Warren Heer

August 15, 1925 - September 6, 2017

Heer, Warren George, 92, of Mission Viejo, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. He was born August 15, 1925 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He spent his youth in the Midwest before joining the Navy in 1943. While an Officer in the Navy, he attended and graduated from Cornell University in 1946. Gloria and Warren Heer were married on June 18, 1949 in Yuma, Arizona. Warren was very active in both civic and political groups, in Downey and Mission Viejo including California Association of Parks and Recreation Commissions, Free and Accepted Masons and the Elks Lodge. After working briefly in Aerospace, Warren worked for the County of Los Angeles Road Department as a Civil Engineer until he retired in 1985. While working at the Road Department, Warren attended USC, where he received his Masters Degree in Public Administration in 1969. Warren is survived by his daughter Linda O’Connor of Mission Viejo; his son George Heer, his daughter-in-law Melissa Heer and two granddaughters, Megan Wooldridge and Allison Heer all of Rancho Santa Margarita.

Services will be held at Fairhaven Memorial Services on Saturday, September 23rd at 2:00 pm in Mission Viejo.

Financial Partners board member Earl Washington passes away

DOWNEY -- Financial Partners Credit Union has announced the passing of board member Earl Washington. 

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Washington was elected to the Financial Partners Credit Union’s board of directors in 2000 and served as chairman for the last 15 years.

He was a staunch credit union supporter and dedicated member advocate. During his tenure, the credit union nearly tripled in size, growing from $456 million to $1.3 billion, while transforming into a technologically progressive organization with a clear focus on member value.

“Earl was a great mentor, partner and dear friend,” said Nader Moghaddam, president and CEO, Financial Partners Credit Union. “His keen strategic mind, passion for excellence and collaborative leadership was an inspiration to us all. We were fortunate to have such a gifted and engaged executive join our board. He will be missed.”

Prior to joining the board, Washington was the senior vice president, marketing & communications at Rockwell International – a Fortune 500 company. Over the span of his career, he was recognized several times as one of the “40 Most Powerful Black Executives” in corporate America by Black Enterprise magazine.

In addition to his volunteer work at Financial Partners Credit Union, Washington served on the board of Citrus Valley Hospital; the board of trustees at Harvey Mudd College; and the leadership board of directors of the Multicultural Institute, among others.

Washington leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Brenda, their three children and grandson. 

Eleanor Ruth Wesson

April 1, 1920 - August 27, 2017

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Eleanor Ruth Wesson, age 97, of Elliston, VA, passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday, August 27, 2017. She died of natural causes. She was born April 1, 1920, to Anne & Roy Campbell, in Phoenix, AZ. She never liked her first name and instead went by Ruth to family and friends. She had two brothers Richard “Dick” Campbell and Roy Campbell Jr. Ruth loved movies, live music and dancing. She was drawn to the brother of one of her friends because he was a sharp dresser. Ruth married Wiley “Stan” Wesson in 1940 and moved to Los Angeles, California. They raised five children and built their home in Downey. An early example of an independent woman, she returned to school at the age of 42 to become a registered nurse. She graduated from Long Beach City College in 1964. She worked for more than ten years at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in LA County (now Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center). As head nurse, she oversaw more than 2,000 patients in critical care and those with spinal cord injuries. In 1970, her husband Stan died of cancer at the age of 56. Ruth became actively involved in community theatre and served on the Downey Children’s Theatre Administrative Council and Associates. A gifted seamstress, she designed costumes for many theatrical productions. In 2001, she moved east with her daughter and son-in-law to the Washington, DC area. She enjoyed performances at the Kennedy Center and exhibits at the National Gallery of Art. In 2006, she moved to Elliston, VA. She enjoyed needlepoint, decorating, remodeling, traveling, and animals. Ruth loved literature and was a voracious reader; many times reading one book a day. She had an incredible talent for crossword puzzles and loved to cook. Her fudge was legendary. She was a wonderful storyteller, had an amazing memory and loved to laugh.

She is survived by her children Dawne Davis, Wiley & Lulu Wesson, Fred Wesson, Deborah Wesson, and Laura & Stuart Rawlings, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Downey Arts Coalition: http://www.downeyarts.org, Arrangements by Tharp Funeral Hume & Crematory, Inc.

