Saturday, September 23, 2023

Wende Marie Hart, BHS 1987

Wende Marie Hart, BHS 1987

Published in the Thousand Oaks Star, Monday, April 11, 1988

Teen Injured In Crash
A Ventura teen-ager was in critical condition this morning in a hospital's intensive care unit after she was thrown from her speeding car on the Ventura Freeway Friday night, authorities said.  Wende Hart, 18, suffered multiple skull fractures after the 8:50 p.m. accident, California Highway Patrol Officier Jim Utter said.

According to witnesses, Hart's car was apparently racing another vehicle about 75 mph when it came upon heavy traffic near the Los Angeles County line at Westlake Village, Utter said. The southbound car, was traveling in the third lane, swerved to the left and into the first lane where its left wheels hit the center divider, he said.

The car went out of control and veered to the right shoulder, struck a raised berm, went over the side and struck the side and struck a tree. Hart was ejected. Utter said Hart was not wearing a seat belt.
Ventura County Star, Ventura, California, Tuesday, April 12, 1988

Ventura Driver, 18, Hurt In Race Dies

A Ventura woman seriously injured in a freeway accident last week died Monday night in Westlake Community Hospital. Wende Hart, 18, died at 9:45 p.m. in the intensive-care unit, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed.

Hart suffered major head injuries Saturday night when she wrecked while racing another car southbound on the Ventura Freeway near the Los Angeles County line, the California Highway Patrol reported.

When she swerved across all three lanes to her left, she lost control, swerved back to the right and skidded off the freeway, the CHP reported. The CHP said Hart was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown through the right side of the car, hitting her head on part of the car and a tree.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Carol Edna Feeney Chappell, BHS 1967

Carol Edna Feeney Chappell, BHS 1967

The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, California, Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Carol E. (Feeney) Chappell, 50, of Paso Robles died at home Sunday, March 19, 2000, after a five month battle with a brain tumor.

Burial will be at Paso Robles District Cemetery at 2 p.m. Friday. A memorial potluck celebration is planned for 1 p.m. Sunday, April 9, at Paso Roble’s Shriner’s Club on Sherwood Avenue.

Mrs. Chappell was born Oct 31, 1949, in Glendale, and had resided in Paso Robles for 15 years. She graduated from Cal Poly in 1976 with a B.S. degree in biological sciences. She and her husband, Don, were married in July 1976.

Multi-talented, she was employed in biological research, secretarial positions, pharmacy technology and in special education as a “Para educator.” She enjoyed her family, her many friends and her Bahai faith.

She is survived by her husband, Don, son Danny, daughter Becky, her mother, two sisters, a brother and numerous nieces and nephews. For those who wish, donations may be made to a college fund set up for her son, Danny, and daughter, Becky, at SESLOC in Paso Robles. 

Arrangements are by Kuehl-Nicolay Funeral Home in Paso Robles.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Robert Ira Coverly, BHS 1968

Robert Ira Coverly, BHS 1968

Los Angeles Times, Thursday, September 7, 2000

Robert I. Coverly, 51, of Sherman Oaks, California, Respiratory Therapist passed away on September 4, 2000. 

Eckerman-Heisman Funeral Service, Burbank, California handled the arrangements. 

No other details at this time. 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Ralph D. Urquiza, BHS 1976

Ralph D. Urquiza, BHS 1976

March 4, 1957 – September 20, 2009

Ralph Urquiza, Firefighter III, Fire Station 89 – A

There will be a headstone placed where Ralph Urquiza now lies, a monument of sorts to a man taken from us long before his time. But it will not be the only testament to this remarkable man who embodied both strength and benevolence. Look about and you will find that he still lives amongst us. 

Look over your shoulder as you enter a blazing building and hope that the guy who’s got your back has the skill and experience which Ralph Urquiza displayed at every hostile fire he helped to extinguished.

When an ambulance pulls up to transport your patient, hope that fireman who steps out has the same knowledge, demeanor and caring ways that Ralph Urquiza exhibited on each and every call, no after the time of day. Set upon any garden path, sidewalk or sunny patio and take the time to appreciate the craftsmanship and utility of he creation, remembering that Ralph Urquiza was dedicated to making each of his works a masterpiece.

Ralph was raised in Burbank, a place he could call his hometown. Here is where spent his childhood, where he met his wife and would eventually marry her, and then where their children were baptized.

