Roy Theodore Nilson
1928 - 2004
Born Roy Theodore Nilson Jan. 6, 1928, to Swedish immigrants Axel and Emma Nilson in Brooklyn, N.Y.
He joined the Merchant Marines at 15, participating in the Mirmansk suicide run delivering supplies to allied troops, celebrating his 16th birthday in Russia. He then joined the U.S. Navy at 17, spending his tour of duty in the submarine service.
While stationed in San Diego, he met and married Donna, his wife of 57 years. Settling in Chula Vista, Calif., where he became a San Diego Deputy Sheriff in 1953. He was instrumental in creating the Sheriffs Dept. Crime Lab, which is one of the top facilities today.
After retiring in 1983, he was active in scale modeling.
Wanting to move to a quieter area, he and his family relocated to Benson in 1992.
Known by his friends as Ted, he is survived by his wife, Donna, their three children, Diana Nilson-Campbell, Bob, Rick and three grandchildren, Trisha, Jake and Brent, all residing in Benson.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m., at the Community Presbyterian Church in Benson.
Thomas C. Baker
1950 - 2004
Thomas C. Baker was born May 11, 1950, to Mr. And Mrs. Charles Baker in Hawaii.
Friday, Nov. 19, 2004, was a sad, sad day for St. David.
Tom was the first firefighter of the St. David Volunteer Fire Department to lose his life due to an injury sustained while on a fire call.
On Feb. 24, 2002, a call was dispatched by 911 that there was a structure fire in the Apache Trailer Park. Tom, along with other firefighters, responded. It was during this fire emergency that Tom had a heart attack and then a major stroke.
While he became totally disabled from his injuries, he had always hoped to return to the department as the active engineering that he had been.
He truly felt that the community deserved a top-notch fire department.
Due to complications from his injuries, he lost his battle to live on Nov. 19, 2004.
Tom was also very active with the Meals on Wheels Program.
He also helped to run the St. David Food Commodities Food Bank.
Tom and his wife, Joy, have been residents of St. David since 1996, when they moved here from California.
Tom was at home surrounded by his wife, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and his very dear and close friends when he departed from this earth.
Tom is survived by two younger brothers, a daughter, a son and grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and younger sister.
A graveside service will be held at the St. David Cemetery
on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 3:30 p.m., with Bishop Carter Mayberry officiating.
Leeado "Lee" Lawson
Leeado "Lee" Lawson, former Willcox resident, died Dec. 13, 2004, in Crossett, Ark., at the age of 81.
She was born in Rubottom, Okla., on Oct. 16, 1923, to Andrew and Beulah (Hall) Barrick.
She was preceded in death by her husband Roy Lawson and daughter Royce Garber.
Lee is survived by her seven children: Jack Lee Brintle of Leon, Okla., Saundra Hitchcock of Mesa, Joyce Martin of Gilbert, Sonny Lawson of Gene Autry, Okla., Jerry Lawson of Prescott, Judy Ford of Davis, Okla., and Carrie Fletcher of Crossett, Ark.
Also surviving are 25 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
Lee was married to Roy Lawson and spent most of her life in Arizona. Some of her best years were at the White House Ranch near Benson, where Roy was the foreman.
In 1977, she and Roy moved to Willcox until failing health caused her to move to Crossett, Ark. While in Crossett. She attended Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and was very active with the Senior Citizen Group.
She loved Arizona and will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Visitation was held on Sunday, Dec. 19, at Westlawn Chapel, with funeral services on Monday, Dec. 20, at 1 p.m., at Westlawn Chapel in Willcox.
Burial followed at Sunset Cemetery
in Willcox. Contributions may be made to the National Kidney Foundation.
Services were under the direction of Westlawn Chapel, Mortuary and Crematorium of Willcox.
Virginia A. Patton (Baker)
Nov. 20, 1935 - Dec. 26, 2004
Virginia Patton, a 15-year resident of Mescal, passed away Sunday, Dec. 26.
Born in Norwalk, Ohio to George and Lillian Baker, she was a devoted Navy wife, a gifted artist, and a newspaper reporter, most recently penning a feature in the San Pedro Valley News-Sun for the Benson Senior Center.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald and a sister Elizabeth. She is survived by her sister Susan (Jerry) Chavez of Glendale; children Diana Patton of Phoenix, Gerald (Susie) Patton of Glendale, David (Kristi) Patton of Benson, Kate Boutin of Benson, and seven grandchildren.