Caroline “Etta” Marie Licht

May 25, 1934 - August 26, 2017

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Caroline “Etta” Marie Licht made her transition on Saturday, August 26, 2017. She was born in Los Angeles, CA on May 25, 1934 and was raised in Bell Gardens, CA where she graduated from Bell Gardens High School class of 1952. She was known by Etta, ET, Snookums, Etta Baby and Babunia (polish for Grandmother) and her (shall we say) distinctive laugh.

She is survived by Bob Briley (her love for over 30 years), her daughters: Claudia Licht, married to Michael Paul; and Carol (Licht) Gutierrez, married to Willie Gutierrez. She has 5 grandchildren: Christopher Gutierrez, Ryan Gutierrez and Jillian (Monico) Gutierrez,  Lara (Gutierrez) Marquess and Dylan Marquess; and one great-granddaughter Lorelei Gutierrez.

She resided for the last 30 years on Karmont Avenue located on the Downey/South Gate border. Here she watched out for her older neighbors, organized block get togethers, and started her own paper route by picking up and delivering the Downey Patriot. At last count she had 27 customers that she would deliver to each Friday.

She worked for 42 years with Bank of America as teller, New Accounts Officer, Escrow Officer and was a Supervisor in the Real Estate Service Center. Etta was an active member of many groups like; Calvary Chapel Downey, the South Gate Women’s club, Relay for Life, Stonewood Homeowners board, and Bank America Retirees organization.

A private family graveside service will be held. A community Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 9th at 2 p.m. at Downey First Christian Church 10909 New Street, Downey, CA 90241. In lieu of flowers it is requested that donations in her name be sent to: Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, D.C. 20090-6011

Dave “The Barber” Muñoz

July 31, 1947 - August 22, 2017

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Dave “The Barber” Muñoz of Dave’s Barber Shop passed away Tuesday, 8/22/17 from cancer. Long time golfer at Los Amigos and Rio Hondo Golf Course, and part time drinker at The Guardsman Lounge. He was a friend to many in Downey and will be missed.

Leroy W. Pabst

November 14, 1942 - June 4, 2017

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Leroy Pabast, at age 74, was called to the arms of His loving Savior, Jesus Christ. His services were held on June 10, 2017 and he was buried at Rose Hills, Whittier..

Leroy was a Lutheran school teacher for 40 years and a church organist and choir director for 51 years, serving His Lord in Missouri, Indiana and California. He spent 36 years in those capacities at Good Shepherd Luthern Church & School of Downey; he retired from teaching in 2004 and from his music responsibilities in 2016.

Leroy is survived by his wife, Mary; their two children and spouses David and Kimberly Pabst, and Susan and Mark Jennings, and four grandchildren. Also surviving are Leroy’s brother and sister-in-law Jerry and Derene Pabst, sister-in-law Maxine Pabst, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Leroy was preceded in death by his parents, George and Ruby Pabst, his brother Gene, and infant sister Georgia Mae.

Lorraine Colley

April 19, 1925 - August 2, 2017

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 On August 2, 2017, Lorraine (Laney) Colley danced off this earth into the arms of Bob, her loving husband of 71 years, who had been awaiting her arrival at Heaven’s gate since August of 2014.

Laney was born on April 19, 1925 at The Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, California. She was raised in South Gate, California by her parents who were both born on farms in Cherokee, Iowa. Her parents taught her how to garden, cook, sew and the meaning of hard work.

While attending South Gate High, she met the love of her life, Bob, at the local skating rink in South Gate at the age of 15. Laney was just 18 and Bob 19 when they were married on July 25, 1943 by Bob’s stepfather, Judge E.P. Woods, in his family home. Following a one-night honeymoon, Bob immediately shipped out for army boot camp and Laney went to work at Sterling Motors, proudly serving our country as a Rosie the Riveter. Bob loved her to the ends of the earth and spoiled her with his love.

After the war Laney and Bob built their first home in Downey, eventually moving three times within the city. After working in several prior jobs, Laney found a rewarding lifetime career as a court clerk. Being entrepreneurial by nature, Laney also enjoyed many side businesses. She bought and sold fixer-upper properties and in the early 1960’s one of the properties became the location of her dream business, “Lorraine’s Flowers and Gifts”.

Laney eventually combined Lorraine’s Flowers and Gifts with Saywell’s Florist in Downey. She was very proud to be the owner of Saywell’s Florist as it was the oldest flower shop in Downey, having first opened for business in 1925. Under her direction, Saywell-Lorraine’s Flowers designed award winning floral headdresses. After Laney and Bob retired, they both earned their teaching credentials and together they taught R.O.P. classes in Floral Design. it was their way of giving back to the community.

