SACC EXTENDS OUR DEEPEST CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED AWAY
Please notify our new Fellowship Chair Bonnie Stahlbush of any illness or passing of Pioneers or their family members. She can be reached either by email:
Or text or call her on:
Rayeann Noyes ( – 10/2021)
Harold Kenton Matthews (06/25/1951 – 09/23/2021
He was born to parents Harold and Lois Matthews on June 25, 1951 in San Francisco, California. In his youth, his family had the opportunity to live in many different places, his most memorable being Alaska. In Anchorage, Kent learned to ice skate while the beauty of his surroundings ignited a lasting love for wildlife, especially wolves. In 1967, his family planted roots in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Kent graduated from Buena High School in 1969.
In 1971, Kent married his high school sweetheart, Sonja Martin. Three years later they started their family and welcomed their first daughter, Annika, and later, Holly. In February of 2021, Kent and Sonja had the blessing of celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
At the age of 19, Kent carried on a family legacy of working for the telephone company as did his grandfathers, father and mother. After 30 years, he retired from Qwest Communications at the age of 49.
Kent was a talented athlete and an avid sports fan. In his younger years, he enjoyed playing softball in various leagues and was well known for his strength and skill in arm-wrestling. More than just a test of strength, arm-wrestling was a hobby for Kent where he always welcomed a challenge. In addition, he was an inquisitive person and fed his curiosity by reading and researching. Kent was a passionate animal lover and throughout his lifetime, he loved, rescued and nurtured many animals with his kind heart. In retirement, Kent took great pride in being a Poppa by caring for and instilling his creative imagination in his four grandchildren. Obituary
Maria Diamantoulis (07/25/1959 – 10/01/2021)
It is with great pain and sorrow that we announce the passing of Maria (Mary) Higuera Diamantoulis. The loss was completely unexpected, leaving family and friends shocked and deeply saddened.
Maria lived a happy and adventurous life with many accomplishments. It started when she was elected President of her 3rd grade class. During 6th grade she was elected Chief of Patrols. While in High School she was elected President of D.E.C.A. (Distributed Education Clubs of America). Maria, along with Denise Robinson, and Jessie Villa represented Pueblo High School at the State level and they won 1st place. From there Maria spoke at several luncheons, including the Lions Club, among others, to raise money for D.E.C.A. to attend the Regionals competition. Maria would go on to graduate in the top 10% of her class.
After High School she attended Pima Community College. While at Pima, Maria competed in a Pool Tournament. She ended up winning. There was no prize, just bragging rights! During her time at Pima College, she applied to work at Mountain Bell Telephone Company, which would later go on to become Centurylink. She was hired as a Telephone Operator and held several positions with the company, among them, Phone Center Representative, Service Representative, Collections Dispatcher, Service and Repair Technician, Placing Crew. She ended her career as a Fiber Optic Splicer.
At the time Maria was the only female in Southern Arizona that was splicing fiber optics for CenturyLink. A couple of days after 9-11, Maria was 1 of 3 employees who underwent an emergency background check. Maria and the others were escorted onto Davis Monthan Air Force Base and she placed a telephone line specifically for a jet that was ready to take off in case of an emergency. This was just one example of how well trusted and respected she was in her career with CenturyLink. Maria also proudly served as a Union rep for CWA. Maria retired from the phone company, but still kept very busy.
While retired, Maria’s mother fell ill and she along with her siblings became devoted caregivers. Maria was known as the “ice-breaker” of the bunch because when she was there, she would do all the “fun stuff” with her mother, like paint her nails, play word search games, and make beaded bracelets and other crafts. Maria was very close to her siblings and was honored to share the responsibility of caring for their mother until their mother’s passing.
Maria was known for her crafting hobbies, like making beautiful jewelry, embroidery, quillwork, greeting cards, and sewing projects, just to name a few. She enjoyed sharing all her creative endeavors with everyone. She was very artistic and had an eye for details. Throughout the Covid pandemic, Maria used her sewing skills to spend countless hours sewing masks for family, friends, and the community. She also donated masks to The Navajo Nation.
Maria also loved to travel and took many wonderful trips to visit her extended family in Mexico and Greece. Prior to her passing, she was planning a future trip to Greece with her husband and looked forward to spending time with her family there.
The highlight of her retirement was spending time with her grandchildren. She loved caring for them and took great pride in all their milestones and achievements. Maria took her role as YiaYia very seriously and treasured every precious moment spent with them. Her family was the joy of her life.
Anyone that knew Maria, knew she was strong, kind, supportive, and giving. She always made time for others and was there when you needed her the most. She gave the best advice, and always knew exactly what to do in any situation. She loved to shop and had a great sense of fashion. Those of us who were blessed to be touched by her existence understand the impact she made in our life and will treasure all the beautiful memories we shared with her.
Although Maria is gone, the pain in our heart from losing her will never go away. In her honor we ask that you take a moment to hug your loved ones, call a friend, or help someone when you can. Time waits for no one.
