In Passing

Beverly Ann Abrutz

Beverly Ann Abrutz, 92, passed away peacefully on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, she is survived by Joe, her loving husband of 71 years; son Joe Jr. (Debbie) of Cameron, Mo.; daughter Kimberly (Ben) Brooke of Ferndale, Wash.; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

She and her husband met at Kent State University in 1949. They married in 1951, thereby enjoying 71 years together. While being a wife and mother, Beverly was employed for 20 years in the Washington School District in Phoenix. Upon retirement, she and her husband moved to Sun Lakes. Beverly was one of the founders of Sun Lakes United Methodist Church where she very much enjoyed her friends and time in the choir. She was also a member of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). She was an ardent, excellent golfer at Cottonwood and Palo Verde Country Clubs, plus a “hole-in-one.” In the summer, she and her husband would spend quality time in San Diego, Calif., Washington, and Missouri. Beverly lived a happy, wonderful life and was loved and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Services are being held privately by the family.

Sandra Lynn Geraghty

Sandra Lynn Geraghty, 81, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away Jan. 4, 2023. She was born on April 11, 1941, in McCook, Neb., to Merrill and Edna (Trotter) Geraghty. She came to Mesa, Ariz., in 1954 with her family.

Sandy graduated from Mesa High before attending Arizona State University, where she earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in special education. She taught at New Way School in Scottsdale for over 25 years, and the Sandra Geraghty Reading Award is presented to a deserving New Way student yearly. She was proud of starting her own business, Geraghty Education, and continuing to help countless children throughout the Valley. She also co-authored the children’s book Woodsey School Kids Thanksgiving Feast.

Sandy loved her family. She also enjoyed gardening (especially her roses), reading, working with ceramics, traveling, spending time with her friends, her cats, and laughing and enjoying life.

Sandra is survived by her beloved son Christopher Sosa; granddaughters Alisha and Katarina, who called her “Gigi;” great-grandson Toby; brothers Mike (Susan), Dan (Jackie), and Dennis; niece Trisha; as well as her cats Nora and Kitty. Gigi’s parents and her brothers Jim and Tom preceded Sandra in death.

A Funeral Mass was held on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 1551 E. Dana Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85204. Burial followed at Mountain View Cemetery, 7900 E. Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85207.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the New Way Academy, 5048 East Oak Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008, in Sandy’s name.

Phyllis R. Hall

Phyllis R. Hall passed away the morning of Jan. 5 at Friendship Village Hospice of the Valley. She was 101 years old. A longtime resident of Sun Lakes, she and her husband Herb retired and moved to Sun Lakes in December of 1984. Hoping to spend many years together in retirement, Herb became ill and passed away in October of 1986. Phyllis went on to make many friends and kept busy with the many activities Sun Lakes has to offer.

She was laid to rest at a private service on Jan. 18, and a Celebration of Life memorial was held on Feb. 18 at Sun Lakes Community Church.

She is predeceased by her husband Herb and son Randy Hall. She is survived by her four children: Gary, Brian, Maureen, and Gail; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

John Wayne Hoogendoorn

John Wayne Hoogendoorn passed away Jan. 12, 2023, at the Phoenix VA Hospital, where he had received the best, most loving care throughout his illness.

He was born in LeMars, Iowa, on July 28, 1942, to Gilbert and Winnie (Spyksma) Hoogendoorn. His family, including three older sisters, Glenda, Doris, and Margie, farmed there until John was 10, when they moved to California. There another sister, Audrey, and brother Warren were born. John grew up on the campus of Mount San Antonio Junior College where he learned to love sports of all kinds, basketball in particular.

John was drafted in 1964 and spent two years in the Army in Germany. He was so lucky to be appointed Post Athletic Director, where he played and organized sports to his heart’s content.

After coming home, he married and had four children: Andrea, Michelle, John, and Travis. He worked at a variety of jobs, including police officer and bowling alley owner, in California, Michigan, and Idaho, always helping at relatives’ dairy farms in between. Eventually he settled into the dairy industry himself in Idaho. He ended his career in dairy feed sales there.

