obituaries

PASSAGES: JOHN BERTIS KENDRICK (1942-2022), A MAN OF MANY TALENTS

By Jamie Kendrick

March 15, 2022 (Lakeside) – Lakeside resident John Bertis “Bert” Kendrick passed away Thursday, February 17, 2022 while in the hospital at the age of 79. He formerly lived in Pine Valley, where he worked at his father’s store and helped open Pine Valley Park.  Later he served in the military and became known locally as a carpenter, equestrian, athlete and talented musician.  


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PASSAGES: COMEDIAN, MUSICIAN AND RADIO HOST RUSS T NAILZ (RUSS STOLNACK)

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Russ T Nailz on Facebook

 

March 10, 2022 (San Diego)  He often said he’d been making people laugh since June 1957, when he was born. Yesterday, the laughter stopped when Russ Stolnack, Jr., aka Russ T Nailz, died at age 64. The long-time East County resident was a multiple Emmy award-winning entertainer best known as a comedian, radio hostmusician and celebrity auctioneer for charities.

 

On his Facebook page, he celebrated “making a living doing what I love.”

 

He also died doing what he loved, while filming "On The Air."  His  long-time TV and radio cohost, Robert “Sully” Sullivan, said Stolnack “was signing a song with the house band when he had a heart attack, and – just like that – he was gone.”


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PASSAGES: MORRIS CASUTO, 79, DEFENDER OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

February 13, 2022 (San Diego) - Morris Casuto, the Anti-Defamation League regional director who defended San Diego County’s Jewish community against antisemites while forging good relations with other ethnic and religious groups within the county, died from leukemia Friday night, February 11, at the UCSD Jacobs Medical Center.  Graveside funeral services for Casuto, 79, will be conducted at 2 p.m., Tuesday, at El Camino Memorial Park.


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PASSAGES: REMEMBERING LIVES LOST IN 2021

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 31, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Lost but never forgotten, these are the prominent East County individuals who passed away in 2021, as well as two who died amid the pandemic in 2020 but were not memorialized until this year, when media was notified.

They came from all walks of life: journalists, educators, teachers, a priest, a tribal healer, a firefighter, a police officer, athletes, a musician, business leaders, students, philanthropists, an air ambulance crew, a veteran who survived the Pearl Harbor attack, and many more. Each left their own indelible mark on our region.

Click the name/title to view the full obituary for each of these local luminaries.


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PASSAGES: MIKE HANCOCK, RADIO REPORTER

By Miriam Raftery

November 27, 2021 (San Diego) – Mike Hancock, 59, traffic reporter for several local radio stations and former news director at KNSJ radio, was found dead in his San Diego residence by a friend on November 14 after an illness. His voice has also been heard on the East County Magazine Radio Show, where he was instrumental in mentoring interns and reporting on locations in East County.


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PASSAGES: REX COLE, GOLF PRO AT LOCAL COURSES

East County News Service

October 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Rex A. Cole Sr., a PGA golf professional and instructor at several local golf courses, passed away on August 25. 


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CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR FATHER JOE CARROLL: AUGUST 10 AT SAN DIEGO CONVENTION CENTER

East County News Service

Update: For those who missed the celebration of life, you can view it, along with a memorial wall, here:

August 5, 2021 (San Diego) – The community is invited to celebrate Father Joe Carroll’s decades of service and compassion for neighbors in need. The celebration of life will take place August 10 at 10:30 a.m. at San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego in Hall H. 

RSVP: To reserve a free ticket for this event, click here.


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PASSAGES: GROCERY INDUSTRY LEADER SHON BONEY DIES OF CANCER

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Shon Boney, a leader in the natural grocery store industry with long roots in East County, died March 8, 2021 at age 52 of brain cancer. 

Grandson of Henry Boney, the founder of Boney’s Marketplace, later known as Henry’s Marketplace, Shon worked in all aspects of the San Diego based business until it was sold to Wild Oats. He then moved to Arizona, where he co-founded and served as CEO of Sprouts Farmers Market, which grew into one of the nation’s preeminent healthy grocery store chains.


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MAVERICK, RESCUED TIGER, DIES AFTER MAULING AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2020 (Alpine) – A popular tiger named Maverick died this week in a tragic accident at the Lions, Tigers and Bears (LTB) facility in Alpine. Moka, another tiger, was accidentally let into the same habitat, fatally injuring Maverick.

