Ruth E. Messina
Ruth was born on Feb. 9, 1938 in Oceanside, N.Y. She lived on Parsonage Place in Baldwin, N.Y. for most of her childhood. Ruth enjoyed a loving home and wonderful experiences growing up on the waterfront. Her fondest memories of childhood were learning how to dance from her father and fishing on the end of the canal with her mom.
Ruth’s first real job was working at Baldwin Federal Savings after high school. Ruth had a strong work ethic, even at an early age, which she credits to her father.
Ruth met and fell in love with Jerome Messina of Bellmore, N.Y. and married on April 13, 1958. Ruth would soon leave work to start a family. Twenty years, three sons and several moves later, Ruth went back to work at the same bank in Baldwin.
Ruth enjoyed much success in the business world and in her personal life. Ruth and Jerome enjoyed traveling the country and began visiting Arizona in 1985 and fell in love with the natural beauty and wide open spaces. In 1986 and 1989 they welcomed two grandsons, Jerry and Louis, respectively, whom they spoiled as any good grandparent should.
After working for many years and rising to the title of vice president, Ruth Messina retired from the business world in 1999 and planned to move to their winter home in Fountain Hills and to be with their grandchildren who had moved to Fountain Hills in 1996.
Now in Fountain Hills they enjoyed family time again with trips to movies, restaurants and Diamondbacks season tickets with the grandkids. Life was great, but soon her world would change.
While playing golf with her son, Steve, in Fountain Hills, the love of her life, Jerry, passed away suddenly while at home. She was obviously devastated. He was everything to her for 43 years. Soon after, more bad news, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy. She was so strong. Most people I think would find it hard to engage in life again, but not my mom.
She started to get involved in many Fountain Hills groups, became a coordinator for home delivered meals and made so many great friends that the last 9 years were truly her best, even with everything that had happened. I learned that through adversity, your true character is shown.
Ruth enjoyed wonderful trips and cruises with many friends, water aerobics, Pinetop and Payson trips, summers in New York visiting her son, Richard. Ruth also loved the social aspect of playing cards and games such as bridge, mah jongg, canasta, bunco, hand and foot, you name it, she probably played it….and well I might add.
Ruth had had Leukemia for many years, but you probably didn’t know it, that’s how she was. She lost her battle on May 22, 2010 fighting to be with her family a little while longer.
To the town of Fountain Hills and to the many groups she had belonged, thank you for being there for my mom.
Harry R. Stelling, Sr.
Harry R. Stelling, Sr. passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010 at Tuscan Manor, an adult care group home in Fountain Hills. He was 83.
Harry was born on April 1, 1927 in Chicago, Ill., the son of Harry J. Stelling and Elizabeth F. (Smith) Stelling, the second of three children.
He attended grade schools in Hooppole, Forreston, and Plainfield, all in Illinois. He completely his primary education in Ottawa, Illinois and graduated from Ottawa High School in 1945. He excelled in football and track and academics.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-1946, stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station. From 1946-1950 he attended North Central College, earning a B.A. degree with majors in English and modern language. He met and fell in love with his wife of 52 years, Mary Ann Nitchoff, while at North Central. They were married on August 18, 1950. Harry attended the University of Illinois and received a M.A. in English in 1951. A life-long learner, he continued his education at the University of Iowa from 1965-1967, where he completed his doctoral studies.
Throughout his tenure as a professor Harry taught English, writing, literature, journalism, film, political novel and related classes at Cedarville College, Xenia, Ohio (1951-1953), Tri-State College, Angola, Indiana (1953-1958) and Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois (1958-1992). He was a visiting professor of English at Wu Han University, Wu Han, China from 1990-1991. He retired in 1992 as Associate Professor Emeritus from Augustana College, after 41 years of teaching. He and his wife, Mary Ann, moved to Fountain Hills in 1994, where she passed away in 2002.
A voracious reader and an avid writer, Harry had published a volume of poetry, Lay of the Land (East Hall Press, Augustana College, 1983), and is the co-author of Introduction to Journalism, 1968. He was a man of letters, as many family and friends can attest. More recently he became known for his frequent letters to the editor of the Fountain Hills Times.
Not only did Harry love to read and write, he was an avid photographer throughout much of his adult life. His family and friends enjoyed the many slide shows and photos of trips and get-togethers. He enjoyed woodworking, creating many unusual pieces, and “puttering” in his garage/workshop. He once built the framework for an entire small airplane in the basement of his home in Indiana.
