Maria Carmen Kenney, aka Maricarmen Kenney, passed away in Spring Hill, Tennessee August 22, 2020. She was born in Panama June 21, 1925, Maria del Carmen Conte Porras, granddaughter of 3 times president of Panama Dr. Belisario Porras; one of 9 children. Her family in Panama called her “Cunga” or “Tia Cunga”; she was “Abuelita” and “Tita” to her grandchildren. She married Mario de Obaldia and had 6 children with him. She later married Joseph Patrick Kenney and moved to Glendale California where she lived for over 30 years and where she dedicated much of her time performing community services and volunteer work for the Red Cross, CYO and YWCA & was awarded Glendale volunteer of the year. She was described as a “Dynamo” in one of the articles of the Glendale News-Press. She was a poet, novelist, painter, singer, gardener (twice won “Best Garden of Glendale”) & a wonderful cook. She truly was a renaissance woman. She was a mother of 6: Marianela Alonso, Amalia Scontas, Mario de Obaldia Jr., Gustavo de Obaldia, David Kenney & Clara Rosa Maranville. She was the grandmother & great grandmother of over 40. She loved them all and they all loved her and will miss her. She will be interned in Forest Lawn at Glendale California.
Cindy Badell-Slaughter passed away in the early morning of August 5th at the age of 59 after a courageous battle with lung cancer.
Cindy was born on August 11, 1960 in New York City and grew up in Bethesda, MD. After graduating from high school, she spent a year in England at the Hartwell House, a very prestigious women’s business school. After coming back to the States, she moved out to California with a close friend to start their new adventure.
Eugene Corbet Blackmun passed on 07/04/2020 following an extended illness. He was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1936, the son of Robert Lynwood Blackmun and Frances Eleanor (Shulte) Blackmun. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Marilyn (Montroy) Blackmun, his daughter M. Michelle Chapa (Pete), his son, Christopher C. Blackmun, two granddaughters, Olivia and Mary Chapa, and two grandsons, Cameron Blackmun and Samuel Chapa. He was also blessed to have three siblings; brother, Robert Blackmun (Shirlee), and sisters, Phyllis Parker and Gail Warner as well as generations of extended family and many friends.
During his successful career in dentistry, he found time to serve as president of both the Hollywood Dental Society and the Hollywood – Los Feliz Kiwanis Club as well as coach the Little League baseball teams in La Crescenta. He relished fishing in the Eastern Sierras with his Kiwanis buddies and regular golf games at the La Cañada Country Club. Gene’s sense of humor and love of family will be sorely missed.
Donations may be made to Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children or the Wounded Warrior Project. A memorial celebration of his life will be at a later date.
Irene Maria Olberz was born in Frankfurt, Germany, December 17, 1933 and passed away in her sleep due to a heart condition Monday, August 11, 2020. Irene was married to Norbert Olberz for over 51 years, also born in Germany.
Irene was well known in La Cañada for her 20+ years of competitive running. She formed a running Club in La Cañada called Runners in Motion. She ran mostly 5K’s, 10K’s, half-marathons and multiple full marathons. Her highlight came in 1992 when she broke the National Road Running Record for the age of 58 at the Long Beach Marathon with a time of 3:27 which we were all proud of. Running brought her to many interesting places including Hawaii and Germany. Once she was on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean and had to run hours of laps in preparation for an upcoming race on the top deck!
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Those who knew Sue Smiser were blessed to know a gracious and kind woman. She was talented in every way – beautiful and funny, a devoted mother, brilliant businesswoman and manager, and family matriarch who was incredibly generous and supportive.
Sue came from humble beginnings. Born in Malone, TX on Oct. 16, 1922, she was one of nine siblings raised on the family farm. Eventually, her secretarial skills led her to a position at the Army base in Harlingen, TX where she met and married her husband, Samuel L. Smiser. After Sam’s military commitment, they resettled in Bakersfield, CA where they established their trucking business and raised their family.
In 1970, as the business expanded, they relocated to the Pasadena area. One of the many groups they connected with and came to support was the San Gabriel Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Sam had attained the rank of Eagle during his time as a scout and Sue was the proud grandmother of three Eagle Scouts. Sam and Sue became major contributors to the construction of the council’s new scout center named the Smiser Scout Center in their honor. Sue continued to be a donor and board member for the council after she relocated to Coronado, CA.
Robert Russell “Buzz” Burner was born in Elko, Nevada, on Oct. 24, 1944, the 11th of 13 children born to Rose Hutchinson Burner and Carroll Harry Burner, from pioneering families in the area. He joined his Lord and Savior on June 27, 2020.
Buzz grew up in Elko, winning a basketball scholarship to the College of Idaho. His life was filled with athletics: lifeguard, basketball, baseball, football, track, swimming, water polo, golf, skiing and many other sports in high school and college.
