Elwood C. Renshaw

April 26, 1922 - January 12, 2018

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Elwood C. Renshaw of Downey, California, died January 12, 2018 at the age of 95 years. Elwood was born April 26, 1922 in Huntington Park, California. He met his future wife Annie when he was 15 and she was 14. They both attended Huntington Park High School in the same class and they graduated in the summer of 1941. Elwood enlisted in the Army/Air Force shortly after and served honorably. After being discharged, their relationship resumed on a more serious level and they were eventually married September 8, 1946 in Huntington Park at St. Matthias Catholic Church. In 1950, they moved to Downey where they lived until the present. Annie went to heaven on April 26, 2008. And now Elwood has joined the love of his life almost 10 years later, having missed her intently every day during this last ten years. Elwood and Annie continue to set the standard in the family and community for genuine marital love and commitment.

Elwood worked for 35 years for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph retiring in March of 1981. After retirement he enjoyed golfing, playing bingo, visiting Pechanga, traveling occasionally, hanging with his buddies at the donut shop, spending regular time with family, and generally enjoying the many blessings he had in life.

He is survived by his three sons, Mike of Washougal, WA and his wife Chris, Patrick of Downey, CA, and Dan of Cle Elum, WA and his wife Debbie; his two sisters, Ellen and Mickey, his grandchildren Christi, Brandon, David, and Adam; great grandchildren Christopher, Bella, Mia, Rocco, Daniel, Jordan, Asher, and Olivia; as well as many, many beloved nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and cousins.

A memorial service will be held for Elwood on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 3:00 pm at Calvary Chapel Downey, 12808 Woodruff Ave., Downey, CA 90242 located at the corner of Imperial Hwy. and Woodruff. Call 562-803-5631 for directions.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Calvary Chapel Downey, 12808 Woodruff Ave., Downey, CA 90242, in memory of Elwood Renshaw.

Letter to the Editor: Downey fails on setbacks for new housing

Dear Editor:

I enthusiastically endorse the idea of amending the Downey zoning code to look (again) at lot-splitting and mansionization.

It's apparent to me that the current code utterly fails to maintain the scope and character of neighborhoods, and you can see that failure any time you drive down a street of approximately 2,500 sq. ft. homes, only to find a 6,000 sq. ft. McMansion sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of it. (I can't help but wonder what those McMansions do to the property value of the homes next door.)

In addition to overall size, zoning requirements routinely fail on setbacks. It's bad enough that two-story homes are being built that are literally more than twice the size of the surrounding homes, they also loom over the sidewalk and their closeness to the pavement makes it impossible to plant trees, install landscaping, and in general ignore the two-story entrances that I personally find to be their most unattractive feature. 

Lack of setbacks, by the way, seems to be a common failing. I see that problem everywhere, including the townhome development on Paramount Boulevard, and with commercial buildings on multi-lane boulevards. Lack of setbacks means meager sidewalks, and no trees, creating a landscape that can only be charitably described as "bleak." 

So if there's a way I can encourage a study to be conducted revisiting these issues, please count me in!

Joan Niertit

Letter to the Editor: Impressed with Grocery Outlet

Dear Editor:

I have lived in Downey for 30 years. I try to shop within our city and use mom and pop stores whenever possible.

I recently tried Grocery Outlet and was impressed. Not with the prices (which were great) but with the staff.

The young lady at the register greeted me when I walked in, people stocking were courteous as well. I made my purchases and left. I could not believe the customer service. So I challenged it.

I have now been there on four separate occasions: early in morning,  afternoon, evening and right before closing. I have never had the same cashier twice. The customer service has been the same -- kind and courteous customer service. Front the front of the store to the back.

Thank you, Downey, for an excellent store like this. 

Denise Juarez

Crime Report: Jan. 15, 2018

Saturday, January 6: 
At about 6:00p.m., officers located a stolen vehicle on Firestone Blvd. near Ryerson Ave. Both driver and passenger were arrested after admitting to the theft.

