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 (

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

Funeral services set for Diana Klett

DOWNEY – Downey resident Diana Renee Klett, 68, passed June 5.

She was born March 14, 1949 to Eleanor and Thomas Hunter in Oakland. 

A viewing will be held Tuesday, June 13, from 5-9 p.m. at Rose Hills Mortuary - Hillside Chapel. The funeral is Wednesday, June 14, at 11 a.m. at the SkyRose Chapel at Rose Hills. 

She is survived by her husband, Jerry Lee Klett; sons John Klett, Ron Harmon, Jason Klett, Dustin Klett, Derek Klett, and Darren Klett;  grandchildren Autumn Renee Klett, Lincoln Klett, Leyla Klett, Jace Klett, Austin Klett, Kaitlyn Klett, Travis Klett, Madelyn Klett, Josh Klett, Dylan Klett, Cassidy Klett and expecting arrival of Levi Klett; and great grandchildren Aubree Renee and Aria. 

William A. “Bill” Curd

January 2, 1936 - May 19, 2017

William A. “Bill” Curd was born in Los Angeles on January 2nd, 1936. He attended Compton High School and Compton College. Bill married Ginger Wesseling in 1958. After college Bill enlisted in the United States Marine Corp and after completing his military duties, joined the Compton Police Department in 1960. He continued his law enforcement career as a Special Agent for the Standard Oil Company in San Francisco and was recruited to help open the Bell Gardens Police Department in 1970, when they took over for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. His police career continued until 1979 when he retired as a Lieutenant.

Bill was a member of the Downey Elks Lodge for over 50 years where he served as Exalted Ruler in 1978-79 and again in 1997-98, where he worked on many functions and charitable events in the community.

Bill passed away quickly, following a massive stroke on May 19th, in Texas with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife of over 58 years, Ginger, two sons, Billy Curd (Grace) and Marc Curd, three granddaughters, Katie Moore (Jeb), Brittney and Madison Curd and a great-grandson, Mason Moore

There will be a celebration of life for Bill on June 10th, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., at the Downey Elks Lodge. The family welcomes all who wish to attend to join them in saying a final farewell.


In Remembrance of Craig Bertch

(June 2, 1969 – August 13, 2016)

Two scholarships were given in remembrance of Dr. Craig Bertsch, a Downey Viking and former Principal of West Middle School. These scholarships were given to students at both Warren High School and Downey High School for high academic achievement and athleticism. These scholarships were sponsored by the Downey Administration Association and his children, Sage, Jayden and Sienna Bertsch. Dr. Bertsch grew up in Downey and graduated from Downey High School in 1987. At Downey High School, Dr. Bertsch was an all-around student, great athlete, and leader on campus. He was voted Most Valuable Water Polo Player in his Senior year. Dr. Bertsch later became a teacher, Vice Principal, and Principal of West Middle School where he touched the lives of countless students, staff, and parents. He then transitioned his career to the Fullerton School District where he became the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel. Dr. Bertsch was an incredible teacher, administrator and father. It is an honor to continue his legacy through these scholarships.

Former Downey police officer Michael Westray passes away

Michael Anthony Westray, 77, of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho passed away April 27 at the Schneidmiller House in Coeur d’ Alene surrounded by family and friends.

Mike, as everyone called him, was born to Vernon and Mary Alice Westray on Sept. 6, 1939 in Los Angeles. After graduating from South Gate High School, he joined the United States Navy and served his country for six years.

Upon completion of his engagement in the military, he became a police officer for the City of Downey and retired after 38 years of service.

Mike met Barbara Wade on Nov. 23, 1973 while working as a police officer. They were later married Feb. 21, 1976 in Hollydale. Together they lived in Downey where they raised their family. 

After retirement, Mike moved to north Idaho in 2004, settling in Coeur d’ Alene. He became a volunteer for the Coeur d’ Alene Police Department. 