Ernest L. Gracia (1949 – 07/21/2021)
Ernest passed away on July 21, 2021 with his family by his side. He was preceded in death by his parents Tony and Mercy Gracia. He is survived by his brother Tony Gracia, sister Virginia Mendibles, nephew Steve Mendibles, and nieces Selina Mendibles, Maricela (Rene) Figueroa and Elisa (Phillip) Bencomo.
Ernest graduated from Pueblo High School and attended the University of Arizona. He was a veteran of the US Navy Seabees. He retired from Qwest Communications. Ernest enjoyed the outdoors and looked forward to his hunting and fishing trips. He also enjoyed spending time with his many friends and going to the casino.
A mass in his honor will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 8650 N. Shannon Rd. Tucson, Az. 85704 on September 9, 2021 at 11:00 Obituary
Marilyn Figueroa ( – 09/02/2021) Mother of Rene Figueroa
Vivian R. Young (1941 – 08/19/2021) Obituary
Vivian Reilly Young departed this earthly realm and ascended to heaven on Thursday, August 19, 2021.
Her passion for God, family, wisdom and kindness are part of her rich legacy. She was well-loved, respected and will be immeasurably missed.
Joe Smothers ( – 06/05/2021)
There will be a celebration of life at his home July 31, 2021 at 1:00 pm AZMST
7625 E Morales Place
Tucson, AZ 85710-6332
Raquel Davila (03/22/1972 – 06/02/2021)
Raquel Davila, wife of Manuel Davila, passed away at the age of 49. Obituary
Robert Edward Lloyd (04/15/1939 – 03/29/2021)
Robert Edward Lloyd, 81, of Tucson, Arizona took his final journey to heaven on the morning of March 29, 2021, after a long fight with Parkinson/ Dementia. Robert was born in Sanford, North Carolina, to deceased parents John (Jack) and Oner Lloyd. At the age of 17, he joined the Air Force, serving 8 years, where his final assignment was Phoenix, Arizona. He was successful in many jobs but ultimately retired at age 50, January, 1990, as a telephone engineer in Tucson, Arizona. His last project was to procure the funding to place a radio system at two sites in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. To occupy his time in retirement, he became a self-taught oil painter. His artwork is displayed in the homes of many friends and family members. His Parkinson Doctor used his oil paintings in the examination rooms to show others there is life after a Parkinson diagnosis.
Robert is survived by his wife Valjean (Val) of 38 years; his son Christopher (Chris) Lloyd; stepson, Mark Hollonbeck (Flor); stepson, Michael Hollonbeck (Lupita); grandchildren, Michael Lloyd, Morganne Lloyd-Leyva (Steven), Nathan Lloyd; step grandchildren, Esmeralda Hollonbeck, Mark (Tony) Hollonbeck, Kayla Hollonbeck, Kylie Hollonbeck, and Lila Grace Hollonbeck; great grandchildren, Daisy Kay Leyva and Aria Lloyd; sister Cathy Servie (Mike) of Kill Devil Hills, NC; sister-in-law, Beverly Lloyd of Cary, NC; and many nieces and nephews of NC.
Robert is preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Oner Lloyd; brother, Henry Lloyd; sister, Nancy Gardner; and his brother-in-law, Obie Gardner.
Robert was blessed to have so many friends throughout the years. He was a stranger to no one. His love of telling stories about his life is what everyone will remember the most!
You are invited to join Robert Lloyd’s family and friends to celebrate his life. The service will be held on Sunday, April 18, 3 – 4 PM, at Grace Community Church, 9755 N. La Cholla Blvd. Mask is required.
