In Passing – October 2023

Lillian “Lil” Abild

Lillian “Lil” Abild

Lillian “Lil” Abild

Lillian “Lil’’ Evelyn Abild (nee Kronaizl, Vernon), of Sun Lakes, Ariz., passed away peacefully at Emerald Groves Assisted Living on Aug. 22, 2023, at the age of 88. Lil was born on a farm outside of Utica, S.D., on April 1, 1935, to Joseph and Sophie (Kortan) Kronaizl; she was the youngest of 10 children.

Lil married former husband William “Bill” Vernon on Sept. 8, 1956, in Vermillion, S.D. Together they had five children and lived in various places across the Midwest with International Harvester Corporation for which Bill worked. They eventually settled in Naperville, Ill., in 1976.

Rudolph “Rudy” Inman Abild and Lil were married on Jan. 4, 1996, and lived in Naperville, then moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz., for their retirement. Together they enjoyed tennis, bridge, traveling, and participation in Saint Steven’s Catholic Church. To Lil’s great sadness, Rudy passed away in 2010.

Ever active and social, Lil continued to live a full life in Sun Lakes through many social activities. She enjoyed her summer visits to Juniper Ridge, playing tennis and pickleball, and following her favorite sports teams, the Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bears. She loved living in Arizona and the Sun Lakes Community.

In addition to her parents, Lil was preceded in death by her daughter Kathyrn Jean Vernon, all of her siblings, her former husband Bill Vernon, and beloved husband Rudy Abild.

Lil is survived by her children: Deborah Vernon, Bill (Brenda) Vernon, Mark (Karee) Vernon, and Linda Vernon; six grandchildren: Ryan (Beth) Buxbaum, Grant Buxbaum, Taylor Vernon, Haley Vernon, Flint Vernon, and Sophie Vernon; two great-grandchildren: Kohen Buxbaum and Crew Buxbaum; as well as numerous extended family members. She is also survived by Rudy’s children: Debra (Ed) Schaubeger, Kathleen (David) Winter, Brian (Pat) Abild, Mark (Catherine) Abild, and Lisa (Garth) Carter. Additionally, Lil will be missed by friends in the many places she lived and worked during her lifetime. A special thank you to all the Sun Lakes friends who kept Lil company during her time at Emerald Groves; it meant a great deal to her and her family and brought a tremendous amount of comfort.

A graveside service will be held at Saints’ Peter and Paul Catholic Church Cemetery in Naperville, Ill., on Sept. 30, 2023, at 11 a.m. Memorials may be directed to St. Steven’s Catholic Church, 24827 South Dobson Road, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248.

Linda Phyllis (Williams) Begich

Linda Phyllis (Williams) Begich

Linda Phyllis (Williams) Begich

Linda Phyllis (Williams) Begich died peacefully with her husband William “Tony” Begich at her side on Aug. 20, 2023, at Cedar Care in Chandler, Ariz.

Linda was born June 28, 1939, in Virginia, Minn., to Laury and Aily (Rant). She graduated from Virginia High School in 1957 and the Minnesota School of Business in 1958. On July 23, 1960, Linda married Tony and they recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. She retired in 1991 from LTV Steel (formerly Jones & Laughlin Steel Company).

During their retirement years, Linda and Tony split their time between a cabin on Lake 14 and a home in Sun Lakes, Ariz. Linda was an avid reader along with enjoying both sewing and baking. She also especially enjoyed helping plan the many Virginia class reunions.

Linda is survived by her brother Jay (Rosemary) of Minnesota and Florida; nephew Jeff (Diane) Williams and children Justin, Matthew, and Shelby of Maple Grove, Minn., and niece Janelle (Mark) Frantzen and children Joey and Juliana, of Sykesville, Md.

The family would like to thank the staff at Cedar Care in Chandler for their heartfelt care that was given to Linda.

A graveside memorial service will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, at 1 p.m. at the Calvary Cemetery in Virginia, Minn.

