Rex Dietrich, a 28-year El Granada resident, died April 20 at Seton Hospital Daly City, at age 67 and following a brief illness.
Mr. Dietrich was born on March 28, 1937 in Ottumwa, Iowa, as the 11th of 13 children. He graduated from high school in Iowa City and then signed up for the Navy. He served for four years of active duty and two years in the reserves, for a total of six years between 1952 and 1962. His duties took him around the United States and also to the Philippines, Japan, Hawaii and Guam.
In 1959 he married his wife, Margaret.
"He was a good man, a lovin' man," she said. "He helped anybody and everybody who needed help."
After his time in the service, he went to work in San Francisco as a PBX technician for Pacific Bell, and stayed with the company after it merged with AT&T. He worked for the company for a total of 33 years until taking early retirement when it was offered to him in 1991.
After his retirement, he and wife Mar-garet traveled extensively. Favorite destinations included Northern Ireland, where his wife was from and where she had relatives, Texas where he had relatives, and around the United States.
Mr. Dietrich enjoyed fishing and making frequent trips with his wife to Lake Berryessa, where they kept a boat. He also enjoyed camping and water-skiing, and playing with his grandchildren.
"He would teach them how to do things," his wife said. "How to ride their bikes when they were little."
Mr. Dietrich is survived by his wife, Margaret Dietrich, of El Granada, his daughter Jo Ann Tavani and husband Mike Tavani of Sacramento, and three grandchildren, David Christopher Darling, Kevin Darling and Amanda Darling, also of Sacramento.
He is also survived by five sisters, Linda Lou Montgomery and Mary Ellen Hodge, both of Iowa, Betty Cordes and Leona Smith, both of Oklahoma, and Annabelle Humphlett of Redondo Beach, Calif., and three brothers, Raymond Dietrich of San Antonio, Texas, Bob Dietrich of Utah and Charles Dietrich of Concord.
Mr. Dietrich is entombed at Skylawn Memorial Park.
John A. Arabian, a 28-year resident of Half Moon Bay, died at his home on April 25. He was 54.
Mr. Arabian was born in San Francisco and graduated from Sonoma State University, where he had studied business. He lived in Daly City and Hillsborough before settling on the Coastside.
For 25 years, Mr. Arabian and his business partner, Steve Flaten, owned Pacific Lighting Products in San Carlos.
Mr. Arabian enjoyed sports car racing, particularly racing distinctive Sprite cars. He also enjoyed sailing, multiple other sports events and scuba diving, traveling occasionally to Belize or Malaysia to go diving.
He particularly looked forward to cooking for the annual Kelly Avenue block parties, held at the end of summer or after Labor Day, said his wife, Mary Arabian of Half Moon Bay.
"He had a big heart. He was very loving and giving," said his wife. "Family and friendship were very, very important to him. His friends will miss him very much, and so will I."
Mr. Arabian is survived by his wife of seven years, Mary Arabian, of Half Moon Bay, his mother, Isabelle Arabian, of Burlingame, his twin brothers and their wives, George and Ann Arabian of Corte Madera and Gary and Delores Arabian of San Mateo, and his brother-in-law and his wife, Richard and Susan Pretel, of Sunnyvale.
He is also survived by six nephews, five nieces, two grandnieces, one grandnephew and two great-grandnieces, all of the Bay Area and Southern California. He is also survived by an aunt, Evelyn Vaughn, of Modesto, and many cousins and close friends.
Burial took place at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Arabian's memory can be made to the Coastside Opportunity Center at 99 Avenue Alhambra, El Granada, CA 94018, or to a charity of preference.
Leon W. Sies
Leon W. Sies, a former Half Moon Bay resident and plastering contractor currently living in Pahrump, Nev., died April 27 at age 76 in a Las Vegas hospital following a long battle with cancer.
Mr. Sies was born Sept. 22, 1927 in Texola, Okla., and came to the Bay Area with his family while in his teens. He devoted his working life to the construction and plastering business, and opened his own business, "B. and L. Plastering," in the Bay Area in the early 1960s.