In lieu of flowers please donate to Parkinson Research, Grace Community Church, or the charity of your choice. Obituary
Betty J Yonko (1930 – 03/04/2021)
Betty J. Yonko left this world in peace on March 4, 2021. Betty was 91 years young and a native Arizonian. Born in Tucson, Betty was the only child of Al and Beulah (Hensley) Irving. She grew up in working family and met her spouse, Steve, of over 57 years, whom she married in 1951. Betty started a successful 30-year career at Mountain Bell in Tucson and ended her career as a manager with Lucent/ATT in Phoenix. She was a true pioneer and advocate of women in the workplace. While working at Mountain Bell she raised 3 boys, Greg, Doug, and David Yonko. Betty was a wife, mom, grandma, great grandma, and friend to many. She enjoyed watching sports, playing bridge, and reading. She loved Arizona and was grateful to call it home. Betty will be missed by her family and friends, but her life was full and as she always believed “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” Betty enjoyed talking politics and enjoyed a cool drink on a hot Arizona day. Betty and Steve retired to Westbrook Village in 1995, where they enjoyed golf, traveling the world with friends, cruising, and enjoying their family. Betty was the matriarch of the family and provided support, advice and life direction to her friends and family. She is survived by 2 sons Greg (Jan), David (Regina), 5 Grandchildren, David, LisaAnn, Ryan, Brandon and Maradith, as well as 6 great grandchildren. Services will be held privately at the VA National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family has asked for donations to The American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/ or the ASPCA https://secure.aspca.org/. An Old Irish Blessing- May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Obituary
Armondo Bonillas Bernal (03/27/1953 – 02/20/2021)
Armando Bonillas Bernal (AKA “Mando”), 67, of Tucson, AZ passed away peacefully yet unexpectedly on February 20th, 2021. Born March 27th, 1953, Armando was a beloved Son, Brother, Father, Uncle, Grandfather & avid Kansas City Chiefs fan, who will be greatly missed. Preceded in death by parents, Armando Sr & Hortencia Bernal. Survived by sister Amalia Maldonado, brother George Bernal (Sheri), sons Armando “Chuck” Bernal, Eric Anthony Bernal (Heather), daughter Gina Marie Bernal, 8 nieces & nephews, 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. A Mass Intention will be made in Armando’s honor, Sunday, March 28th @10am mass at Santa Cruz Catholic Church, 1220 S. 6th Ave, Tucson, 85713. Until we meet again… Gone but never forgotten, Rest In Paradise Dad! Obituary
Glenda Watson (1941 – 02/23/2021)
Connie L Moore (10/21/1946 – 02/08/2021)
Connie L Moore, formerly of Franklin, PA fell asleep in death on Monday, February 8th at her home in Tucson, AZ with her loving husband Gary at her side. Connie was born to Donald and Lucille McCool on October 21, 1946. She graduated from Rocky Grove High School in 1964 as class valedictorian. She married Gary shortly after then moved to Tucson, AZ and worked for 32 years at Mtn. Bell telephone company, which later became Quest, and she retired in 2001. She was the oldest of three children and is preceded in death by her father Donald, and survived by her mother Lucille McCool of the Caring Place; her brother Donald McCool Jr., and sister Carol McCamey, all of Franklin. She will be missed by her loving sons; Danny (Consuelo), Sherman (Rebecca), and Joseph (Bridgett), along with her six grandchildren; Vanessa, Joseph Jr., Marissa, Jessica, Matthew, and Mia. Connie was a faithful Jehovah’s Witness and served God alongside Gary right to the end. She was an inspiration to all as she continued strong in her faith while battling cancer. She was always ready to help others. Contact Gary for memorial service details.
Karl Fredrick Gaither Jr. (08/29/1933 – 01/26/2021)
Arizona native. Navy Veteran. Soul mate. Family man. There are so many ways we can describe Karl Fredrick Gaither, Jr., who left this Earth peacefully on January 26, 2021, and one we will never use – forgotten. Karl was born on August 29, 1933, in his home on E. Culver St. in Phoenix, to Greta and Karl Sr. Raised by a teacher and railroad employee, respectively, he and his siblings knew the value of hard work and dedication early in life. Karl attended Garfield and Whittier Elementary Schools and his mother made sure he never missed a Sunday school class at Garfield Methodist Church. Karl was a proud member of the graduating class of 1951 of Phoenix Union High School. After all, it was in his senior year Civics class where he met the love of his life, Evelyn. Evelyn still remembers how the guy in tall jeans and red corduroy shirt entered the room, and it was love at first sight. Karl and Evelyn would marry on January 29, 1954, and share 67 loving years, never far from each other’s side, raising three beautiful girls. But duty to country was his first priority as he yearned to follow in the footsteps of his older brother. From 1951 to 1955, Karl served proudly and with honor on the CV-34 U.S.S. Oriskany as an Aviation Electronics Tech USN U1 with Navy Squadron VC-35 “Night Hecklers.” He would serve seven months overseas, the longest time the two would be apart, before being honorably discharged September 27, 1955, with good conduct and national defense medals.