After graduation, his first teaching position was at Truckee HS, in Truckee, CA. From there he and wife Debi moved to La Cañada where he spent 38 years teaching business, driver’s ed., physical education and coaching at La Cañada HS.
In 1972 he met Barbara Gregg at Mammoth. They married on 8/8/80 and moved to Newbury Park. There Buzz and Barbara established the Burner Real Estate Team. Along with real estate, Buzz continued to teach and was active in officiating water polo and swimming in Ventura County. In their spare time Buzz and Barbara could be found at many a wedding and Bar Mitzvah dazzling with their grace on the dance floor. They also became certified SCUBA divers, diving all over the world, from the Galapagos to Indonesia. They were avid skiers at their condo in Mammoth or in Whistler or New Zealand. Golfing and travelling filled up their spare time, as did walking the beaches in Coronado and Maui.
Buzz was active in the MLS, and especially in activities at Church on the Way, where he headed up golfing fundraisers for The King’s University. Buzz also enjoyed his time in Alaska fishing with Vince, Joe and brother Ted as well as fishing every year at Sheep Creek Reservoir on the Owyhee Indian Reservation with brothers and relatives.
He is survived by his daughter Kendall “Packy” Burner, two grandchildren — Brett and Blythe — two brothers, many nieces, nephews and cousins, plus the myriad of friends he made in the Conejo Valley, in La Cañada, and throughout the world.
Any memorials send to Crosstown Church, P.O. Box 2121, Thousand Oaks, CA 91358.
Ninety-four years is a long life, but for his family and friends who treasured his easy, fun, and engaging manner, contagious laugh, and his impactful presence in their lives, it was not long enough.
Bill Porter worked in La Cañada Flintridge for 30 years as a teacher and administrator in the La Cañada Unified School District. He was a teacher at La Cañada Elementary, a counselor and a vice principal at La Cañada Junior High and a dean and interim principal at La Cañada High School. His favorite position though, was running the La Cañada Continuation School and helping “at risk” students. Many students who graduated from Continuation credited his encouragement and support for obtaining their diplomas. Mr. Porter was known by colleagues and students for his integrity and willingness to go the extra mile to help others. Prior to teaching, Mr. Porter worked for the Pasadena YMCA as Activities Director. He loved sports and working with young people.
Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, he moved to Pasadena, California, after serving in the U.S. Navy, joined by several close friends from Akron. While attending Pasadena City College and assisting the football coach there, he met and fell for Carolyn Chadwick whom he was married to from 1949 to 1968. They had four children who were grateful that Bill and Carolyn remained close friends.
Still working for LCUSD, he moved back to Pasadena for a number of years where he met Catherine Lieber, who became his wife in 1984 and was his “angel” for the rest of his life.
In 1995 they moved to Las Vegas, again joined by his life-long friends from Akron and a few from Pasadena. Forming a tight knit group, they enjoyed their retirement years together, partaking in all of their favorite activities and sports.
Bill leaves behind his beloved wife of 36 years, Catherine; his children: Holly Christos, Bob Porter, Sandy DeLapp, and Cindy Faulkner and their spouses; and the mother of his children, Carolyn Porter. He had seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He also leaves a step-brother, James Porter and his wonderful in-laws, the Lieber Family.
He was predeceased by his only sister, Geri Ward, and his son-in-law, Peter Christos.
Bill Porter will be interred as a Veteran in a private ceremony.
Sally Samuelson lived a long and wonderful life. Born in Salem, Oregon on June 1, 1926, only child of James Morton Reid and Sarah E. Reynolds, she made California her home at a young age. Moving to Long Beach as a child, she experienced the earthquake of 1933, and went onto to live in Los Angeles County for all the years thereafter. Sally lived in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge for more than 55 years with her husband, Jack Samuelson, before moving to Royal Oaks Manor, a senior community in Duarte. She was an active community and church member. She joined the La Cañada Presbyterian Church in 1952 where she served as an elder, was responsible for family church dinners and knit hats and scarves for Operation Christmas Child.
Residing in Los Angeles, Sally graduated from Dorsey High School in 1944 and traveled, across town, to attend Occidental College (Class of ’48) where she received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and was an active member of the Delta Sorority. She met Jack, a fellow Math major, at Oxy and they were married in August, 1948. Sally continued her education at USC where she received a Masters and became an Algebra teacher before raising a family.
Married for nearly 72 years, family, faith and friends were at the center of Sally and Jack’s life. Sally spent her marriage supporting Jack in his business endeavors and caring for their family. Together, they built a family of 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, along with spouses, totaling 39. Always on the go, Sally was an active and energetic lady. She and Jack traveled the world, visiting over seventy countries during her lifetime, and loved their weekends at the beach and desert. She was an avid golfer and a loyal Dodger and USC fan; enjoyed bridge, reading and crossword puzzles. Known as “Mama Sally” to her family and friends, she took joy in spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, celebrating holidays together and summers boogey boarding right alongside them.
