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.
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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.
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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 https://secure.paperlesstrans.com/StAndrewsChurch.

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.

An ‘Unparalleled’ Civil Servant, Spence Dies at 80

Dave Spence

La Cañada Flintridge lost Dave Spence on Tuesday.
The devoted city councilman and six-time mayor died from an apparent heart attack at his home, according to a statement from the city. Spence, 80, was found Tuesday morning.
Spence loved LCF, and, judging by a quarter-century worth of election results, the city loved him.
In March, he was re-elected for a seventh term as a member of the City Council, on which he’d served since 1992, including those record six turns as mayor: “In my opinion, La Cañada Flintridge is one of the greatest cities in this state,” Spence said during his last campaign.
“Dave Spence’s love for our community was truly unparalleled in our history,” wrote Steve Del Guercio, also a former mayor and longtime friend of Spence, in an email. “Seemingly ubiquitous, he touched the lives of generations of La Cañadans with his kindness, goodwill and dedication to helping others.”
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, at La Cañada Presbyterian Church.
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Obituary – Richard Dix Wood

Richard Wood
Richard Wood

 October 14, 1939 – May 6, 2017

Richard Wood, a resident of San Marino for 21 years, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 6, due to complications of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. His loving family was by his side.
Dick was born on Oct. 14, 1939, in Denver, Colorado, to Frank and Margaret Wood, recently of Lake San Marcos. He was the beloved husband of Patra (nee Thompson), brother of the late Debra (Fred) Folbrecht of Lake San Marcos and Catherine (Wayne) Schultz of Brookfield, Wisconsin.
He is survived by his sons Ron (Anh) of San Marino and Michael of Phoenix, Arizona; stepchildren Tovah (Johnathan) Kolodisnki of Watsonville, California, and Aaron Badart of Hancock Park, California; grandchildren Rachel, Ryan, Nicole, Michael Jr. and Jared, and step-grandchildren Violet and Taytem.
He will be greatly missed by his nephew Eric (Jeanelle) Folbrecht and nieces Amy (Rich) Ward and Tamara Schultz.
Dick graduated from the Mechanical Engineering School of Kansas University. He achieved success as an innovator in the fields of optics and engineering. Being a tremendous leader and dedicated professional, he mentored many during his career. His work ethic, determination and generous nature have touched so many in all aspects of his life. His passions bicycling, boating, hiking and traveling took him all over the world. His enthusiasm for these endeavors was shared by all who knew him.
To those of you who were aware of his accident, and to those who may be learning just now, we thank you on behalf of the Wood family for all your thoughts and prayers. The family asks anyone wishing to make a memorial donation in his honor to please consider riverstone.org, bikeleague.org or City of Hope, 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91011 (attn: Amy Cook), or through the website https://secure.cityofhope.org/donate/main/cardsforhope.aspx and note the gift is in honor of Dick Wood.