Sunday, January 7:
At about 12:35 a.m., officers responded to 8206 Firestone Blvd. (DB Lounge) regarding an assault. When two female victims returned to their booth, two other females were sitting down in the booth. When the victims asked the females to get up, one of the females struck both victims on the head with a bottle. The females fled prior to police arriving. The victims sustained contusions and were treated by the Downey Fire Department at the location. Detectives are investigating.

Letter to the Editor: Alzheimer's is a public health threat

Dear Editor:

It is time we change our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease.

Too often Alzheimer’s is treated as an aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of the disease. In fact, there are 630,000 Californians who are struggling with Alzheimer’s, and those numbers are sure to go up.

Both my grandmother and my father battled this horrific disease and I am well aware of the devastating emotional and financial effect it can have on a family.

Congress has a chance to take decisive action passing the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256). This act would create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the U.S. costing the country more than $259 billion a year. If we are going to end Alzheimer’s disease we must start treating it like the public health threat it is.

I am hoping Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard will continue her practice of advocating for issues of importance to seniors and will support this bill.

Bruce McDaniel

Letter to the Editor: Lakewood Boulevard in embarrassing shape

Dear Editor:

Downey is a great city with a lot to be proud of. The city has plenty to offer to its residents and visitors, such as the oldest McDonald’s in the U.S. off Florence Avenue and Lakewood Boulevard. 

But the roads to get to the landmark and other locations along Lakewood Boulevard are full of bumps and potholes. 

Because of poor road conditions, residents and visitors are disappointed by the lack of attention Lakewood Boulevard receives. 

“While driving under the 5 overpass, I felt so many bumps that I pulled over to check if I had a flat – luckily I did not,” said Memo Olarte, a visitor from Chino Hills. 

“It’s unsettling going under that overpass,” said Norma Olarte, of Downey. “I feel like my car is breaking down sometimes.” 

As indicated by the 2012 article “Budget Deficit Forces Tough Decisions” published by The Downey Patriot, there have been some improvements to the roads, Florence Avenue and Studebaker Road to be exact. Since the roadway improvements, those streets have been a non-bumpy ride while within the Downey city limits. 

Therefore, it is time that Lakewood Boulevard receive the same treatment so that the roads can be a more comfortable drive and to make Downey better than before.

William Burgess


Paging Dr. Frischer: Advances in diabetes

More than one in every 10 adults in the United States has diabetes. I repeat: more than one in every 10 adults has diabetes. That comes to 29 million Americans, including some eight million who may be undiagnosed and unaware. 

It can be a devastating disease; monitoring, managing, and treating it is difficult, challenging, and costly. Thankfully, this is an exciting time with new advances in the field.


How does a healthy, diabetes-free body operate, and why is a properly functioning pancreas so important? Hormone levels (including insulin, glucagon, and others) rise and fall to keep our blood sugar (glucose) in a normal range. Normally, blood sugar levels rise after we eat. Cells in the pancreas then release insulin, enabling the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering blood sugar levels back to normal. 

Then, when blood glucose levels are low, the hormone glucagon is released from the pancreas and signals the liver to release glucose back into the blood.

For those with type-2 diabetes, the body builds up resistance to insulin and increasingly greater amounts are necessary in order to bring down blood glucose levels. As the disease advances, the pancreas produces even less insulin. 

With type-1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, and needs additional insulin injections to bring down the blood sugar levels. Type-2 diabetics often use non-insulin oral or injectable medications or, if that is not effective, insulin injections.

In 2016, the FDA approved the first artificial pancreas. This artificial pancreas is initially being used for Type 1 diabetics, with the more common Type 2 diabetics to follow. The device continuously monitors blood sugar levels and supplies insulin automatically when sugar levels get too high. 

There is constant communication between the monitoring and the infusion devices. The goal is to reduce high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) and minimize the incidence of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) with little or no input from the patient, and to allow a diabetic patient the opportunity to live a “normal” life!

Another recent potential advance in diabetes treatment is a digital contact lens. Patented in 2014 by Google, and in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Novartis, it measures blood glucose levels from tears. Microchip sensors are embedded between two layers of lens material, and a tiny hole allows tear fluid to seep into the sensor, which then measures blood sugar levels. 

