In Passing

Fritz Elmer Derheim

Fritz Elmer Derheim

Fritz Elmer Derheim, 79, died peacefully with his loving wife by his side in his Sun Lakes, Ariz., home on Jan. 7, 2023.

Fritz was predeceased by daughter Amy Derheim and is survived by his wife Beth, of 54 amazing years; his daughter Roxanne Derheim (John Beard); nephew Chad Derheim, who was like a son; his two grandchildren McKinley and Tanner Beard, and honorary grandsons Austin and Wesley Derheim; his siblings Darvin, Bud (Derheim) and Fran (Saunders); and extended family.

Fritz graduated Minot High School in 1961 and served in the Navy from 1961-1964 as a radioman. After graduating North Seattle Community College with a two-year electronics degree, he joined The Boeing Company in 1974 and retired after 30 years to Sun Lakes, Ariz. His hobbies included fishing of any kind, playing pool, softball, and golf. He never got enough of studying science, science, science! In addition to his wife and fishing, his greatest passion was cooking for himself and other people. He never met a recipe he didn’t like!

A special thank you to his many doctors and the people at Hospice of the Valley in Sun Lakes, Ariz., for their loving care and support throughout his journey the last few months and during his final days. The family would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to the many friends who have supported Fritz and Beth during a difficult past year. Your love and care has meant the world to them during a difficult time.

No funeral or memorial service is immediately planned. The family will notify loved ones of any planned celebration of Fritz’s life in the future.

Valentina Edgington

Valentina Edgington

Valentina Edgington was born in a small village in Romania to Austrian parents. Forced to move back to their homeland by World War II, it brought her from Romania to Linz, Austria. While in her early teens, she spoke four languages: Russian, Romanian, German, and English. As the oldest daughter of a family of 10, she found herself occupied with raising many of her younger siblings. In 1950 “Val” met her future husband, and she married Sgt. Roger Edgington in 1951. Finding difficulty with her immigration, her husband sought help from his Iowa congressman, Henry O. Talle, and a bill was passed in Congress that resolved the problem that faced many soldiers regarding immigration of their wives.

In early June 1951 the couple moved to Paris and then to Vienna the following year when Edgington was called to active duty as a Second Lieutenant. Movement in the military was not uncommon, and Val moved 27 times in the years Colonel Edgington was in service. For approximately 10 of those years, the couple were stationed in Europe. Their last Army assignment was at West Point, N.Y. Edgington was the comptroller of the U.S. Army Military Academy. During their years in the military, they adopted two wonderful children, Steven and Lisa. Both are graduates of the University of Oregon and now enjoy successful careers in San Francisco and Portland, Ore.

Val and Roger lived many places: Germany, Austria, France, Hawaii, Kansas, Indiana, New York, and, of course, Washington, D.C. Although Val had been trained as a seamstress, she began new opportunities, painting with oils, teaching other Army wives the skills of cooking, and even making hats. She made her daughter’s wedding dress, which was totally unmatched to anything available. Colonel Edgington retired from West Point, and the family moved to Portland, Ore., in 1976. A two-vehicle convoy motored across the USA with their children and two pets. A new academic environment emerged for Val. Her skills were expanded. At Portland State University, she taught wives of the faculty, to include the deans, how to cook European food. Wiener schnitzel was her favorite specialty. She also hosted numerous dinners as the president’s wife. They continued to travel, and June of 1989 found them in Beijing, China, with other members of their faculty. This was a reciprocal visit to four of the university presidents in China. Significantly, two of the presidents were in “house arrest” due to the student activity in Tiananmen Square. Unfortunately, the visitors from the United States were unaware of this mission by the students. Ironically, later, Val and her husband were in Bonn, Germany, watching the large TV in the city square showing the wall in Berlin collapsing. Valentina is an extremely talented and traveled person, whether sitting in a box seat next to the governor of New York, at a football game in West Point, or giving a small child candy on a street in Mexico, or dancing with a U.S. senator at the Thayer Hotel at West Point. She always knew what to do and set the example for others. Although never in uniform, she served this country as a military wife and experienced many separations where she could not go: Korea, Vietnam, etc.

