Captain Leonard Edward Shea USN (ret.)
July 26, 1920 - September 21, 2004
U.S. Navy Captain Leonard Edward Shea (ret.), born in Pawtucket, R.I. on July 26, 1920, died at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in Chula Vista, on Sept. 21 after a brief illness.
After completing his bachelor of science in chemical engineering at Providence College in Providence, R.I., Captain Shea began his Naval career June 16,1941. During WW II he was assigned to several ships, including The USS Bear of Oakland (one of the last sailing ships in the Navy), the USS San Diego (a light anti-aircraft cruiser), and the USS General Brooks (a fast attack troop transport.)
After WW II in 1947, Captain Shea was assigned to be a liaison officer between the US Navy and the Turkish Navy during the transfer of several U.S. submarines to the Turkish Navy. In 1951, Captain Shea graduated with distinction from Harvard University Business School with an master's degree in business administration and during the Korean War, was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown during her conversion to an angled flight deck.
In 1955 Captain Shea graduated from the Armed Forces Staff Colleges' political science program, was promoted to Captain in 1960 and attended the U.S. Navy War College in Newport, R.I., graduating from their naval strategy program in 1962.
Captain Shea was reassigned in 1965 to the Coronado Naval Air Station and for the next 6 years, was the force supply officer for COMNAVAIRPAC - the official abbreviation for Commander, Naval Air Pacific - which supplied the U.S. Navy's aircraft carriers and bases throughout the Pacific during the Vietnam War. During this period, Shea performed four tours of duty in Vietnam and on July 31, 1968 retired from the U.S. Navy after 27 years of service. He immediately initiated a new career with General Dynamics in San Diego.
In 1971, Shea's career at General Dynamics was briefly paused as he was called back to active duty to serve on President Richard Nixon's energy commission in Washington, D.C. After his return to General Dynamics, Shea relocated to General Dynamics' home office in St. Louis, Mo., and upon his retirement from General Dynamics, Shea returned to Coronado. He developed and ran his own software company in San Diego, finally retiring from the business world in the late 1980s.
In 1995, Captain Shea was asked to become a board member of the USS San Diego Memorial Association, and successfully dedicated the USS San Diego Memorial sculpture, located on San Diego's waterfront on Harbor Drive at the G Street Mole on April 30, 2004. During his service with the U.S. Navy, Captain Shea earned the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; the WW II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device; the Vietnam Service Medal with Three Devices; and upon his retirement from the U.S. Navy, was awarded the United States Legion of Merit.
Captain Shea is survived by his wife of 60 years Margaret O'Connor Shea of Coronado; his two daughters Patricia Anne Shea of Coronado; and Kathleen Ellen Shea of St. Louis, Mo.; and his son Michael Kevin Shea of Anchorage, Alaska; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Iife was held for Captain Shea on Sept. 30 at Sacred Heart Church in Coronado and a special USS San Diego Memorial Association Maintenance Fund has been established in Captain Shea's memory. Donations are welcome to be sent to the USS San Diego Memorial Association, P.O. Box 182142, Coronado, CA 92178.
October 6, 1929 - October 4, 2004
Alice DuBois, wife of George DuBois, passed away on Oct. 4 at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura.
She was born on Oct. 6, 1929 in Pensacola, Fla. In her early childhood in Pensacola, she was known for her outgoing personality and her ability to captivate an audience through her singing on the radio and dancing on the stage. She made her debut as a young dancer at 18 months of age. She continued to perform throughout her school years, and as she grew older she assisted her mom as an instructor in the family-owned Janet Stevens Dance Studio. Alice was a member of McIlwain Memorial Presbyterian Church where she sang in the choir and taught Sunday school for several years. She attended Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn. In Pensacola she was president of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and a member of Zelica Cauldron No. 54. She married her husband in 1958 when he was a lieutenant in the United States Navy. They resided in Coronado, during his tour of duty and raised their two sons here.
Alice was an active member of the Newcomers Group. After relocating to Granada Hills, they joined First Presbyterian Church of Granada Hills where they both were active in many groups and activities. Alice especially enjoyed her involvement with the Women's Association. Alice enjoyed reading, gardening, creating beautiful gifts and visiting with family. She and George have made their home in Ventura for the last 8 years.
In addition to her husband, Alice is survived by her son Larry DuBois and his wife Mary and daughter Lisa of Anchorage, Alaska; her son Eric DuBois and his wife Wendy and children Morgan and Naomi of Portland, Ore.; and her sister Claudette Erek and her husband Bruce of Littleton, Colo.; and children Claudia of Encino; and Steven of Nashville, Tenn.
Alice was best known for her incredible warmth and generosity and her caring nature. Her love for others was measured best by all that she did for us, and all that she helped us achieve through her support. Her loving memory will forever be in our hearts and minds.
George H. Freese, Sr.
June 13, 1918 - October 19, 2004
George H. Freese, Sr. passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 19 after a long illness.
He was born in Sargent, Minn. on June 13, 1918. In 1936 he joined the U.S. Navy and went to Great Lakes, Ill. for training. After that, he was on the USS Pruitt, a mine laying ship in Hawaii. In 1939, he was transferred to San Diego and went on the USS Curtiss AV4. The ship was in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941 and was hit twice and 21 were killed and many were injured. Three weeks prior to the attack, George's duty station was changed. Had it not been changed, he would have been in the area where one bomb hit. There were ten young men in that area, only one survived. To this day, George considers himself a lucky man. George was 23 years old at the time of the attack.