Dan Bottiglieri

Dan Bottiglieri

Dan Bottiglieri

Dan Bottiglieri passed away unexpectedly at his home in Palo Verde on Monday, Aug. 1, 2023. He is survived by his devoted wife, Vicki.

He was born in South Philadelphia on Jan. 22, 1943, the son of Daniel and Minnie Bottler who preceded him in death. He is also survived by his daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters, and a sister and a brother. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War in the ’60s. After serving in the Air Force, he worked for the Department of Labor in the U.S. Government, Denver, Colo., in the Computer Department as the Chief.

Dan was an avid golfer in the Men’s “Dirty Dozen” group. He also loved socializing with the cigar guys. Dan was a gifted man, had a beautiful singing voice, and loved to dance. He will be truly missed and not forgotten as a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather, and son-in-law.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity in Dan’s name.

William James Brudvik

William James Brudvik

William James Brudvik

William James Brudvik (Bill) passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 22, 2023, in his Chandler, Ariz., home, leaving a huge gap in the lives of all those who loved him. His passion for practicing law, helping people, and the goodness that was at his core were truly remarkable. His life will be forever cherished, his love will be forever remembered, and his talent in practicing law will be forever respected. We miss you, Dad!

He was born on Oct. 1, 1946, in Minot, N.D., to Oscar and Irene Brudvik. Bill was raised on the family farm in Mohall, N.D., where his Grandpa Ole Brudvik homesteaded in the early 1900s. The land remains with the family to this day. He was very proud of his Mohall heritage.

Bill graduated Mohall High in 1964 and attended school at UND, where he was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity. He transferred to the University of Minnesota in 1966, where he graduated in International Relations. He enlisted in the Army and successfully completed military intelligence school. He served in the Army from 1969 to 1971. In that time, he was stationed in South Korea, as a “spy.” We all wondered how a 6’4” Norwegian from Mohall accomplished this in South Korea, but he did many amazing things, so we didn’t ask too many questions.

Bill met the love of his life, Sandra Anderson, in 1968 while hitchhiking through Europe. They met on a train from Paris to Madrid. She says he “hustled her,” but he was clearly right; they enjoyed 54 years of marriage together, raised three children, and were fortunate to enjoy seven beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 14 years old.

His mobility became a limiting factor over the last few years, but he didn’t let it slow him down. He attended virtually every sporting event for his grandkids. He was here to congratulate his granddaughter Halle with a heartfelt text message when she made her school volleyball team. He was truly proud of his entire family.

In retirement Bill’s great joy was his lake cabin and sharing it with the people he loved. His grandchildren were a source of great pride and enjoyment for him. Bill’s grandson Edson (10) sent a text message to his phone the day after he passed, it read “I love you Grandpa, and I hope you are seeing everyone in Heaven.” Edson summed it up best— we love you, Grandpa!

Bill is survived by his wife, Sandra; his son Brett (Laura) Brudvik, Chandler, Ariz., and grandkids Halle, Ben and Edson; daughter Andrea (Robert Biedenharn) Brudvik, of Royal Oak, Mich., and grandkids Oscar and Owen; son Brady (Casey) Brudvik, of Fargo, N.D., and grandkids Emma and June; along with his sister Marlys (Fred Felber); brother Jerry (Celine) Brudvik; brother Dick (Susan) Brudvik; brother-in-law Bryan Waller; uncle Rollie Cooper; cousins Jim (Arlene) Higgs, Owen (Nancy Johnson), and so many other cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, friends in the legal community, and friends at The Village at Ocotillo, truly too many to list.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Irene Brudvik, special uncle Arthur and aunt Cleone, and sister-in-law Shirley (Bryan) Waller, and aunt Edie Cooper.