But Arizona is where he always wanted to be. Returning to Phoenix after the service, the young Gaither’s bought their first home on Sells Drive. Karl took a position with the telephone company, then called Mountain States, beginning his impressive, 35-year career as a Lineman with the Construction Department. In 1967 he was promoted to a management position and gladly served as acting manager wherever the company needed him. Karl became Manager of the Douglas office in 1968, an assignment he truly enjoyed. He would also come to cherish the community of Douglas, residing on Frederic Drive, and being very active in the Elks Club (Exalted Ruler and District Deputy Southern Arizona), Kiwanis (2nd Vice President), and Douglas Valley Chamber of Commerce (Director), as well as Arizona Phone Folks. Changes in the telephone company in the early 70’s offered the opportunity for Karl to become Manager of Network Services, moving the family to Pomona Road in Tucson, where they would reside until his retirement on February 28, 1990. With Evelyn also retired from her position at First Interstate Bank, Karl and Evelyn found excitement in motorhome road trips, often accompanied by friends from Arizona Phone Folks. From Mexico to Canada, and across several Western and Midwestern states, the two enjoyed a life filled with incredible adventures and summers in the cool of Montrose, Colorado. Karl and Evelyn would put down final roots in the Happy Trails community in Surprise, Arizona. From there, he would enjoy many holidays, celebrations and family reunions. He also enjoyed The First Families of Arizona monthly meetings and the connections he re-established in Culver and across Arizona. Karl never knew a stranger, enjoyed the sport of hunting as well as a good book, kept the local quail and doves well fed, doted on the family dogs, lit up rooms with his smile, and gave the best bear hugs. He is survived not just by his wife and daughters, but by his grandchildren, as well as great-grandchildren, whom he loved with all his heart. Obituary
Walter “Rusty” Long (04/09/1950 – 01/21/2021)
Rusty Long was a CDT out of Globe AZ. His services are going to be held next week. He was a great person and a hard worker. Obituary
George Walter “Walt” Stead (1932 – 12/28/2020)
Walt Stead passed peacefully in his sleep Monday December 28, 2020. He was born in Douglas in 1932 to a railroad man, Ray Stead and a teacher, Elmire Stead. The family moved to Tucson and he attended the Amphitheater school district. He met his future wife, Joy Cochran there. Four kids ensued, Alan Stead (Sheila), David Stead (Deceased), Lori Klein (Brett) and Roxanne Stead.
He started his career in telecommunications in the fifties and took retirement from Mountain Bell, having spent the latter years on the University of Arizona Campus. The U of A then hired him as a consultant in the switch over to fiber optic communications.
Walt was passionate about sports, as a participant, a coach and a fan. Wildcats always. He coached little league for years and taught his competitive drive to all his kids. Being outdoors and hunting was a huge priority in his life. He also shot competitive trap for most of his life. Walt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his 70’s, and health issues forced a curb in his activities.
He spent the second half of his life with Diane Branam. He was incredibly devoted to her. Her health issues took her back to her family in Utah. Walt’s final days were spent in the care of Starfish care home. Walt is survived by sisters, Frances Hukill and Jackie Hersh. Preceded in death by sisters, Aileen Langley, Jerry Schawb and brother, Lloyd Stead. There are lots of grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces, nephews and friends that loved Walt. He loved them back too!
No service at this time. Arrangements by the NEPTUNE SOCIETY. Obituary
Marge Olcott (05/26/1924 – 12/17/2020) Marjorie T. Olcott, 96 years old, died Thursday, December 17, 2020. She died in an adult care home with social workers, caregivers, and nurses caring for her. Special thanks to Pat DeVoe for her dedication to Marge. Before the adult care home, she lived happily at The Cascades. She was a voracious reader and volunteered in the Cascade’s library. Marjorie was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur. Arthur and Marjorie worked and fell in love while working at Mountain Bell Telephone Company. She held a Management position. She will be buried next to Arthur and Arthur’s Mother at Evergreen Cemetery, 3015 N. Oracle road, Tucson, AZ 85705. Donations in memory of Marjorie could be made to your favorite charity or to the Humane Society. Obituary
Concepcion “Connie” Gallardo (12/10/1938 – 09/11/2020) Wife of Al Gallardo and mother-in-law of Dan Dunscombe. Concepcion Gallardo was born in Rancho de la Bellota near Nogales, Sonora on December 10th, 1938. She was one of nine children born to Juan and Carolina. She married her love, Alfonso Gallardo Sr., on January 1st, 1966. Our lovely mother, wife, and nana was referred to as “Conchita” and “Connie” by her close friends. She was the best role model as demonstrated by her service in the church as a Guadalupana and love for her family and her community. Obituary
Lawrence E Nickelson (07/02/1930 – 09/12/2020) Lawrence was a COT who retired in the 1980’s.
Ron and Allyne Woolery (May 2020 & June 2020)
“It is with great sadness that I’m forming you both my parents have passed away this summer. Dad passed away in May from leukemia and mom passed a month later from a broken heart. They both were AT&T retirees.” – Daughter Angie
Regina Ann “Gina” Nussman (09/14/1953 – 08/09/2020)
age 66, left this world and gained her angel wings on August 9, 2020. Regina was born on September 14, 1953 as Regina Pugh in Garden City Michigan moving to Tucson when she was 14. She is preceded in death by her daughter, Joanna R. Chester (Nussman); father, James W. Pugh and mother, Martha A. Pugh (Gean). She is survived by her husband of 48 years, James R. “Jim” Nussman; daughters, Jessica R. Howell (Richard), Justina R. Trejo (Robert) and Julia Nussman; brother, Perry Pugh (Mary) and son-in-law, Kevin Chester (Tricia).
She leaves behind eight grandchildren, James “JR” Russell Trejo, Ramon “Ray” Andrew Trejo, Abigail Maire Chester, Grace Marie Howell, Charlotte James Chester, Benjamin Michael Chester, Hope Regina Howell and David Anthony Chester.