In February 1942, he was transferred to the East Coast and went on the USS Massachusetts, which was a battle ship. They were in the invasion of Casablanca and a few other battles including the Korean War. Then he went to Annapolis for a while, then back to San Diego for shore duty. In 1961, he decided to retire after 25 years as a chief boatswain mate. He then worked for Coronado School District for 20 years and retired in 1981. He and his wife decided to travel and enjoy life.
In 1939 he married Helga Jacobs from South Dakota and they were married for 49 years.
They had three children; George Jr., Gerald and Alan. Helga passed away on July 5, 1988 after a long illness.
George remarried Louise Heil from Pittsburgh, Pa. on Sept. 23, 1989. They had their 15-year anniversary last month.
He is survived by two sons, five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and five step-grandchildren.
George belonged to the Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter #3 - San Diego; spent 60 years in the VFW, 40 of which were in the VFW Post 2422 in Coronado; belonged to the USS Curtiss Association AV4; the Fleet Reserve #289 in Imperial Beach; and was a charter member of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Coronado.
Memorial services for George H. Freese, Sr. will be on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 11 am at Resurrection Lutheran Church, 1111 Fifth Street. A memorial service and lunch at Coronado VFW Post 2422 will follow, 557 Orange Avenue.
Internment will be at Rosecrans Cemetery
on Monday, Nov. 1 at 1 pm. Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will perform the service with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers donations to be made to Resurrection Lutheran Church or VFW Post 2422.
“Mickey” Arline Henkle Higgs
September 28, 1917 - March 26, 2009
On March 26, Mickey Higgs died peacefully at Sharp Coronado Hospital with her family by her side. Mickey Higgs was born in Chevy Chase, Md. and arrived in Coronado in 1924.
After graduating from Coronado High School, she attended college at Converse and graduated from the University of Hawaii. While in Hawaii she met her future husband Harry. In May of 1942 Mickey married Harry and they began their military travels together in Coronado. Although they always maintained strong ties to Coronado, duty took them to New England, Annapolis, the Bay Area, Albuquerque, Norfolk and Washington.
During the war and prior to the birth of her daughter, Mickey co-owned and ran an advertising paper called Navy Town Talk. While in Coronado in 1946, Mickey gave birth to her son Jiggs and later, in 1949, her daughter Holly “Swanson.”
Harry passed away in 1974 and shortly thereafter, Mickey moved back to Coronado, became an active member of Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, joined the Coronado Garden Club, volunteered as a Pink Lady at the hospital, assisted cancer patients with their travels and continued to play a hard-driving game of tennis.
Mickey is survived by her daughter Holly; Holly's husband Dan; and her four children, Kiersten; Laura; and the twins Benjamin and Eric; son Jiggs; his two children Trevor and Victoria; and her great-grandchildren Elizabeth and William. A celebration of Mickey's life and her faith was held March 29. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church Friends of Afar or Wycliff Bible Translators in her name.
John Franklin Varner
April 11, 1950 - March 11, 2009
John was born in Toledo, Ohio and moved to Coronado at the age of 3. He attended Miss Bunny's School and Coronado Elementary School, Coronado Junior High and Coronado High School and graduated from Gainesville High School in Florida in 1968.
He began playing guitar with Tom Petty in his senior year at Gainesville High School. John moved back to California and attended college in Monterey and lived in Hawaii. He loved to surf there, as well as in Coronado and north county (Encinitas) where he lived for many years until his return to Coronado in 2003. He was a carpenter, a song writer, a musician and loved gardening and cooking.
He is survived by his mother Earlene; aunt Betty; sister Vicki; and brother-in-law David Doerr of Coronado; and brother and sister-in-law Tom and June Crow of Halifax, Nova Scotia and Coronado; two nieces Diana Briggs and Emily Crow and many cousins. Donations may be made to KPBS, San Diego and the San Diego Hospice in memory of John. A private memorial was held at the family home in Coronado March 15.
March 11, 2009
After living in Coronado almost 50 years, Joan Alban moved north to be closer to her daughters and passed away there at age 86 on March 11.
Born in Philadelphia, she married her high school sweetheart, Kenneth Alban, after his service overseas during World War II. As a Navy wife, she picked up roots many times as they were transferred through Florida, Texas and New Jersey before arriving in Coronado in 1954.
After spending Thanksgiving in a Quonset hut serving as Navy housing at the 32nd Street base in San Diego, the Alban family went sightseeing and took a ferryboat ride to Coronado and were driving down the street when a man walked out to the curb and staked a for rent sign in front of 730 Orange Avenue. Joan had sworn they were not going to spend another holiday in a “tin can.” The family rented the house on the spot and soon, as homeowners, spent the first of 49 Christmas holidays calling Coronado home.
Daughters Kathleen and Susan both graduated from Coronado schools in the 1960s and many of Joan's relatives, as they retired, moved to Coronado until there was a family circle of a dozen transplanted easterners in the village.
Joan Alban worked for real estate offices, the Coronado Cays and the Coronado Chamber of Commerce as a secretary before retiring to a life of gardening and library visits.
In 2003 Joan moved north to Garberville in Humboldt County to be closer to her children and grandchildren. Her new home had seven acres of grassland, forests and rosebushes and she discovered a small town of friendly folks and, always an artist, took up painting again. While far from Coronado, she never lost her love for the village.
Survivors include daughter Kathleen Tahja; her husband David; grandchildren Matti and Fern in Comptche; daughter Susan Alban and her husband Wesley; and grandchildren Morgan and Mairah in Harris. In the village she is survived by her favorite cousin Renee Williams and family. She was predeceased by her husband Kenneth Alban in 1972. A private family memorial service will be held in June.