A memorial service was held at the Village at Ocotillo on Aug. 31, 2023, and funeral services with burial took place at Cormorant Lutheran Church in Lake Park, Minn., on Sept. 22, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Bill’s name to the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center of Detroit Lakes:

Richard Carissimo

Richard Carissimo

Richard Carissimo

Richard Carissimo (Dick) passed away peacefully on Aug. 17, 2023. He was born Sept. 15, 1935, to Frank and Antoinette Carissimo in Havre, Mont. He attended Northern Montana State University where he lettered in basketball and track. He graduated from University of Montana School of Pharmacy and married Frances Ferrlan.

They took up residence in Lakewood, Wash., where they raised their family of four and worked as pharmacists until retirement. He was co-founder of Alpine Drug Company, active in Pierce County Pharmacy Association, participated on the Tacoma Art Museum Activities Council, and was a Sigma Alpha Epsilon alumnus. He retired in Sun Lakes, Ariz., in 2001 where he enjoyed travel, pottery, and crafts until his death.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, his four children (Taunia Penrose, Karna Leinbach, Troy Carissimo, Marra Carissimo), his son-in-law Owen Leinbach, five grandchildren (Allie, Natalie, Nolan, Wesley, Maxx), and his sister-in-law Helen Robinson. No services by his request.

LeRoy Gordon Hurler

LeRoy Gordon Hurler

LeRoy Gordon Hurler

On Aug. 24, 2023, LeRoy Gordon Hurler passed away with his devoted wife Druscilla at his side.

LeRoy, the eldest son of Raymond and Dorothy Hurler, was born on Dec. 10, 1934, in Nogales, Ariz. He attended high school in Phoenix, Ariz., and graduated from Arizona State University in Tempe. It was there he met his first wife, Judith Gail Jones. They married as Leroy joined the U.S. Air Force and promptly went to Germany for his post.

It was there that he found two lifelong passions: aviation and skiing. He was trained to fly numerous jets, helicopters, and planes in the Air Force. He would continue his passion for aviation throughout his life by continuing to fly small aircraft and attending air shows and museums.

He took to the snow as often as possible, and enjoyed plying his skill on slopes not only in Europe while in the Air Force, but also in the U.S. upon his return. He especially loved to ski in California (Tahoe, Big Bear, and Mammoth), and also in Utah and Colorado.

LeRoy always loved art, music, and enjoyed dancing. He was a gifted cartoonist in college, working for the college newspaper. He was an accomplished woodworker and built furniture, a wooden rocking horse for his daughter, and replicated a patio cover for his home in Valencia, Calif., from one he had admired in Hawaii. He enjoyed watching the NFL and Arizona Sun Devils football. He also enjoyed playing racquetball and had a love/hate relationship with his golf clubs.

Upon his medical discharge from the Air Force, LeRoy and Judy relocated to southern California where LeRoy worked briefly for Lockheed and then for General Motors in Van Nuys from where he would eventually retire.

Judy and LeRoy were married for 15 years and were parents to three daughters: Shelley, Felicia, and Shannon. After they divorced, he spent a few years single in Reseda, Calif. There he met Druscilla Desuyo through mutual friends and they married, ending his bachelor days and adding stepdaughter Mari Donna to the family. They have been married now for over 40 years.

LeRoy also had a lifelong interest in photography. He built a black and white darkroom in the garage of his home in Saugus, Calif. His travels and his daughters were the subject of his many photographic experiments. He took scores of 35mm print and slide film throughout the years, and after retiring to Sun Lakes, Ariz., he volunteered as a video cameraman for local TV Channel 49.

Druz and LeRoy shared a love for travel and spent many summers in their RV traversing the country and venturing into both Canada and Mexico. They also enjoyed many trips overseas to Europe as well as to Druscilla’s home country of the Philippines.

He was predeceased by father Raymond Leroy Hurler, mother Dorothy Finn Hurler, brother Dale Hurler, and sister-n-law Carolyn Hurler.