Gina graduated from Palo Verde High School. Jim and Gina meet at Junior Achievement of Tucson, marrying on June 10, 1972. They moved to the Flowing Wells Community in 1978, raising their four daughters in the Flowing Wells School District.
She worked for the district from 1992-2002 eventually leaving to work for the UofA as a Business Manger before retiring in 2014.
She spent her retirement years spending time with her family and grandchildren, attending all their activities and helping with any of their projects. She was active in her church family of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. Gina volunteered with the Flowing Wells Continental Little League where five out of eight of her grandchildren played softball and baseball. She started volunteering in the Flowing Wells School District in 1985, continuing for 35 years. You would often find her making or putting up bulletin boards, building sets for musicals, sewing costumes or set parts, laminating or grading papers. Anything a teacher or student needed she was there to help with a kind smile on her face.
Gina touched so many lives and will be deeply missed by all that knew and loved her.
A private viewing and graveside service will be held at Marana Cemetery. A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that you consider a donation in Gina’s name to the Flowing Wells Education Foundation. Checks can be sent to Flowing Wells Education Foundation c/o Flowing Wells School District, 1556 W. Prince Road, Tucson, AZ 85705. Arrangements by MARANA MORTUARY.
Floyd Pearsall (01/29/1940 – 8/5/2020)
Our dear friend Floyd Pearsall is no longer with us. Many know him from working with him at the phone company and Pioneers. Floyd was one of my first friends in Tucson (50 years ago). He and his wife Doreen were Pioneers extraordinaire. He was President of the Santa Catalina Council, vice president, and any thing else we could get him to do. Always there for projects when needed. He also became our photographer and because of him we have quite a history of pioneer activities in and around Tucson. There aren’t enough words to describe this friend and Pioneer. He always had a smile on his face and a good word to say to anyone around him. He could always put you in a good mood and make you laugh – definitely a people person. He was a jewel. Always had so much fun traveling the state for Pioneering. He will be missed.
Obituary: Floyd R. Pearsall, 80, of Grove St. Addison, NY, passed away at his home on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.
Floyd was born in Corning, NY on January 29, 1940, a son of the late Roy and Mary Alta (Middaugh) Pearsall. As a youngster, Floyd’s family resided in Gang Mills.
They eventually settled on Hardscrabble Road in Addison when Floyd was 13. He attended high school in Addison where he was a 1959 graduate.
Following high school, Floyd ventured into farming for a couple of years. He then enlisted in the US Army, serving from January 1962 until July 1963, with over a year of his service in Laos and Vietnam.
On August 28, 1964, Floyd married the former Doreen C. Brown in Rochester, NY.
Floyd and Doreen settled in Arizona where he made a career with Mountain Bell in Tucson, Arizona holding various positions. They were avid bird watchers and would often plan trips around places noted for bird watching. He was also a talented photographer and frequently shot professional photography at weddings.
Floyd had enjoyed sport shooting and was an excellent skeet and trap shooter.
Playing cards was a major pastime for Floyd, be it euchre with family and friends or poker with his fellow retirees from Bell. He loved western movies and TV shows and had a huge DVD collection of classic westerns. He enjoyed watching the activity of Apple stock, which he began acquiring at its infancy.
Floyd’s greatest pleasures came from relationships with his family and friends. His nieces and nephews adored him and he was a wonderful husband, father and brother. He always brought cheer and happiness with him in every encounter with others. Floyd’s positive view of the world could serve as a life lesson for all. He will be missed. Floyd is survived by his son and his partner, Cary Pearsall and Mary Ann Fisher of Saint Albans, Vermont, his brother, Edward (Donna) Pearsall of Addison, his sister, Elaine Antonio of Painted Post along with many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Mary Alta Pearsall, his wife, Doreen Pearsall and his brothers, Earl Pearsall, Charles Pearsall, Ralph Pearsall and Kenneth Pearsall.
Following the passing of his wife Doreen, Floyd returned to Addison in 2018 to be nearer to his family.
It was Floyd’s wishes that there will be no formal services.
Arrangements are being handled by H.P. Smith & Son Funeral Home in Woodhull, NY.
Dennis Ricci (05/03/1943 – 07/23/2020) Obituary
Richard Hiller (07-09-2020) Richard 77, died at home surrounded by family on July 9, 2020. Born in Bellwood, NE, Dick served four years in the Army, graduated from the University of Arizona, worked 30 years for Mountain Bell and spent his retirement as Volunteer General Manager for HAWUA water company. He is survived by his wife, Pat; four children and five grandchildren; a brother and a sister. All will remember his easy smile, gentle strength, generous nature and his red truck. A private service was held on July 17. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Obituary
Bob Hankinson (07-08-2020) Bob happily retired in 2005. He was a Central Office technician at Flowing Wells.
Jim Morgan (06-28-2020) Jim was a long time talking books volunteer with our local club. Jim was in the army for 2 years and worked at White Sands Missile site, upon discharge, he went back to Bell lab at the same place. At Naperville, IL, he worked to develop cell phone system until he retired in March 1993. Jim was 86 when he passed away from prostate cancer. He was the father of 4 and the grandfather of 9. He leaves behind his loving wife Masayo Morgan.