He loved to travel and explore. While living in Illinois he spent endless hours exploring the banks and surrounding areas of the Rock and Mississippi Rivers. Many family vacations involved camping and exploring the upper Midwest. In later years he explored the western United States and eastern Canada with his wife and family and had a particular fondness for the rolling western plains of Nebraska and Wyoming. He was deeply interested in Native American culture, doing much research on Chief Blackhawk and the Sauk and Fox tribes of western Illinois and retracing many of their steps, and later researching and travelling to the site of Custer’s last stand and the Indians of the western plains.
Since residing in Arizona he travelled throughout the reservations of the Navajo and Hopi Indians, as well as exploring the areas where Geronimo was known to have travelled. Beginning in 2002 his brother, Willard, and his niece, Linda, were constant companions with Harry during annual trips exploring Arizona. They also took a steamboat cruise together down the upper Mississippi. Harry and his wife Mary Ann explored China in 1990, where he was teaching at the time.
He loved to drive, a passion he might have gotten from his father, who took the then young family on road trips throughout the western United States in the 1930’s and 1940’s. When not travelling he would often drive to Saguaro Lake and the Salt and Verde Rivers and sketch. There were many Stelling family pets throughout the years, and he recently had adopted a dog, Agon, who had become his constant companion on these forays. Harry and Agon spent many happy mornings at the dog park, where they both met many friends.
Harry enjoyed watching sports, particularly football, and had spent many of his years since moving to Fountain Hills as a member of various senior softball teams. He had many friends as a result. He had talked with fondness of the many outings at various local coffee shops and restaurants he had shared with friends.
Harry was passionate in his beliefs, contributing to many charities, volunteering on several local organizations, and writing letters to the editor or on various blogs. He loved to sit, drink coffee and discuss ideas, philosophy and literature with friends. He particularly enjoyed cafes and restaurants with friends. He had an amazing mind and was extremely well-read. He became an organic gardener while living in Illinois, long before it was considered “green”. He brought multi-media (video cameras and film) into his classrooms at Augustana College, many years before it became the norm. He appreciated music, particularly classical music, and was a subscriber to the Phoenix Symphony.
He is survived by his brother, Willard Stelling, Ottawa, Ill.; his five sons and daughters, Douglas K. (Linda) Stelling, currently residing in Seattle, Wash., Harry R. (Bobbie) Stelling, Jr., Fountain Hills, Pamela K. (Scott) Sawyer, Glen Carbon, Illinois, Kurt D. (Melinda) Stelling, Phoenix, and Lisa A. (Kevin) Stelling-Jokisch, St. Louis, Mo.; his niece, Linda Stelling, Westmont, Ill.; his four grandsons, Matt, Zach, Eli and Sam; his two granddaughters Elizabeth (Lizzy) and Aleta; and his granddaughter, Saige. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, a brother, Paul E. Stelling, and his wife.
Harry was well loved and touched the lives of many. He had many friends. He kept his sense of humor and his keen wit until his last days. Upon being diagnosed with stomach cancer and facing the possibility of chemotherapy and radiation treatments he quipped “exit, stage left.” He chose to pass naturally and will be remembered for his courage. He was deeply appreciative of the excellent care he received during the last stages of his life. In honor of his wishes no formal memorial services will be held. An informal celebration of his life is being planned for a future date, details to be announced.
Shirley A. Swanson
Shirley Annette (Braaten) Swanson passed away on Sunday, Sept. 12, at her home in Rio Verde.
Shirley was born in Northwood, N.D. in 1936 and was raised in Mayville, N.D. by her parents, Selmer and Amanda Braaten.
Shirley graduated from Grand Forks Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in 1957 and married high school sweetheart L. Joel Swanson.
After living in Chicago and Mesa, Ariz. when they were first married, Joel and Shirley settled in Salinas, Calif. to raise their children before retiring in Rio Verde.
Shirley loved the Lord and was very active in church ministries. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother (Nana) and is especially remembered in these roles as being very giving of her time... just being with and truly enjoying her children and grandchildren.
Shirley was also surrounded by many, many dear friends who loved her. There was “A Celebration of Jesus in Shirley’s Life” at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17 at Joy Christian Community in Fountain Hills.
Shirley leaves behind her loving husband, Joel Swanson; her children, Mary Beth (Eric) Dybevik of Issaquah, Wash., Joel (Lori) Swanson of Eagle, Idaho, and Paul (Angela) Swanson of Mill Valley, Calif.; and her dear, dear grandchildren, Nathaniel, Anna, Britta and Annika Dybevik; Caitlyn, Morgan and Ryan Swanson; and Crista and Hayley Swanson.