He is survived by his wife Druscilla Hurler; daughters Shelley Dahme, Felicia Bender, Shannon Ravis, and Mari Donna Nathanson; sons-in-law Scott Nathanson and Bill Dahme; nephews Dwight and Scott Hurler and their families; niece Melissa; and granddaughters Miranda Bender, Phoebe Bender, and Rachel Nathanson.

Patricia Sue Johnson

Patricia Sue Johnson

Patricia Sue Johnson

Patricia Sue Johnson, 75, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., was called home to heaven on Aug. 4, 2023. Patricia was born on Dec. 5, 1947, in Lansing, Mich., to her parents, Herman Theodore Johnson and Helen Irene Johnson (Koch). Patricia was an energetic and vibrant individual, known for her love of travel and dedication to her family. She was a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, always ready to organize memorable parties and gatherings.

Patricia is survived by her daughter Susan and son-in-law Charles Martinez, her cherished grandchildren Alicia Martinez and Jonathan Martinez, daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Rob Firestone. She is also survived by her brother Gary Johnson and his wife Patricia, nephew Tim Johnson and his wife Suzy, nephew Chris Johnson and his wife Jamie and their children. She was preceded in death by her mother and father.

Patricia found her church home of 45 years at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, shortly after moving to Arizona. She worshiped there with her daughters, where they also attended school and were confirmed.

Patricia earned her degree from the University of Wisconsin and later retired as a Planning Analyst from Salt River Project after 21 years of service. She was respected and admired by her colleagues for her dedication and professional accomplishments. A member and leader in Toastmasters, Patricia inspired countless colleagues and friends.

An active member of her community, Patricia had a zest for life that was evident in her involvement in clubs, including the Island’s Women Club, Cheers, Red Hats, and more, where her enthusiasm and go-getter attitude were deeply appreciated. Many of these activities included Patricia’s much-loved games, including Bunco, Texas Hold ‘Em and other card games, Uno, and Farkle.

A life-long traveler, Patricia delighted in planning and going on trips, her adventurous spirit taking her to places like Italy, Japan, China, Morocco, Spain, Russia, and beyond. She found joy in every journey and cherished the memories made along the way.

Patricia had a special fondness for animals, from holding a baby panda in China to a lifetime of cats and dogs, including her most recent cat, Max, who has since found a loving home with her daughter Jennifer.

Please see for memorial service and reception information.

Gary Neffenger

Gary Neffenger

Gary Neffenger

In loving memory of Gary Neffenger, who passed away on Sept. 3, 2023. He was born on Feb. 21, 1939, in Detroit, Mich., and his journey through life was marked by love, service, patriotism, and dedication.

After graduating from Ohio’s Elyria High School, he enlisted in the Navy, proudly serving his country for five years. Afterward, fate brought him together with the love of his life, Kathie, in 1964. Their love story endured for an incredible 59 years.

They raised their family in Amherst, Ohio: Gary Jr. (Chris), Christine (Michael), Amy (Jim), Dave (Velvet), and preceded in death their beloved son, Michael. This family grew with 16 grandchildren. Gary worked for B.F. Goodrich for 35 years, retiring in 2001.

For many years, Gary and Kathie were members of Amherst’s St. Joseph Parish and contributed to the faith community through sharing their talents such as playing guitar at mass. They believed the core of a strong family is one that is rooted in both marriage and faith. They actively helped couples and families via various programs such as Pre-CANA, Baptism preparation, Marriage Encounter, and Retrouvaille. Gary also served as a Cub Scout leader and volunteer Red Coat at Cleveland Playhouse Theater.

Upon retiring, they moved to Englewood, Fla., to care for his stepfather, Pete. In 2005, they moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz., and soon became intertwined in the community. Gary was involved with the Desert Arts Group and Oakwood Art League and was one of the founding organizers of the annual Art at the Lakes show. Gary enjoyed many trips together with Kathie, especially to lighthouses and National Parks.

Family was always first for Gary, as evident from the love he never hesitated to express, and music that he brought into the home. Gary was a warm, caring, and humble man. He was never the one to seek the spotlight, but his presence made everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. His smiles, laughs, and hugs were long-lasting.