Maverick came to the facility in 2014 at nine months of age after being rescued from the exotic animal trade and an owner who had acquired him illegally. Moka was rescued by Border Patrol agents and came to Lions, Tigers and Bears in 2018.

In a letter to supporters, LTB owner Bobbi Brinks voiced sadness at the loss and provided the following explanation: 


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PASSAGES: BUDDY RABAYA, 58, SANTEE COMMUNITY LEADER

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor
 
Photo: Buddy Rubaya
 
May 6, 2020 (Santee) -- Stalwart Santee community leader Buddy Rubaya, a strong advocate for local mobilehome owners, passed away on April 28, 2020 after suffering a stroke on March 25. 
 
Rabaya was born in Brawley, CA on May 14, 1961. He later moved to Oceanside, where he graduated in 1979 from El Camino High School. During his high school years, he was a star tennis player and was on the speech team. He later continued his studies at Palomar College, where he was also active in student politics and served as executive vice president of the student body. 
 
His active participation in Santee led him to become president of the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee (SMOAC), lobbying for residents rights including rent control. In the same vein, he was appointed regional manager of the Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League’s political action committee.

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PASSAGES: FAMED MOTOCROSS CHAMPION MARTY SMITH AND WIFE KILLED IN DUNE BUGGY ROLLOVER

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 28, 2020 (Alpine) – Motocross Hall of Fame champion Marty Smith, 63, died yesterday along with his wife, Nancy in a dune buggy accident at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis, California.  
 
The couple lived in Alpine and are survived by two daughters, a son and grandchildren.
 
TMZ sports reports that the couple was in a dune buggy that flipped and rolled down a hill. According to TMZ, Marty Smith was not wearing a safety harness and his wife wore only a lap belt. 
 
Lee Rampage posted “with a grieving heart” on social media that he and his wife, Tammi, were with the Smiths when the crash occurred.

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LA MESA MAILMAN KILLED BY HIT AND RUN DRIVER ON DEHESA RD.; JULIAN MAN CHARGED

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Featheringill Mortuary
 
February 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa resident Kevin Charles Wilson 56, was struck by a Mitsubishi Mirage while riding his bicycle Jan. 20 on Dehesa Rd. near Singing Hills Golf Course in rural East County.  He was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was pronounced dead of his injuries.

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PASSAGES: CINDY GREEN, RETIRED NURSE AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY ACTIVIST

By Miriam Raftery

July 30, 2019 (Santee) – Cindy Green, a retired pediatric nurse and long-time Democratic Party activist, was found dead in her Santee home on July 27th.  


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PASSAGES: CLIFF DIAMOND, FORMER EL CAJON POLICE CHIEF, CHAMBER CHAIRMAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 29, 2016 (El Cajon) — Cliff Diamond, former El Cajon Police Chief and past interim Chairman of the East County Chamber of Commerce, died October 25 in Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Diamond collapsed while on an RV vacation with his wife, Leslie and despite efforts by paramedics to revive him, was pronounced dead at a nearby medical facility.


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PASSAGES: EVANGELICAL MINSTER, “LEFT BEHIND” AUTHOR TIM LAHAYE DIES AFTER STROKE

 

East County News Service

July 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Evangelist Tim LaHaye,  co-author of the best-selling “Left Behind” Christian book series and founder of local Christian schools, died today at age 80 in a local hospital of complications from a stroke.  Time Magazine once named LaHaye among the 25 most influential evangelicals in the U.S.


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PASSAGES: PHILANTHROPIST CONRAD PREBYS PASSES AWAY AT 82

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County News Service

July 25, 2016 (San Diego) — Conrad Prebys, a generous philanthropist who supported numerous San Diego nonprofit organizations, health and education centers, died Sunday, July 24th of cancer at Scripps Mercy Hospital with his family at his side.


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PASSAGES: RICK ALEXANDER, FORMER GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COMMUNTY COLLEGE DISTRICT BOARD MEMBER AND REALTOR

 

East County News Service

June 21, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Rick Alexander, a prominent East County realtor, long-time member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Board, and active member in community organizations passed away June 13th.  A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, July 9th at 10 a.m. in the Performing Arts Theatre at Cuyamaca College. All are welcome to attend.


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