Nancy Ann Copploe (01-27-1925 / 07-20-2020) Nancy Ann Copploe passed away peacefully at age 95 on Monday, July 20th, 2020. She was born and lived in Youngstown, Ohio where she was employed by Ohio Bell and transferred to Arizona to complete 45 years of service with the phone company. Nancy was an active member of the German America Club where she and her husband Vince, were crowned king and queen of the Oktoberfest in 1978.
She is proceeded in death by her husband of 59 years, Vincent Copploe, parents Rose & Peter Sozio and her sister Louise Marr Zima. Nancy is survived by her sister Geraldine Torsiello, her nephews and nieces, James Marr (Ann), Linda Abney (Dave), Peter Torsiello (Liliana) Patricia Munley (Dave) and many loving great nephews, nieces and cousins.
Nancy was a kind soul who dedicated her life to caring for her family. She was generous and loving and will be greatly missed by us all. Obituary
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
Vincent Joseph Riley (11-21-1934 / 06-17-2020) Vincent passed away on June 17, 2020 at the age of 85. Born in Buffalo, N.Y, He was transferred to Phoenix with AT&T in 1968. He graduated from Kenmore High School and New York State University at Buffalo. He started his career as a NY State Trooper and from there became a Security Supervisor at AT&T until his retirement. He is survived by his wife Jacqueline (Barron); children Mark (Linda), Kevin (Michelle), Thomas (Lynn), Joann Keller (Robert), and Lillian Martin; 8 grandchildren; 3 great grandchildren and a large extended family. He loved sports – played college basketball; later played on many softball and baseball teams. He became an avid golfer in his 40’s and was a past member of Moon Valley CC, Pinewood CC, and Union Hills CC. A church service will take place at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Sun City on Saturday, June 27 at 9:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, mass card(s) or donations to American Heart Assn. or American Cancer Society would be most appreciated. To leave messages of condolence please visit www.sunlandmemorial.com.
Elizabeth Mary “Betty” Welborn
(10-30-1930 / 11-16-2017)
who was the lover of all animals, the horsewoman extraordinaire, the seller of Avon (64 years!), and lover of all things food-related, passed from this earth, unexpectedly, on November 16, 2017. She raised Arabian horses for many years, owning 18 at one point. One of her greatest and proudest accomplishments, was owning the 1982 Arabian Triple Crown Champion Reining Stock Horse CincoGrande, a story she so proudly told at any opportunity. Betty retired from Mountain Bell Telephone Company, after a 36-year career, in May, 1986. Please make a donation to the animal rescue of your choosing in Betty’s memory. Obituary
Bartholomew James “Bart” Ahern
(07-21-1934 / 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.
Bart was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 58 years, Rosie, and is survived by his three children Brian (Melissa) Ahern of San Rafael, CA; Meghan (Larry) Koch of Paradise Valley, AZ; and Bridgid (Ron) Anderson of Scottsdale, AZ and his beloved twin granddaughters Caelan and Kennedy Koch. Bart is also survived by two of his seven siblings Ann (Tom) Daniel and Jack Ahern.
The Family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Hospice of the Valley for their tremendous care.
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. Obituary
Elise Bovdik (06/2013)
Walter Henry Kubis (08-16-28 / 05-2020)
“Walter Henry Kubis, 91, beloved husband to Sylvia, loving father to Jean (Kenneth) Podborny, Walter Patrick Kubis, Barbara (Charles) Kitay, grandfather to Jessica (David) Hughes, Cory, Michael and Kyle Kitay, great-grandfather to Jacob and Michael Hughes and brother to Johanna Decker, went peacefully to his heavenly reward with his bride of 69 years by his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, his son Walter Patrick and three brothers John, Joseph and Raymond Urban. He was loved by all and will be greatly missed.