Shirley is also survived by her sister, Ruth Suppes of Pelican Lake, Minn. and brother, Harvey Braaten of Northwood, N.D.
“The battle is over, the victory is won.”
Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Fountain Hills Mortuary.
Beverly J. Anderson
Beverly Jeanne Anderson of Fountain Hills and Bellevue, Wash. passed away on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 at Overlake Hospital from complications of Parkinson’s disease. She was 81 years old.
Beverly was born on June 9, 1929 in Minneapolis, Minn. She was the only child born to Daisy and Nezares Blanchette.
Her favorite childhood memories include summers at the family cabin on Spectacle Lake near Princeton, Minn.
Beverly attended Ascension Catholic School through eighth grade and Patrick Henry High School, both in Minneapolis. She met her husband of 60 years in high school and they were married on Sept. 24, 1949.
In addition to raising four children, Beverly enjoyed working outside the home, which included working part-time at Northeast State Bank in Minneapolis, secretary for the Minneapolis public schools, retail sales at Frederick and Nelson in Bellevue, and Family Center Manager for St. Monica Catholic Church on Mercer Island.
Beverly and Robert were relocated numerous times between Minneapolis and Seattle/Tacoma from 1960 until their retirement in 1986.
From 1972-1990, the Andersons lived on Mercer Island. Bev and Bob enjoyed winters as Arizona snowbirds and eventually became permanent residents of Fountain Hills.
In the many places she lived, Beverly made many long and lasting friendships. She was a member of many clubs and activities including the J’s, the Aqua Follies, the Pat-Polar, Blue Tri and Anderson-Pierce Clubs and the high school reunion committee.
Bev is remembered by her family as a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She loved and adored her children and grandchildren and cherished her abundance of friends.
She is survived by her four children, David (Sandra) Anderson of Minneapolis, Cathie (John) Hall of Mercer Island, Wash., Timothy (Shelley) Anderson of Bellevue, Wash., and Julie (Blake) Sedlacek of Mercer Island, Wash.; 12 grandchildren and a host of extended family members and friends. Beverly was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Robert.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests remembrances to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, Beverly Jeanne Anderson Fund, c/o Flintoft’s Funeral Home, 540 E. Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027.
A memorial mass was held Monday, Oct. 4, 2010 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Issaquah.
Friends are invited to view photos and share memories in the family’s online guest book at www.flintofts.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Flintoft’s Funeral Home and Crematory, 425-392-6444.
Roda Baker, former resident of Plymouth, Mich. and most recently of Fountain Hills, passed away Oct. 2, 2010.
She was born July 1, 1915 in Jackhorn, Ky. She was preceded in death by her husband, Carl; her daughter, Gay, and numerous brothers and sisters.
She is survived by her daughter, Anna Dillow of Fountain Hills; two sons, Ray Baker of Plymouth, Mich., and Sam Baker of Jackson, Ohio; and one bother, R B, of Neon, Ky.
She was privileged to have five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Anthony P. Damiano
Anthony Philip Damiano was born March 14, 1942 in Rochester, N.Y.
He resided in Rochester for most of his adult life where he met his wife Helen. They started a family and raised three loving sons.
After owning and operating a successful siding and painting business for many years, he continued his work with Eastman Kodak Company for 13 years.
Anthony retired from Kodak and moved to Phoenix to enjoy life with his beloved wife, Helen, with whom he and his sons opened and operated several Valley-based restaurants until he finally retired in 1996.
Anthony was a skilled craftsman, handyman, and chef. In addition to being an exceptional father and friend to many, he inspired many people and lit up a room wherever he was.
He was proud of his country and his Italian heritage. Anthony was extremely patriotic and greatly supported and respected our veterans. He was a Fourth Degree in the Knights of Columbus.
His untimely passing and intoxicating, entertaining personality will leave him missed by masses of family and friends. His devotion to his wife and children will resonate for generations to come.
Anthony is survived by his beautiful wife of 47 years, Helen; their loving sons Kenneth (Jeanne), Christopher (Tami), and Philip; and grandchildren, Breanna, Alyssa, and Dante.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in his memory to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 East Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014-5656.
Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Fountain Hills Mortuary.
Howard (Gid) Frank passed away on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010 following a long illness. Howard was a resident of Fountain Hills, formerly from Shelby, Ohio.
Born March 15, 1918 in Shelby, Ohio to Elza and Maude (Butler) Frank, he had been a resident of Shelby the majority of his life. Howard was a former employee of Shelby Bicycle Company and AMF, retiring in 1983. He was also a veteran of the US Navy serving in WWII.
