Men like Thomas (Tom) Atkins are one in a million. He was born on Dec. 27, 1936, in Clear Lake, Iowa. Tom didn’t just live life—he embraced it. He and his brother Dick enjoyed an active and happy childhood. As a young athlete, he played and excelled in several sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and anything you can do on a lake. After college, Tom joined the Navy, staying true to his love of boats and water. He served as a Lieutenant on the U.S.S. Randolph, stationed in Norfolk, Va. After the Navy, it’s no surprise that Tom found much success as a salesman for American Hospital Supply (purchased by Baxter) where he worked his entire career—frequently winning awards and trips for his achievements.
Tom epitomized all things American: baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet. He didn’t live life in the slow lane. He loved Corvettes and speed boats—usually painted in fire-engine red or bright orange. Everyone who met him was touched by his genuine friendliness and graciousness. Tom served his country, his employer, his family, and his friends with zest and honor.
Tom passed away peacefully on Nov. 18, 2021. He will be dearly missed by so many who were touched by his warm and charismatic personality: his children and step-children, daughters-in-law and sons-in-law, eight grandchildren, nieces and nephews, sister-in-law, cousins, and an amazing network of friends that he’s made and cherished over the past 84 years, and one particular, wonderful woman who became incredibly special to him in recent years.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Oakwood ballroom on Jan. 8 from 3 to 5 p.m. Friends are welcome.
Raymond Louis Bernadelli
Raymond (Ray) Louis Bernadelli was born Sept. 6, 1940, in Buckley, Wash. He went home to his Father in Heaven on Nov. 26, 2021.
He was raised with his brother Joe in Carbonado, Wash., by their mother Jean (an immigrant from Scotland) and their father Joseph (an immigrant from Canada of Italian descent). As a small boy, Ray contracted rheumatic fever, causing him to miss a year of school. During that time, he read through the family’s encyclopedia collection and proceeded to skip a grade when returning to class.
Ray graduated from White River High School in 1958. He attended Seattle University as a member of the ROTC, graduating with Alpha Sigma Nu honors with a degree in electrical engineering. He would later go on to study at Pacific Lutheran University for his MBA.
Serving in the U.S. Army, Ray was proud to be a member of the 85th Ordnance Company during his time in the Vietnam War. He treasured his fellow comrades, reuniting regularly since 2008.
Ray spent the majority of his career working for the Occidental Chemical Corporation as the senior electrical engineer. His expertise led him across the world to countries such as Japan to consult on critical technology to advance his company’s work.
To those who knew him well, Ray was a complex man with a great sense of humor and the ability to impersonate famous voices, discuss politics, faith, finance, history, and a multitude of subjects with a photographic memory of the past.
Ray enjoyed playing tennis, especially with his loving wife Lola. He played golf and traveled extensively with Lola and the friends they treasure to this day. Rotating time between homes in Washington and Sun Lakes, Ariz., Ray felt extremely blessed to enjoy his retirement in the two regions he loved most.
Ray is preceded in death by his parents and brother Joe. He is survived by his wife Lola; his three children: Andrea Harrison, Maureen Bernadelli-Suter, and Peter Bernadelli; his stepson David Huston; his stepdaughter Bernadine Oxsen; and his 11 grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Daniel H. Bumgarner
Daniel H. Bumgarner, age 82, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., died on Nov. 17, 2021. Dan was born in Grand Rapids, Minn., on Oct. 21, 1939, and was a graduate of Deer River High School and Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. His career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moved Dan and his family around the country. During those years, Dan coached his children Marc, Susan, and Lisa in soccer and returned to Northern Minnesota every summer to work on his Christmas tree farm. He always stayed fit by playing racquetball and golf, running, biking, and walking. He was a man of good humor with many skills and passions, including driving and skiing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, dogs, and thirst-quenching Kilt Lifter beer.
Dan is survived by his wife of 27 years, Beverly; his mother Viola Bumgarner; brother Tim (Terry) Bumgarner; his children: Marc (Tammy) Bumgarner, Susan (Dave) Callies, and Lisa (Joe) Reinke; grandchildren: Michael (Maria) Bumgarner, David (Lauren) Bumgarner, Matthew Bumgarner, Benjamin, Timothy, and Nathan Callies; and Max, Sam and Mia Reinke; great-grandchildren: Lena, Claire, and Luke Bumgarner; sister Linda Shanahan (Evan Hanson); and Beverly’s children and grandchildren: Michael (Kelly) LaVine, Maddie and Meredith LaVine; Michelle Mills, Jax and Kage Mills; Melissa (Tim) Doane, and Carson Doane; and Matthew LaVine.