Sally Reid Samuelson, a strong and caring wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, passed peacefully at home on July 14, 2020 at the age of 94. Survived by her husband Jack and sister-in-law Doris Samuelson, son Reid (Joyce) Samuelson, daughter Lisa (Chuck) Paugh, daughter Laura (Kevin) Murphy and son David (Michelle) Samuelson along with her eight grandchildren: Heather (Carl) Dene, Lauren (Patrick) Elliott, Todd (Palin) Samuelson, Holly (Matt) Krivos, Brad (Shannon) Paugh, Kayley (Tom) Danielson, Torre (Joe) Berro, Conor Murphy and thirteen great-grandchildren. She will live on in the hearts of her family and friends forever. A private service commemorated her life and passing at Forest Lawn Glendale. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Beacon Housing, 5000 Edenhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039.
Long time La Cañada Flintridge resident Katherine Skandale passed away peacefully at her home with her two loving daughters by her side, on Saturday, June 13, 2020, at the age of 92. She was preceded in death by her husband George.
Katherine will be remembered for her beautiful smile, bold personality, zest for life, her never-ending love for her two daughters, and her brown hair that never turned gray. She touched so many with her thoughtful and kind gestures, whether it be a lunch, a card or a specially blessed candle and cross. Those who knew Katherine knew she never ended a conversation without the words “love you.” She wanted you to know how much you meant to her.
Katherine had an open and loving heart and stayed in touch with all her relatives throughout her life. There were trips to San Francisco, Stockton and San Diego to spend time with dear family and friends. A highlight of the year was driving to Northern California with her daughters to celebrate their traditional “Big Fat Greek Thanksgiving” with all her nieces and nephews.
Katherine was born August 21, 1927, in Stockton, California. She graduated from San Francisco State in 1949 with a degree in elementary education. Katherine received her first teaching job in rural Calaveras County. She taught kindergarten through 8th grade in a one-room school house. When she was 25 years old, she was accepted by the United States government as a teacher of American children of Army personnel in Ulm, Germany. She visited over 12 different countries and had a beautiful doll collection detailing her travels. She treasured those memories and talked about those experiences her entire life.
Katherine’s teaching career spanned over 40 years. She retired in 1991 from the Los Angeles Unified School District, looking forward to the next chapter of her life.
Katherine met her loving and devoted husband George in Modesto at the groundbreaking of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. They were married on February 15, 1959, in Stockton. And celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2009. In 1966 George, Katherine and the girls moved to Katherine’s beloved home in La Cañada Flintridge where she resided for 54 years. She is survived by her two adoring daughters, Elizabeth and Helen Skandale, who were her greatest joy.
Katherine was a member of St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Pasadena and St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church in Stockton, California. Katherine’s life was centered around the Pasadena Greek Orthodox Church and community where she made many lifetime friendships. She was a member of the St. Anthony Philoptochos for over 50 years. Katherine was a Sunday school teacher and an active member of Bible study. She also started the VIP (senior group) at St. Anthony. For many years she chaired Granny’s Attic for the annual Greek Festival. She was a 50-year member of the Daughters of Penelope. Katherine and her family were active members of the Southern California Cretan Association. She was also a member of the Pasadena Women’s Connection Stonecroft Ministries, in La Canada.
Services were held at Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Pasadena. The family has requested donations in Katherine’s honor be made to St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church or St. Anthony Philoptochos.
Mildred A. Powell (Millie), a 55-year resident of La Cañada Flintridge, passed away at home in her sleep on the morning of August 1, 2020, at the age of 97. Born on October 14, 1922, in Bakersfield, CA, she graduated from Taft High School in Taft, CA, in 1940, where she played the stand-up bass. She served in the Navy Waves during World War II and later obtained her pilot’s license, flying several solo flights. On June 1, 1947, in Coalinga, CA, she married her husband of 62 years, Robert (Bob) Powell, who preceded her in death in 2009.
Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Southern California, where they raised their four children, Bill (Manique), Kevin (Laura), Bob (Fabiola), and Lenore. After years at home serving as a devoted wife and mother, Millie worked for a time at the Hollywood Bowl and then as a secretary for the Director of Development at St. Francis High School in La Cañada in the 1970s and ’80s.
Millie and Bob spent many years square dancing with the Stumblebums and were also wonderful ballroom dancers. Millie enjoyed a lifetime of playing Bridge, including at the Thursday Club and at St. Bede, vacationing with extended family, and long friendships with other La Cañadans, the Brodheads, Middlebrooks, Foleys and Sirokys, among others.
Millie is survived by her sister Barbara, her four children, 12 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.