Walt was born on August 16, 1928 in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Julia and Paul Kubis. He graduated from New York University and later with his family had transferred to Calais, France to work on the Transatlantic Cable Project for Western Electric. After 18 months, the Kubis family returned to N.Y. prior to moving to Phoenix, AZ in 1966. He was stationed at Motorola as a Filed Quality Manger for the western states. He retired after 38 years of service from AT&T. He was highly active at St. Theresa Catholic Church and Gerard Catholic High School, where he served as the president of the athletic booster club. Walt loved to play bridge and supervise all family projects.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 5045 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix with a Graveside Service following at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery. Condolences and Hugs from Home may be expressed at https://www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com/hugs-from-home/”
Harry Roger “ROG” Sketo (01-25-32 / 04-30-20) “After an honorable discharge from US Air Force in 1955, Rog went to work the next week as a Lineman with Mountain Bell Telephone Company in Yuma. He lived and worked in Gila Bend, Coolidge, and Casa Grande before moving to Phoenix in 1971. At retirement he had 29 years of service with Mountain Bell. Harry worked 2 more years for AT&T before taking early retirement in 1985 as a Manager in Information Systems. No services are planned. Donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley.” Obituary
Leona Joan Lisak Neulieb (01-12-27 / 04-21-20) “Leona worked for and later retired from Mountain Bell Telephone Company after 30 years.”
Elizabeth (Beth) Thomas-Blaine (12-11-52 / 04-12-20) “A Phoenix, AZ native, Beth graduated from Alhambra High School in 1970, and worked at the Qwest Phone Company until she retired in 2006.” Obituary
HARRY WILLIAM HENSELL (02-20-33 / 12-29-19) “In January 1958 he was one of the first eight employees to be hired at the Western Electric facility in Phoenix, retiring in 1983 after 25 years.”
RICHARD DEAN “Tex” BARNETT (07-22-28 / 12-21-19) He graduated from New Mexico State University with his bachelor’s in electrical engineering. He retired from AT&T as a Senior Engineer.
CLEMENTINE “Brownie” BOLLMAN (06-02-23 / 12-20-19) “She was employed and retired from AT&T after 23 years.”
THOMAS JOSEPH BALLEN, JR. (08-29-39 / 11-08-19)”He received his Masters degree from the University of Arizona and was hired by Mountain Bell. While employed by the phone company he earned a Masters Degree in Business from Pace University. Tom worked as a Manager for the phone company until taking early retirement in 1991.”
LORETTA ANN SMITH (01-05-57 / 11-07-19)
“Immediately after high school she worked as a seamstress then as a Switchboard/Telephone operator for Ma Bell, AT&T, and USWest until the mid-1990s.”
RACHEL MARJORIE “Marge” CASTNER (07-23-34 / 11-13-19)
“Marjorie “Marge” worked for Mountain Bell, AT&T, and CenturyLink for 35 years as a line assigner and enjoyed 35 years of retirement.”
Joe Hersey 2019
Joe Hersey, a longtime, dedicated Pioneer, passed away October 16, 2019. His volunteer activities are too numerous to list. Two outstanding volunteer undertakings come to mind when Joe is mentioned – The Park and The Museum. He was a leader in the fundraising, design and building of Telephone Pioneers of America Park in Phoenix, AZ which broke ground January 23, 1983. Joe was instrumental in guiding and maintaining the Telephone Pioneers Museum, especially during its final move in 2016, to the Living Pioneer Museum. Hersey worked for the telephone industry for 35 years until he retired in 1988. Services for Joe are scheduled Saturday, November 09 2019, 10:00 AM at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 11300 N. 64th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Richard Bravo 1933-2019
Richard F. Bravo born August 9, 1933 in Buffalo, New York September 23, 2019. Rich retired from US West in 1996.
A viewing will be held on October 4th at 5:00 pm, with a rosary at 6:30 pm, at Heritage Funeral Chapel, located at 6830 W. Thunderbird Rd., Peoria, Arizona 85381.
An 11:00 am Funeral Mass will be held in his honor on October 5th at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, located at 8620 N. 7th St., Phoenix, Arizona 85020.
John H. Osborne 1929-2019
John passed away on 9/22/2019 from Alzheimer’s. A 40 year career with Mountain Bell 1950-1990. He was drafted into the Army 1951-1953 then returned to Mountain Bell as a Lineman working his way up to Engineering Staff Supervisor.
Philip M. Graham 1926 – 2019
Philip M. Graham, 92 of Mesa, Arizona passed away on Monday, September 9, 2019. Phil was born in Bell Oak, MI on October 24, 1926, to Max and Lillian Graham. He is preceded in death by his wife, Sharon L. Graham of AZ; son Larry M. Graham, step-daughter, Nancy Wipper Wilde of MN and sister-in-law Jeanne Graham, Bloomfield, MI. Phil is the last to pass of 8 children. He is survived by son Steven M Graham [Iva], Loveland, CO and daughter, Kristi S Graham, Scottsdale, AZ, sister-in-law’s Pat Franzen, Ft. Meyers, FL; Cynthia Ehlert, Estero, FL; Jean Iverson, Remer, MN.