Survivors include his wife, Jeanene Daughery from Willard, Ohio, whom he wed on Oct. 7, 1950; his son, Lee Frank of Green Forest, Ark.; his daughter, Denise and her husband John Darcy of Mesa, Arizona; two grandchildren, grandson Brock Clever and wife Sonja, and granddaughter Jenna Roberts, also of Arizona. Howard was also blessed with two great-grandchildren, Sydni and Kolton Clever.
In addition to his parents, Howard was preceded in death by his brother, Forest Frank and his sister, Pauline Gallentine.
As no funeral services will be taking place, the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, a donation is made in Howard’s name to Sun Valley Hospice, 7227 E. Baseline Rd. Suite 129, Mesa, AZ 85209.
Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Fountain Hills Mortuary.
Gladys E. Luciano
Gladys Ethel Luciano, 93, passed away peacefully at Hospice of the Valley in Scottsdale on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010.
Gladys was born on Aug. 28, 1917 in Lynn, Mass. to the late Vladas “Wallace” and Antonia “Ethel” (Gelezauskas) Kazalauskas and lived in Lynn for the majority of her life before moving to Ft. Myers, Fla. and then Fountain Hills in her later years.
Gladys was a beautician for several years and then spent 35 years with the General Electric Company in its aerospace division in Massachusetts.
She enjoyed being active in community affairs in Lynn with her many friends. She traveled frequently with her friends and as a member of various social clubs to which she belonged.
Gladys is survived by her sons, Daniel A. Luciano and his wife, Sidra, of Fountain Hills, and David Luciano and his fiancée, Pamela Crocker, of Ft. Myers, Fla.; her brother, Wilhelm Kozlauska and sister-in law, Dolores, of Lynnfield, Mass.; nieces, Sandra Budzinski, Deborah Kozlowski, Carol Hand and her nephew, Dr. John Kozlauska. She was preceded in death by her brother, Fred Kozlowski.
The family wishes to thank the caregivers at Comfort Keepers, Fountain View Village and Fountain View Manor for the loving care they provided Gladys.
Gladys will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
At Gladys’ request, no formal services were held. The family will hold a service at a later date in Massachusetts.
Hope E. Southwick
A fond farewell to a remarkable woman, Hope Elise Southwick, who came into this world on March 31, 1929, and went home to be with the Lord on Sept. 23, 2010.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Rodney Southwick and daughter, Melinda.
Surviving children include: Colleen Geyer, Jennifer Kriwer (Fred Kriwer), Rodney Southwick (Kim Cherry), Rebecca Fiske and Melanie Hinkle (Scott Hinkle); her grandchildren, Aaron and Matthew Geyer, Kimberly, Stephanie and Timothy Fiske, Eric and Jennifer Hinkle, Garrett Southwick, Eric Kriwer and Denise Speight; her great grandchildren, Reed Pickering, Preston Tisthammer, Brandon and Daniel Speight, Kaylee, Kaiya and Sloan Kriwer.
Her extended family will miss game playing, fishing, camping, reading, sports, cooking, and just hanging out with her.
William (Bill) Beck, long- time former Copeland, Kan. resident, passed away at his home in Fountain Hills, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009 at the age of 90.
He was born to William and Anna (Goeken) Beck and grew up in the Copeland area. Bill graduated from Copeland High School and started farming north of Copeland.
During WWII, he served his country in the Army, landing in Scotland, England, North Africa, and Italy. In 1945, Bill returned to Copeland to marry his high school sweetheart Adeline Fisher.
The Becks farmed north of Copeland and raised two daughters. While living in Copeland, Bill served on the Copeland School Board and was a member of the American Legion, the Copeland Methodist Church, and the American Agriculture Movement. He was a proud participant in the Tractorcade to Washington, D.C. in 1979.
When he retired from farming in 1993, the Becks moved to Arizona.
Bill is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Adeline; his daughters, Jo Bailard (Gene) of San Carlos, Calif. and Sherree D’Amico (Mike) of Scottsdale; his grandchildren, Jennifer Bailard of Hanover, N.H., and Nicholas James D'Amico; his sister Fannie Denney of Hutchinson, Kan.; and his brother, Joe Beck (Twilla) of Kechi, Kan.; and a number of nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
A viewing was held at the Messinger Mortuary, Fountain Hills, on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Concluding services were held at the Copeland Methodist Church, Friday, Oct. 30, with burial in the Copeland cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill's memory to the Copeland American Legion, Copeland, KS, 67837, or Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014.