Friends and loved ones are invited to attend a memorial wake in her home on Jan. 15, at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Benson Public Library.
Gladys Bingham McRae
1906 - 2004
Gladys Bingham McRae of Safford, Ariz., passed away peacefully at her son's home Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2004.
The third child of eight children born to Jacob Moroni and Frances Harris Bingham on Feb. 26, 1906, in Mesa, Ariz.
She was raised in the Tucson/Binghampton area and this is where she was educated. While attending Tucson High School, she met George Alexander McRae and they were married on May 27, 1926 and sealed in the Salt Lake LDS Temple shortly after their marriage.
She was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and diligently fulfilled many callings.
She was known in the Benson-St. David, Ariz. area as a wonderful cook, not only for the schools, but also for the Lions and Rotary clubs.
She also gained notoriety throughout the State of Arizona for the numerous ribbons and prizes she won at the community, county and state fair.
She was chosen Mother of the Year for the State of Arizona in 1976.
Of all her accomplishments, the ones she spoke most fondly of were being a wife to dad and mother of 10 children.
She is survived by nine of her children, Francies (Royal) Rigby, Layton, Utah, Neil (Willadean) McRae, Indio, Calif., Lynette (Willis) Brimhall, Spanish Fork, Utah, Don (Donna) McRae, St. George, Utah, Rey (Bertie) McRae, Homedale, Idaho, Nancy McRae Weeks, Gooding, Idaho, Darla (Dwayne) Greenig, Joliet, Mont., Burr (Maren) McRae, Tubac, Ariz., Ted (Ranell) McRae, Safford, Ariz., Cheryl (Ken) Melby, Salt Lake City, Utah. She had 65 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, George Alexander McRae and a son, Rulon McRae.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, Jan. 5 (today), in the St. David LDS Chapel at 11 a.m., with a viewing at 10 a.m. Burial will be at the St. David Cemetery.
Robert Eugene Nelson
Robert Nelson, beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather, died April 8, 2009. He was a longtime Benson resident.
Bob was born in Abilene, Kan. on Feb. 27, 1929. Bob was a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and had been a volunteer with Mescal Volunteer Fire Department. Bob served in the Korean War.
Bob is survived by his wife, Jean, daughters, Jan Bernal (Ernie) and Debbie Taggesell (Dick) and son, Michael Nelson (Tanya), grandchildren and great-grandchildren, sister, Anita Curtis and nieces and a nephew.
Memorial services will be April 18, 2009, at Community Bible Church in J-6. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity.
James F. Copeland
James F. Copeland went to be with the Lord the afternoon of April 14, 2009, with his wife, Nancy, at his side. James was the son of Frank Copeland and Esther Copeland (deceased). He was born in Stockton, Calif. on June 5, 1947.
He graduated from Eisenhower High School in Rialto, Calif. and joined the U.S. Navy. He served on many ships and had shore duty in Hawaii and Goose Creek, S.C. James served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years and retired in 1991. Since then, he worked for Lowe's in Charleston, S.C.
He and Nancy moved to Benson in 2001, and he then went to work for Car Quest in Benson and as a Sales Associate at Benson Wal-Mart. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Benson and a member of the Temple Guard at Sabbar Shrine Temple in Tucson, Ariz. He was a Past Patron twice in the Order of Eastern Star in Goose Creek, S.C.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Copeland, of Benson; daughter, Heidi Rogers (Michael) of Fort Hood, Texas; stepson, Whit Hargrove of Fairfax, Calif.; stepdaughter, Victoria Hargrove of Charleston, S.C.; sister, Judy Sawyer (David) of Sonora, Calif.; and his father, Frank and stepmother, Wanda, of Huachuca City, Ariz. Surviving also are five grandsons, Michael Blank of Hollywood, Md., Alexander Hargrove of Auburn, Calif., Andrew West of Charleston, S.C., and Christopher and Thomas Rogers of Ft. Hood, Texas.
There was a viewing at Richardson's Remembrance Center on East 4th Street, Benson, on April 21, with a Masonic service and a military service following. A church memorial service will be held at a later date. He will be interred at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery
at Fort Huachuca.
