Eustace P. Hetzel

September 19, 1917 - July 6, 2018


Eustace P. Hetzel, age 100, of Downey, passed peacefully on July 6, 2018. Born in Montana, raised in Missouri, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where he graduated in 1939 with a Bachelor’s in Aeronautical Engineering, and where he met Marguerite (Peggy) Brown, who he would later marry in Lima, Peru. He received a Master’s of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Caltech in 1940. A longtime resident of Downey, “Hetz” spent most of his career as a test pilot and chief flight test engineer for a variety of southern California companies, including, North American, Northrop, and Rockwell. His testing included the P61 Black Widow, the Northrop YB-35 Flying Wing, a deployable glider system for the Gemini capsule, and the F/A-18 Hornet. After retiring in 1978 he continued to be a private pilot late into his life. With his flying days finally behind him, he studied Russian and worked into his 90s translating Russian engineering periodicals into English. Hetz is survived by his daughter, Marguerite McClure, granddaughter Suzanne Pipkin and her husband, Mike, grandson Jef McClure and his wife, Lisa, great-granddaughters, Alison Pipkin and Katelyn Pipkin. He was a generous and considerate man, and his family and friends loved him dearly. The family requests that donations be made to KCET at, as Hetz enjoyed their programming and was a consistent donor over the years.

Patricia Lee Molinaro

February 8, 1932 - July 2, 2018

 Patricia (Pat) Lee (Byrd) Molinaro entered into the gates of Heaven, at age 86 on July 2, 2018. She was born on February 8, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois to Lillian A. Anderson and Richard P. Byrd. She is preceded in death by her parents and husband of 44 years, Thomas Molinaro; her sisters, Irma Brundage, Alice McClure and Lucille Nelson as well as her two brothers, Richard Byrd and Kenneth Byrd. Patricia is survived by three sisters, Clara Treblehorn, Barbara Fanberg, and Eleanor Byers, along with five children, Cynthia Roberts, Antoinette Sampson, Thomas Molinaro (Theresa) Julie Grabow and Frank Molinaro (Elba); eight grandchildren, Jennifer Shramek, Christine Cosato, Monica Molinaro, Melissa Molinaro, Alyssa Grabow, Vance Grabow, Sean Murphy and Ashley Grant; four great grandchildren, Tianna Cosato, Tavian Cosato, Jaden Cosato and Gavin Cosato. Patricia cherished her family, loved life, and was always there to brighten the lives of others. She taught preschool for many years and had many hobbies such as playing the piano, painting ceramics, and coloring pictures to name a few.

Patricia was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Downey, California for 56 years. Her strong, always present faith and positive spirit encouraged both family and friends alike. She will be greatly missed by her family and all who knew her. Visitation on Thursday, July 19, 2018, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM at All Souls Mortuary, 4400 Cherry Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807. Funeral Service on Friday, July 20, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 13200 Columbia Way, Downey, CA 90242 followed by burial at All Souls Cemetery, 4400 Cherry Ave, Long Beach CA.

Paging Dr. Frischer: Sunglasses


Summer is here, and with it, even more sun and its ultraviolet radiation.

We’ve gotten pretty good at using sunscreen to protect our bare skin from UV rays, right? What about our naked eyes? Here is what we all need to know about sunglasses.

In a recent survey, less than half of 10,000 Americans recognized the health benefits of sunglasses, and 27% reported never wearing them. Does it make sense to leave our eyes unprotected, when a host of conditions are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation? Some of the eye problems that the sun can cause include:

* Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens which makes what we see appear darker and blurry. Some 20% of cataracts are triggered by excessive exposure to UV rays, and the World Health Organization reports that approximately 900,000 people worldwide are blind due to cataracts.

*Macular degeneration, a result of damage to the retina that destroys central vision. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

*Pterygium, also called surfer’s eye, is a growth of tissue over the white part of the eye’s surface. This can alter the curve of the eyeball, leading to astigmatism.

*Skin cancers, which can be found on the eyelid. In fact, they are surprisingly common there, representing about 10% of all skin cancers.

*Photokeratitis, essentially a sunburn of the eye. Fortunately, it is temporary, and typically heals within 48 hours. It can be painful, and cause blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and the sensation of having sand in the eye.

So, this is why it is so important to protect our eyes from the harmful affects of UV rays! Now let’s discuss sunglasses. They are not all the same. They can cost very little, or quite a bit. How do we choose the right pair?

The most important thing to consider is that brand and price matter far less than does selecting a pair that blocks out both UVA and UVB radiation (UVB is actually more harmful than UVA). A pair is acceptable if it offers UV protection of at least 95%. 

Avoid sunglasses that are not labeled at all. Recently I visited a sunglass kiosk where there were no such labels, and was told that they had been removed to make the sunglasses look more attractive. Perhaps that was the truth, but nevertheless, I took my business elsewhere!

Consider that the ideal sunglasses are wraparounds, which protect us from UV rays coming in from the sides. And, note that even if your contact lenses have UV protection, wearing sunglasses is still important. Pay special attention to wearing them at higher altitudes where the UV rays are even more intense, and when you are near water or snow. Some medications can cause even greater sensitivity to light, including certain antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and diuretics.