It was here in his hometown that early in life he developed a love and passion for the fire service. When he was just 12 years old he assisted a group of firemen deliver a baby. It just happened to be in his own home, his mother giving birth to his youngest sister. Ralph was ready, willing and eager to assist the firemen with whatever they needed of him that day, and they were happy to let him help.  

Ralph developed and fostered his love for the fire department by association with a family friend who lived nearby. Ralph was close friends with one the sons of Ray Hickman, Sr., a Burbank firefighter. He spent many a day asking Ray Sr. questions about the fire business and about how to go about getting hired. Ralph was about 19 then.

However, he wasn’t meant to be a fireman just yet, although he never gave up on his dream. His worked turned towards the concrete industry where he began working for Quality Ready Mix in Burbank. But because of his desire was so great, because the yearning was something he chose to nurture rather than suppress, he continued to pursue his fire department ambitions. Finally at the age of 27, Ralph realized his dream and joined the LAFD.

 It was about this same time, on his last of probation at Fire Station 33, that he would realize another dream. And again his mentor. Ray Hickman, Sr., would be responsible. Hanging out at the Hickman’s, Ralph was introduced to a friend of Ray’s daughter. Her name was Jeanne. It didn’t take him long to realize that Jeanne was he one, the girl of his dreams, the perfect match for his passion and his life.

Ralph spent the majority of his career, more than 18 years, at Fire Station 89. Many firefighters, drivers and captains came and went during this time, but Ralph was always at the core of the group that lingered. Anyone who has worked at the old North Hollywood firehouse can tell you a humorous story about Ralph, or tell you of his knowledge or generosity. But those who have been there for sometime are aware of something more. They recognize that Ralph’s passion for his duties inspired them in theirs. They realize that they were motivated by his loyalty to the department of which he as so proud to be a member. And maybe most of all, they understand that it was his selfless friendship that made 89’s such a very special place.

Besides being a steadfast friend, Ralph was a strong and dedicated father figure. He was devoted to his children, Troy and Jessica, taking great joy in nurturing, teaching, loving and molding them into resilient individuals who will make their family proud.

But his devotion to children extended beyond his own flesh and blood, and he reached out to the young men and women of the Explorer Program. He was a motivator and role model to the explorers who passed through his post. They would come back to thank him and express their gratitude for all that he had done for them, especially when they were finally hired as firefighters themselves.

Nevertheless, many youths in his post, for a variety of reasons, would never be able to attain firefighter status. But this was never an issue for Ralph. He spread his inspiration and passion equally, finding strengths and talents among all his flock. The valuable life skills and tools they received from Ralph will help them in whatever endeavors their future hold.

Ralph also had two very special children besides his own that he took under his wing, Katie and Jeff. According to Jeanne, “Anybody who knows these two knows that his work was cut out for him because these two broke the mold, so to speak. But Ralph stepped and never wavered.”

Ralph Urquiza spent a lot of time with many different people, from many walks of life; listening, learning and always lending a hand. He devoted his life to helping others, never asking for or expecting anything in return. The result of all this is something he never intended, it was never his aim or purpose. But his unselfish deeds leave with us a monument to a man which no tribute of stone or steel could equal. It is his spirit that will continue to live in all of us. 

Jeanne hopes that we won’t be selfish in expressing our feelings for her Ralph. She asks that each of us, “Share your Ralph – the one you with everyone. Let him live because the Lord shared him with us. And remember to laugh when you do.”

By Dave Wagner, October 2009

Friday, September 8, 2023

Dennis Wayne Shimek, BHS 1955

Dennis Wayne Shimek, BHS 1955

May 9, 1937 - July 15, 2023

Sacramento, California - Dennis Wayne Shimek

Dennis was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Raymond Ramon Shimek and Alvalda Hertha Wenzel.

He moved west with his family and graduated from Burbank High School and earned an AA degree from Pasadena Community College, working as a baggage handler at the Burbank airport. He went on to earn a BS degree from UC Berkeley, as a proud member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, and an MBA from California State University San Francisco in Labor Relations. During the summer he worked for Del Monte Company as an accountant in their fish canneries in Egegik, Alaska and for the National Labor Relations Board in San Francisco overseeing union elections.