John retired with his second wife, Peggy, and they lived in Mackey, Idaho, and Wellton, Ariz., for 8 years until she passed away. During that time he bowled competitively in senior bowling leagues and earned two 299 rings and two 300 rings. He was an avid college football and basketball fan and followed the NFL and NBA his whole life.

He met Joy, also widowed, when she came to Wellton from Alberta to visit friends. They chose Sun Lakes as home because it was “close to the airport.” They were married at Sun Lakes Dec. 12, 2012, and were blessed with 10 beautiful years together. Traveling, golfing, fishing, dancing, cooking, and eating good food made those years fly by too fast. John has lost his battle with cancer but gained a home in heaven.

He leaves behind his loving wife Joy, his four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren as well as Joy’s three sons, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He will be remembered as a fun-loving, adventurous soul with a kind, generous, and loving heart.

A Celebration of Life was held at Sun Lakes Community Church on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, and he was laid to rest Feb. 3 at the National Veterans’ Cemetery in Phoenix, Ariz.

Loved beyond words, missed beyond measure.

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.

Arlo Longbrake

Arlo Longbrake, longtime resident of Sun Lakes, passed away on Jan. 23, 2023, at the age of 99 in Mesa, Ariz. Arlo was born on Oct. 30, 1923, the seventh child of Daisey Bennett and Clyde Longbrake. Arlo attended Espy School where he was crowned Freckle King at age 12. Attending Kenton High School, he participated in track, basketball, and football while also working at the Kenton Dunkirk Creamy. He always said he ate lots of ice cream to make up for only making 10 cents an hour. Following graduation from high school, in 1942, Arlo worked for his brother in Detroit as a machinist until he enlisted in the Army in December of that year. He was a member of the Army Air Corp, piloting B-25 bombers.

Following discharge from the Army in 1945, he married his high school sweetheart Caroline (Cookie) Botchlett. They had two children, Sue and Dale. Arlo was employed at Longbrake Die and Mold, owned by his eldest brother Gerald. In 1961 Arlo and Edgar Rush established their own business, Kenton Tool and Die, manufacturing plastic products.

Arlo and Caroline retired to Sun Lakes, Ariz., in 1979 where Arlo enjoyed fishing, golfing, traveling, silversmithing, carpentry, artistry, pickleball, and many hours volunteering for his church. Unfortunately, Caroline died in March of 1993 following a battle with cancer. In May of 1995 Arlo married Mabel Grissom who now lives in Goodyear, Ariz., near her son.

Arlo had previously lost his parents, three brothers, three sisters, wife Caroline, and son Dale. Surviving is his daughter Sue; grandchildren Heather, Jon, and David; three great-grandchildren; two nephews; and one niece.

Memorial donations can be made to Sun Lakes Community Church in Sun Lakes, Ariz.

Bill Stearns

William “Bill” Harvey Stearns, 89, passed away on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.

Bill was born on Oct. 11, 1933, in Duluth, Minn. He was a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a degree in business administration. Upon graduation, he served in the U.S. Army with the 337th Field Artillery Battalion, Fort Rucker, Ala. Upon an honorable discharge, he worked for the Cities Service Oil Co. and the Chevrolet Motor Division of GM. In 1966 he purchased the GM dealership in Ladysmith. He retired after nearly 30 years as a GM dealer.

Bill enjoyed being an active member of the Ladysmith community. He served on the boards of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, Security State Bank, Pioneer National Bank, Rusk County Memorial Hospital, WI Auto-Truck Dealers Association, State and Regional Chevrolet Dealer Council, and American Legion. He was a past member and president of the Ladysmith Kiwanis Club.