In addition to Gary’s wife and children, also surviving are his siblings: Heidi, Gretchen, Peter, Todd, Carel, and John and preceded in death by his brother, Brian, and his parents, Carel and Janet.

A memorial service to remember and celebrate Gary was held Sept. 15 at St. Steven’s Catholic Church in Sun Lakes. Navy Honors followed the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank.

Constance Elizabeth Rome

Constance Elizabeth Rome

Constance Elizabeth Rome

Constance Elizabeth (née Wold) Rome of Stillwater, Minn., (formerly of Anchorage, Alaska, and Sun Lakes, Ariz.) passed away peacefully into the arms of Jesus on Aug. 25, 2023, at the age of 87, surrounded by her family.

Connie was born in St. Paul, Minn., on Oct. 19, 1935, to Reverend Norman P. and Marguerite Wold. Connie was a 1953 Stillwater High School graduate. She attended Gustavus Adolphus College, graduating in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a secondary education licensure.

While at Gustavus, a fellow sorority sister set her up on a blind date with Dick Rome. Soon after, he proposed to Connie and their adventure began! Dick moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where he worked at Evergreen Memorial Chapel as a funeral director, and later, as a partner. Connie followed him to Anchorage the summer of 1959. She taught English at Central Junior High School.

Connie married the love of her life, Richard Rome, on Dec. 26, 1959, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn. Children Stuart, Kelly, and Amy followed the next six years.

After Dick’s retirement in 1994 and 35 years in Anchorage, Connie and Dick moved to enjoy winters in Sun Lakes, Ariz., and summers in Woodbury, Minn. While in Sun Lakes, she immersed herself in all social aspects of their Oakwood Country Club community—MN/AK picnics, Lady Putters, Wine Club, New Year’s Eve galas, Sun Lakes Ladies’ Luncheons, and Sons of Norway. They were active members of Holy Trinity Lutheran in Chandler, Ariz., and Trinity Lutheran in Stillwater, Minn.

In 2018, Connie and Dick moved to Stillwater, Minn., to be closer to family. Connie had a strong and steadfast faith. We will miss her beautiful smile. She is forever in our hearts.

Connie is survived by her loving husband of 63 years, Richard (Dick) Rome; son Stuart (Lori) Rome; daughter Kelly (John) Johnson; daughter Amy Rome; grandchildren Ethan, Alexander, Emily, and Anders, Katelyn, Lauren (Cole), Megan, and Ashley; great-grandchildren Landon, Brady and Lincoln; brothers Norman (Norma) Wold and J. Stephen (Mary) Wold; and Mary

Beth Wold.

Memorials preferred to Trinity Lutheran Church, Central Lutheran Church (Anchorage, Alaska), or Gustavus Adolphus College.

A celebration of Connie’s life will be held at 11 a.m., on Sept. 7, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn. Family and friends may visit one hour prior. Luncheon to follow service. Interment at Union Cemetery in Maplewood.

Eugene and Janice Savage

Eugene and Janice Savage

Eugene and Janice Savage

Eugene Bernard Savage and Janice Jane (Chase) Savage, both of Sun Lakes and married for 60 years, have been joyfully reunited after a two-year physical separation. They are together again after Gene invited Jan to join him in “moving one more time,” into a big white house he had presented to her in her recent dreams.

Born in 1935 in Schuyler, Neb., Eugene left the physical world on June 24, 2021, after a heroic battle with cancer. He kept his battle mostly private, wanting to care for and be by the side of Jan, his beloved wife of 60 years throughout his treatment. He succeeded admirably as he did with all things in life, but as the battle became too great for even the strongest hero, he passed away peacefully. He spent his career with the Burlington Northern Railroad, retiring to Sun Lakes and enjoying three decades of golf beside competitive friends.

