Vernon Lee Ryan
Vernon Lee Ryan passed away Friday, Oct. 31, 2008, in Tucson. He was 65 years old. He lived close by best friends Gene and Rita Taylor in Safford.
Vern enjoyed shooting pool, dancing, playing cards and camping. He was always smiling and laughing, and all who were around him enjoyed his sense of humor.
He is survived in death by his wife, Sharon Ryan of Safford; son Kevin; a daughter in California; and his brother, Ken Smith of Idaho.
Vern was preceded in death by his father, Pat Ryan; mother Elicia Saxton-Blanchard and stepfather Jack (Pop) Blanchard; one son, Patrick Ryan; and two brothers, Tom and Dick Smith.
Vern was a member of the American Legion Post #32 and the Disabled American Veterans.
A memorial will be held in his honor at Brick’s steakhouse on South Highway 191 on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m.
Vern will be missed by all who loved him.
Ray Herbert passed away in his home in Pima on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, at the age of 89. Ray was born Feb. 4, 1919, in Homer, Ga. In that year, a young Dewey Bryce (the father of Justice of the Peace Dewey Bryce) left his comfortable home in Pima to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to South Carolina and northern Georgia.
As a result of that mission, three related families (Herberts, Phillips and Maloys) started migrating to the Gila Valley. They settled in the area between Ashurst and Fort Thomas, where they grew and picked cotton.
Ray's family arrived to the Gila Valley in 1928. Ten years later, Ray married Myrtice Blake of Fort Thomas. They had two boys, Harold and LaVon.
Ray served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during the latter half of World War II. After the war, he supported his family as a carpenter and resided in the Valley until he took a job with El Paso Natural Gas Company. Soon he was asked to move his family to Farmington, N.M. They lived in New Mexico until moving to southern California in 1954.
In 1985, Ray and Myrtice returned to the Valley to build their retirement home in Pima. They lived a comfortable life together until Myrtice passed away in 2005. Their life was filled with hunting and fishing trips, family campfires and camping along isolated streams and on high-mountain plateaus. They loved growing fruits, vegetables and pecans and spent many hours together canning their produce.
Ray is survived by his two sons, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The funeral will be at the LDS Stake Center in Pima at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 15, with viewing one hour prior to services. Interment will follow in the Safford Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Caldwell Funeral Chapel.
Lydia Murillo, 74, of Morenci passed away Dec. 8, 2008, in Tucson. She was born Aug. 17, 1934, in Metcalf to Eulogio and Carmen Aragon.
Lydia attended school in Morenci and worked as head cook at the Copper Kettle Cafe in Morenci. She enjoyed cooking, gardening and watching novelas. Most of all, she loved spending time with her family.
Lydia was preceded in death by her parents and by sons Ray and Henry. She is survived by her children, Jennie (Sam) Aragon of Morenci, Mary Ann Shute of Tucson and Daniel Aragon of Tucson; siblings Ophelia (Robert) Martinez of Tolleson, Anita (Mark) Mendoza of Deming, N.M., Gloria Rodgers of Phoenix, Irene (Luis) Lopez of Peoria, Lupe (Alby) Rodela of Solomon, Sam Aragon of Morenci and Tony Castaneda of Phoenix; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial and rosary were conducted Thursday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m., at the Caldwell Funeral Chapel. Arrangements were entrusted to Caldwell Chapel.
Shuck Hom, 94, of Safford passed away Dec. 7, 2008. Mr. Hom was a veteran of World War II, serving in the U.S. Army. He also was a member of the American Legion Swift-Murphy Post 32 for more than 60 years.
Mr. Hom immigrated to the United States from China in 1929. Survivors include his wife of 76 years, Get Ying, and children Carlsen (Nancy) of Safford, Donna (Jay) of Scottsdale, Cathy, Howard, Kenneth, Donald and George; along with eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were conduced Thursday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m., at Caldwell Funeral Chapel, with viewing one hour prior. Interment was Friday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. in the National Memorial Cemetery
of Arizona in Phoenix. Arrangements were under the direction of the Caldwell Funeral Chapel.
Ray Von Isaacs
Ray Von Isaacs, 66, of Safford passed away Dec. 10, 2008, at Tucson Medical Center in Tucson after a lengthy illness. The youngest of five children, he was born Dec. 7, 1942, in Jackson County, Ky., to Albert Isaacs and Iffie Harrison. Ray attended school in Everton, Ind., after the family moved there to be near relatives and to have a better standard of living.
Ray was a man of many talents. During his working years, he was a school bus driver, a meat cutter, a factory worker, a landscaper/ excavator, a heavy equipment operator and a utility worker. After moving to Safford in 1982, he worked for the city of Safford, starting in February 1983.