Laney was happy with her life all the way to the end. She had a “To Do List” any 92 year old would envy, including Golf Lessons, Bocce Ball, Computer Classes, and Vegan Cooking, Her list was endless with possibilities. Laney was a pistol and a kick in the pants all the way to her last breath!! She will be sorely missed by all who loved her and the lives that she has touched.

Lorraine (Laney) Colley is survived by her Daughter Linda; Son and Daughter-in-law Bob and Lawdra; Grandchildren Rob, Russell, and Liz; her Great Grandson Robin; along with many nieces, nephews and close family friends whom she considered family.

Viewing will be at Rose Hills Gate 1 in the Visitation Center on Friday August 25th, 2017 from 5:00pm - 9:00pm. Funeral Services will be held at Sky Rose Chapel at Rose Hills Gate 1 on Saturday August 26th at 1:00pm. A Graveside Internment service will be conducted immediately afterwards.

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Following the Internment, celebration of Laney’s life reception will be held at Rio Hondo Golf Course 10027 Old River School Road, Downey, CA 90240. If you plan on attending the reception, please RSVP with Linda at (562) 225-1000.

Jean Mary Beleckas

October 14, 1942 - August 15, 2017

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Jean was a Downey resident for 37 years; was an underwriter for Royal Globe Insurance Co. for 35 yrs; and the current president of the Downey Newcomers Club.

Survivors include: her mother Victoria Winter of Downey, CA, brothers Louis Winter (Janet) of Fredericksburg, VA., William Winter (Mary) of Cairo, GA. Niece Holly Joy Winter of Dumfries, VA, Nephews Michael Winter (Tina) of Buchanan, WV., James Winter (Kelley) of Monroe, NC., great nieces and nephews Nicholas, Mia and Angelina Winter of Buchanan, WV., Chase and Riley of Monroe, NC.

She was preceded in death by: her father John Beleckas of Brooklyn NY and her step father Edward Winter of Livingston NJ.

Visitation & Rosary will be held Mon Aug. 28, 4-7 pm at Miller Mies Downey Mortuary, 10229 Paramount Blvd. Downey, CA 90241.. Memorial Mass, Tues. Aug. 29, 10:30 am at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Her interment will be in Corinth, NY.

The family invites you to a luncheon following the mass at Miller Mies Downey Mortuary .

In Lieu of Flowers the family request a monetary gift in the name of Jean Beleckas to the “Living Help” fund in c/o of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 10727 So. Downey Ave., Downey, CA 90241.

Dr. Gerald Lee Coy

1943 - July 26, 2017

Doctor Gerald Lee Coy, passed away very peacefully, Wednesday July 26, 2017, at his home in Whittier, CA. He was with family and friends. He will be greatly missed by his mother, sister, nephew, friends, staff and all his patients. Dr. Coy was the founder and director of the CHER Foundation for almost 40 years, next year will be the 40th anniversary of the Foundation. His true passion in life was helping people, this was why he became a chiropractor and why he formed the CHER Foundation. Dr. Coy graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in June of 1965. He was a proud member of Delta Sigma Chi fraternity. He held many positions as teacher and administrator. He was past President of the Southern California Chiropractic College. He was an integral part of California 4 Life International, having written and published “Doctors Recommendations” a product suggestion book for common conditions. He was director of the Cher 4Life Clinic, administer for the CHER Foundation programs, teaching the benefits of 4Life Transfor-factor, and practicing his own personal Philanthropy. His accomplishments, achievements, awards, certificates, degrees, and recognitions are truly too numerous to name, and surely, we would not be able to list them all.

Dr. Coy was very clear in his instructions, there will NOT be a service, but there will be a “Celebration of Life” Saturday August 26th, at the Downey CHER 4 Life Clinic, 7444 Florence Ave, from 1-5pm. All friends, extended family, and patients please come and join in celebrating his life’s work. Please send some of your “best of times” photos so that we can share with all.

The CHER 4 Life Clinic is, and will stay open to serve the community, and the CHER Foundation will go forward to serve the public as the Public Non-Profit Charity it was conceived to be.

If you would like to make a contribution or donation in Dr. Coy’s memory, he requested that they be made to the CHER Foundation. His life’s work.

Pedro Chavez

June 29, 1948 - July 18, 2017

Pedro Chavez resident of Downey since 1994 passed away from complications due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) at home sorrounded by his family.