In January 1997 the Edgingtons moved to Sun Lakes and lived on East Nacoma for 25 years. During that period, they traveled on cruises and visited Val’s family in Austria. Recently, she developed dementia and has struggled with that for two and a half years. Doctors recommended a memory care facility. Shortly after her arrival there, she contracted the COVID-19 virus. She was one of eight, and one did not survive. After four months there, her husband relocated her to a Villa facility here in Sun Lakes. They enjoyed the period for about 20 months, and then slowly she started to be unable to express herself and passed away on Jan. 10, 2023. She will be remembered fondly by many. There will be no event at this time, but sometime in April, the month of their wedding anniversary, there will be an event, and everyone will be notified of that in advance.

Molly Mattes Gott

Molly Mattes Gott

Molly Mattes Gott, 83, passed away at her home in Sun Lakes, Ariz., on Dec. 19 after a four-and-a-half-year struggle following emergency stomach surgery and subsequent issues that left her in a semi-convalescent state. She was born Molly Margaret Robinson on Dec. 18, 1939, in St. Louis, Mo., to Kathryn M. and Lloyd D. Robinson.

In 1944 the family moved to Tracy, Calif., where she attended grade school until moving to Palo Alto, attending high school at Menlo Atherton High School, from which she graduated. She attended Stanford University on a music scholarship, which led to classical piano training used in performing in municipal orchestra.

She worked for Education Consultants Ltd. and Pacific Architects and Engineers in Vietnam. She was constantly near Viet Cong motor grounds, both at her job at the air base, as well as her apartment. During the Tet offensive in 1968, she was stranded in her apartment for six days with the Viet Cong on one side and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) on the other.

She worked at Channel 5 television station after her return to the United States, moving to a territorial sales position, selling container space for the Puerto Rican steamship company Navieras.

In 1982 she took an outside sales position for Van Gott and Associates, becoming office manager in 1989 and occupied this position until the company was sold in 2006.

Molly maintained an interest in playing classical and semi-classical music at home until her arthritic hands prohibited her from playing. Molly also enjoyed golf and was a member of the Cottonwood Niners before her illness. She also enjoyed overseas travel nearly every year of her marriage to Van Gott. Most years, the couple traveled to Europe with the Napoleonic Alliance, furthering their interest in world history. Molly and Van traveled to the Madison River in South Central Montana for many years, enjoying fishing, the scenery, and spending time together in the outdoors.

She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Van Delano Gott; her son William “Bill” Mattes (Aaron) of Dallas, Texas; and three stepchildren: Eric Albert Gott (Cherry) of Denver, Colo.; James William Gott (Cathy) of Altadena, Calif.; and Allison Leyn (Don) of Parker, Colo.

Nancy Joyes

Nancy Joyes

Nancy Joyes passed away peacefully at 88 years young at home in Sun Lakes, Ariz., with her loving husband Cliff at her side. She was born Jan. 28, 1934, to Helen and Joseph Szabo in Buffalo, N.Y. Nancy graduated from Holy Angels Academy in Buffalo in 1951. They bought a summer home in Lime Lake, N.Y., in 1987 and in 1991 built it into their retirement home, then moved from Lime Lake, N.Y., to Sun Lakes, Ariz., in 2011 to be closer to family and sunshine.

Nancy was a professional model for 16 years and later worked for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority for 23 years where she retired. Nancy always had such a beautiful smile and a bubbly personality to match. She would light up the room when she walked in.

Nancy was proud of her Hungarian heritage—loving the customs, food, dancing, and all the festivities involved. She was a great organizer—planning many Christmas, retirement, birthday, and anniversary parties, along with many other social events, over the years. She volunteered on many committees throughout the years. Nancy also loved to travel with her husband, especially to the Caribbean every year for over 30 years.

Nancy was an absolutely wonderful wife, mother, nana, and person.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Mary, her brothers Stephen and Joseph, and her son-in-law William Hampshire.