One of his positions included working on the crew that maintained Safford’s free flow water line in Bonita Canyon. He became quite knowledgeable of the canyon, enjoying the varied wildlife, and when time permitted, exploring the many petroglyphs and ruins in the area.
He also worked for the Wastewater Department, earning his state certification. Many of the pump houses that the city owns were built by him as well. After suffering a heart attack in 1987, Ray transferred into the city warehouse, which is where he was working when he retired in January 2005.
Ray enjoyed his retirement, but it wasn’t long until he went to work for Aker Kvaerner as an operator, working at the new Safford mine. He was going to work for only a couple of months, but his boss wouldn’t let him quit. When one of his brothers became gravely ill, he retired for the second time in September 2007.
Ray was a master carpenter and, as such, spent most of his time remodeling his home or restoring old furniture. One could usually find him outside in his garage or sitting on the swing under the tree at his house. He enjoyed antiquing and auctions, woodworking, fishing, camping, traveling, coin collecting, knife collecting and anything that involved his grandkids.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Imogene Henry; and two brothers, Paul and Denver. He is survived by his wife, Doneilleen of Safford; three sons, Roger of Greencastle, Ind., Kevin (Debbie) of Tucson and Josef (Farrah) of Pleasanton, Calif.; two daughters, Maggie Rea of Casa Grande and Mysti Isaacs of Longview, Wash.; grandchildren Stephanie Isaacs, Matthew Isaacs, Jenny (Chad) Fiori, Paul (Jenna) Anderson Jr., Erica (Frank) Gonani, Jacob Rea and Isaac Lange; and great-grandchildren Kaeden Gonani and CJ Fiori.
Visitation for Ray will be Wednesday, Dec. 17, 5-7 p.m., at McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18, with viewing one hour prior to services. Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel.
John William Marsh, 72, of York passed away Nov. 10, 2008, surrounded by his family. John was born in Lafayette, Ind., in 1936 before his family moved to Arizona when he was 5 years old. He met and married the love of his life, Carline Cox, during high school in Morenci, and they celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary this year.
John completed an apprenticeship and became a master carpenter while working for Phelps Dodge Corporation in Morenci. After 38 years of service, John and Carline retired to the home he built for his parents in York. John constructed his dream workshop and continued to create gorgeous wood furniture, cabinetry and art works for his family and friends.
John loved the outdoors. Camping and fishing trips to Alpine and especially Riggs Flat on Mount Graham with family and friends were very special times for him. For the last several years, John and much of his family would take an annual vacation to Las Vegas, where he developed affection for penny slot machines and late-night blackjack with his son. John was respected, admired and loved by all who were blessed to spend time with him. Whenever asked for anything, John replied with a smile and a yes.
John was a family man first, always putting the needs of his wife and kids above his own. When he wasn’t in the outdoors or in his wood shop, he was spending time with his wife and family. John is survived by his wife, Carline of York; two daughters, Patricia (Steve) Ray of Tucson and Donna (Gene) Coca of Safford; one son, Douglas William Marsh of Mesa; two granddaughters, Michelle (Robert) Lopez of Safford and Christina (Chris) Radzikowski of Tucson; two grandsons, Tim (Mandy) Ray of Tucson and Daniel Coca of San Antonio, Texas; three great-granddaughters, Mykala Lopez and Maryah Lopez of Safford, Brianne Ray of Tucson; and three great-grandsons, Kevin Ray and Mike Ray of Tucson, and Trysten John Lopez, arriving in January 2009 in Safford.
Services included a viewing Nov. 14, 5-7 p.m. at Caldwell Funeral Home in Safford, and a funeral Nov. 15, 2 p.m., at First United Methodist Church in Safford, followed immediately by a graveside commitment ceremony at the Sheldon Cemetery
Terry Starner Sr.
Terry Starner Sr. of Safford passed away Nov. 2, 2008. Terry was born May 20, 1930, in Effingham, Ill.
He was a wildlife manager with the Arizona Game and Fish Department for more than 30 years, retiring in 1985.
He is survived by his wife, Bobbi Starner; his brother, Jim Starner of Missouri; his son, Terry Starner Jr.; his daughter, Cindy Sorenson (Brian) and three grandchildren, Rhiann Viggiano (Tony), April Starner and Jamie Starner.
A memorial service will be held Nov. 22 at the First United Methodist Church, 1020 10th Ave., Safford, at 1 p.m.
The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Mount Graham Regional Medical Center/Cancer Center Donation, 1600 S. 20th Ave., Safford, AZ 85546.
Mary Margaret Lujan
Mary Margaret “Pinky” Lujan, 44, of Duncan passed away peacefully Nov. 3, 2008, at her mother’s home, surrounded by her family.