Please get into the habit of wearing your sunglasses year-round. Cloudy days do not stop UV rays!  Please remember that children’s eyes are even more susceptible to UV rays. While you’re at it, throw in a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection. It can’t hurt!

Dr. Alan Frischer is former chief of staff and former chief of medicine at Downey Regional Medical Center. Write to him in care of this newspaper at 8301 E. Florence Ave., Suite 100, Downey, CA 90240.

Shared Stories: I Saw the Inside of Hell

Anthony Caldwell is one of the thousands who worked at the fabled Bethlehem Steel plant in Vernon.  Anthony’s graphic description of the process of making steel highlights the powerful forces required for this product so necessary to our way of life.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns.

By Anthony Caldwell
There has to be a heaven because I saw the inside of hell.  

In the 1970’s you could get a job doing anything. All you had to do was have the qualifications, or ‘lie’ about it. I got a job at ‘Big Beth’ – Bethlehem Steel in Vernon, California.

Bethlehem Steel recycled steel from scrap yards, junk yards, home products and the plant ran twenty-four hours a day.

On Vernon Avenue, cars waiting for trains or traffic lights to change had to roll up their windows to keep the heat out.  The plant sat right next to the street and the heat came from red-hot ingot cars coming out of the melt-ladle department.

My job with the maintenance department was to lube the equipment while it was working.  You had to be fast, unless all was locked-out (stopped).

We were on top of the red-hot heat ovens powered by natural gas and whose covers were made of bricks. If you had the bricks fail, well, goodbye! That didn’t scare me too bad.

But on top of the gantry crane, overlooking the electric, carbon-arc melting crucibles, the foreman called, “Hang on!  We have to make a dump into the melt. So stay put!”

The 50-ft. gantry crane started moving down the hundred-yard long dark, dirty building.  It picked up a dump container full of refrigerators, electric irons, pots, pans, and whatever junk steel was in it and went back to the electric melt-crucibles department.  

I looked over the side and my hand brushed the black, gritty slag – dust – over the side.  The top of the forty-foot wide lid raised up and moved with its hundreds of cables of copper wires and carbon arc electrodes swinging out of the way.

I looked down at the white-hot and red molten steel and slag.  The dump container opened its bottom and the contents poured into the molten brew.

Then all hell broke loose.  Explosions - red, green, purple, black, yellow - clouds like a storm enveloped us and the gantry crane!

Breathing the whirlwind of complete pollution was impossible!  You had to cover your face and your dust mask with anything handy. I did my best with paper towels and felt my skin react to many poisonous types of chemicals.

Finally the gantry crane moved away from the big pot and the lid swung back and closed. Then the cables started dancing, and the electric power returned.

The next day I asked for a transfer, and being denied, I quit on the spot.

Letter to the Editor: Magnolia tree

Dear Editor:

In Apollo Park is a Magnolia tree planted 67 years ago by the Old River School Mothers Club to commemorate the soldiers who gave their lives in the Korean War.

I’m not an arborist, but the tree (Magnolia grandiflora) is beginning to struggle for lack of adequate water. There are quite a few dead branches at the top of the canopy.

When they refurbished Apollo Park a few years ago, they added several rows of picnic tables in the vicinity of the tree and paved the entire area with crushed granite. The granite is practical, and looks nice in the picnic area, but they covered the entire area around the tree with seemingly no allowances for properly watering it.

The Magnolia tree is native to the wetter temperate forests of the southeastern United States. They withstand heat well but require regular watering in order to thrive in our dry climate.

Jack Russell

Letter to the Editor: Parochial schools

Dear Editor:

I read the article in the June 29 issue of the Downey Patriot talking about Downey history. My parents moved to Downey in 1946. I have resided in my home since 1967.

The article, written by Bobbie Bruce of the Downey Historical Society, mentioned that in 1948 there were two parochial schools in Downey. I was in the ninth grade in 1948 and lived in Downey and attended St. Matthias school in the ninth and tenth grades.

After consulting with a lady named Sade West (nee Kindness) and after asking her about the article, she thought as I do about no parochial schools in Downey that year. At the time, Downey and Bellflower were part of L.A. County. The cities were not incorporated at that time as I remember.

St. Raymond’s Church and school were not built until 1956. I think Pius X High School did not start until the 50’s sometime. St. John Bosco High was a boarding school; my parents could not afford to send me there.

I have not spoken with Larry Latimer or anyone about the article. I wonder if Bobby Bruce can enlighten me.

Robert Buckley

The Attack

The sun began to disappear, the evening air was cool and light. The wind blew the flowers lightly in the meadow which made everything so calm, so beautiful, so delicate. 

Yet I sat there and thought to myself: How can I take control? How do I stop this? How do I handle this? Will I just continue to gain pressure and allow my anxiety level to rise? How can I control my breathing? How do I allow this to happen without panicking? 