Phil is a retired District Manager in the communication industry. Phil was a member of Grace Methodist Church, Mesa, AZ.
Per his wishes no services will be held.
Chester “Jim” Arthur Wyke 08-22-33/08-04-19 “Jim and Peggy moved to Arizona in 1959 and he began his career of 27 years with USWest as a telephone installer where he always enjoyed working and spending time with his co-workers.”
Fredrick C. (Fred) Holz 10-15-27/07-20-19 “Fred worked at the Telephone Company for 35 years, starting out as a lineman and eventually becoming an engineer”
Ronald (Ron) Castillo, Sr. 07-29-19 “Ron worked as a phone technician for almost 30 years when he retired in 2002”.
“Volunteered with the Telephone Pioneers, a group devoted to helping the disabled and disadvantaged, especially those with hearing and visual impairments.”
“She was hired by Bell Telephone Laboratories as a computer programmer in 1963. As a retiree of Bell Labs, she was a life-participant in, and supporter of Telephone Pioneers of America.”
NORMA JEAN BETTI 06/27/1945 – 07/25/2019
“She worked as a Telephone Technician for AT&T until her retirement in 2012.”
MICHAEL T. SLATER 09/03/1951 – 07/17/2019
“He worked 30+ years at US WEST, retiring in 2002.”
Sadly, Arizona Pioneers lost a longtime member yesterday. Helen Trobough passed away June 23, 2019, in her new home-state of Oklahoma. Helen would have marked her 94th birthday in July. Helen’s telephone company career spanned from working as an operator in Kansas to first level management and second level management positions in Phoenix and Denver, in Directory.
Pioneers benefited from her dedication for over 35 years. Helen served on the Phoenix Pioneer Boards in various capacities, most recently as President of Phoenix Thunderbird Club for multiple years. For many years, Helen was the driving force of the Hug-A-Bears group – cutting, stitching, stuffing and holding Hug-A-Bear workshops in her home. The “Cupcake Project” was an activity that Helen helped initiate and worked with for untold years.
At Helen’s request, no services will be held. Her final resting place will be beside her late husband in Kansas City. Helen will certainly be missed.
Charlene (Sturgeon) Simpson
1931 – 2019 Obituary Condolences Flowers
Charlene (Sturgeon) Simpson
– – Charlene (Sturgeon) Simpson, 87, entered into eternal peace on May 29, 2019. Charlene was born on August 17, 1931, the only child of the late May (Stevenson) and Charles Sturgeon. She was a proud Arizona native. Her father’s family came to Arizona in the early 1890’s. Her mother’s family, the Stevensons, were ranchers, cotton farmers and dairymen homesteading in Scottsdale in 1916. Charlene loved to drive fast and would giggle at tales of learning to drive at the age of 10. She participated in the choir, class assemblies, Christmas pageants and was a member of the yearbook staff. Charlene graduated from Litchfield Park High School in 1950. Right after graduation she went to work for the Mountain Bell telephone company. She was the first woman to work in the Plant Department. She retired in 1985 after 34 years of service.
Charlene loved the Lord and was a devoted member of Eastside Baptist Church. She married the late W. Wimberly Simpson on August 10, 1974. They enjoyed touring the United States as often as they could. She spoke fondly of her many trips especially seeing the beautiful changing leaves in the Northeast. Later in life, Charlene continued to be active with the Senior Center joining in classes, exercise groups and tours. Charlene was known for her love of all things sweet. She was famous for her pineapple upside down cake and cherry cheesecake cupcakes.
Charlene was preceded in death by her parents and loving husband, Wim. She is survived by many generations of cousins and friends who consider it a privilege to have known her.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 4th at Eastside Baptist Church, 2828 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ. A fellowship luncheon will be held at the church followed by a short graveside service at Greenwood Memory Lawn, 718 N. 27th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ. Messinger Indian School Mortuary, Scottsdale, has been entrusted with arrangements. (Published in The Arizona Republic on June 2, 2019)
MARCH 19, 1931 – MAY 23, 2019
Connee, at the age of 88, passed away peacefully on May 23, 2019. Born in Wayland, MO, Connee was the oldest of three girls. Later Quincy, IL became the family’s home where Connee attended Franklin Elementary School and Quincy High School.