Bill’s second half of life found him enjoying downhill skiing, traveling internationally, spending the winter months in Arizona, and at 70, taking up motorcycling. He loved his Harley and the mini-road trips he would take with his son David, grandson Tyler, and all of David’s buddies. He was a member of the Motorcycle Club of Sun Lakes for many years and enjoyed socializing at Mulligan’s bar in Sun Lakes Country Club and the Cottonwood Bar & Grill. He enjoyed conversation and had a talent for remembering everyone’s name, always a welcome guest at parties. Bill’s membership in the Sun Lakes Cotillion Dance Club introduced him to residents across Sun Lakes. He never met a person he didn’t enjoy talking with.

Bill is survived by two children: Chip Stearns of Missoula, Mont., and Sally (Paul) Gallenberger of Eden Prairie, Minn.; seven grandchildren; two sisters; and a brother.

He was preceded in death by his sons Mark Stearns of Truckee, Calif., and David Stearns of Algonquin, Ill.

He was proud to be a veteran, treasured his friendships, and loved his family. He will be dearly missed.

Myron “Mike” Jennings Strand

We are very sad to announce that Myron “Mike” Jennings Strand of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away on Feb. 5, 2023, in Chandler, Ariz., at the age of 82.

Mike was born in Pillsbury, N.D., on May 16, 1940. He grew up in North Dakota and graduated from high school in Cooperstown where he excelled in all sports. Mike was a four-year letterman in football and baseball at Mayville State College, Mayville, N.D. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004 and captained the 1961 undefeated football team. Mike was all-conference on offense and defense at Mayville State and also captained Mayville State’s NAIA baseball team that played in the NAIA College World Series. In 1967 he married Suzzette Muus of McVille, N.D. They moved to Burns, Ore., and both taught school and coached before moving back to the Fargo, N.D., area in 1975 where they had two children. In 1977 Mike transitioned from education to the financial services industry. He continued to enjoy and compete in golf, bowling, and fastpitch softball for many years. In 2009 Suzzette passed away, and Mike retired. He met Rachel Rainville of Sun Lakes, Ariz., in 2012. They enjoyed winters in Arizona and summers in Minnesota. They had many adventures over the years. They were married on Sept. 15, 2022.

He was a great father, a friend to many, a great athlete, and, most of all, a kind and caring soul.

Surviving Mike are his wife Rachel Rainville of Sun Lakes, Ariz.; daughter Michelle (Chris) Feland of Oxbow, N.D.; son Michael Strand of Scottsdale, Ariz.; his brother Rodney Strand (JoAnn High) of LaBelle, Fla; and his sister Penny Bednar (Kevin) of Staples, Minn. He was preceded in death by his brother Johnny Dean Strand, mother Inger M. Strand, father Harland C. Strand, and his wife Suzzette A. Strand.

There will be a prayer service held at the Valley of the Sun Mortuary in Chandler, Ariz., on March 7 at 1 p.m. A Celebration of Life/Memorial Golf Tournament will be planned for the Summer of 2023 in Minnesota.

Mary Ann Snellback Padula

Mary Padula, 82, a resident of Sun Lakes since 2007, died at her home surrounded by her loving family on Dec. 12, 2022. She was born on June 10, 1940, along with her twin sister Ellen, in New York City, to Margaret and Daniel Snellback. The family moved to West Hempstead, Long Island, N.Y., when she was three years old. She attended the local schools and graduated from West Hempstead High School.

Mary attended Hunter College in New York City. She worked as an immigration paralegal, which she loved, for many years in New York City.

Mary was preceded in death by her partner of many years, Robert Gehl; her parents; her brothers Daniel and Chet; and sister Patricia. She is survived by her twin sister Ellen Snellback Engel, who also lives in Sun Lakes, and many nieces and nephews.

Mary had several friends whom she enjoyed meeting for dinner. She enjoyed reading books on history, and that sparked many good discussions. She loved animals and worked with a rescue group to find homes for many dogs and cats.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a future date.

Harold Emil Ulmer

Harold Emil Ulmer was born Dec. 18, 1936, in Chicago, Ill., to Emil and Dorothy Ulmer. He passed away after a long illness on Jan. 13, 2023, in Sun Lakes, Ariz.