In his younger years Mike enjoyed playing football, as well as speed skating, and riding dirt bikes. He was a member of the Huntington Park Jaycees, Bodie Chapter E Clampus Vitus, NRA, PORAC, and the OWLS.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years Barbara; two sons Matthew (Alice) Westray of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, Donald (Karleen) Wade of Vista Murrieta Calif.; one daughter Michelle (Timothy) Lipa of Coeur d' Alene; brother Peter (Linda) Westray of California; 10 grandchildren, Shelby and Jack Westray, Alyson, Mitchell, Derek, Devon Wade, Hannah Levinson-Lipa, Timothy, Morgan, Isabella Lipa; two nephews, , Richard (Kristina) Wade, and Ryan (Jennifer) Wade; two nieces, Laura Westray, and Melissa Westray-Olsen; four great-nieces, Rebecca, Victoria, Madison, and Riley; four great-nephews, William, Tyler, Jameson, and Charles; brother-in-law Richard (Arlene) Wade; sister-in-law Rosemarie Wade; and his mother-in-law Jeanette Wade.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents and son, Timothy Westray.

A celebration of life will be held Friday June 23, at 6 p.m.. at the Downey Elks Lodge.

The family suggests that memorials may be made to Downey Police Officers' Association at and Fire Memorial Foundation P.O. Box 1748 Hayden, Idaho 83835. Or you can also donate to Gifts From Riley foundation, please visit, and get more information regarding Mike's great-niece Riley.

Mel Baldivia was WWII veteran

DOWNEY – Mel G. Baldivia, a father, grandfather and great grandfather, passed away Saturday, April 29, at the age of 97. 

He was born May 24,1919 in Calvillo, Mexico. He served in WWII as part of the USMC First Division Marines stationed in the Pacific. 

He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Theresa, and is survived by his daughters Barbara Rood, Pat Baldivia and son Robert David Baldivia, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren. 

A rosary and visitation was held May 17, with chapel services May 18 at All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach.

Grace Wormer

August 25, 1930 - May 2, 2017

Grace Wormer of Ontario CA died on May 2, 2017 of complications from a massive stroke and pneumonia, in hospice care at Inland Christian Home. She was 86, having been born Gretha Cornelia Tientjes on August 25, 1930 in Utrecht, The Netherlands to Bernardus and Grietje de Ruiter-Tientjes.

Grace grew up on a tennis club in Zeist where her father strung tennis racquets by hand, and her mother served concessions from the kitchen of their home attached to the clubhouse. As WWII broke out in Europe, Grace and her brother climbed a tree to watch the German Luftwaffe bomb the village behind them, and she would gather food scraps from German soldiers occupying a nearby school. Her father worked for the Dutch underground, and her parents sheltered defectors from the German military and Allied soldiers. After the war, Grace excelled in the “Household School” and became an accomplished cook and seamstress. She created abundant needlework in crochet, knitting, counted cross stitch, hardanger, tatting, and later quilting. Grace taught kindergarten before marrying the love of her life John Wormer on November 7, 1956. Three months later, the newlyweds began a new life in America working together for a wealthy La Jolla CA family with John working as chauffer/gardener/butler and Grace as cook/maid/governess. John and Grace became naturalized US citizens, moving 13 times their first two years in San Diego accommodating four of John’s six brothers whose emigration from Holland they sponsored, again after the births of daughters Lucie and Peggy, and then to Bellflower/Lakewood for 27 years. The family was very active at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Downey, where in 1971 Grace returned to her love of teaching at the church’s school. She taught a combination 1st/2nd grade class for 18 years, and her retirement money tree was spent chiefly on Legos to play with her six grandchildren. Grace also taught Sunday School, led Girl Scouts, and was a Youth Group leader with John. Later, John and Grace lived in Chino for 5 years and happily enjoyed retirement in Escondido for 6 years. After losing John in 2001, Grace moved to Inland Christian Home and joined Peggy’s Sew Blessed Quilters ministry, where she was loved by many and known by them all as “Oma” until being called Home to be reunited with her beloved John.

