood Falls, Minn., son of Wayne and Leona (Cuff) Tenney. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Army in Okinawa, Japan, then earned a business degree in 1963 at Minnesota State University-Mankato on the G.I. bill. He married the love of his life, Diane (Werner), and had three children: Susan (Milwaukee, Wisc.), Steven (Winnebago, Minn.), and Stacy (Sun Lakes, Ariz.).
As a student, Ward started his career as assistant janitor at Johnson Reels and worked his way up in the company. It was a dream job for a guy who loved to fish, and his strong intellect, business savvy, and dedication drove him and the company to great success. He rose to lead Minn Kota Motors and then served as President of Johnson Fishing, a part of Johnson Outdoors, until his retirement in 1992. Ward also served on the Board of US Bank-Mankato and in leadership roles with Chambers of Commerce in Mankato and Moorhead, Minn. He was a long-time member of the Elks Club, Mankato Exchange Club, and Mankato Country Club.
Ward and Diane enjoyed 60 years of marriage together, filled with travel, snowbirding between Arizona and Minnesota, and many wonderful times with friends and family. In addition to walleye fishing, Ward loved to golf, play cards, hunt, hike in the desert, listen to country music, and read Louis Lamour books. He was a great gentleman, mentor, provider, and friend. Known for his dry, witty comments, Ward’s wisdom and humor will be greatly missed by many.
Ward is survived by his wife and three children; sisters-in-law Donna Johnson, Darliss Green, Doreen Roberts, Delphine Lane, Susie Tenney, and Jeanette Tenney; and many nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. He was predeceased by his parents, his in-laws Fred and Eleanor (Ludwig) Werner, brothers Bob and Don, sister-in-law Dorothy Thompkins, brothers-in-law Lester Johnson and Fred Roberts, nephews Randy Green and Todd Thompkins, and many dear friends.
Private services will be held, and memorials may be made in Ward’s name to the organization of your choice. Arrangements by Dignity Memorial/Valley of the Sun Mortuary/Chandler, Ariz., at www.DignityMemorial.com.
Vaughn E. Torgusen
Vaughn E. Torgusen passed away peacefully and at home on Dec. 22, 2020, after a brief battle with cancer, with his devoted wife Sharon and cousin Carol McIntyre at his side.
Vaughn was born on July 5, 1937, in Minot, N.D. He and his extended family left Lansford, N.D., when he was young and resettled in Port Orchard, Wash. It is a complicated story, but Vaughn ran away from home at age 13 and lived under a bridge with the local bums. His months of living on the streets ended with internment in a reform school. He came out with a positive attitude, determined to find a better way of life.
Vaughn enlisted in the Air Force and briefly served in the last years of the Korean war. The GI Bill allowed him to graduate from San Jose State with an accounting degree. He opened a bookkeeping and tax service in San Jose. Vaughn and his first wife Bonnie (Bartlett) had four children: Ronald, Vicki (Divine), Mark, and Randy (deceased).
Vaughn lived in the Los Angeles area, Chicago, and finally moved to Kansas City where he met his last wife Sharon in 1987. They moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz., in 2013. Vaughn loved Arizona, the Sun Lakes community, and playing golf with his buddies. He is survived by his wife Sharon, three children, 10 grandchildren, three sisters, many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many great friends in Sun Lakes and Kansas City.
Vaughn’s zest for life will be greatly missed. He died without fear and was thankful to God for the many good years he was given.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a Ride!” —Hunter S. Thompson
Due to the unprecedented circumstances presented by COVID-19, a Celebration of Vaughn’s Life will be held at a later time.
Sandra K. Peterson Walrath
Sandra K. Peterson Walrath, aka “Sammy,” “Sam,” “Favorite Aunt Sam,” passed away with her family by her side on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, at the Hospice of the Valley in Gilbert, Ariz.
With her when she went to be with God and her family were her husband of 35-plus years Dennis, her daughter Dana Mifflin, her son Kevin DeFoe, and stepdaughter Pamela Bittorf.
Sandy was born Oct. 4, 1949, in Sterling, Ill. She was the daughter of Gerald and Mabel (Christofferson) Peterson. She married Dennis O. Walrath on March 23, 1985.
Some of Sandy’s favorite things were her and Denny’s many trips to Dana Point, Sea World, and San Diego, to whale and dolphin watch, and her dog Kenji. Her love of White Russians and Moscato was known to many. She loved her yearly holiday baking and decorating which she has passed down to her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed bowling, golfing, crafting, “shopping,” playing card games, and anything that brought family and friends together.
Sandy is preceded in death by her parents Gerald and Mabel Peterson; her sister Janice (Lawrence) Olmstead; her brothers: Gerald (Penny) Peterson, Harry (Patricia) Peterson, and Jack (Mary) Peterson; and her brother-in-law Chuck (Val) Walrath.
Sandy is survived by her husband Dennis; children: Dana (Rob) Mifflin of Rockford, Ill.; Kevin DeFoe of Chandler, Ariz.; and Kelly DeFoe of Dubuque, La.; her stepchildren: Jed (Rene) Walrath of Rock Falls, Ill.; Jason (Kristy) Walrath of Milledgeville, Ill.; Nikki (the late Victor) Jomant of Sterling, Ill.; and Pamela (William) Bittorf of Sterling, Ill.; her sister Karen Miner; brothers: Douglas (Nancy) Peterson and Dennis (Sharon) Peterson, all of Rockford, Ill.; and brother-in-law Rick (Jean) Walrath of Mesa, Ariz. She was also a proud grandmother of 19 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, along with too many nieces and nephews to mention.
A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date and time.