April 3, 2015 (Potrero) – Steve Kowit, well-known poet, author, teacher and Potrero resident, passed away this morning following heart surgery Kowit taught at Southwestern College and San Diego State University, mentored many, and inspired a generation of local writers through his teaching, readings and writings.
He was distinguished by his many awards for poetry, which include the National Endowment Fellowship in Poetry, two Pushcart Prizes, the Atlanta Review Poetry Prize, the Ouroboros Book Award, the 2006 Tampa Review Poetry Prize, and most recently the San Diego Theodore Geisel Award.
February 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--A toddler who captured the hearts of a community has died after a long battle with neuroblastoma cancer. A memorial service was held on Valentine’s Day for Kylie Rowand of Alpine, with hundreds of mourners dressed in pink at Shadow Mountain Church in El Cajon.
December 26, 2014 (Ramona) – A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, January 10 at 11 a.m. at Hacienda de las Rosas Winery in Ramona to commemorate winemaker William Holzhauer. Holzhauer passed away earlier this month following a long battle with cancer. The celebration of his life will be held on his birthday.
December 1, 2014 (Ramona) – William John Holzhauer, winemaker and co-owner of Hacienda de Las Rosas Winery, died yesterday at his home in Ramona surrounded by his family and friends, after a long battle with cancer. Holzhauer was known to many as the proprietor of the winery’s tasting room in Old Town and later, Ramona.
Teri Kerns, executive editor of the Ramona Valley Wine Region Magazine, remembered William Holzhauer as a “wonderful man and winery pioneer.”
His wife and co-owner of the winery, Tammy Rimes Holzhauer, said the winery was William’s dream that began 15 years ago when the couple, living in La Mesa at the time, bought property in Ramona. William’s dream was to create a winery based on a Spanish mission, also including Tammy’s passion, Peruvian horses. “Drink fine wine, ride fine horses” became their motto.
November 1, 2014 (La Mesa) – Aubrey “Bud” Dunne, 82, passed away on October 28, 2014 at his home in La Mesa. Past president of the La Mesa/Spring Valley Teachers Association, he taught math at La Mesa and Parkway Middle Schools.
He also played a major role in the Associated Community Theatres (ACT) of San Diego County, which named the Aubrey Awards in his honor. During the 1960s on Lincoln’s birthday, you could find him dressed up as Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg address at Grossmont Center. A lifelong stamp collector, he also founded the International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors.
September 30, 2014 (San Diego)--Douglas Holbrook, a San Diego attorney, KNSJ radio host, and past president of Activist San Diego, has died of heart failure that occurred while driving over the weekend. He is survived by his two daughters and a two-year-old granddaughter.
Update: A celebration of life will be held on Oct 16th at Foothills Christian Church at 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be served after the service. The church is located at 365 W Bradley Ave, El Cajon.
East County News Service
September 23, 2014 (El Cajon) – Duane Swainston, a former El Cajon City Council candidate and manager at Aerospace Ketema and GKN Aerospace Chem-Tronics, passed away today of esophageal cancer.
Swainston ran for El Cajon Council in 2012 and had set up a website to run again this year, but did not file candidacy papers as he waged his battle with cancer. In a 2012 interview with East County Magazine, he stated his philosophy that guided him in business and in life: “Communication, cooperation and respect are keys to being a successful leader.”
September 18, 2014 (La Mesa)—Former La Mesa-Spring Valley School District board member Penny Halgren passed away yesterday afternoon. Halgren served on the school board from 1994 until January 2013. She resigned to move to Arcadia in Los Angeles County to be with her boyfriend and started a quilting business there.
A long-time La Mesa resident, Halgren also served on the board of the East County YMCA for 16 years and was actively involved with the La Mesa Rotary Club.
Memorial fund to be established to benefit hospice care; services pending
By Miriam Raftery
July 12, 2014 (La Mesa) – Grossmont Hospital is mourning the loss of its chief executive officer, Michele Tarbet, who passed away yesterday morning at her home surrounded by her family members, under the care of Grossmont’s hospice care.
An announcement issued jointly by Sharp Healthcare and Sharp Grossmont Hospital yesterday, voiced “a heavy heart and great sadness” at the news. “Michele’s passing was peaceful and she left this world with dignity and grace,” he stated. “We will miss her immensely. Fortunately for us, Michele has left an indelible mark on Sharp HealthCare, Grossmont Hospital, the East County, and the countless individuals she worked with and knew.”
June 26, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - It is customary to send condolences to the bereaved when someone dies, but sending condolences to someone you love, someone you’re extremely close to can be a difficult task.
Linda Marie Shipman, 62, of Lakeside, California, passed away on March 29, 2014. A devoted wife, mother and massage therapist, she was also known as a tireless community volunteer active in local charities, nonprofits and business organizations.
March 31, 2014 (San Diego's East County)-- The search for David Marquez, 73, who was reported missing on March 27 and was last seen March 23 by family and friends, has ended with the discovery of his body yesterday morning by a San Diego Search and Rescue team. The deceased man was found about two miles from his vehicle, which was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 8 near the Crestwood exit.
March 18, 2014 (Santee) - “It is with great sorrow that we inform you of the death of one of our founding members, Elaine Murphy,” Rita Lee, Secretary of the Santee Historical Society wrote in an e-mail to members. “Ms. Murphy's great passion was the Santee Historical Society, and she was a leading force in reviving the Santee Historical Society after the death of Harriet Wade. Ms. Murphy was President of the Santee Historical Society several times and was always there to give some helpful tips or a helping hand to any of our members. Ms Murphy was not only part of the life’s blood of the Society, she was a dear friend. She will be sorely missed.”
February 14, 2014 (El Cajon)-Rosemary June Owens, who co-owned Howard’s Bakery in El Cajon, was a popular figure in El Cajon for many years, serving sweets and specialties for occasions from weddings to graduations. She passed away peacefully in her home with her loving husband of 53 years, Howard, by her side.
Rosemary fought a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, after beating breast cancer twice over a 30-year span.
July 12, 2013 (El Cajon) --Colleagues on the Grossmont College campus are planning a special blood drive in conjunction with the Bloodmobile’s regular visit to the campus on Sept. 10. They are urging blood donations in memory of Prof. Curtis Stevens, who was such a regal man that in joking awe they called him "His Royal Highness, The Emperor Curtis Stevens."
Blood donations in Dr. Stevens’ memory may be made not only on campus, but also at any of the six San Diego Blood Bank donor centers throughout San Diego County by mentioning his name and reference code C42.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.