A thin wireless antenna transmits the data to a phone app. When blood glucose levels approach dangerous levels, the app notifies the user to act by consuming sugar, injecting insulin, or contacting a physician. 

As with the artificial pancreas, it could eliminate the need to take blood samples (usually through a finger poke) several times a day, and could potentially greatly lower the cost of monitoring blood sugar levels.

We live in exciting times. Stay tuned for these and other advances in diabetes management. 

Dr. Alan Frischer is the 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.

Local artists to feature artwork at Downey Symphony concert

The theme of the Downey Symphony’s Jan. 20 concert is inspired by the masters of art, music, science and the written word.

Many of these masters have inspired our culture and ourselves in many difference ways through-out our lives, so we give them tribute.

These art shows with the concerts have been bringing the art community together in celebration. And our community has inspired Red Gayita, an artist from Westwood, who has worked in Downey for the past two years. 

Red has been a project manager on several construction projects in Downey, and works for one of the leading builders, Swinerton. Red is very excited to be part of the show, and says that “Downey has the best of both worlds; it has everything L.A. has to offer, with a small-town feel, and the people are really nice.” 

Wendy Hernandez created this art piece, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe.

Wendy Hernandez created this art piece, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe.

Not to mention, he is making it his personal mission to try all our wonderful restaurants for lunch.

Red has been painting for 20 years, and after having worked in Downey for a couple, is now ready to come join our local art community, and is welcomed with open arms. 

In conjunction with the Downey Arts Coalition, we have some other exciting new artists in this exhibit, starting with Wendy Hernandez, with an original art piece that is inspired by the famous writer Edgar Allen Poe. The piece itself is an original work made using the artist assemblage art style of found objects such as bike chains, gears and other metal objects then covered with a resin to finish the piece. 

The piece includes a photograph of the writer himself and a quote from him as well inside of a heart. 

With the materials used in its creation the art work is given a steampunk appearance which adds uniqueness to the composition while also making it appear to be something from one of Poe’s writings. 

Other new artists include Haisi Xu, Lori Pond, Katie McGuire, and Mercedes Vasquez. 

We are honored to have back, Aia White Podue with acrylic on wood canvas painting called “Urban Color Blocks.” An original art piece inspired by modernist artist Gerogia O’Keeffe’s New York City Skyscraper series from 1925-1929. It is an original city of the artist’s own design that uses a variety of colors and sharp differences in light between the buildings and sky. 

Lindsay Yost with ceramic mosaic art piece called “Death Brings Life”. It is an art piece that is inspired by Pablo Picasso’s “La Vie”. The mosaic mainly focuses on the one female figure in the foreground of the original with the ceramics adding an elegant beauty that the original doesn’t. 

Other wonderful returning artists include Jorge Del Toro, Carolina Estrada- Del Toro, Amelie Simmons, Kristan Haitz, Lisa Maffia-Reynoso, Irina Karkov, Stephanie Snee, Preston Craig, T. An Lee, Isabel Acosta, and Esmeralda Villalobos.     

We wish we can go into detail about every one of these talented artists, but it’s always better to see it yourself and experience an amazing Symphony concert as well.     

Submitted by Pat Gil, board member with the Downey Symphony and president of the Downey Arts Coalition.

Robert Egan, longtime school psychologist, mourned

DOWNEY – Robert Egan, PhD, died Monday, Jan. 8, at Kaiser hospital in Anaheim following a brief illness.

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He leaves behind his wife of 65 years, Edna Frances Egan, his daughter, Janet, his sons, David and Patrick, daughter, Elizabeth, 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Born and raised in Indiana, the son of William and Grace Egan, he moved to Downey in 1960.
At the age of 16, he enlisted in the Marines and served during World War II, and re-enlisted to serve in the Korean War. His bravery was honored with a commemorative statue in his home state of Indiana.

After serving in the Marines, Robert continued his education earning a B.A., M.A., and PhD in Psychology. He served as District Psychologist for the El Monte School District for over 40 years.
Funeral services were held at White’s Funeral Home in Bellflower on Jan. 11. Graveside services are scheduled for Friday at Rose Hills.