Don Charles Howard (06-22-2020)
A message from the Howard family.
“It is with a heavy heart that post about our Dad’s passing on Monday June 22nd at the young age of 85. Donald Charles Howard. There are really no words sufficient to describe the void that has been left in our lives. After two heart surgeries/procedures and several months of hospital and rehab stays, the strongest man I know was just tired.
This selfless, devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, brother and uncle was an amazing man. His laughter was contagious and his Dad jokes were horrible (a trait which I have personally inherited 😊)…and we loved every minute of it. He loved to laugh and never took himself to seriously. He loved people and was always ready to make new friends. And he had a lot of friends.
A man of many talents. Storyteller extraordinaire with the occasional Dad twist to it! 😁 Electrician, carpenter, painter, coach, gardener…healer of cut knees, bruised egos and broken hearts. There wasn’t anything Dad couldn’t do…or learn to do. He was passionate about life and his family and his many friends he loved, and who loved him. Godspeed Dad
…until we meet again.” – Tom Howard
ANAYA, Julia M. “Julie” (06-15-2020) Julie passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones. Julie was born in Tucson on August 25, 1934, to Oscar and Nellie (Lucas) Martinez. A 1952 graduate of Tucson High School, Julie married Gustavo L. “Gus” Anaya in 1956 and worked for the phone company for 29 years. After retiring, she worked for H&R Block and the county recorder’s office. Julie was a dedicated wife, mother and nana who loved dancing, golfing, bowling, playing Keno with Gus and watching Wildcats basketball. Julie was a member of Club Esmeralda and will be missed by many dear friends. Julie was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Oscar (Sara) Martinez, Carlos (Lupita) Martinez and Richard (Barbara) Martinez and sister, Socorro (Frank) Rodriguez. She is survived by her husband, Gus; daughter, Barbara; grandson, Angelo; sister, Grace (Andrew) Rendes and brother, Frank (Ronna) Martinez. The family wishes to thank her caregivers and Hospice Family Care. Due to the coronavirus, a Mass and service are not planned at this time. As Julie would have said, “Better safe than sorry.”
From our Thunderbird Pioneer membership and a former Tucson Phone Company employee:
Bartholomew James “Bart” Ahern (06-07-2020) Bartholomew “Bart” James Ahern, 85, passed away on June 7, 2020 due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. Bart was born on July 21, 1934 in Chicago, IL to Bartholomew and Pauline (Frankowski) Ahern and was the seventh of eight children. His family moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1950 where Bart graduated from Saint Mary’s High School in 1952.
After graduation Bart chose to follow his faith and enrolled at St. John’s School of Theology in MN. He left the seminary after the death of his parents and began a 26 year career at the Mountain Bell Telephone Company (later AT&T), from which he retired in 1986. During his early years at Mountain Bell, Bart earned his BS degree from Arizona State University in 1963. He also briefly served as a Sergeant in the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1965.
On April 15, 1961, Bart married Rose Ann Sweeney (Seppelfrick) and raised three children, living in Phoenix, Denver, and Basking Ridge, NJ before settling in Tucson in 1973, where they built their dream home and lived for 45 years. Bart was an avid golfer early on in Tucson as a member of the Forty Niner’s Country Club and later Arizona National. He enjoyed landscaping and gardening, and was a loyal U of A sports fan, holding season tickets to football and basketball games for 45 years. Bart was also a voracious reader, and loved to share his knowledge of books and history with his granddaughters.
A Funeral Mass will be held on July 9th at 1:30 PM, at Our Lady of the Angels (Franciscan Renewal Center) 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Cliff Franzen – March 2020
Cliff 87 of Tucson, AZ passed away March 13, 2020. He is survived by children Lisa (Jon) Brown, Jason, three granddaughters and two step-grandsons. Retired, 38 years from U.S West, Korean War Veteran, Volunteer of Pioneers, Knights of Columbus and was a founding member of St. Melany Byzantine Catholic Church. Viewing, Thurs. March 19, 2020, 10:00 a.m., Mass at 11:00 a.m. followed by lunch at St. Melany Byzantine Catholic Church, 1212 N. Sahuara Ave. Arrangements by BRING’S BROADWAY CHAPEL
Gordon Cheeseman – March 2020
As a boy, Gordon Cheeseman labored on the family’s 240-acre farm near the small town of Shannon, Illinois, where his parents raised Hereford cattle for breeding. He described toiling during the threshing season from sunrise to sunset and learning life values and the importance of the work ethic.
After high school, he enrolled in radio school in Chicago and was hired at radio station WDAN in Danville, Illinois. It was at the station where he met his future wife, Cornelia. The couple married in 1943 and reared two children, and Cheeseman has one grandchild.