Nancy is survived by her loving husband of 42 years, Clifford, her two daughters Linda Schmidt (Alphonse) and Laura Hampshire, two grandchildren Aaron and Juliana, and two great-grandchildren Corbin and Michael.

Nancy will be missed by all.

A private Celebration of Life and interment will be held at a later date.

Barbara Ann Kilcher

Barbara Ann Kilcher

Barbara Ann Kilcher passed away peacefully on Dec. 16, 2022, in Chandler, Ariz., at the age of 84. Barbara was born in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., on Dec. 11, 1938, to the late Peter Adam Kilcher and Juanita Madeline Ann Elizabeth Sackett Kilcher.

Barbara was the eldest of seven children. She is survived by her sisters: Joan Walmsley of Clinton Township, Mich.; Susan Reiter (the late Richard Jr. and Edward) of Dawsonville, Ga.; and Mary Jo Grabowski (Mark) of Cumming, Ga.; her brothers: James Kilcher of Roseville, Mich.; and John Kilcher (Deborah) of Clinton Township, Mich.; 29 nieces and nephews; 42 great-nieces and great-nephews; and 16 great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother Richard Kilcher (survived by Judi) of Clinton Township, Mich.; and her lifelong friend Lois Kopitzke.

Barbara graduated from Guardian Angels in 1953 and then from Dominican High School in 1957. She established her career working for Michigan Bell (now AT&T), rising to management in her later years. Towards the end of her life, she lived with her niece and eldest godchild Theresa “Terri” Kimble and her husband George in Chandler, Ariz. Barbara was a member of the Telecom Pioneers and a volunteer at the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and Ostrich Festival. She held steadfast to her Catholic faith and was a devout parishioner of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Barbara enjoyed music, quilting, a good book, and playing board games. She loved to travel and go camping as well. Affectionately known to so many as “Aunt Barb,” her friendliness, love for dogs, and her effortless ability to talk to anyone was paramount—she was truly everyone’s Aunt!

Ray Knott

Ray Knott

Ray Knott, 83, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away Dec. 12, 2022. He was born in Milton, Wisc., on Sept. 26, 1939. Ray graduated from Milton High School and received an accounting degree from Milton College. Following graduation, Ray served in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. Annapolis during the Vietnam War. Following his tour around the world, Ray worked as a financial controller within the publishing industry.

Ray married Joy Knott (nee Kersheske) in 1967, and they were married for 36 years until she passed away in 2004. Ray had a passion for sailing, golfing, and the Green Bay Packers. In 2006 he married Nancy Knott (nee Kilgras). Ray will be most remembered for his quick wit, dry sense of humor, love of numbers, care, and devotion to family.

Ray was also preceded in death by his brother Robert “Bob” Knott and sister Darlene “Dar” Sullivan. He is survived by his wife Nancy Knott (nee Kilgras), Noelle Archambeau (daughter), Bruce Archambeau (son-in-law), Annabelle Archambeau (granddaughter), Dan Kilgras (stepson), Matt Kilgras (stepson), Scott Kilgras (stepson), Mary Massart (niece), Jeff Knott (nephew), Robin Greene (niece), and Mike Burt (nephew).

A Celebration of Life graveside service for Ray will be held on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, at noon at Valley of the Sun Mortuary & Cemetery, 10940 E. Chandler Heights Road, Chandler, AZ 85248.

John Morrissey

John Morrissey

John Raymond Morrissey (84) passed away peacefully at Hospice of the Valley in Chandler, Ariz., on Dec. 21, 2022, with his loving wife Maureen (Moe) of 30 years by his side. John had bravely endured failing health with courage and determination.

Born in San Francisco to John (Jack) and Frances (Roberts) Morrissey, John lived most of his early years in the Bay Area that he loved.