He leaves behind his wife Silvia of 45 years, two sons (Agustin and Daniel), two daughters ( Anna and Susana), six grandchildren ( Danny, Antonio, Aryana, Emma, Eric, and Adrian), best friend (Raul) ,Mother (Elodia) and 9 siblings.

He was an exemplary son, brother, uncle, husband, and father.  He enjoyed photography, jogging, camping, and off road dirt biking.  He also enjoyed reading, cooking, and spending time with his grandkids sports activities.

Memorial services taking place in Downey on Friday July 28th and Saturday July 29th.
He will be deeply missed by ALL.

Shirley A. Hershkowitz

January 15, 1924 - July 22, 2017

Shirley A. Hershkowitz, 93, died on July 22, 2017 in La Mirada, California following a short illness during which she showed great courage and spunk. She is survived by her loving son Eric Hershkowitz, and his wife Fran, and daughters Joan Fraley, Diane Hershkowitz, and Lisa Levin and her husband Steve, along with her cherished grandchildren Madeleine, Shaina and Brian Levin.

Shirley was born on January 15, 1924 in Southampton, England during the great European migration, to parents David and Florence Arons of Lithuania. At the age of two, she sailed with her family to the U.S. on the White Star Lines’ ship, the Majestic. Shirley, her parents, her brothers George and Harry, and sister Josephine, all now deceased, lived in Newark, New Jersey. She became a U.S. citizen in 1944 and married Bernard Hillard Hershkowitz in 1945. Bernie was a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served bravely in WWII. He worked as an engineer for North American Rockwell and died in 1987.

Shirley and family lived in Downey, California since 1956, where she was a member of Temple Ner Tamid, and was active as a volunteer at Downey Community Hospital, a Friend of the Downey City Library and a member of the Stonewood Mall Walkers. Shirley loved music of all styles and she had the greenest of thumbs. She never left the house without looking like a million bucks and was quick to endear herself to others with a wry quip or a sweet compliment. Shirley will be dearly missed by her family and friends.

Naomi Mae Ford

October 24, 1931 - July 2, 2017

Naomi Mae Ford died July 2, 2017. The youngest of four siblings, she was born to Clarence and Beata Hildreth on Oct. 24, 1931 in Redlands, Calif. Our beloved mother faithfully served the Lord to the end.

Through her life Naomi gave compassion and support to people in need that came into her life.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Raymond; sister, Dorothy; daughter, Carol and son, Timothy. She and her family remained close through the years with her sister, Carol and her husband, Bob and their children Kenneth, Kathy, Doug and Darlene, Dorothy’s children, Judy and Marilyn and their brother, Bill who passed in 2015. Naomi will leave a gap in the hearts of her surviving children, Laurie and Richard; her grandchildren, Becky, Richard, David, Rachel, Jacob, Joseph; their cousins, Jacob and Joseph Gunderson and great-grandchildren.

After graduating from Redlands High School, Naomi went to Azusa Pacific Bible College, taking music studies where she played piano and organ for the choir and enjoyed playing gospel hymns through her years.

Please sign theonline guest book at


Julie Konkol passes away at 94

Julie Konkol, resident of Downey since 1948, passed away from respiratory failure on July 4. She was 94.

Konkol was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1922.
She was active in St. Raymond’s Ladies Guild, Downey Newcomers Club, Campfire Girls and PTA while her daughters were growing up.
She retired from L.A. Trade Tech and traveled.
Her husband, Edward, preceded her in death. She leaves two daughters and their husbands (Laura and Paul Coble and Katherine and Billy Kruse) and five grandchildren – Elizabeth and husband Kurtis Hughes, Dr. Jeffery Coble, Jonathan Kruse, Sarah and husband Bryan Amarr and Brian Kruse.
A memorial service will be at Miller Mies on Friday, July 21 at 10 a.m. with a reception following. 

Santos Ortega

December 18, 1918 - June 26, 2017

Santos Ortega born December 12, 1918, outside of Holbrook Arizona, passed away Monday, June 26, 2017 at his home in Fountain Valley, CA. He was a resident of Downey since 1943 and was a lector at St Raymond’s Catholic Church for many years. Santos was a dedicated family man, who served in WWII with 31 successful missions as a bombardier. He is survived by his 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. Please refer to www.heritage-dildaymemorialservices.com for memorial information and charitable contributions, in lieu of flowers.

Rosa Medina passes away

Rosa Isela Medina, age 68, of Norwalk, passed away Thursday, June 29, surrounded by family after a battle with cancer. 