Cheeseman, who would have turned 102 on Aug. 3, was a member of the technical staff at the station, which featured local musicians, played popular tunes and where years later he met Dick Van Dyke, a radio announcer and a show co-host. Van Dyke’s brother, Jerry, also played music at the station, and both later became television stars. The Van Dyke brothers grew up in Danville.
After working at the station for two years, Cheeseman enlisted in the Army and worked in communications, attending radio and radar schools before his assignment as a radar man on a B-24 bomber, protecting convoys headed to England from German submarines. He became a commissioned officer and continued supervising soldiers who repaired radios, telephones and teletypes in the Pacific, and later was assigned to a Signal Corps army post in Japan before returning to the states and receiving an honorable discharge in 1946.
His experience led him to a job in 1947 with the Bell System in Champagne, Illinois, working on the mobile radio telephone service, which was the beginning of cellphones. His abilities led him to work for NASA on Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight program to put a man into Earth’s orbit, in 1958. There were six flights, and the astronauts were Alan B. Shepard Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, John H. Glenn Jr., Scott M. Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra and L. Gordon Cooper Jr. “We built 18 tracking stations around the world that followed the astronauts in space,” explained Cheeseman, recalling his historic work while sitting at the dining room table of his north-side home with his second wife, Wilma, who listened intently.
After Mercury, Cheeseman was hired to work on the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, a radar system built by the United States during the Cold War to give early warning of a Soviet nuclear attack. There were stations in Hawaii, Greenland and England that were pointed toward Russia, and all the stations were connected to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, in Colorado Springs, recalled Cheeseman. His work included installing communication systems from England to NORAD.
Cheeseman’s expertise also brought him to Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, where he installed communication systems around missile silos in Southern Arizona. He retired in 1978 and moved to Tucson in the 1980s. As he reflected on his life, Cheeseman said: “I give thanks for my many blessings.”
First United Methodist Church
915 E. 4th St. in Tucson
Gordon Cheeseman Obituary
If you would like to send a card to his wife Wilma and their family:
201 N. Jessica Ave, #306
Tucson, AZ 85710
Gordon was a very special man and Pioneer.He was very involved with our club and held several offices. He will be missed
Don Bowling – March 2020
Don passed away on March 2, 2020 at the age of 89. Born in Durand, Michigan, Don married his childhood sweetheart, Joan Dial, and they stayed happily married for 68 years. Don served in the Korean War in Salzburg, Austria. Joan joined him, baking chocolate cakes to make money for food. After his service, he worked for Bell Telephone Company in Michigan. Don was a Freemason. He and Joan purchased a one-bedroom house in the countryside outside of Gaines, Michigan. It was little more than a hotdog stand, and by themselves, they gradually built a beautiful 3-bedroom house.
In 1970, they made a decision to move to Tucson, Arizona, for the sake of their oldest son’s health. In Arizona, Don continued working for the phone company and Joan became a realtor.
In Michigan and in Arizona, Don was an inspiring Scoutmaster for a period of ten years.
After retiring in 1989, they began making wood crafts including puzzles, plaques and train whistles. Don did the woodwork and Joan did the decorative wood burning. They had the time of their lives in the craft show circuit. Don was well known for his sense of humor, and could often be heard telling patrons, “That’s my kindergarten puzzle”, when they couldn’t solve one of them. His sense of humor and love of practical jokes was a quality he was well known for, and which he passed on to his children.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Betty Leigh. He is survived by his loving wife, Joan; his brother, Bob; his son, Scott and daughter-in-law, Dalia; his daughter, Sandy and son-in-law, Rick; his son, Mark; grandson, Patrick; granddaughter, Carley and adopted daughter, Susan.
There will be a Celebration of Life ceremony on Sunday, March 15,2020 at 3:00 p.m. at Jay and Lori Angus’s house. There will be food and beverages to enjoy.
Jack Sisler – Sept 23, 1929 – Jan 10, 2020
Jack Franklin Sisler, Jr. aged 90, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, February 10, 2020. He was born in Ft. Collins, Colorado, on September 23, 1929, and attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, CA. God, Honor, and Country were the creeds he lived by. He joined the Army Air Corp. at the age of 17, and retired from the U.S. Air Force at the rank of Chief Master Sergeant after 20 years of service. He was a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Jack traveled to Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight in the spring of 2015, escorted by his daughter, Kathy Sisler, as he visited the many war memorials located there. He went on to describe this trip as one of the most meaningful experiences of his life. Jack was a 33rd Degree Mason, serving twice as Past Master of Adobe Lodge #41. He was an active member of the Sabbar Shrine, serving on the Motor Patrol, and was a member of the Royal Order of Jesters. He loved riding motorcycles, traveling the world, and savoring a good Scotch.