In 1961 he married his college sweetheart, Cherie Bernardo, moved to Sacramento, and after a short stint with the California State Employees Association, he was hired away by UC Davis to begin a 42-year career with the Aggies. His title, Director of Personnel, morphed over the years and he retired as Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Relations (same job description, thousands more employees). He will be remembered as a fair but fierce and effective labor contract negotiator and champion for minority causes including the implementation of the Title IX directives. After a short retirement he answered a call from California State University, Stanislaus, to become their Vice President, Human Relations, commuting to Turlock with ease for eight years until his final retirement at age 80.

Dennis had many interests. He was a Docent for the Old Eagle Theatre and the Railroad Museum leading tours in costume and, until recently, was a jail visitation volunteer for Loaves and Fishes. He loved all kinds of music having season tickets to the San Francisco Opera & attending all central valley George Jones and Merle Haggard concerts. After retirement he took up the ukulele and spent many Saturday mornings playing and singing at the Music Café in Folsom.

He traveled the world with family and friends eventually visiting all seven continents. Closer to home he annually backpacked the Sierras, deer hunted in Northern California and fished the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota. He was a long time fitness fanatic beginning with his workouts at Gold's Gym in Los Angeles and until recently working out most every day at Del Norte Sports Club.

Throughout his life his family always came first. "He was always there for us. He was our rock." He is survived by Cherie, his sons, Steve (Guadalupe) and Dave (Lulu) his granddaughter, Elizabeth & and his step-grandsons, Jesus and Jonathan Quintero, and a large extended family of in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins in both Minnesota & California and his beloved dog, Mr. Boo. He was predeceased by his parents and brother, Devon (Charlene).

Per his request, there will be no service. His family will spread his ashes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, at deer camp and in the Boundary Waters.

He was one of the good guys, gone but not forgotten.

Published by The Sacramento Bee on Aug. 20, 2023.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Connie Marie Smith, BHS 1990

Connie Marie Smith, BHS 1990

Published in the Palladium-Item, Richmond, Indiana, Monday, August 16, 1993

CONNERSVILLE – Connie M. Smith, 21, 814 1/2 Lee Street, died Saturday, August 14, 1993 at Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio. She had been a patient there two weeks and ill the past few months.

She was born April 1, 1972, in Burbank, California, to Herschel and Janis Keith Miller Smith (BHS 66), and had lived most of her life in California. She attended Connersville High School from 1988-89 and graduated from Burbank (Calif.) High School in 1990. She returned to Connersville two years ago.

Survivors include one daughter, Kelsey Nicole Sheppler of Connersville; her mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. James L. Miller of Stevenson Ranch, California; her father Herschel Smith (BHS 65) of Los Angeles; a stepmother, Yvonne Smith of Connersville; two sisters, Churee and Lauran Amber Smith both of Connersville; two brothers, Wayne Howard Smith of Stevenson Ranch and Herschel Travis Smith of Connersville.

Service will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 17, at Showalter-Blackwell Funeral Home, Myers Chapel. Burial will be in Dale Cemetery. Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. today and until time of service Tuesday at the funeral home.

Note: No senior photo, but connie is listed in the 1990 BHS Commemencent program.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Johann Chretien Bonar, BHS 1996

Johann Chretien Bonar, BHS 1996

Hollywood LA News,Hollywood, California, May 2023

(L.A.) Johann Bonar, 45, Died in a Walkway

Case Number: 2023-05432

Los Angeles County is reporting the death of a 45-year-old White/Caucasian male that occurred in a walkway on May 13, 2023.

The coroner’s office has identified the man as Johann C Bonar. Born in L.A. County.

Manner of Death: Suicide

Cause of Death: Gunshot Wound of Head

RIP JOHANN CHRETIEN BONAR (March 7, 1978 – May 13, 2023)

Formal pronouncement of death was made on Saturday at 12:17 a.m.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Frederic Douglas Biddle, BHS 1949

Frederic Douglas Biddle, BHS 1949

Published in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Walla Walla, Washington, December 31, 1984

Frederic Douglas Biddle, 53, of 1809 Plaza Way, Apartment 18, died Sunday at St. Mary Medical Center.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m., Wednesday at the Herring Funeral Home Chapel. The Rev. Robin Peterson will officiate. Private inurnment will be held later.

Biddle was born November 21, 1931, in Longview, Washington, James and Georgia McKinnis Biddle. He attended grade school in Longview and graduated from Burbank High School, Burbank, California. He attended Pasadena City Junior College, Pasadena, California.