She leaves behind her mother, Sara Lujan; stepfather Frank Herrera; sister Patricia (Edmundo) Cano; daughters Sonia Perez and Jessica Perez; nieces Cristinia Gutierrez (Michelle) and Lisa Gutierrez (Christopher, Ezekiel, Jacob and Yasmin); nephew Alfredo Lujan Gutierrez III; uncle Ernie (Terry) Lujan; cousins Mark, Alfie, Tammie and Anna; grandmother Lucy Lujan; and many more loved ones who will miss Pinky.
Pinky was born June 2, 1964, in Phoenix to Sara and Alfie Lujan. She grew up in old Morenci and graduated from Morenci High School. Pinky married and had two daughters, Sonia and Jessica Perez. She moved to Las Cruces, N.M., and attended beauty school. A few years later, she returned home to be with her family in Duncan.
A celebration of Pinky’s life was held Friday, Nov. 7, 6-8 p.m., at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Morenci. A rosary service began at 7 p.m.
A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Nov. 8, 10 a.m., at Holy Cross Catholic Church. Pinky was laid to rest in the Sacred Heart Cemetery.
Arrangements were under the direction of the Caldwell Funeral Chapel.
The family thanks the Carlise, Carrasco, Duran and Archuleta families for their love and support during this time.
Margaret Ann McKinley
Margaret Ann “Peggy” McKinley was called home to heaven on Nov. 15, 2008, following a long and courageous battle with illness.
Peggy and her husband, W.C. “Chuck” McKinley, “retired” to Safford from San Diego in 1987, where they quickly planted new and fertile roots in their new hometown. Peggy soon began to make a positive contribution to her community and earned the confidence of her peers by being elected president of the GFWC Women’s Club of Safford, in which she was an early driving force to create what has become the Mount Graham Safe House.
Peggy was also president of the Graham County Republican Women’s Club in which she, drawing on her 25 years of political grass-roots experience, worked hard in the trenches with local and state officeholders to create common cause for good to get out the vote for President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 elections. Devoted to the democratic process, she said of the first democratic elections in Iraq that it was the most remarkable event she had ever witnessed, and she lamented the loss of freedom resulting from the ever-growing power and mandates of government.
Peggy could be seen in local parades as well as behind Chuck on their motorcycle participating in charity events sponsored by the Eastern Arizona Motorcycle Club and on trips throughout the country. She was a tireless family genealogist and compiled a voluminous tome of family history for the edification of her loved ones and descendants.
Peggy loved and contemplated the grandeur of the natural wonders, from the awesome and grand spectacles of the world to the more subtle beauty of the desert, and the antics of little birds in her garden. She appreciated all forms of the arts, was a member of the Gila Valley Arts Council, the author of five novels, an accomplished painter of landscapes and creator of prize-winning ceramic ware.
Peggy never tired of learning new things and took good advantage of classes at Eastern Arizona College. She was a supporter of the Nature Conservancy as well as the Smile Train.
Peggy was born Margaret Ann Burt on March 7, 1930, to Nell and Ervin Burt on the family farm homesteaded by her Burt ancestors in the mid-19th century, two miles north of Leshara, Neb., where she was raised with her two sisters and two brothers during the Great Depression.
She attended a one-room, multigrade schoolhouse in which, she asserted, she learned all that was necessary for her to pursue whatever she chose, and later, she attended and graduated from Wayne Preparatory College. In her late teens, after World War II, she moved with her family to Albuquerque, N.M., where she met and married Chuck in 1947.
With wifely devotion and two young boys to nurture, she followed and supported Chuck as his career progressed through the years, establishing homes for herself and her family in Shreveport, La.; Houston; Vienna, Va.; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Denver and San Diego.
She is survived by her husband, Chuck; sister Shirley (Gerry) Woods; sister Patricia Mallory, all of Albuquerque; sons Robert (Caroline) McKinley and Scott McKinley; granddaughter Laura (Robert) Kirkbride; and grandson Lloyd (Tamar) McKinley, as well as their daughter and Peggy’s great-granddaughter and namesake, Tatum Margaret McKinley, age 1, all of California; and many cousins, nieces and nephews too numerous to list.
Peggy and Chuck were married 61 years, and she deservedly enjoyed the constant and undying love, devotion and respect of her husband, children, grandchildren and all who knew her well. To know her was to be enriched, and truly the world became a better place when she was born, and suffered an irreplaceable loss when she passed. Yet for all who knew and loved her, wherever the sun shows, the moon glows, the wind blows, the grass grows and the water flows, she will be there. There can be no doubt that she was greeted by her Maker with recognition of a good life well lived.
Memorial services were held Nov. 18, 11 a.m., at Caldwell Funeral Chapel in Safford, and interment will be at Green Mound Cemetery
near Freemont, Neb. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Mount Graham Safe House, 1-888-269-9104.