James Edward Jones
James Edward Jones, 84, of Morgan Hill died Oct. 27, 2003.
There were no services at his request.
Arrangements were by Neptune Society of Central California, San Jose.
John Moreno, known as Mr. Morgan Hill,
When John Moreno died last week, at age 83, he took great chunks of Morgan Hill history with him. The former chief of police, former city manager, former Man of the Year - just to scratch the surface - knew everybody and everything about his favorite town and its people.
His death came as a surprise to many local people since, at his request, the burial was private and low-keyed. However, his many friends and acquaintances can gather and celebrate Moreno’s life at a memorial set for Friday, Nov. 21, 2-4:30 p.m. in the El Toro Room of the Community Center, Monterey Road at Dunne Avenue.
Though Moreno was born in San Francisco, grew up and went to school in Santa Clara, he spent his entire adult life since the 1930s in Morgan Hill, especially after he met and married his wife Elena, in 1942. Elena’s family (the Obergs) were early area settlers. Both families owned and operated orchards, as did almost everyone else in town.
Moreno gave his life to the community, according to attorney Bob Foster, a longtime friend.
“I've known John since 1965,” Foster said, “in his capacities as chief of police, city manager, when he was a Rotarian and in his numerous activities over the years. John put his full heart and soul into whatever he did and with excellence. He had a quality of openness to everyone's ideas and the ability to bring people together. Most people protect their own turf. That John never did.”
After becoming a Morgan Hill policeman in 1945, Moreno underwent months of training, including going through the famed FBI academy and ended up chief of police in 1950. During his tenure he started the police reserves, hired the first police dog, brought the first computer and built the department to 15 officers by his retirement in 1975.
During the 1960s Moreno moved his department into the old Bank of America building at Monterey Road and Main Avenue, now named after the former chief, according to a bronze plaque on the building.
At his retirement, and many times since, Moreno was called Mr. Morgan Hill.
Moreno came out of retirement to act as city manager when Charles Cate resigned and again in 1992 to fill in as City Councilman when several sitting council members were recalled because of a disagreement with the voters over a utility tax.
John Sorci, one of those recalled council members, has known Moreno for 25 years.
“He never sat around for anybody,” said Sorci. “He bounced right back to help the city out.”
Moreno was named Man of the Year in 1960 by the Chamber of Commerce. Elena received the same honor - Woman of the Year - in 1995.
“He was a wonderful guy,” said Jean Pinard, a retired Morgan Hill principal and a member of a family that has been in town even longer than the Obergs. She is always pleased to tell people that Elena babysat for her and her sisters - known around town as “the Skeels girls.”
“I never thought John would die. Always looked so healthy, so very statesman-like,” Sorci said.
The couple have three children: Glen, Kim and Candy; five grandchildren: Katie and Jesse Moreno; Adam, Ashley and Tristan Cunha and one great-grandson, Aiden, who is 4 yearsold. Moreno is also survived by one sister, Mary Puppo. Another sister, Ann Bonaccorso, died earlier this summer.
Edith J. Mast Frisby
Edith Jeanice Mast Frisby, 84, of Morgan Hill, died Nov. 26, 2002, in San Jose.
She was a member of the United Federated Doll Club, Bay Area Madam Alexander Doll Club and the Creators and Colletors of California.
Edith is survived by her children, Diane Downer and husband Doug of Morgan Hill and Richard Mast of San Jose. She was the grandmother of Stephen Downer and wife Teresa of Acampo and Timothy Downer and wife Susan of Morgan Hill. She is survived by three great-grandchildren, Jesse, Andrew and Anthony Joseph Downer and many nieces, nephew and cousins.
Funeral services were Monday, Dec. 2, at Johnson Funeral Home followed by interment at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Robert Kessler died Nov. 6, 2003, at home in Morgan Hill.
Bob was born in Switzerland and grew up on the family farm. He came to the United States in the 1950s. He enjoyed working in his garden, boating, social activities with his many friends and playing with his dogs. He was an avid world traveler and enjoyed the local culture of many exotic locations.
He is survived by his wife, Emily Kessler; daughter Rebecca Johnson of Portola Valley; son David Kessler of Mountain View; brother Emil Kessler; and sisters Erna Horler-Kessler and Anny Nef, all of Switzerland.
Visitation will be Wednesday, Nov. 12, from noon to 8 p.m. at Johnson Funeral Home and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. when Vigil Service will be held.
Funeral Mass will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday at St. Catherine Parish Church. Cremation will follow.
Judith Ellen Casey
Judith Ellen Casey, 62, died Nov. 2, 2003, in Gilroy. She was a native of Littleton, Colo.
Mrs. Casey loved gardening and animals.
She was the wife of Cecil Casey of Sacramento.
Mrs. Casey is survived by her son, Mike Casey of Seattle; son and his wife, Pat and Tamara Casey of San Jose; daughter and her husband, Shelly and Mark Burleson of Gilroy; grandchildren Shayne and Jacqueline Casey of San Jose, Shannon and David Burleson of Gilroy and Ryan Foster of Morgan Hill; sister, Jenny Shurr; brother, Wesley Shurr; several nieces and nephews; and her parrot, Romeo.
Arrangements were under direction of Habing Family Funeral Home, Gilroy.
Elise Dunn, 90, died Oct. 29, 2003, in Morgan Hill.
She was born May 31, 1913, in San Francisco to Dr. Walter and Clara Harder. She graduated from Lowell High School.
Elise lived in Morgan Hill since 1933. She was preceded in death by the love of her life, Bernard Dunn, in 1981.
Red and Elise started Rancho Las Uvas where they ran a summer camp for boys. Vacationing on a working cattle ranch enriched their lives. Elise was very active with family and friends. She enjoyed playing bridge, going to Tahoe and the horse races with the Morgan Hill Seniors. She was a member of the Lowell Alumni, Morgan Hill Historical Society and Women in Touch.
She will always be remembered for her positive attitude and wisdom. Her favorite saying was, “By the inch it is a cinch, by the yard it is hard.”
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Nardi and Dick Christensen of Coalinga; son and daughter-in-law Mike and Nancy Dunn of Morgan Hill; six grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and many dear friends.
No memorial services are planned.
The family asks that any donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 2065 W. El Camino Real, Suite C, Mt. View, CA 94040.