A Visitation will be held at Chapel of the Chimes Mortuary 7924 N. 59 Ave, Glendale, AZ on Tuesday, May 28th at 5:00-7p.m. The Funeral Service will be held the following day on Wednesday, May 29th at 10:00am at Chapel of the Chimes.
Connee had a successful career and retired as an engineer from the Mountain Bell/USWest Telephone Company in 1990. Once retired, Connee became very involved with the Telephone Pioneers, a volunteer organization that gives back to the community. She was secretary of Phoenix Thunderbird Club.
She volunteered at school and city libraries, she read to students, she helped with adopting needy families at Christmas time, she participated in back to school clothing drives and many other worthy causes. Connee always gave of her time and that is one of the things that made her so special. Connee loved holidays and spending time with her family and friends. She was also quite the world traveler. She had visited such places as Japan, Thailand, China, Prague, Italy, Egypt and even Dubai. She was always ready for the next trip!
Connee is survived by her daughter, Jacquelyn (Robert) Small, stepsons, Michael and Bradley Uhl, grandchildren, Vanessa Buckingham, Jeremy Uhl, Tasha (Eric) Stelljes, Eric, Daniel and Timothy Small, great-grandchildren, Cody, Josef and Anjilyn Uhl, Avery Burnosky, Landon Stelljes, and Kolton Small. She is preceded in death by her husband Bill, her sisters Joyce and Betty and her parents, Charles and Derotha. Connee’s was a life to be celebrated. She was an amazing person who made each person she met feel special. We will miss her terribly and feel so lucky to have been her family.
CLIFFORD E. SKOUSON 05-19-40/02-15-19
“In 1967, Clifford began working for Western Electric, later AT&T, at the cable plant on Van Buren and 51st Avenue. He retired after 35 years of working for the same company.”
RICHARD G. GRITTMAN 02-23-19
“He was employed by the Telephone Co. for 45 years, starting with Mountain Bell in 1960 as a cable splicer and retired as a second level manager.”
RONALD CLYDE BUTLER 1932/02-21-19
“He retired in 1988 from Rural/Metro Fire Department but still continued private consulting in the emergency service field and enjoyed volunteering with the Telephone Company Pioneers.”
CAROL PHILLIPS MCFARLAND 2-19-43/02-21-19
“Carol retired from Century Link in 1998 after 30 years of service.”
DAVID LANGMUIR VANDEWATER 03-13-31/10-01-18 (Notice of death recently received) “Dave began his 33 year career with Western Electric/AT&T in Omaha, NE, eventually transferring to Phoenix, AZ in 1967 as their Benefits/HR coordinator, where he continued working until his retirement in 1988. During this time he was actively involved in many volunteer projects. One of his favorites was the Telephone Pioneers of America.”
JEAN L. VANDEWATER 07-17-31/03-17-19
“Jean was involved with her husband, Dave, who retired from Western Electric, in the
Telephone Pioneers of America. One ongoing project was making hundreds of “Hug-A-Bears” that were distributed to various charities as well as fire departments.”
MARGIE B. MITCHELL 06-04-09 (Notice of death recently received)
EVERETT S. HAYES 01-2017 (Notice of death recently received)
LUCIO (“Lou”) (“Lucho”) H. SAUCEDA 12-31-51/07-14-17 (Notice of death recently received) “He retired from Qwest Communications after 35 years as a dedicated Manager.” He is survived by his wife of 30 years, who retired after 21 years of service with USWest, Patricia (Trish) A. Sauceda.
JOHN C. NELSON 2016 (Notice of death recently received)
NORMA DEAN BEHRMANN 04-27-33/01-11-19 “Norma was a supervisor of operators for Mountain Bell and a public relations director of
activities for AT&T.”
BILL PIKE Obituary published 02-03-19 “Upon return from Korean War, he worked at Mountain Bell overseeing the installation of Fiber Optics. Bill retired 35 years later as a third level Engineer.”
