Obituary: Beulah Lynch Oakes

Beulah Lynch Oakes

Beulah Lynch Oakes, a 29-year resident of La Cañada Flintridge, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home on El Camino Corto on June 21. She was 105 years old. Beulah was an active member of the Thursday Club for many years, having moved to La Cañada Flintridge to live near her son and his family following the death in 1988 of her husband, Dr. Harold Oakes.
Beulah was born in a ranch house on Nov. 16, 1911, near the town of Salt Lake, New Mexico, the youngest of six children. After growing up on the ranch and graduating from Albuquerque High School, Beulah traveled to Washington, D.C., to work for the Department of Labor. She worked in the office of Frances Perkins, secretary of Labor in the Franlin D. Roosevelt administration, who was the nation’s first female cabinet member.
Beulah met Harold in El Paso, Texas, and following their marriage in 1942, she received her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley while Harold was serving in the Army in the South Pacific.
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Obituary: Roger Herrling 1928-2017

Roger Herrling

Roger Herrling passed away on June 8 of natural causes at the age of 88.
He was born Aug. 28, 1928, in Duluth, Minnesota, and came to California when he was 19 with his father and brother. He met Toni Bonifield when he was 21. The couple married two years later and were together for the next 67 years. They had five children, Dana, Cindy, Grant, Randy and Brad. The family often spent time together on wonderful summer vacations to Lake Tahoe, Carmel and Hawaii.
Roger attended UC Berkeley and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. While at Cal he was a member of the crew team where he rowed under legendary coach Caroll M. “KY” Ebright. His college career was cut short by the Korean War. At that time, Roger was accepted into the Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he earned the rank of second lieutenant. The war ended just as he was ready to deploy.
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Obituary: Daniel Bush Downer

Daniel Bush Downer
Daniel Bush Downer

His family and many friends lost a creative, talented, principled, caring and witty man on June 15 with the passing of Daniel B. Downer, 98, a resident of San Marino for 63 years.
Born in St. Louis and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, Dan relocated to Southern California with his family in 1939 and graduated from Pomona College in 1941. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII in Fairbanks, Alaska, and married his college sweetheart, Mary Louise Geis of South Pasadena, in Juneau, Sept. 1, 1945. Continue reading “Obituary: Daniel Bush Downer”

Obituary: Melvin N. Wilson Jr.

Nov. 7, 1924 – May 14, 2017

Melvin Wilson with his wife, Adina.

Melvin N. Wilson Jr. was born in San Diego, California, on Nov. 7, 1924.
His parents were Frances Schaffer Wilson and Melvin N. Wilson. His dad was a prominent banker in San Diego. Mel attended Point Loma High School in San Diego; he received his Bachelor of Science in 1945 from Caltech and his Master of Science and aeronautics in 1946 from the same institution.
He was first employed by Bryan Aeronautics, then by the South Pacific Railroad as a consultant to industry, and from 1953 to 1994 he was employed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. Mel designed wind tunnels and technical facilities, including several solar simulators, the largest of which has been designated a national historical monument due to its size and the innovative use of optics, cryogenic high vacuums and other techniques simulating space environment. He received the NASA exceptional service award at retirement, as well as a number of other commendations during his career.
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Merrill “Tom” Thomas Spalding