After graduating from Carlmont High School in Belmont, Calif., in 1956, John served on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker USCGC Northwind in both the Arctic and Antarctic. He returned to the Bay Area and completed his college degree at San Francisco State with a degree in education and with minors in history and music and went on to teach woodworking, his lifelong passion. Soon after that, John was introduced to commercial real estate and decided to combine his love of teaching with his love of real estate. For the next 20-plus years, he taught real estate courses at colleges in the Bay Area while continuing his real estate career. He moved with Moe to Seattle in 1994 and accepted a position with King County in the Real Estate Division, Real Property Acquisition. He retired in 2007.

Having vacationed in Arizona several times, they decided to make Sun Lakes their permanent home in 2011. Bored with retirement, John decided to pursue creative writing in the form of novels and went back to college as a student where he received an Academic Certificate in Writing at the age of 81. Along with writing, he was a talented watercolor artist, enjoyed building classic small-scale cars of wood, patiently put together 1,000-piece puzzles, and loved his time gardening.

John is survived by his wife Moe and his pride and joy, his family: daughter Denise and son-in-law Vince Nannini; granddaughter Gianna, grandson-in-law Fred, and great-granddaughter Ava Degenhardt; grandson Anthony, granddaughter-in-law Jazz, and great-grandson Luca Nannini; and step-daughter Deanna Judson. He was predeceased by his parents Jack and Fran Morrissey and sister Murial (Mikie). He will be remembered as a gentle, kind, and loving soul.

There will be no formal services (at John’s request), and a family remembrance will be held in April in Los Altos, Calif. Contributions to Hospice of the Valley in Arizona in John’s name will be sincerely appreciated.

Ray Reagan

Ray Reagan

Ray Reagan, a Sun Lakes resident, was a loving man with a big heart. He was born Oct. 16, 1938, in St. Petersburg, Fla. He lost his year-long heart battle and sadly passed away.

Growing up in Westchester, N.Y., his family owned the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery where they resided, and Ray often spoke about the best Halloween parties.

He had a very interesting and multi-faceted life. He graduated early from Bryant College in Rhode Island and returned to the family business where he and his first wife Susan eventually had three daughters and a son. Tragically, their son Peter was killed in an auto accident at the age of 17.

Ray moved to California for business, which expanded and led him to Florida. While at a Community Development Seminar in Florida, he met and later married his second wife Judith. They ran a successful business together and eventually retired to Colorado. After her death, Ray moved back to Florida where met his present wife Betty. They settled in Sun Lakes and had 16 wonderful years together.

Although Ray was a professional tennis player and sang for a brief time with Kenny Rogers, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the New Christy Minstrels, Ray’s real love was golf, which he enjoyed playing here in Sun Lakes.

Ray will be greatly missed by his wife Betty; his three daughters Debbie Ringrose, Holly Torrey, and Barbie Miller; his stepchildren Stephen Pelosi, Lisa Bustamante, and Jennifer Hanley; and his 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Ray’s Life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Navajo Room at the Sun Lakes Country Club located at 25601 E. Sun Lakes Blvd. N., Chandler, AZ 85248.

Delvin Dewitte Schutes

Delvin Dewitte Schutes was born Sept. 25, 1941, in Wichita, Kan., and passed away Dec. 19, 2022, in Chandler, Ariz. The son of D.D. (Skeeter) and Ugie Schutes, Delvin and his family moved to Weatherford, Okla., in 1946 where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He graduated from Weatherford High School in 1959. He also worked on his father’s farm and in Skeeter’s Body Shop, painting cars.

A graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in education, he first taught and coached in Clovis, N.M., under his high school coach Steve Graham.

In 1981 Delvin moved to Chandler, Ariz., and became the head football coach at Chandler High School and led the team to its first playoff appearance since 1949. Later, he taught Safety Ed and coached golf at Hamilton High School, where he led the team to its first state title in 2005. Delvin retired from Hamilton in 2006 but returned to coach 9th grade football with his son Deke. His exemplary career was honored in 2021 when he was inducted into Hamilton’s Hall of Fame.