Letter to the Editor: Secure Downey Cemetery

Dear Editor:

With vandalism occurring at Downey Cemetery for the second time in mid-January of 2018, these acts show similarities to those actions taken of September 2017, where the cemetery was vandalized for the first time. The acts of vandalism took place throughout the cemetery and caused damage to many old and historical tombstones. 

The City Council had no countermeasures presented nor did they place any to reduce the vandalism from happening again in the future. The cemetery is dated to have been established in the late 1860’s, making it an important part of Downey’s history, it must be preserved and should be prioritized and addressed by the City Council.

Simple measures to can be put into place to assist with the minimization and prevention of future vandalism, such as; active patrol of city police in the area, the temporary placement of sensor lighting, lastly a more effective but costly measure could be the hiring of a night guard to provide deterrent and act proactively rather than reactively.

Alexis Larios


Henry Lee

May 20, 1915 - January 2, 2018

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Long time resident Henry Lee passed away Tuesday January 2, 2018 of natural causes at his home in Downey. He was 102 years old and lived in Downey for over 60 years.

After a tour in the Civil Conservation Corps, Henry left Mississippi in 1941 and came to California seeking a better life for his family. He worked in the Defense Industry during the 1940’s and 1950’s and in 1956 he founded his own company, Lee’s Manufacturing Corporation. He designed and built motion machinery for electrostatic painting equipment used in the automotive and appliance manufacturing industry around the world. He was an innovative designer and held several patents on his work.

A Mason and lifetime member of the Elks, he was an avid bowler and golfer who when he retired in 1994 at the age of 79 became a familiar sight at the Rio Hondo Golf Club where he was a member for years. He is survived by his wife Joan, his son Jack and his loving grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Miller Mies Downey Mortuary 10229 Paramount Boulevard, Downey, CA 90241 on January 20th at 11am.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to CCC Legacy P.O. Box 341 Edinburg, VA 22824. Memo: Henry Lee Memorial

Lowell “Dude” Farris

February 15, 1929 - December 24, 2017

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Entered into this life February 15, 1929. Entered into eternity December 24, 2017

Lowell was born in Ft. Worth, Texas, the youngest of the children. Eventually the family moved to Emory, Texas. He enjoyed living in this rural farm area where he could ride his horse “Dan” to school.

He would later follow his brother “Jimmie” to California to go to work. He worked for Chrysler for over 30 years. After retirement he worked for the Downey Schools.

In 1955 Lowell and his wife Dolores moved to Downey where they lived and raised their family. Although “Dude” lived in the city, he still enjoyed the outdoors. He frequently would take his sons hunting, fishing, and camping.

Always with a smile, usually sharing a joke or funny story, our father was a good hard working, God fearing man who was well loved and will be missed.

He was married for over 65 years when his wife passed away earlier this year. They are survived by their three children Lola, Randy and Arl, and their spouses and children.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Operation Smiles or Fred Jordan Mission.

Shared Stories: Square dancing at Seattle's World Fair

Belle Fluhart has a special memory from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair when her southern California square dance club traveled north and danced on an aircraft carrier.  (A “squaw” dress, also known as a “fiesta” dress, originated in Tuscon in the 1950s and was popular among square dancers.) 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 Belle Fluhart

My husband George and I were avid square dancers.  We had danced with three other couples for years. The men all worked for U.S. Motors.  We had joined a club for the first time, The Reel Heels.

When we learned that the World’s Fair was to be in Seattle, George’s home town, we began planning to go up for the fair.  We planned to take George’s mother.

Our square dance friends wanted to go with us. We all decided we would travel together with trailers.  The fourth couple had three children. Ray asked if they could bring the children.
I said, “This is the opportunity of a lifetime. You wouldn’t want to leave them home!”  Another couple had two children also and were bringing them.

Ray had been looking for a trailer to rent that would sleep the five of them, and found one.  It was privately owned and the family would have the trailer, and the club cab truck to pull it with, ready to go when we were ready.

George and I owned a beautiful six-acre property in Alderwood Manor (about 16 miles north of Seattle).  It had rolling hills, huge evergreen trees, and a salmon creek.  We had always camped on our property each time we drove up.