He lived near his family in Redwood City, and in Menlo Park, before moving to the Grandview Terrace area of Half Moon Bay in the late 1960s, in order to expand his business into the coastal area.
Mr. Sies was active athletically, as a fast-pitch softball pitcher for his church team. He was on the teams of several churches, but longest with the Peninsula Christian Center in Redwood City. His athletic prowess also included the ability to ride his bike backwards. He taught his sons, and also several neighborhood boys, a variety of sports.
"He was living proof that a grown man can enjoy life as kid," said his son, Dale Sies of Portland, Ore.
He was married twice; his first wife, Peggy Sies, continued to live in Half Moon Bay, and died in June 2002.
After retiring from his business, Mr. Sies moved to Arizona in spring 1980, and married his second wife, Donna Jo, in April 1981. The couple resided in Phoenix and traveled around the country, in their fifth-wheel trailer, part-time, for a few years. Then they rented out their home and went on the road full-time.
Their travels took them around the United States, Canada and Mexico, in their trailer, for a total of 14 years.
As they went, they performed Christian concerts, in which Donna Jo would sing and Mr. Sies would speak between songs. After those travels, they settled in Pahrump.
"He was my hero," said Mr. Sies' son. "Very fun-loving and full of honor and wisdom. He never knew a stranger; he could talk to anyone."
Mr. Sies is survived by his wife, Donna Jo Sies, of Pahrump, Nev., his children Carole Miller of Los Gatos, Gene Sies of Mt. Shasta and Dale Sies of Portland, Ore., nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
He is also survived by his 96-year-old mother, Linnie Sies of Redwood City, and brothers Kenneth Sies of Fallon, Nev. and Robert Sies of Redwood City.
At one point, said his son Dale Sies, Mr. Sies was part of a family of six generations living.
An informal Bay Area gathering in Mr. Sies' memory will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, at the home of Robert Sies in Redwood City. Friends may RSVP at (650) 369-0737.
Frank William Varni
Frank William Varni, who lived in Half Moon Bay for at least nine years, died peacefully at his Half Moon Bay home on May 16, with loved ones by his side, at age 69 and after suffering a major stroke.
Mr. Varni was born in 1935 and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco. He attended Washington High School. After that, he played semi-pro baseball for four years with the San Francisco Pirates, and served with the U.S. Navy CBs, on call for the service, for eight years.
Mr. Varni was the founder and owner of the San Mateo Transmission Center for more than 40 years.
He was a loyal San Francisco 49er fan, dating back to the days of Kezar Stadium. His favorite pastimes included hunting and fishing. In a photograph cherished by his family, he is grinning ear to ear and holding a 38-pound salmon he caught last April.
"Frank always lived his life as he wanted and did as he pleased," said La Verne Pacheco, mother of Mr. Varni's son-in-law Mateo Pacheco. "He will be truly missed by his family and friends, who know he will be waiting for them on another boat at another time in a better place."
Mr. Varni is preceded in death by his loving father, Amadeo, and brother Bob. He is survived by his three children and their spouses, Richard and Julia Varni of Lake of the Pines, Terri and Mateo Pacheco of Half Moon Bay and Anna and Keith Kliest of Oakhurst, and was a loving grandfather to Teo, Jason, Callie, Kody, Marissa and Klay.
He is also survived by his mother, Ilide Varni of San Francisco, who was born in Fasca, Italy and will be 90 this year, and his brother, Bill Varni of Half Moon Bay, who lived with him. The brothers were fishing and hunting buddies for many years.
He is survived by his former wife Joan Varni-Bowen of Arizona, and sister-in-law Carol Varni of San Carlos. He is also survived by loving friends and fishing buddies Julio, Hugo, Mike, Gary and Louie.
A memorial service will be held this Friday, May 21, at 11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic Church in Half Moon Bay, followed by a celebration of Mr. Varni's life at the Bell Building at 565 Kelly Ave.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Mission Hospice, at 151 West 20th Ave., San Mateo, 94403.