He put his arm around me as if to comfort me,  and suddenly my heart began to race. I felt the sweat begin to form at my hairline, the very thought of him getting closer made my breath increase.

With every breath, I felt my heart pound more and more; every inhale and exhale got faster and faster. My heart increased in speed; it felt as if it was going to beat right out of my chest. My mouth slowly dried up. With every breath, my eyes wandered somewhere else, yet they stayed glued to the floor.

I remembered the flowers, there were sunflowers that trapped over, multi-colored lilies, lupines, wildflowers, and foxtails. I could see the roots of each flower, how they are intertwined, causing there to be no path in the meadow, just flowers upon flowers. 


I took control of my breathing and my heartrate slowly decreased back to a normal speed. Suddenly I felt his eyes staring at me -- my stomach dropped to the floor, and my heart rate increased speed again. With my head still down, I slowly looked up at him.

He used his finger to lift my head, and stole a kiss; a deep, stern, yet refreshing kiss. His smooth lips brushed over mine, it felt like he had painted a picture with his lips, and mine were the canvas. It had instantly brought my heart rate to a normal speed. His touch of a kiss had calmed me.

After a while, he pulled away and stood up. He then gestured his hand toward me to help me up and walked me through the meadow, one hand wrapped around his, and the other traced the flowers as we walked. It was calm, cool and relaxed.

We walked through the meadow, through the forest, through our neighborhood, and to my front door. There at my door, he stood in front of me now he held both of my hands. He explained to me how he had a wonderful time with me.

front door.jpg

With that in mind, I began to take shorter breaths once again. My heart rate increased. My ears began to ring. With everything around me, I started to see double. His excitement, the thought of him, he had a good time with me....with me, excited me too much. I closed my eyes to try and take over my anxiety attack. 

I thought to myself: Learn, learn how to take control. Breathe, decrease heart rate, take control: the ringing in my ears turns to muffled noises. It felt like so much time has passed by when I heard something past the noise in my ears. 

The noise was him. He began to rub my arm and softly said, "Breathe, slowly, with me, in 1, 2, 3 out, 1, 2, 3 again, in, out, there you go." 

As he helped me take control, I thought:  How… How does he do it? How does he control it so well? How are his attacks minimized? How does he know how to cope with it so well? How does he know how to help me?

I know he suffers from the same disease. Yet he handles it so much better than me. Still, I am comforted by his touch, his voice, it now calms me, it now has a new effect on me. But at times it's the cause of my anxiety; I wonder what triggers and what calms? 

I continued to think and wonder, as half of me listened to him. He instructed me, calmed me. Finally, I was back to a normal heart rate. We talked about him picking me up again the next day for another picnic in the meadow. I agreed, which gave me a small increase in heart rate that I quickly took control over, with a squeeze of his hand.

He said goodbye, with a small kiss that was placed on my forehead. As he walked away, he waited to let go of my hand until our arms couldn't stretch any further. 


I stepped inside the house, closed the door behind me, leaned against the door, and slowly sank to the floor with a smile on my face. I recapped the day. Every moment replayed in my mind, the emotions sent my body into shock. My brain started to scramble. Breaths got shorter and my chest-recoils increased.

My eyes began to float and became heavy as I saw my mom run to me in despair. Trying... trying... she's trying.. to get... to get to me before I black out, almost reaching me before my eyes dropped and my head hit the floor. Before everything went dark…

Jennifer Martinez is young, new writer attending Downey High School. She hopes that you enjoy reading her story just as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Police investigating fatal shooting as murder-suicide (UPDATED)

UPDATED: The victim has been identified as 63-year-old Salvador Rivera. Police believe the woman -- Rivera's wife -- was the shooter.

DOWNEY -- A fatal shooting that occurred in Downey on Tuesday afternoon is being treated as a murder-suicide, investigators said. 

The shooting was reported at about 1:56 p.m. on the 12700 block of Samoline Avenue. Responding officers found a man and woman each suffering from at least one gunshot wound 

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics transported the woman to a local hospital where she is listed in critical condition. 

It's unclear who the shooter was but police said the incident appeared targeted. The shooting is being investigated as a murder-suicide.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Detective Ethan Roberts at (562) 904-2333.

Downey students find success at SkillsUSA Championships

DOWNEY -- Two career and technical students from Downey won one of the nation’s highest awards at the 2018 SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, Ky., on June 27-28.

Cristina Fuentes from Warren High School and Damian Vasquez, a Downey resident attending Schurr High School, were awarded a Skill Point Certificate in Esthetics and the high school gold medal in Mobile Electronics, respectively.

More than 6,300 students competed at the national showcase of career and technical education.
Students were invited to the event to demonstrate their technical skills, workplace skills and personal skills in 102 hands-on occupational and leadership competitions including robotics, automotive technology, drafting, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking.

Industry leaders from 600 businesses, corporations, trade associations and unions planned and evaluated the contestants against their standards for entry-level workers. More than 1,700 industry judges and technical committee members participated this year.

The SkillsUSA Championships is the largest skill competition in the world and covers 1.4 million square feet, equivalent to 20 football fields or 25 acres.