He was born and raised on the south side of Chicago (Garfield Park area). He moved with his parents to Glenview, Ill., just before entering his senior year of high school. He graduated from Niles West High School with the Class of 1954. On May 10, 1958, he was united in marriage to Carol Genevieve Evans at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill.

For most of his career life, Harold worked with finances. He worked his way from a teller to president of Niles Savings & Loan in Niles, Ill.

In 1987 he moved his family to Ahwatukee, Ariz. Harold was an active member of the Ahwatukee Rotary Club (founder and past president), Lions Club, and member of Bethany Community Church, Tempe, Ariz.

He and Carol moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz., in 1998. He became active in the community by joining many committees, some being the Architectural Committee, Election Committee, and working for the Sun Lakes Country Club Patrol (aka Community Services). He helped wherever and whenever he was needed. In November of 1999, both he and Carol became active members of Sun Lakes Community Church. Harold had a zealous heart for the church and served in many capacities.

Harold will be remembered most for his extraordinary capacity for helping others, always quick to jump in and help his family, friends, and co-workers. He enjoyed supporting his friends any way he could. His family cherished his gentle spirit, the ever-present twinkle in his eye, and his loving guidance. He was an exceptional man, charming, warm, caring, and always smiling. His love of family, people, and sports will never be forgotten.

He will be deeply missed. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carol, and three children: Deborah Rios of Sun Lakes, Ariz.; Denise Williamsen (Bill) of Mesa, Ariz.; and Douglas (Jennifer) Ulmer of Phoenix, Ariz. He is also survived by an older sister, Louise Bultman, of Chicago, Ill.; two grandchildren: Bryana Williamsen (Bryan Skiles) and Jareth Ulmer; and two great-granddaughters: Kaylen Rose and Chloe Rae Skiles.

He was preceded in death by his parents, son David Michael Ulmer, son-in-law George Rios, and brother-in-law George Bultman.

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.

Karen Wollam

Karen Wollam, age 81, died on Dec. 28, 2022, after a short battle with lung cancer. Karen was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 15, 1941, to Miriam (Cross) Wollam and Emerson Wollam. She attended grade school in Upper Arlington, Ohio, but graduated from The Meeting School in Ridge, N.H., in 1959. After graduation, Karen completed an eight-month program at the International School of America, then joined her sisters who were in school in France for the year. Karen attended Wilmington College before transferring to Michigan State where she earned a degree in sociology. She worked briefly as a social worker before marrying Leigh Sewell and raising three children with patience, love, and understanding.

Karen lived a life of reinvention. She lived all over the world, with stints in San Francisco, Calif.; Puerto Rico; Bogota, Columbia; Houston, Texas; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; Upper Arlington, Ohio; Jeffersonton, Va.; Groton, Mass.; and, finally, Sun Lakes, Ariz. After her divorce in 1996, Karen pursued employment outside the home; first as a real estate agent, then as a worker on her brother’s flower farm in Virginia, then starting her own baking business and, finally, as a concierge at facilities for the aged.

In 2020 she fulfilled her dream of moving to Arizona to savor the desert warmth and mountain views and enjoy the company of her uncle and cousin in Sun Lakes. Wherever she was and whatever she was doing, she found ways to knit herself into the community in a way that was meaningful and memorable.

Karen was quiet, easygoing, modest, patient, kind, warm, open, organized, content, and independent. She is remembered for her oatmeal bread, her love of birds, her green thumb, her wool clogs, and her fierce love for her children. She is survived by her children Jennifer (James) Cowan, Holly Sewell (Dan Homer), and Patrick Sewell (Gina Varrichio); her siblings Robert Wollam (Anne Montgomery), Gretchen (Johnny) O’Connor, and Kristin Goodwillie; her grandchildren; and her many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends who miss her dearly. A memorial service will be held at a later date.