PAUL GEORGE MILLER 02-17-23/02-17-19 “Received his Mechanical Engineering degree from Purdue and in 1946 began his successful career at Western Electric in Indianapolis. Paul moved to Western Electric’s locations in Baltimore, Newark, Buffalo, and finally Phoenix in 1972, where he was named manager of production at the largest communications cable facility in the world. He was instrumental in the company’s transition to AT&T in the 1980s and successfully expanded manufacturing capacity throughout his tenure until his retirement in 1986.”
RUTHANN “Ruthie” LUNDERING 10-27-32/02-13-19
“In 1973, Ruthie was promoted to service foreman – the first female in Mountain Bell to hold that title. She retired as an Assistant Manager when Mountain Bell became USWest in 1984.”
MITCHELL WARREN WOODS JR. (1927 – 2018)
Mitchell lived a life of service not only to his family but to his Church and his Community. He enjoyed serving as a Scout Master, a former President of Mountain Bell Pioneers and fulfilled many church assignments including Stake Missionary and serving with Joan in the Denver LDS Temple. Besides family activities, his lifelong passions were having a stellar vegetable garden each summer, family history work and amateur photography.
“Bill” Edward Wilson ~ (1931 – 2018)
Bill passed away on October 7, 2018.
He was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma April 19, 1931 to William and Mabel Wilson. He was the youngest of six children with four brothers and one sister.
The family moved to Arizona when he was 14. Bill finished high school at Phoenix Union High School. His four brothers entered military but Bill could not because he provided the livelihood of his widowed mother. Bill initially went to work for Sunkist Orange and then went to Schnorr making furniture and mattresses. Bill met JoeAnn (Howell) Wilson and her friends at a skating rink, where she introduced herself to him. Bill and JoeAnn were married December 10, 1951. Shortly afterward Bill started at Mountain Bell Phone Company for $37.50 a week. He worked there for 31 years ending his service as a District Manager.
Bill graduated with two degrees from Arizona State University and was very active with the ASU Alumni Association. He was a Director of Delta Sigma PI business fraternity, and founded the chapter at Northern Arizona University. He was also a member of the Sun Angels, and a leader of the On Deck Circle supporting ASU baseball.
He was very active in the Telephone Pioneers and was awarded their highest honor with the Timothy award.
Following his retirement, he founded the Arizona Phone Pholks, a group of telephone RV enthusiasts who traveled all around the country for over 21 years. Bill headed the largest international Phone Pholks rally in which he brought 551 RV families to Flagstaff. The members of the group set up electricity, water and sewer for the entire camp, painted the restrooms and left all the facilities for the Flagstaff fairgrounds, where they continue to be used today.
Bill was chosen by the phone company retirees to represent them at an AT&T stockholders meeting. Bill wrote a letter to Jack McAllister, the president of AT&T. To everyone’s surprise, Jack called him and invited him to speak for five minutes. When Bill started making too many impressive points, Jack tried to cut him off, to which Bill replied, “Jack you gave me five minutes and I’m gonna use them!” This helped save many retiree benefits at the time.
Bill had his hand in many areas and activities of the community. He was part of a task force sent by Arizona’s Governor to New York City to study the urban village concept and its possible use to combat urban sprawl. He helped reseed after the Dude fire in Payson. He and the telephone pioneers built a major wheelchair accessible sidewalk. He was part of a group of retirees that would do handyman tasks for needy retirees.
He volunteered to help build part of the Science Museum.
Bill enjoyed playing his guitar and singing at many family and friend gatherings.
He also loved working outdoors, especially in his front and back yards.
Throughout their 66 years, Bill and JoeAnn enjoyed traveling. They saw most of the United States and visited six continents. Their travel highlights included walking on The Great Wall, uncovering the treasures of St. Petersburg, exploring of Versailles, and touring nearly all parts of Europe.
Bill had two children, the late Carol A. Wilson and son Robert (Bob) E. Wilson.
He is survived by his beloved wife JoeAnn and son Bob.
A Celebration Of Life was held at Phoenix Memorial & Park Cemetery on October 15th at graveside.
HARRY W. KENNEDY Passed Away 09-28-18 87 yrs old
Harry was a very active Pioneer for many years, as was his wife Marilyn
ANNA MAE HENDERSON 88 years old Passed away July 12, 2018.
“She was an active member of the Telephone Pioneers of America for over 25 years and retired from Mountain Bell Phone Company with 25 years of service.” She survived by her son, grandchildren. Private family services.
PAUL W. BRAGG Passed away in Gillett, Pennsylvania 06-02-18 90 yo