Grace was preceded in death by her husband John in 2001.  She is survived by her children Lucie (Tracy) Woolery of Chico CA and Peggy (Bill) Pearson of Chino CA; brother Ben Tientjes of New Zealand; sister Ina van Breemen of The Netherlands; 6 grandchildren: Jason Pearson, Cody Pearson, and Ty Pearson of Ontario; Shaina (David) Garcia of Menifee; Evan (Rebekah) Woolery of Los Angeles; and Alex Woolery of Chico; 6 great-grandchildren; 5 sisters-in-law; 4 brothers-in-law; 19 nieces and nephews; 28 great-nieces and nephews; and 6 great-great-nieces and nephews.

The family appreciates the care that Grace received from Inland Christian Home, San Antonio Regional Hospital, and to Carmen, Mailu, Peniel, Bobby, Debbie, and Leticia from A-One Hospice.

A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 5648 Jefferson Avenue in Chino, beginning at 10AM and followed by a reception with slideshow in the parish hall. There will be a private scattering of Grace’s ashes off the coast of Newport Beach. Online condolences may be given at

A video of Grace telling stories of her life is online at <>.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wycliffe Bible Translators or to Inland Christian Home.
Her grandson Jason said it best. “I firmly believe the true measures of a person are the people they attract, raise, and seek out and the way they handle what life throws at them. Oma raised a wonderful family that in turn raised wonderful families of their own, was adored by amazing people, kept a positive attitude and robust sense of humor in spite of everything she went through. She was truly an ambassador for The Greatest Generation.”

Mattie Tracy mourned by family, friends

DOWNEY – Mattie Opal Tracy passed away April 20 at her home in Downey with her daughter, Robin, by her side. 

She was the ninth of 11 children born to Harvey Lester and Grace (Luck) Moutray. With six sisters (Lillian, Josephine, Marie, Georgia, Ava and Leliah) and four brothers (Ralph, Joseph, William and John), a good portion of the family food was processed at home and Mattie developed work ethics that helped her throughout her life. 

After graduating from Monroe City High School in 1949, she went to New York. It was there that she met and married Patrick Courtney and to this union four children were born: Patrick Steven, Pamela and Robin. 

When this marriage didn’t work out, Mattie set out to raise her children on her own. She later married James Tracy, to whom she was married for 27 years until his passing. 

She and James both retired from the postal service and settled in Downey. They were members of the Downey First Baptist Church and spent a lot of their spare time volunteering in church work. They also enjoyed community gardening and spent 16 years growing a variety of vegetables which they gave to the needy. 

After James passed away, Mattie lived the remaining seven years in her home. When she was diagnosed with cancer in February of this year, her daughter, Robin, moved in and remained until her death. 

Mattie is surived by her four children, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a sister, Leliah Curless, and a brother, John Moutray, along with a host of nephews, nephews and other relatives and friends. 

Leona Swanson passes away at 92

DOWNEY – Leona E. Swanson was born April 25, 1924 on a family farm in Minnesota. 

As a teenager, she met her future husband, Wally, who lived on a neighboring farm. After WWII began, Wally was in the Army and served served in the South Pacific. 

Leona graduated high school and moved to Southern California to live with a sister, Vila, and her husband. She worked for Douglas Aircraft, building war planes in Redondo Beach. 

During the war years, Leona and Wally mailed love letters to each other. When the war ended, Wally traveled home to Minnesota and Leona soon joined him to be married. They were married in the summer of 1946 in Minnesota and decided to start their new life together in California. 

They bought a small home in Huntington Park, where their first two children, Larry and Barbara, were born. In 1950, they bought land in Downey and built their dream home. Several years later, daughters Patricia and Pamela were born. 

Wally worked two miles from home and came home every day for lunch with his family. The family never left Downey and in 1989 Wally died peacefully at home from cancer. 

Leona passed away peacefully at home April 7, several days before her 93rd birthday, with her son at her side. 

Leona and Wally also owned a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains, where they spent weekends fashing and hiking. Every summer, they camped for two weeks at Doheny State Beach. 

In her later years, Leona wrote poetry, which was sometimes published in the local newspaper. Leona was a very active member of Messiah Lutheran Church of Downey. 