Rosa is survived by her husband, Juan Medina Sr.; her five children, Juan Medina Jr., Denise Velasquez, Arlinda Rodriguez, Isela Medina and Andrew Medina; and eight grandchildren. 

She was born in El Paso, Tex., on June 15, 1949 to Benjamin and Guadalupe Salgado. She had four brothers and one sister. 

Joan Eastburn Lingrey

Long-time Downey resident, Joan Eastburn Lingrey, passed away on June 21, 2017 at the age of 86.

Born in 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska to parents Fern and Glenn Eastburn, Joan spent her childhood in Seattle, Washington before moving with her family to Los Angeles, where she graduated from Dorsey High School in 1949 and attended University of Southern California. Joan met the love of her life, William (Bill) Lingrey, while still in high school; their relationship lasted for 70 years. Bill and Joan married in 1950 and moved to Downey in 1953.

A life-long volunteer, Joan enjoyed involvement in the Downey public schools where, among other positions, she worked in the Rio Hondo Elementary School library and served as president of the Warren High School PTA. She also volunteered with Meals on Wheels and spent 25 years as a Pink Lady with the Downey Regional Medical Center Auxiliary where she edited their newsletter. Her most satisfying involvement was with P.E.O., a philanthropic organization to which her mother, Fern, and daughter, Leslie, also belonged.

After Bill’s retirement, he and Joan joined Pacific Cruisers, a group of motorhome enthusiasts. Together, they enjoyed planning outings, traveling the country, and meeting interesting people. Joan was a caring, gregarious woman who went out of her way to ensure that old friends and new acquaintances alike felt “like family.”

Joan is survived by her husband, Bill; two sons, Steve (Debbie) Lingrey and Mike (Suzanne) Lingrey; grandchildren, Jon Lingrey, Lora Lingrey, Caitlin Lingrey, and Shawna Lingrey; sister, Ruth Rolin; brother, Jim Eastburn; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Leslie Ware.

Services will be private. Donations in Joan’s name may be made to Guide Dogs for the Blind (www.guidedogs.com).

Kenneth Jay Walsh

May 12, 1962 - June 10, 2017

Kenneth Jay (KJ) Walsh passed away Saturday, June 10th, 2017 at his home in Downey, CA. KJ was born on May 12, 1962 in Santa Monica, CA to Jerry Walsh and Janet (Hammeras) Walsh.

KJ enjoyed sharing his knowledge, and worked for over 20 years as a school teacher and administrator for LAUSD, where he developed teacher programs for science classes. He connected easily with all types of people, but especially children and animals and he always had numerous pets around him. After retiring from LAUSD he started his own business as a dog trainer. He enjoyed performing magic tricks, camping and fishing, cooking and playing pool.

KJ is survived by his wife, Gemma Walsh, his mother, Janet Walsh, his two brothers, Vince Brooks (Heidi) and Sean Walsh (Diane), and his sister, Cindy Flynn (Bruce) as well as his uncle and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Downey on Saturday, June 24th at 2:00 pm.

Kathleen Becker passes away at 90

Kathleen Becker, born Kathleen Merrick on Christmas day, 1926, passed away June 4 at age 90.
She was a loving mother, wife, friend, and belonged to many service organizations, including Soroptimist and American Association of University Women. She loved teenagers and worked with them at mark Keppel High School for 52 years, first as a physical education teacher, then as a guidance counselor, and ultimately as an assistant principal.
She was pre-deceased by her husband, Fred Becker, and her two sons, Ron and Cliff Becker. She is survived by her daughter, Janet Trippel, and her granddaughter, Sahara Becker.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Kay Becker to:
Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation
1004A O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129
Toll Free (US only): 86-Myotonic (866-968-6642)

Sheldon “Bill” Roy Strong

March 15, 1925 - May 4, 2017

Sheldon “Bill” Roy Strong, 92, passed away on May 4, 2017 at Downey Community Hospital (PIH) in Downey, California surrounded by the love of his family. He was born on March 15, 1925 in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

A memorial service will be held at Riverside Veterans Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside, Ca. 92518 at 11am on Friday, June 23, 2017. The family welcomes friends and relatives to join them for a celebration of Sheldon “Bill” Strong’s life following the service at his daughter, Gail Chafe’s house in Moreno Valley, Ca.

To view the whole obituary and leave condolences for Bill Strong visit online guest book at http://memorial.yourtribute.com/Sheldon-Bill-Roy-Strong/