I told the neighbors in Alderwood that we were coming up for the World’s Fair.  There would be four cars and trailers on our property.  I asked them to check with the volunteer fire department to ask if we could have an open fire outside.

The answer came back saying that the volunteer fire department was so excited about our coming up that they were overseeing the creation of our wagon train camping area.  And, so that the neighbors would not have a big water bill, they had filled a tank with water, with a hose and faucet, for us.  They brought a trash can and had also built a fire circle of rocks, so all was ready for us.

On an earlier trip, I had seen a big sign on a billboard that said, “Come square dance with us at the Old Red Barn.”

I wrote saying that we were four couples who were coming up for the World’s Fair, and would be camping out on our property on Poplar Way.  We would like to visit them and square dance at the Old Red Barn.

The answer came by return mail. They were excited that we were coming and asked the dates that we would be there. Our trip was for two weeks and I said we’d be there the last weekend.  This would be after we had done the planned activities at the fair. They replied that the square dance would be Saturday night, and sent a map showing how to get to the Old Red Barn from Poplar Way.

I had done all of the planning for the trip and told our girls that “We don’t want to out-dress these ladies and suggest that we each take a squaw dress.  Don’t forget your petticoats and dancing slippers!”  The men everywhere dress about the same – western pants, boots, and western shirts and ties.

We arrived Saturday evening at the Red Barn and our four couples danced the first dance. Then the caller said, “Now let’s break up this California square.  Let’s get acquainted with these folks.”

A man came all the way across the room and grabbed my hand.  After that first dance, he just kept hold of my hand.

After the next dance, he said, “Are you coming tomorrow?”

I said, “What’s tomorrow?”

He said, “There’s a flat top (aircraft carrier) anchored in the bay and there will be square dancing on deck from 9:00 am all day and into the night, a long as there are square dancers.”

I said, “I’ll go ask the rest of my group.”

Sunday morning at 9:00 am the eight of us walked aboard the flat top and were greeted by the Red Barn dancers.  The man I had danced with the night before came over and asked if we knew a certain, very complicated, very beautiful square dance.  I answered, “Yes.”

As part of this dance, each of the men grabs onto the next man’s wrist on each side, and the girls hold onto the next girl’s wrist on each side.  At the call, the four men stretch their arms out as far as possible, dance around in a circle with the girls on their arms.  They swing the girls until the girls’ bodies are flying out with their feet way off the floor and their skirts flying out in the air.

This man said, “I’m a guest caller.  Each caller is allowed to call one dance.  But I asked if I could call one dance for the Red Barn group and one for the Southern California group.  And, I have permission to do so.”

He made the announcement and said that he was calling this dance for the Southern California square, “but anyone who knows this dance, feel free to join in.”

Two other squares joined us, but the first time we girls took to the air, the other two squares backed out.  Everyone applauded.

Someone asked if it would it be the same if we were not with our partners.  I told the men across from each other to trade places so that all four couples would be different.  Then we did the dance again to a thunderous applause.  

As soon as we were finished, the caller said, “You Red Barn dancers get over there.  Don’t let our guests get away.”

A wall of people came toward us and we square danced all day and afternoon until it was time to go back to camp and have dinner with our families.

We had a wonderful time, we had square danced to our heart’s content, and now we were going home.

Letter to the Editor: Culture in the newspaper

Dear Editor:

The closing of one year and the opening of another stimulates much introspection and appreciation. It is natural to mark milestones with gratitude. 

As a cultural enthusiast, I would like to acknowledge two people whose efforts make The Patriot a community treasure: Lorine Parks and Carol Kearns. 

Both these women work countless hours every week to make this newspaper a relevant counterpoint to the barrage of media nonsense offered from other outlets. We should thank them regularly. 

While poetry and personal writing may not seem like “news” or political discourse, it is exactly the work these women present each week in the newspaper that brings the big issues home to our own lives. 

Thank you to Lorine Parks and Carol Kearns for their hard and true work, and The Patriot for offering them a venue to enrich us all. 

Roy Anthony Shabla
Director of Collections, Downey Museum of Art