In lieu of flowers, he requested that donations in his memory be sent to Sabbar Shrine Temple, 450 S. Tucson Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716-5699, with the designation that the donation goes to the Transportation Fund.
Danita Jean Crum Comaduran
Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, nurse, and mentor ended her valiant battle with cancer April 10, 2009. Danita was born May 27, 1959, in Germany. She grew up in Virginia, on military bases, and in Benson, Ariz.
She graduated from Benson High School, Cochise College as an RN, and University of Phoenix as a BSN. She served as nurse, teacher, and mentor for nearly 30 years at University Medical Center, primarily in the cardiac intensive care unit, and was a UMC Fabulous 50 nurse in 2000.
Survived by her husband, Antonio Comaduran; daughters, Sabrina (Derek) Comaduran, Antoinette (Todd) Reidhead, Dionne (Ernie) Johnson, Crystal (Kevin) Briggs; son, Antonio; mothers, Louise Eggleston and Jeanie (John) Mangold; sisters, Dana (George) Ballez, Daneen Woody, Danelle (Rich) Gahn, Billette (Swade) Beasley, Annette (Leigh) Crum-Rigg; grandchildren, Joseph, Ashley, Chris, Sionna, Legend; and countless nieces, nephews, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and friends. She is predeceased by grandparents, Lewis, Stella Crum, and father, Daniel.
She touched many lives and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Mass to be determined. A memorial was held Sunday, April 19, 2009, at Benson High School Gym.
San Pedro Funeral Home of St. David assisting family.
Raquel Grijalva Caballero
Raquel Grijalva Caballero, 91, of Benson, Ariz., and a lifetime resident of the area, died April 28, 2009 in Tucson, Ariz. She was born Aug. 5, 1917 in Tucson. She was a member of the VFW Aux. 6271.
Services were May 2, 2009 at Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson. Visitation was at 10 a.m., Rosary at 11 a.m., and Mass at 11:30 a.m. Interment followed at Cochise Gardens of Rest in Benson.
Preceded by husband, Ben Caballero Jr. Survivors include daughters, Constance "Connie" (George) Celaya, and Bernice Caballero; son, Conrad Caballero; three granddaughters, three great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Arrangements under the direction of Richardson's Remembrance Center in Benson.
Norman E. Cook
Born in Kiowa, Kan. to Russell Cook and Maureen Watkins, Norm was raised in Toledo, Ohio and Detroit, Mich., and spent time with his grandparents in Wellington, Kan.
Norm entered the U.S. Navy in 1939 and served in the Pacific, with three years in Perth, W. Australia as a radioman and Navy photographer, rising to Chief Warrant Officer. When released from the service in 1947, he returned to Detroit, where he went into the automotive parts manufacturing business with his father. That year he married Betty Banasiewicz. With the outbreak of the Korean conflict he was recalled to service and was a Naval Intelligence Instructor at Bainbridge, Wash. until 1954, then returned to Detroit and the business.
His wife, Betty, died in 1967. In 1970 he married Ann MacInnes Birou and they moved to St. David, where they took ownership of the Golden Bell Park. Since the sale of the park in 1985, then known at St. David Lakes, they have continued to live in St. David.
Starting in 1978, Norm became a very active member of the Benson Rotary and went on to become the Rotary District 5500 District Governor 1991-92. He had been an active member of the Masonic Lodge in Royal Oak, Michigan, where he was Master in 1966. Arriving in Arizona, he became a member of the San Pedro Lodge No. 55 F. & A.M. and served as its treasurer.
Norm will be remembered for his outgoing personality, great storytelling, wonderful humor and community service. He has hiked all over Cochise County and climbed every mountain. He had a great curiosity and love of taking recycled materials to make something new. His handiwork is everywhere.
He is survived by his wife, Ann, daughter Cindy Speir (Jim), St. David, Marc Birou, Paul Birou, Marie Meiffren, Teresa Birou, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.
A celebration of Norm's Life will be held at Holy Trinity Monastery on Friday, July 24 at noon, followed by a luncheon.
Arrangements are being handled by Richardson's Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, contributions are requested to the Benson Rotary Charitable Foundation or TMC Hospice.