Before her passing, Leona donated many pieces of family antique clothing and furniture to the Downey Historical Society, where it is on display. 

Leona is survived by her four children, nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Wally; parents, Amil and Frida Albrecht; sisters, Vila and Rosella; and grandson, Brian. 

Lawrence R. Smock

Lawrence R. Smock died Friday morning April 14, 2017 at Kaiser Permanente in Anaheim. His death was the result of a severe brain bleed caused by a bad fall and multiple strokes.
He leaves his wife of 37 years, Jeannette Smock, daughters Krista Keogh, Kara Davies, their husbands, Dennis, Frank and grandchildren Lucy, Colin, Audrey and Caroline.
Known to many as Larry, he grew up in Los Angeles California and resided in Downey, California for the past forty years.
After graduating high school, earning an associates degree from a community college, and serving his country in the Navy for four years during the Vietnam War, Larry worked for thirty years at the telephone company Pacific Bell as a project manager.
His years working were devoted to providing for his wife and daughters. Upon retirement, Larry enjoyed golfing with his friends and son-in-laws, a weekly poker game, crossword and math puzzles in the garage while enjoying his pipe and attending every event his grandchildren participated in.
Although his death was sudden and a shock, the family is grateful his time on earth was spent doing the things he loved with the people he loved. He is loved and will be dearly missed.
Services will be on Saturday April 29, 2017 at Miller Mies Mortuary in Downey, California at 10:00 AM.

Byron Joseph (Bud) Buck

September 25, 1940 - April 6, 2017

Bud was born in Wausau, Wisc. To Byron and Lillian. He was the third of four children. His family moved to Mipls., MN when he was a child. He met his wife Carol when he was 15 and she was 13. It was love at first sight. They married in 1958 and moved to California with his family. They lived most of their lives in Downey, where they raised their three children, Chris, Lance and LaNean.
Bud owned and operated his machine shop for 40 years. His father taught him the business and now his sons are both in the same profession.

He was a proud member of the Downey Elks 2020 for 15 years and was the Exalted Ruler 2014/2015. He loved the Elks and the people. He loved family camping trips all over but enjoyed Lake Powell the most. Then he took to golfing, rain or shine.

He is survived by his wife Carol, son Chris (Stacy), son Lance (Shirleyann-Fiance), daughter LaNean (Guy) – 8 grand kids, 5 great-grand kids, 3 sisters, Joan Crooks, Margaret Putnam and Karen Douglas – numerous nieces and nephews and his special Johnny Cash singing buddy Alec.
He will be missed by all.

Celebration of Life will be held at Downey Elks Lodge 2020 on April 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm.

Longtime Downey resident Angie Esguerra passes away

After a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, Angie A. Esguerra, a long-time resident of Downey and a former member of the St. Raymond's Catholic community, passed away April 6 at Silverado The Huntington in Alhambra, where she lived for the past four years. 

Born August 2, 1935 in Mauban, Philippines, the youngest of five children to Sergio and Soledad Abcede, Angie graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Commerce from Far Eastern University in Manila.

Angie immigrated to the United States with her husband Del and three children, and purchased a house in Downey in 1978. Angie worked for the Department of Water & Power, where she managed the Financial Planning Department and retired after 31 years of civil service.

She was preceded in death by her siblings Angel and Jose (Catherine); her husband Del; and her daughter Laura Esguerra Adams. She is survived by her son Angel Esguerra; her daughter Celia Winstead; her sons-in-law James Adams and Jim Winstead; her siblings Adelaida del Banco and Reynaldo Abcede; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Angie Esguerra's name to Cure Alzheimer's Fund ( 

Services scheduled for David Mitchell

David Mitchell, a beloved father and brother, passed away April 6 in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. 

David was raised in Downey and graduated from Downey High in 1982.

He is survived by his son Gunner Mitchell and sisters Mimi (Mitchell) Gransden and Wendy Mitchell.

Services are scheduled from 2 -5 p.m. on Sunday April 23, at the Realtor Conference Center in Lake Havasu, Ariz.