His memorial service was on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 3 p.m. at Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery, at 10940 E. Chandler Heights Road, in Chandler, AZ 85248.
Robert (Bob) Bryant Cloar, Sr., M.D.
Robert (Bob) Bryant Cloar, Sr., was born on Aug. 22, 1932, in Middlesboro, Ky., to the late James and Margaret Cloar. He was preceded in death by his brothers Jim and Jack. He passed away Nov. 23 at his longtime home in Sun Lakes. Barbara, his wife of 45 years, passed on Sept. 23, 2021.
Bob tried his hand at several jobs before settling into his passion and true calling as a trusted and highly respected physician. The epitome of a renaissance man, his stops along the way included radio DJ, truck driver, 7th and 8th grade English and history teacher, middle school basketball coach, and Southern Baptist Minister. Those who knew Bob over the years but didn’t know his history would likely not be surprised by a man accustomed to delivering sermons from the pulpit.
Bob attended Georgetown College (Ky.) and the University of Dayton (Ohio) before graduating from the University of Kentucky. He earned his Doctorate of Theology from the Louisville Southern Baptist Seminary. He received his M.D. from Tulane University and completed his residency in Florence, S.C. As a Family Physician, he had private practice offices in Middlesboro, Ky.; Dallas, Texas; Lexington, Ky.; and Scottsdale, Ariz. Bob took a break from private practice to educate future Family Physicians as the director of two Family Practice residency programs; first in Sioux Falls, S.D., and later in Madisonville, Ky. He was appointed Associate Professor of Medicine at both the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville. Missing the Valley and more direct patient interaction, Bob returned to private practice in Sun Lakes from 1995 through his retirement in September 2021.
Bob was an avid and prolific amateur nature photographer. He captured images that decorated his home and offices over the years from many locations around the country. His favorites included Canyon de Chelly, Ariz.; the Colorado Rockies; Cumberland Lake, Ky.; and Reelfoot Lake, Tenn. (where he often visited to photograph bald eagles). He also obtained his pilot’s license in Kentucky. Before his health began to decline, Bob also enjoyed the reprieve and frustration of the golf course.
Bob is survived by his three sons: Skip (Patti), Steve (Cindy), and Bryan (Debbie); six grandchildren: Cameron, Tori, Vail, Baylor, Lexi, and Tyler; and two great-grandchildren: Annie and Jackson.
Services will be held at the United Methodist Church, Sun Lakes, Ariz., on Feb. 19, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers and to honor Bob, donations may be made to Make a Wish Foundation (www.wish.org). Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.valleyofthesunfuneralhome.com for the Cloar family.
Robert J. Kelly
Robert J. Kelly of Sun Lakes, AZ, aged 92, passed away on December 1, 2021.
Bob Kelly was born in The Bronx, NY, on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1929. He grew up in New York City and graduated from Fordham University. After briefly serving in the Army, he had a successful career in banking before deciding to pursue his true passion, writing. He was an accomplished author and motivational speaker.
Bob was proud that his birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day and took pleasure in designing splendid outfits for the double holiday. He passed on his love of St. Patrick’s Day and his Irish heritage to his children. Other passions he shared included literature, swimming, golf, backgammon, and chocolate. Despite his best efforts, he was not entirely successful in passing on his love of beets and, while we will miss Bob terribly, most of us will not miss the beets. Bob’s faith in God was unwavering. He lived his faith, spreading the word of God at home and abroad, and helping others in need. He and his wife were very active in their church. They also loved celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and playing golf.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife of 35 years, Fran, and their fur baby, Rocco; sister Mary and brother Alfred. Other survivors include his five children and their spouses, one stepdaughter, 19 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014
Karl W. Kramer
Karl W. Kramer passed away in the hospital on Nov. 14, 2021, with his wife Starla by his side. He had struggled with Parkinson’s Disease, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and aneurysms for a few years.
Karl was born in St. Louis, Mo., 84 years ago. He grew up in the German section with his immigrant parents Karl Kramer, Sr., and Monica Kramer.
He lettered in track and football in high school. After high school, he graduated from Missouri University in Columbia, Mo., on a football scholarship.
In college he was in the ROTC and then served in the Army and then reserves after college. Karl and his first wife Jan have two children, Keith Kramer and Monica Kramer Battles, currently living in Washington State.
Karl married Starla in 1981 in Washington State, and they moved to Sun Lakes in 1991. Karl was happy to move away from the rain, and he loved the sunshine. He signed up for the softball team, the tennis team, and men’s golf immediately. Karl and Starla were also on the board of what was called the 40s-50s Club in Sun Lakes, planning concert trips, hayrides, treasure hunts, and golf cart scavenger hunts.
