May 2, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Charles G. “Mike Bemis,” co-founder and first president of the San Diego Association of Geologists, died April 27 following a long battle with leukemia. His wife, Shannon O’Dunn, was at his side.
Bemis was recently bestowed the 2013 Baylor Brooks Honored SDSU Alumni Award. He had a 50-year career of contributions to the engineering geology profession.
"Believer, wife, mother, grandmother, pastor, and musician"
Services set for May 3
April 24, 2013 (La Mesa) -- Carol Garlow, 62, Pastor of prayer and intercession at Skyline Church and wife of Senior Pastor Dr. Jim Garlow, passed away at her home in El Cajon on Sunday, April 21, 2013 after a nearly six-year courageous battle with ovarian cancer. She was comforted and surrounded by her family and close friends.
“She never stopped praying and caring for others throughout her entire journey, right up to the very end of her life,” said Jim Garlow.
March 1, 2013 (Alpine) – Former Alpine resident Chris Kyle, who served with Navy Seal Team 3, was gunned down near his home in Dallas, Texas in February by a fellow veteran. This morning, a flag-lowering ceremony was held at De La Fuente Cadillac in El Cajon, where the public joined in commemorating the famed fallen soldier.
Kyle served five tours of duty in Iraq, where he earned a reputation as one of the U.S. military’s most lethal snipers, earning two purple hearts, four Bronze stars for valor and two Silver Stars. He authored a book, American Sniper, documenting his wartime experiences.
Update: A memorial service is scheduled for January 5 in El Cajon. Details below.
December 27, 2012 (El Cajon) -- East County Democratic Club co-president John Martes passed after a year-long battle with lung cancer last night at his home in El Cajon. His wife of 40 years, Gloria Martes, and two daughters, Natalie and Leslie, were at his side.
An accountant/controller at John A. Martes and Associates educated at the University of San Diego, Martes twice ran for the Cajon Valley School District Board and was also a candidate for the El Cajon City Council.
By Miriam Raftery
December 27, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—East County lost some prominent residents in 2012, from celebrities and pioneers to lesser known individuals who achieved extraordinary accomplishments in their lives or touched our hearts in their passing.
Scroll down to read about those lost in 2012; click on their names to read more about these remarkable individuals.
By Miriam Raftery
December 12, 2012 (El Cajon ) – Cindy Waddell graduated from Grossmont High School in 1976 and later lived in Scripps Ranch, earning her nursing degree from San Diego State Universtiy before moving to Oregon. Also known as Cindy Passalacqua and later Cindy Yuille, she lost her life in a shooting rampage yesterday at the Clackamas Town Center shopping mall near Portland, Oregon.
Former neighbor Linda Hughes recalled the slain woman as a “devoted mother, a sweet person,” ECM news partner 10 News reports. She was working as a hospice nurse in Oregon at the time of her death.
Memorial service planned December 8 in Lakeside
December 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County) – Maria Ines Heimpel, who taught languages for more than three decades at Helix High School in La Mesa and volunteered for humanitarian causes in San Diego and Tijuana, died peacefully in her home on November 27, 2012.
Her lifelong concern for those in need led to her involvement with a clinic and an orphanage in Tijuana. She also participated as an interpreter with the Mercy Outreach Surgical Team, a group of doctors performing free surgical procedures for poor children in Mexico.
“She was a people person and as a teacher, genuinely interested in each of her students, going out of her way to help them,” fellow teacher and friend Jean Costa said. “She was a positive influence on the lives of so many young people and on the lives of people who knew her.”
By Miriam Raftery
December 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Larry Urdahl, a former Alpine resident who served as President of the Grossmont Union High School District Board and as a Trustee from 2004-2008, has died of liver cancer on November 28 at a hospital in Sedona, Arizona. Urdahl also served as president of the Alpine High School Citizens Committee. A long-time advocate for public education, he stood up against the GUHSD board majority on behalf of students and parents, fighting for a new Alpine High School in Alpine and against conversion to a charter district.
“Larry and fellow Grossmont Board member, Priscilla Schreiber, tirelessly fought for our high school and we are all indebted to them for getting us so close to that goal,” Sal Casamissima, current president of the AHSCC, wrote in an email today.
November 14, 212 (Guatay) – Dennis Avner, a former Guatay resident also known by his Native American name, Stalking Cat, was found dead on November 5 in Tonopah, Nevada. Avner was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most body modifications to resemble an animal, following numerous surgeries, piercings and tattoos to resemble a tiger.
By Miriam Raftery
October 8, 2012 (La Mesa)--Russell “Gordon” Gastil, Ph.D. has made his final journey. The San Diego State University professor emeritus known for trekking across and mapping the entire state of Baja, Mexico as well as much of the U.S. southwest died September 29, 2012 at his La Mesa home.
“He was gifted as a geologic visionary,” geologic science professor wrote in a memorial published at the SDSU website. “Gastil was an internationally renowned geologist for regional geologic mapping and work on the tedtonic evolution of convergent margins." He mapped thousands of square kilometers in Arizona, Calfiornia and the entire state of Baja, California in Mexico.