Evangelina Vazquez

July 23, 1950 - March 25, 2017

Evangelina (Angie) Soto Vazquez, a longtime resident of Downey, passed away at her home surrounded by family March 25, 2017 at age 66.

She was born July 23, 1950 in El Paso, Texas to Jovita Soto, the fourth youngest of six children. They later moved to California settling in the Los Angeles area. She was a 1968 graduate from Lynwood High School. She married Niceforo Vazquez on June 6, 1987 in South Gate.

During the span of her career, she worked at various companies primarily consisting of data entry and accounts payable. She was indisputably a hard worker, dedicated to her employers, but more importantly, her family.

Angie lived her life to the fullest through simple pleasures; traveling, playing penny slots in Vegas, reading, watching television, listening to music, and caring for her beloved pets. Angie’s generosity was her greatest prowess, never hesitating to help others in distress; opening her home and sharing meals to anyone in need.

She is survived by her husband Niceforo (Raul); her brothers Samuel (Sam) and Felipe (Phil); her sisters Adelina (Linda), Guadalupe (Lupe), and Margarita (Maggie); her children Ismael (Ishie), Miguel (Mike), Katrina (Katy), Guillermo (Memo), and Gabriel (Gabe); and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and grandchildren. Memorial services will be held on Friday April 7, 2017 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm at Douglass Family Mortuary in Lynwood, CA.

Mary M. Grobaty

September 6, 1926 - April 3, 2017

Mary M. Grobaty, 90, passed away peacefully on April 3, 2017. Born to George and Margaret O’Hara on September 6, 1926, Mary grew up in cities throughout the east coast and ultimately Long Beach, California where she taught kindergarten in the Long Beach school district after graduating from Buffalo State Teacher’s College. She then moved to Downey with her husband Jack to start a family and lived there for almost sixty years.

Mary is survived by her beloved husband Jack, her two children Margaret and Michael, her son-in-law Todd, daughter-in-law Jeanette, her siblings Ann, Henry, and Denise, and her four grandchildren Andrew, Molly, Timothy and Lauren. Known for her years of dedication and service to the community, Mary generously gave her time to the Rio Hondo PTA, Downey Unified School District, American Red Cross, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Her true passion however was spending time with her husband Jack, and their children and grandchildren. A beautiful, kind, and nurturing wife and mother, Mary touched the lives of many and will be missed.

In celebration of her wonderful life, a Rosary will be held for Mary at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Downey, CA at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 10, 2017, to be followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor to her favorite charity, AbilityFirst Long Beach, 3770 E. Willow St. Long Beach, CA 90815. This organization provides programs for children and adults with disabilities which includes her granddaughter Molly.

McAulay & Wallace Mortuary

Evalyne Marie Barnes

March 15, 1934 - March 11, 2017

Evalyne Marie Barnes was born March 15, 1934, in Los Angeles, to Eva May and Edward Lincoln Henney, and passed away March 11, 2017, in Downey California.
Eva grew up in Downey and graduated from Downey High School in 1953. She married Donald Charles Barnes, also of Downey, on July 24th, 1953. They had a long and joyous life together until Don passed on January 2, 1999.
Eva worked at Downey Hospital, retiring in 1992 to spend more time with her family. She began working in housekeeping and ended her career as a Dietary Manager. She enjoyed setting up special functions and her many friends.
Her love of animals, gardening, and vacationing in Mammoth were some of her passions, but her greatest joy was taking care of her children and grandchildren. Eva is survived by her children, Robert C Barnes and Cynthia M Walters; her grandchildren, Dustin G Barnes, Donald R Barnes, Kyle L Walters, and Lindsey M Walters; and her great-grandchildren, Brody and Braxton Barnes.
Throughout her life there wasn’t a moment she wasn’t thinking of her family. Her compassion for her loved ones was her greatest gift and she will be forever in our hearts.
A private celebration of Evalyne Marie Barnes life was held at Westminster Memorial Park on Friday, March 17, 2017.
Memorials may be made in her name to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.