Jack is predeceased by first wife, Dorothy; parents, Jack Franklin, Sr. and Carol Ledbetter Sisler and second wife, Janet. He is remembered with love by his brother, Ron Sisler and his and Dorothy’s children, Gail Sisler Toal (Danny), Kathy Sisler and Richard Sisler (Marguerite); eight grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, and many great-grandchildren, including his special little buddies, Brady and Stark, and his best friend, Bob Shoup.
A graveside celebration of Jack’s life will be held for family and friends on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. at East Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Jack’s family has requested contributions to the Southern Arizona Honor Flight, (https://honorflightsaz.org) or the Square and Compass Children’s Center, (https://www.squareandcompassclinic.com/)
Herschell Hillman – Dec 2019
Danny Mauldin (husband of Susan Mauldin) – Jan 2020
Preceded in death by parents, Mary and Bernice Mauldin. Survived by wife, Susan Mauldin; son, Brian Zwoyer.
James Bateman – Dec 2019
Evelyn Soto – Dec 2019
Evelyn Soto passed away Dec. 28, 2019. The services will be on Friday Jan. 3, 2020 at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 1946 E. Lee St., (520) 327-6015. The Viewing will be at 10am, the Rosary will be at 10:30am and the Mass will be at 11am.
Donald A Bollschweiler – 2019
Donald passed away in February this year. Known as Donnie by his peers, he worked for 40 years as a telephone aerial lineman & retired from the Glenn yard.
Leonard Zimmerman- 1926-2019
Leonard John passed away on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. He was born on March 14, 1926. He had a witty demeanor that brought a smile and laughter to all. He had a very strong sense of serving others based on his strong Catholic faith. His witness was a good example to his children, Steve Zimmerman, wife Teresa, Christine Monasmith (Deceased), husband Steve, and Dan Zimmerman, wife, Bernadette. He was deeply loved by his seven grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Marilyn Reno – 2019
Marilyn Reno, long time Pioneer in Arizona, passed away peacefully November 6th. She was a board member for Southern Arizona Club for many years, and served as the luncheon greeter and recorder until writing became too difficult for her. Never one to shy away, Marilyn had been one of the first female supervisors in the plant department in St Joseph, Missouri. When she retired from Southwestern Bell in Missouri in the 80’s, she and her husband moved to Tucson, and she met everyone and got to know them by offering to take names for the luncheon. For many years, she worked at the 4th Ave Street fair, and donated her earnings to the club for Readers For Life. She enjoyed those events tremendously, and supported education through reading, mentoring at Walter Douglas Elementary, and family services within Flowing Wells district; she volunteered with Hug a Bears, and many other Pioneer projects over the years. Marilyn will be missed for her smile, support, participation and calm and supportive advice. She was an inspiration to us all. The family prefers donations to Pioneers in Marilyn’s memory, for education projects. Please use the donate button on the web site and add remark “in Marilyn’s memory”. aztelecompioneers.org). Services will be at Adair Avalon Chapel, 8090 N. Northern Ave, Friday Nov 15, 2 pm. Interment will be private for the family only on Monday after the service .
Bob Gahagan – Aug 21, 2019
Bob passed away after a long bout with cancer as a result of exposure to agent orange during his term in Vietnam. There will be a memorial service Saturday, October 12th at Casa Molina, 6225 E. Speedway at 3:00 pm.
Pat Gougeon – Sept 11, 2019
Pat passed away on the morning of 9/11/19. His son, Zac is putting together a celebration of life. It is Sunday, October 13th @ 3pm, at 7401 E Calle Vega.
Audrey Williams – December 5, 1924 – Sept 22, 2019
Born in Chicago, Illinois to Hilda and Carl Lund. She and a friend journeyed across the country to Tucson by car following World War II and has been here since. Audrey worked at Mountain Bell for over 40 years. She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Dick and Eleanor Hagen and husband, Gene. She was an incredible woman who could accomplish nearly anything once she put her mind to it, including servicing her own cooler on the roof well into her 80’s. Audrey had a huge heart and had a positive impact on everyone around her. She is survived by sons, Gary (Rhonda) and Mike (Karen); grandchildren, Derek, Stacie and Stephanie and five great-grandchildren. Graveside Services at Evergreen Cemetery (Oracle Road) on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Arrangements by EVERGREEN MORTUARY. Obituary
Doris Tofel – Aug 25, 2019
Charlotte Anderson – Aug 25, 2019
Ray Hathaway – Aug 4, 2019
Dorthy Treese (Minnena) Mother of Steve De La Cuesta – 2019
Rose Ahern (wife of Bart Ahern) – April 15, 2019
Betty Hess – March 15, 2019
Lawrence William George – Feb 28, 2019 Obituary
Jon Smith – Feb 24, 2019
Gilbert Sepulveda – Father of Cathy Greer – Feb 2019
Anita Gere – Feb 2019
Frank Ruhl – Feb 15, 21019 Obituary
Cher Anne Perrin – Jan 2019 – Obituary
Please notify our new Fellowship Chair Bonnie Stahlbush of any illness or passing of Pioneers or their family members. She can be reached either by email:
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