Karl and Starla were active realtors for many years, and then Karl decided to open a small carpet store, which turned out to be the huge, full-service Carpet Broker Design Center at Alma School Road and Warner Road, until he retired at the age of 78.
A private family memorial was held on Dec. 19, with his children and Starla’s family, in Washington State. A portion of his ashes will be spread there.
Karl had a fun sense of humor and was well liked. He always added to the fun at any gathering. Karl is survived by his wife of 40 years and his two children and son-in-law Jim Battles.
He will be missed but forever in our hearts for those who were fortunate to have known him.
Robert Leslie Light
Robert Leslie Light, 75, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away on Nov. 8, 2021, after complications from COVID.
Bob was born in Santa Monica, Calif., to David Norton and Alyce Berner Light on Aug. 9, 1946. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Pharmacy in 1978 and worked as a Pharmacist and owned a successful independent Pharmacy in Denver, Colo., with his wife, Sherrill, for 24 years. He received numerous awards and recognition from the University of Colorado Pharmacy School for his experience and knowledge in his career field. Bob was a proud Air Force Veteran who served a tour of duty in the Vietnam War. He was involved in The Elks Club, Arizona Patriot Guard Riders, and the American Legion Post 91 of Chandler, Ariz.
He married Sherrill Flett Light on Dec. 25, 1978, in Colorado in the presence of their five children. They were married for 42 years. His passions were his family and riding his multiple motorcycles with friends, his son Brian, and grandson Shane. He attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for 24 years.
Bob is preceded in death by David Light and Alyce Light (parents) and his son James Kaufman. He is survived by his wife Sherrill Light; his brother David Light; Catherine Light (sister-in-law); sons John Kaufman, Steven Light, and Brian Light; Julie Laudel Kaufman (daughter-in-law); daughter Jane Tobias; and Scott Tobias (son-in-law). He is also survived by grandchildren Shane Kaufman (Lacey), Brittany Wilbanks (Danielle), Emily Kaufman, Andrew Light, Maxwell Kaufman, Samuel Kaufman, Alec Laudel, Tess Tobias, Judah Tobias, Ava Light, and Bibi Tobias, and great-granddaughters Kimberlynn and Elizabeth Kaufman.
Remembrances may be made in the form of contributions to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Richard Allen Nelsen
On Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, Richard “Dick” Allen Nelsen, passed away at the age of 87.
Dick was a lover of all things sports, and an avid Hawkeye fan who was willing to break out in the Hawkeye fight song anytime. He moved from Scottsdale to Sun Lakes in 1994 where he spent the past 27 years.
Dick was an active member of the Sun Lakes United Methodist Church. He served a term as the President of the Palo Verde Men’s Golf Club as well as a member of Food and Beverage committee. He loved his writer’s workshop and had several of his stories published in the Sun Lakes Splash.
Dick was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on Aug. 29, 1934, to Nels Nelsen, a Drug Store Owner, and Elsie (Knox) Nelsen, his loving Mother. He grew up with his younger brother William “Bill” Nelsen. He graduated high school in 1952, went on to graduate from the University of Iowa, and then finally to Graduate School where he earned his Physical Therapists degree in 1957.
Dick was a Lt. Jr. Grade for the Medical Branch of the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, in Washington, DC, from 1957 until October 1959. He was married to Rita Russell, they had one son Richard, moved to Arizona, and had a daughter Lisa. He worked as a Physical Therapist until 1966 when he changed careers to join Mead Johnson as a sales representative. He was able to convince 13 hospitals to purchase the Mead Johnson infant formula and was promoted to District Sales Manager in 1969.
Dick was divorced from his first wife in 1970 and married Kay Miller in February of 1973, blending two families together that included three teenage boys and one preteen girl. Dick was offered promotions that would have meant a move from Phoenix, but choose his family over job opportunity and stayed in Arizona working for Mead Johnson for 25 years.
Dick loved taking his new blended family camping, first in a tent than a tent trailer for nine years. He and Kay purchased a motorhome and spent 17 years traveling with their Thousand Trails Membership. In 1999 the motorhome was sold when Kay was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. That was when the Pinetop years started, and a home was rented for the summer months where he enjoyed time with friends and having his family come and visit. Dick lost Kay to complications from Parkinson’s that included Bone Cancer in August of 2014.
Dick met Noella Banister Dec. 31, 2014. Noella become a faithful friend and partner to Dick in his final years. Dick took up golf again and joined Rotary. Dick loved his grandchildren something fierce and always found time to make each of them feel special and loved, and they love him in return. Ironically Dick was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014 and fought it quite well for over seven years. He will be missed severely.