Born in 1943 in Sutherland, Neb., Janice was a mother, a homemaker, an amazing salesperson for Sears Roebuck for more than a decade, an incredible cook, and a loving grandmother. Jan grieved deeply for Gene, and never wanted to be without her hero. She entered hospice care in July as she began to dream of Gene and the white house he promised. Finally, she accepted his invitation and passed peacefully on Sept. 2, 2023.

Preceded in passing by Gene’s parents Alois and Celia, Jan’s parents Wayne and Lillie, and their infant son Patrick, Gene and Jan leave behind loving family. They are survived by daughter Annette and her beloved husband Mike, son Timothy, and granddaughter Maple. Beloved nephews David Savage and his wife Dina, and Mike Savage and his wife Kim answered the call to be nearby when distant family could not, and we are grateful for the presence and love they shared with their Uncle Gene and Aunt Jan. Numerous nieces, nephews, and their children remember Gene and Jan fondly.

We are grieving their losses, but we are joyful in knowing they have been reunited at last. We hope they’re sipping iced tea together in that big white house, undoubtedly overlooking the third fairway, and holding hands once again.

Mom and Dad, we love you. We are joyful that you are together once again. And we will miss you so very much.

David LeRoy "Dave" Thomas

David LeRoy “Dave” Thomas

David LeRoy “Dave” Thomas

David LeRoy “Dave” Thomas, 85, of Sun Lakes, formerly of Peoria, Ill., passed away on Friday, June 23, 2023, at the Eternal Spring Assisted Living in Gilbert, Ariz. He and his twin brother Richard Lynn Thomas were born Jan. 5, 1938, at KSB Dixon Hospital, sons of Omer LeRoy Thomas and Fae Pauline (Wiles) Thomas. He married Helen Sue Speiser, a Parkland Community College Biology Instructor, in 1972, and they recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on June 17.

Dave is survived by his wife; his son, Michael Scott (Katrisha) Thomas of Plainfield, Ill.; three grandsons, Ben, Sam, and Max Thomas, all of Plainfield; and his son-in-law, Martyn vander Noordaa of Madison, Wis.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Laura Kristine vander Noordaa.

At Dixon High School Dave played football and baseball, he was first chair trumpet in the band, and played in the Dixon Municipal Band. Dave attended the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign (UIUC) as a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, and with an ROTC scholarship, he received a General Engineering Degree. After college, he became an Ensign in the Navy for three years active-duty on the Charles R. Ware DD and 17 years in the Reserves. He retired as a Commander.

He attended Law School at UIUC. Having graduated from law school and while serving in the City of Peoria Legal Department, he became the Corporation Counsel. Dave and his judiciary staff represented the city with legal issues during the construction of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, the renovation of Southtown Residential Project, and the building of the Civic Center. Dave was Director of Finance at the First United Methodist Church in Peoria, Ill., and active with the Heart of Illinois Harvest Food Service for the homeless and poor.

In 2003, Dave and Sue moved to Sun Lakes, Ariz. Dave was a Director on the Board of Pastor Richard Thomson’s Hope in Christ Church in Phoenix. They joined Compass Christian Church in Chandler, Ariz., were active at the Bridge Ministry for junior high and high school students, and were members of small fellowship groups.

Dave is remembered as a compassionate and helpful man, eager to donate his time and resources to help those in need within the community. He was a loving husband and father who put the needs of his family before his own.

Dave was a follower of Jesus Christ and knew Him personally as his Lord and Savior. He was confident that the perfect life Jesus lived qualified Him for the death He died to provide Salvation for all humanity so that the death Jesus died qualified us for the perfect life He lived.

Dave’s Celebration of Life will be held Oct. 7, 2023, at 10 a.m. at Compass Christian Church, West Bldg., (former sanctuary), 1825 S. Alma School Rd., in Chandler.

In honor of Dave’s memory, memorial contributions may be made to Tunnel to Towers Foundation at or the Loaves and Fish Ministry care of First United Methodist Church Peoria at Online condolences may be shared with Dave’s family at