Longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and business owner Mary Lou Stremfel passed away July 22 after a short battle with cancer. Mary Lou retained her mischievous wit and childlike charm until the very end, and was surrounded by all five of her children at the time of her death.
The Stremfel family originally relocated from New York City in 1960. Both she and her husband, Joseph, were born and raised in Iowa.
Shortly after arriving in La Cañada Flintridge, her husband began opening local community pharmacies. Cal Med Pharmacy was opened in 1965. Then in 1969, the Stremfels opened Cal Med Pharmacy East (since renamed Flintridge Pharmacy). Continue reading “Obituary: Mary Lou Stremfel”
Michele Looney Gardenier passed away peacefully with her family and friends by her side on Aug. 3, due to surgical complications. She is survived by her husband, William M. Gardenier, and her mother, sister, sister-in-law and four precious nieces. Their dad was her brother, Michael James Looney, who passed away in 2009 from cancer.
Michele was born on April 6, 1959, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She graduated from La Cañada High School in 1977. Her career was spent working with her dear friend James Pokorny at his law office, during which time she bravely fought and won her battle with lung cancer. Continue reading “Obituary: Michele Looney Gardenier”
Hanne Ward, 74, of La Cañada Flintridge, passed away on July 20 with her family by her side. Born in Søborg, Denmark, Hanne and her family immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1951, and then to Altadena in 1955. They ultimately settled in La Cañada Flintridge in 1966.
Hanne graduated from John Muir High School and later received her cosmetology and real estate licenses. In 1993, Hanne moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where she bought commercial property and ran several small businesses, including the popular Hanne’s Hayden Lake Espresso Hut. Hanne later returned to Southern California to be closer to her family. Continue reading “Obituary: Hanne Ward”
Eleonore Maria Moroder von Massenhausen, age 88, passed away peacefully and surrounded by her family in Newport Beach on July 19.
Eleonore was born in Bolzano, Italy, on Oct. 3, 1928. She met her future husband, Arnold, at a ski lodge in Austria. Following their marriage in June, 1956, Eleonore joined Arnold in the United States to pursue the American dream together and build a better life for themselves and their future family.
Eleonore was known by many names in her life (Eleonore, Nora, Mom, Oma). One constant was the love she had for all, and Oma (as she was called by everyone once she became a grandmother) was fiercely driven to unite her entire family. Whether it was holidays at her house, family dinners, annual vacations or travel to spend time with out-of-town children and grandchildren, family time was always a priority. Continue reading “Obituary: Eleonore Maria Moroder von Massenhausen”
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. Continue reading “Obituary: Beulah Lynch Oakes”
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. Continue reading “Obituary: Roger Herrling 1928-2017”
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”
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. Continue reading “Obituary: Melvin N. Wilson Jr.”
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. Continue reading “Merrill “Tom” Thomas Spalding”
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.