Feb. 22, 1945-June 12, 2017

Merrill Thomas Spalding
Merrill Thomas Spalding

Friends and family will gather Friday, June 23, to say farewell and to celebrate the life of a beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, Tom Spalding. Tom was a resident of La Cañada Flintridge for the past 43 years and passed away at the age of 72 on June 12.
Tom was born on Feb. 22, 1945, in Palo Alto, California. He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1962, earned his bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University in 1966, and then attended Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., where he earned a master’s degree in Sino/Soviet relations. This choice stemmed from his beloved father’s career as a history professor at Stanford.
After completing his education, he began his career as an international banker with Bank of America in San Francisco. This is where he met his wife of 47 years, Karen Brisa. Soon after their marriage in 1970, Tom made a career change into the insurance industry, which became his occupation for the remainder of his life. This career change gave Tom and Karen the opportunity to move to the East Coast where they welcomed their first son, Arthur, in 1971. In 1974, four months after their second son, Jonathan, was born they returned to the West Coast, where they began their permanent residency in La Cañada Flintridge.
Tom will be remembered for his great sense of humor, his passion for traveling, his love of sports and his wealth of knowledge which spanned many areas — he was a history buff and a trivia expert.
After multiple vacations in Cabo San Lucas and Aruba when Tom turned 50, he made a change in his lifestyle, deciding he wanted to travel more. This included many cruises with Karen and friends to various locations, including the Panama Canal, Australia/New Zealand, Normandy, the Black Sea and Russia. He enjoyed attending sporting events with his children, with some of the most memorable being the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Super Bowl XXVII at the Rose Bowl, and the NCAA college basketball Final Four in New Orleans in 2003. Tom also was involved in coaching his children in various sports, including baseball and soccer.
One of Tom’s greatest pleasures in recent years was spending time with his four grandchildren. No matter what was on his plate, he was willing to spend as much time as he could with them. He attended as many activities as possible, including Little League games, basketball games, play performances, awards ceremonies and other special events. “Tom Tom” was a constant presence in his grandchildren’s lives.
Tom is survived by his wife, Karen, his son and daughter-in-law, Arthur and Arin Spalding, and his son Jonathan Spalding. He is also survived by his loving grandchildren: Jackson, Oliver, Isabella and Sofia Spalding. He was preceded in death by his father, Merrill TenBroeck Spalding; his mother, Clara Smith Spalding; and his brother, Michael Spalding.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, June 23, at 2 p.m. at La Cañada Presbyterian Church, with a reception immediately following.
Any kind acts of charity may be made to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation, or to any organization of your choice:
In Memory of Tom Spalding for the ICU
1812 Verdugo Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91214

John Robert Ruder

John Robert Ruder
John Robert Ruder

On June 18, John Robert Ruder passed away at 21 years old. Jack was a loving son and brother, funny, incredibly driven and kind. A proud Mustang at the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly San Louis Obispo class of 2018, Jack played intramural basketball for freshman and sophomore years as well as St. Francis High School varsity ball.
In his spare time, he put his entrepreneurial skills to good use: starting and monetizing a YouTube channel that grew to more than 600,000 subscribers, as well as pursuing other business start-up ventures.
We know he touched the lives of many while he was here with us, whether it be his friends, business partners, or his family who love him so much. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (also known as NARSAD: National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression).
He is survived by his mother, Shannon Drennan Ruder; his father, Tim Ruder; and two loving sisters, Claire and Claudia.
The funeral will be held this Friday, June 23, at 10 a.m. at St. Bede. There will also be a rosary today, June 22, at 7 p.m. at St. Bede.

Rev. Dr. Donald Frank Berns

Oct. 8, 1947 – June 5, 2017

The Rev. Dr. Don Berns
The Rev. Dr. Don Berns

Don Berns was a Hoosier, born in Indianapolis, to the late Martha (Tufts) and Philip Berns. He was athletic and adventuresome from his boyhood on, from cracking a bullwhip and snapping popsicle sticks from his younger sister’s mouth, to starring as a Little League pitcher, to playing every season’s sports until he focused on tennis in high school and college, followed by golf the rest of his life. He always admired large birds and wanted to fly, and even took some flying lessons, went hang gliding and sky dived once and was planning to go again this summer.
In July 1963, Don was introduced to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the ministry of Young Life. Don’s commitment to God in Christ shaped and formed who he was and how he lived for the rest of his life.
Don was a Duke Blue Devil, graduating from Duke University’s School of Engineering as a Mechanical Engineer, and played varsity tennis all four years. He also was on the European circuit one summer with his Duke Netter pals during his Duke years.
Following graduation, Don used his engineering degree, working with Exxon and his family’s highway construction business, Berns Construction Co., for five years. He always said that the problem-solving skills gained from engineering were excellent preparation for life.
When he sensed God calling him to fulltime Christian ministry, he knew that nothing is wasted in God’s economy, and became a transplant to California, graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. For 12 exciting and fruitful years, Don impacted thousands of teens in youth ministry and directed the intern program, which trained nearly 100 future reverends at La Cañada Presbyterian Church. When Parkinson’s disease made a transition necessary, he switched his focus to ministry in the marketplace (the emphasis of his Doctor of Ministry dissertation) and pastoral care.
Though he was diagnosed with PD at 33, he fought, researched and attacked PD as a challenge and a problem to be solved. To the end of his life, he never gave up learning, hoping and praying for a cure, while inspiring and encouraging many others who battle PD and other chronic and neurological diseases globally.
Don was married to the love of his life, the Rev. Karen Womer Berns for 46 years, 36 of which PD was a part of their relationship. They are the parents of son, Jason, and daughter, Joy Dunn. Don is survived by his beloved and loving family — Karen Berns, Jason Berns and Joy Dunn; their spouses, Laura Berns, and Matt Dunn; and five grandchildren, Kylie, Justin, Dominic, Charlotte and Alexandra, all of whom he cherished. He also treasured his three younger sisters, Kathy Albrektson, Sally John and Peggy Mindrebo, their husbands, Ray Albrektson, Mark John and Norm Mindrebo, and their families.
After fighting the good fight, keeping and sharing the faith, Don passed through the doorway of death peacefully into eternal life on June 5. Don leaves a legacy of Love, Faith, Joy and Perseverance for all those who knew him.
Memorial gifts in Don’s name may be made to:

Young Life Pasadena Area
2275 Huntington Drive, #173,
Pasadena, CA 91108-2640

The Michael J. Fox Foundation
P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown,
MD 21741-5014
Tribute to Don:

Rev. Dr. Don Berns

The Rev. Dr. Don Berns
The Rev. Dr. Don Berns

The Rev. Dr. Don Berns, former associate pastor at La Cañada Presbyterian Church and San Marino Community Church, died peacefully in his sleep early Monday morning, June 5. Don had valiantly battled Parkinson’s disease for 36 years, was a pioneer patient in unique Parkinson’s treatments and impacted many people’s lives throughout his life.
Services will be at La Cañada Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, June 14, at 3:30 p.m. More details of Don’s life will appear in the Outlook next week.

Tracy Ann Sheedy

08/11/1950 – 05/23/17

Tracy Ann Sheedy
Tracy Ann Sheedy

Tracy Ann Sheedy passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones on the morning of May 23 at her home in Pasadena due to natural causes.
Tracy was born in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 11, 1950, to the late Mattie Ann (Reistle) and James Clark. She was their only child and was their pride and joy. She moved several times throughout her childhood and eventually made her way to California when her father was transferred here in 1965.
She spent her high school years at La Cañada High School where she was a an LC Song Girl. For college, she attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated from University of Arizona. At OU she pledged Pi Beta Phi and later was the president of the Pi Phi house at U of A.
After college, Tracy married long-time La Cañada Flintridge resident and St. Francis High School alumnus Timothy Sheedy, on Dec. 1, 1973. In their 42 years of marriage, they raised three children and shared a life full of joy, love and laughter at their home in Pasadena.
Tracy is survived by her husband and best friend, Timothy Sheedy; children: Madeline “Mandy” Casani (Drew), Derrigan Sheedy (Bernadette) and Timothy Sheedy; and five grandchildren: Kane Casani, Luke Casani, John Casani, Dylan Sheedy and Delaney Sheedy.
A service in celebration of Tracy’s life was held at St. Andrew Catholic Church on Tuesday, May 30. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Tracy’s name to St. Andrew Church. Donations may be mailed to St. Andrew Pastoral Center, 140 Chestnut St., Pasadena, CA 91103 or made online at

Service for Spence Will Be Wednesday at LCPC

Dave Spence

A memorial service for local leader Dave Spence will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, at La Cañada Presbyterian Church.
Spence died of an apparent heart attack on Tuesday, May 16. A six-time La Cañada Flintridge mayor, he was serving his seventh term as a member of the City Council. He also served a four-year term on the Public Safety Commission.
In lieu of flowers, Spence’s family requests that donations be made to the “La Cañada Presbyterian Church,” or the “City of La Cañada Flintridge.” Funds will be used to support children’s ministry at the church or a memorial at the new City Hall, respectively.
Checks can be sent to: La Cañada Presbyterian Church, 626 Foothill Blvd., LCF, 91011.