Gastil hired six undergraduate students in 1963 to produce a reconnaissance geologic map of Baja. Remarkably, the feat was accomplished in an era when there were no reliable topographic maps and virtually no paved roads, making access challenging.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Spark Photography / Provided by KPBS
October 6, 2012 (San Diego) – Broadcast journalist Gloria Penner, a pioneer in local broadcasting and a leading voice at KPBS radio/TV station on the San Diego State University campus for more than half a century, died today of pancreatic cancer. She was 81.
Her death comes just days before the Women’s History Museum was slated to hold a special tribute to Penner at an October 13 “Broads in Broadcasting” celebration of women who broke through the barriers in the broadcast world.
By Helen Ofield, President Lemon Grove Historical Society
August 31, 2012 (Lemon Grove)--The last living link with Lemon Grove's pioneer past died at midday on Aug. 29 in her Lemon Grove home of congestive heart failure. Pearl Johnson Holaday -- better known by her favorite nickname Susie -- was born and raised in Lemon Grove. With her at the last were her daughter, Maxine McWilliams, and her son, Bob Holaday, and San Diego Hospice.
By Miriam Raftery
August 12, 2012 (La Mesa)—He once followed an Army reservist from Riverside to Bosnia, chronicling experiences in a combat zone. He savored life and wrote about a wide range of subjects, from cooking to cancer. On August 4, cancer claimed the life of Mark Anthony Petix, former reporter for the La Mesa Scout and ex-managing editor of the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
He graduated from Grossmont High School in 1973 and from San Diego State University in 1978. Later, he wrote for numerous newspapers in San Diego and Riverside Counties.
July 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The County Medical Examiner’s office has identified victims of several accidents this week, including residents of El Cajon, Jamul, and Borrego Springs.
June 13, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- Scroll down to view a list of this week's obituaries here, or visit www.EastCountyObits.com to read the full obituaries.
May 20, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- Scroll down to view a list of this week's obituaries here, or visit www.EastCountyObits.com to read the full obituaries.
Family criticizes search after private investigator locates body; Sheriff defends efforts
May 14, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –A vigil is set for this afternoon, with a mass service tomorrow morning for Guillermo Pino Jr., 24. Pino’s body has been recovered from a 60-foot-deep chasm near where he disappeared April 8 in the Arroyo Tapaido “badlands” area in the Anza-Borrego Desert.
May 4, 2012 (Ramona) -- Thomas (Bo Donovan) Becker, who lived in San Diego Country Estates, passed away on April 24 surrounded by his family. A noted radio broadcasting personality, he also founded the award-winning Silvertree Inc. creative services firm and has been active in organizations ranging from United Way to the Better Businses Bureau.
May 3, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- Scroll down to view a list of this week's obituaries here, or visit www.EastCountyObits.com to read the full obituaries.
By Miriam Raftery
Flowers, banner at Junior Seau Sports Complex in La Mesa pay tribute to football legend
May 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –East County and San Diego leaders reacted with shock and sadness to news that former Chargers star Junior Seau, 43, was found dead at his Oceanside home today of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A former resident of Mt. Helix and supporter of local charities, Seau also frequently visited the Junior Seau Sports Complex at La Mesita Park in La Mesa that was named in his honor.
“He was always here for us,” La Mesa Art Madrid said, La Mesa Today reported. “He was part of the family in this town.”
April 10, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Magazine is pleased to announce a partnership with East County Obits, a new website listing obituaries for East County residents.
March 19, 2012 (Alpine) – Ronald K. Fuller, prominent Alpine resident, died March 10 at his home in Alpine. From 1983 until his retirement in 1996, Fuller served as Vice President of Governmental Affairs for San Diego Gas & Electric Company, overseeing legislative and regulatory activities at all levels of government. From the late 1970s he worked as a lobbyist for the company in Washington D.C.
In addition, he spent time in politics, playing prominent roles in Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign and Ronald Reagan’s campaign for governor. He served as assistant to the director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and as a policy staffer for the White House Domestic Council.
"We will never put our heads down, we will play our hearts out, and we will play for Coach because he will be on the turf with us.” – Clay Meyer, Valhalla Saga
February 29, 2012 (Santee) – Frank Yancey was “an inspiration for all those who served under him,” Clay Meyer wrote in the Valhalla Saga. The school’s varsity football coach passed away February 13 at his home in Santee of an undisclosed cause.
Yancey coached 18 season at West Hills High, five at El Cajon Valley High and his last five at Valhalla. His East County roots included playing as an offensive lineman at Santana High School and Grossmont College, as well as later at San Francisco State.
MEMORIAL SERVICE SET FOR MARCH 3
February 27, 2012 (La Mesa) –A motorcycle accident has taken the life of Jeffrey Leonard Marxen, M.D., 60, a prominent orthopaedic surgeon at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.
Marxen had served as president of the San Diego chapter of the Western Orthopaedic Association and held various leadership positions within Sharp Grossmont Hospital. A friend, Mark Herzan, told ECM news partner 10 News that Marxen was beloved by his patients, colleagues and friends.