Roy V. Asmus, a pillar of several communities and much beloved figure in the civil and community activities of Bell Gardens and Montebello, passed away quietly at Downey Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital on Monday morning, July 14. He was 95. Roy Asmus was born in Manning, Iowa in 1919. He spent five years in the army, honorably discharged in 1945, moving to Bell Gardens, California in 1946. He met his future wife, Julia, just three months later. After an exciting, whirlwind courtship, they were married in March of 1947, so they were married for 67 years at the time of his passing.
Roy worked for Safeway Stores, Inc. for 37 years, retiring in 1981. Since retiring, he and Julia, have been extremely active in their hometown of Bell Gardens as well as other surrounding communities. Los Angeles County, the City of Bell Gardens and Montebello Unified School District saluted and honored Roy for his 30 years of leadership and volunteer work in 1989 by awarding him a Certificate of Merit as an Outstanding Older American. The Montebello Unified School District/Bell Gardens High School named a Bell Gardens High School building “The Roy and Julia Asmus Building.”
Roy has been described as “hard-working, willing to serve others, pleasant to work with and has a great ability to keep peace in a group. In a heated discussion, he sits and listens, then quietly and diplomatically suggests a way out for a settlement.”
Roy was an active member of the Young At Heart Senior Citizens, worked with the Bell Gardens Coordinating Council, helping with the annual Miss Bell Gardens Pageant and Community Fair. Roy and Julia were very involved in the scholarship program for Bell Gardens High School for many years, through the fund set up for their son, Lorn, who was killed in an accident in 1980. Julia is still involved with this fund. Roy also assisted with many park programs, including Easter and Christmas projects and administered testing for the academic decathlon, among many other things far too numerous to mention.
A member of St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church in Bell Gardens since 1947, Roy and Julia have been commissioned Eucharistic Ministers for many years, to serve shutins and the sick at daily and Sunday masses.
Roy is survived by his wife, Julia, his step-son, Bruce Wilcox, 77; and his daughter, Lisa Hildebrand (Gary), and their four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Roy was preceded in death by their son, Lorn, and daughter Maryann, who lived only 10 ½ hours.
There was a rosary at St. Gertrude's on Sunday, July 20th at 7 PM and the funeral was also at St. Gertrude's at 10 AM on Monday, July 21st.
In lieu of flowers, Julia has requested that donations be made to the PTSA Bell Gardens High School Scholarship Fund, which is for new graduates each June.
A poem for Roy by Julia (from 2007)
What is time?
It is that one commodity that is given equally to all,
And it is only how we choose to allocate it
That makes a life unique.
We pledged to each other
First in your church, then in mine, and ten years ago in ours.
Sixty years ago today, Roy, I circled your finger with a ring,
As a promise of unbroken love, as a promise of care,
And as a pledge of my fidelity.
Today I repeat that promise and again take you to myself
As God’s special gift.
Before we married, you gifted the kitchen with a clock,
It served well until last April.
Next, you gifted the night stand with a lighted dial to better serve
Diminished sight. In between, there was a Mickey Mouse wrist
Watch for you and a pendant watch for me.
Today I gift you with that wrist watch, and perhaps it will
Continue to mark well our remaining numbered days.
Published: July 24, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 15