He served in the United States Navy Fleet Marines, having served in Korea as a corpsman. Following his discharge he returned to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was a deputy sheriff for 17 years.

Biddle married Ramona Chancey. In 1967 they moved to Waitsburg and he was manager of Duckworth Ambulance Service. He later worked at Rose Street Safeway Store and at the Washington State Penitentiary as a physician’s assistant, retiring in 1980.

He was a member of the Presbyterian Church in College Place, the Masonic Lodge and Blue Mountain Shriners El Katif, and Elks Lodge 287, “Good Sam” Recreational Vehicle Club.

Riddle is survived by his wife, at the home; two daughters, Tammi Biddle, at the home, and Jean LaRue of Walla Walla; two sons, Andrew Biddle and Douglas Biddle, both of Walla Walla; his mother of Las Vegas; two brothers, Harold Biddle of Reseda, California, and James Biddle of Sedona, Arizona and five grandchildren.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Kim Christopher Norwood, BHS 1970

Kim Christopher Norwood, BHS 1970

Kim was an independent Cinematographer and when he passed away this was written by one of his co-workers and friend:

In Memory of Kim Norwood – December 21, 2009 by A V. 

It is with great pain and deep sadness I have to announce that Kim Norwood, my friend and Director of Photography for “The Chronic Pain Educational Documentary Series,” has passed away on Sunday, December 20th, 2009 due to liver metastatic cancer complications. Kim’s 22 year battle with hairy cell Leukemia and chronic pain combined with an Emmy Award (4) 35 year broadcasting career experience he shared with my valuable team made him an indispensable member of our team’s effort to educate on the issues related to chronic pain. He will be missed greatly.

During the past year that I have been fortunate to work and become friends with Kim he has been a driving force and constant source of inspiration. Kim’s life experience will serve as reminder of why ‘The Chronic Pain Educational Series” have started and how we have all discovered each other set on our mission to educate on the issues related to chronic pain.

Kim, thank you for your humanity, your friendship, your great work and most of all for being courageous, honest and authentic. Wherever you might be at I wish you are cancer and pain free, safe, loved and pampered with joy, fulfillment and pleasure should you wish toying with the best camera your mind can conceive, your hands can operate and your eyes can record through. Thank you and have a good trip.

Kim was survived by family, siblings, his father, a few friends, colleagues, the numerous people that treated him over the years, the millions that struggle to battle cancer and chronic pain day after day and the many millions around the world who have witnessed countless hours of 4 different Olympic events coverage through his eyes and ears. As an independent Cinematographer Kim had made an equal contribution and his work will be seen in 2010 through “The Chronic Pain Educational Documentary Series,” and his spirit will live on. My sympathies go to his family members, friends and everyone Kim’s life has touched. 

With Gratitude

Charalambos Kesta, Executive Producer/Director, “The Chronic Pain Educational Documentary Series”

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

John Henry Niers, BHS 1969

John Henry Niers, BHS 1969

SEPTEMBER 26, 1951 – AUGUST 16, 2023

IN THE CARE OF - Weerts Funeral Home

John H. Niers, 71, of Davenport, Iowa passed away on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 at Genesis East Medical Center. Per his request cremation rites have been accorded. Following the cremation he will be inurned at the Muscatine Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorials in John’s name may be made to the Humane Society of Scott County.

John was born on September 26, 1951 in the Netherlands to John and Bernadina Niers. John and his family immigrated to the United States in 1956. He was a 1969 graduate of Burbank High School. Following high school, he enlisted with the United States Army and served for six years. John married Carolyn Metcalfe on April 27, 1974 in Burbank, California. Shortly after their two children were born John and Carolyn moved to Davenport. John became an official United State Citizen in the early 1980’s. While in Davenport, John worked as a Medical Assistant at St. Luke’s Hospital in the Pathology Department. He later went on to work at Vera French as Administrative Staff and retired from Vera French after 27 years in June of 2014. John also enjoyed driving limos for Luxury Limousines. He enjoyed watching movies, going on vacation with his family, and spending time with his pets. John was an excellent joke teller and his jokes will be greatly missed.

Those left to honor his memory are his wife of 49 years, Carolyn; children Caryn (Ed) Wright and Bryan (Lori) Niers; and his grandson Dylan Niers. He was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings Harry, Hetty, and Marion.