Coach Schutes was inspirational, treating everyone as if they were his own family. A loving husband, father, grandfather, and uncle, he always put family and his team above himself. Delvin is survived by his wife Paulette, son Deke (Patti), daughter Dhea (Todd) Hudson, sister Tricia Ray, and grandchildren Trevor Schutes, Troy Hudson, and Chandler (Jay) Kuruvilla, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Rhea Schutes, parents Skeeter and Ugie, sisters Lavonne Schutes and Jan Cantrell, and brother-in-law Tim Ray.

Graveside services will be Friday, March 24, 2023, in Weatherford, Okla.

Celeste E. Strom

Celeste E. Strom

Celeste E. Strom (née Lapen) died peacefully at home on Dec. 11, 2022, at age 88.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, N.Y., her father was a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department and her mother a homemaker. Celeste was the younger of two daughters, and she shared a special closeness with her sister Joan Westrack for her entire life.

Celeste showed a talent for painting as a child and painted with both oil and watercolors throughout her life. She was an excellent student and an avid reader. Celeste married Robert (Bob) Strom in 1954, who was also a NYC fireman for 20 years. They were married until Bob’s death earlier this year.

Celeste spent most of her life in New York before she and Bob retired to Sun Lakes, Ariz., in 1994.

At Sun Lakes, Celeste was able to explore and grow her artistic talents. She was president of a watercolor art club and showed her work in a variety of galleries and art festivals. Her paintings can be found in homes and businesses throughout the Phoenix area.

Celeste made everything beautiful—her art, home, and garden. Bob and Celeste shared a keen interest in home improvement and embarked on numerous projects throughout their lifetime together. Celeste enjoyed traveling, both international and domestic. She also loved spending time with her family and friends.

In addition to her sister, Celeste is survived by her children Lori Davila, Jeff Strom and spouse Terry, Steven Strom and spouse Denise; her granddaughter Kristen Rodriguez and spouse Johnny; her great-grandchildren Logan and Riley Rodriguez; and her step-grandchildren Shelly McGehee, JR Page, and Troy Derrick Page.

The family would like to express their gratitude to Hospice of the Valley for their compassionate care of Celeste in her final months.

The family will hold a Celebration of Life for Celeste in 2023. Celeste is forever in our hearts.

Marguerite Mullin Valdo

Marguerite Mullin Valdo passed away on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at the age of 99-1/2. Marguerite was preceded in death by Alex Randolph Valdo, her husband of 64 years. She is survived by her son Thomas R. Valdo of Holland, Mich.; her daughter Ann V. Howard of Chandler, Ariz.; and her five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Grat M. Mullin of Tazewell, Va.

Marguerite earned a degree in English and history at Salem College, Winston-Salem, N.C. She taught high school English and history, worked in the cataloging department of a college library, and proofread for an agricultural magazine.

She was a long-time member of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. Marguerite was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for 71 years.

Inurnment will be in the Mullin family plot in the Maplewood Cemetery in Tazewell, Va.

Marguerite loved animals, and memorial gifts may be sent to any animal welfare or rescue group(s) of your choice.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Valdo and Howard family.

Robert D. Wynne

Robert D. Wynne

Robert D. Wynne, 77, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away Dec. 7, 2022. Bob fought a hard battle with Alzheimer’s for over eight years, but to our sorrow, he lost his battle. Bob is survived by his wife Irma; sons David (Wendi) Wynne and Jason (Lindsey) Wynne and their mother Nancy Jones Wynne; grandchildren Kalin Wynne, Adalynn Wynne, and Jackson Wynne; and one nephew and three nieces.

Bob was born in Elmira, N.Y. He attended State University of New York at Brockport where he received a B.S. in economics and sociology. He enjoyed a career as a Regional Service Manager in the Customer Equipment Services Division of Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N.Y. He also served in the U.S. Army National Guard Reserves. He enjoyed playing tennis and golf with family and friends. We remember him for his love, character, and zest for life.

A Celebration of Life was held on Jan. 20, 2023.

In Bob’s memory, donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley ( or Alzheimer’s Association (