Elmer Allen "Beck" Beckett
Elmer Allen "Beck" Beckett,
87, of Ojai, died Friday, May 10, 2002. He was born Sept. 27,
1914, in Coquille, Ore., and had been a resident of Ojai for
His parents had traveled from Colorado with his mother driving
a horse-led covered wagon. The family moved several times, and
during his junior year in high school moved from Las Vegas to
Ventura, where his parents owned and operated the Pierpont Inn
and El Nido Hotel. He played football while attending Ventura
He spent much of World War II serving under General George S.
Patton in the European campaign. He was a member of the famous
244th Field Artillery Battalion, which landed on Utah Beach in
the D-day invasion of Normandy, fought and succeeded in the Battle
of the Bulge, and under Patton, was part of the lead Army into
the final drive into Germany.
Following World War II, Mr. Beckett returned to Ventura and spent
the next 41 years working at the Shell Oil Refinery there. In
1948, he and his wife, Juanita, and daughter Bonnie moved to
the Ojai Valley.
He was known by many in the valley as the "Johnny Appleseed"
of the Matilija poppy, where every October he and friends would
scatter seeds and pods to increase the stands of the flower.
He was also known as the "Balloon Man," providing balloons
for many years during the Ojai Band's summer performances.
His interests included the natural assets of the Ojai Valley
and its creatures, storytelling and collecting gadgets.
Mr. Beckett is survived by his daughter, Bonnie Beckett Keeley
and son-in-law Richard D. Keeley of Foster City, Calif.; sister
Hellen Swanson of Temecula, Calif; and three grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Juanita Beckett, older
brother Ted Beckett and sister Alta Beckett.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 18, at 1 p.m. at
Clausen Funeral Home in Ojai.
The family requests that any donations be made to Help of Ojai,
Inc., P.O. Box 621, Ojai, CA 93024.
Arrangements are under the direction of Clausen Funeral Home,
John "Jack" Ghormley
John "Jack" Ghormley, 65,
of Arroyo Grande, died Saturday, May 4, 2002, at an Arroyo Grande
hospital surrounded by his family. He was born Aug. 11, 1936,
in Greenfield, Iowa.
He lived on the Central Coast since 1978, moving from Ojai where
he lived from 1970 to 1978. He graduated from the University
of Wisconsin in 1959 with a degree in civil engineering. Mr.
Ghormley was the public works director for the city of Gardena
from 1962 to 1966 when he became the city manager of Gardena.
He held that position until forming the partnership of Benner
& Ghormley Engineering from 1970 to 1975. He was president
of Bonita Homes, Inc. from 1977 until his death.
Mr. Ghormley was a member of Sigma Phi Fraternity, a former member
of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pismo Beach, and for many years
was a member of the Masonic Lodge. His hobbies included woodworking,
flyfishing and playing the piano.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Anne Ghormley; daughters
and sons-in-law Lynne and Paul Reed and Becky and Tony Crowe;
brother and sister-in-law Bill and Karen Ghormley; seven grandchildren;
and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dorothy LaNece and Clarence
A memorial service was held May 11 at 2 p.m. at Marshall-Spoo
Sunset Funeral Chapel in Grover Beach, with his family officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kiwanis
Club of Greater Pismo Beach, P.O. Box 44, Pismo Beach, CA 93448,
for youth projects.
Arrangements were under the direction of Marshall-Spoo Funeral
Chapel, Grover Beach.
Loretta Murphy Bowman
Loretta Murphy Bowman, 84, of Ojai,
died Friday, May 10, 2002, in Ventura. She was born July 30,
1917, in North Dakota, and lived in Ojai for nine years, coming
from Milwaukee, Wis.
Mrs. Bowman was a teacher and a homemaker. She was a member of
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, where she taught CCD.
She is survived by her children William Jr. of Boston, Mass.,
James of Chicago, Ill., Thomas of Ojai, Susan of Clayton, Calif.,
John of Santa Monica, Calif., and Joe of Menlo Park, Calif.;
22 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, William Bowman, who
died seven weeks ago in Ojai.
Visitation was held Monday at 6 p.m. at Clausen Funeral Home
in Ojai, with the rosary recited at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian
burial was held Tuesday at 9 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic
Church in Ojai, with the Rev. Patrick Keane, OSA, officiating.
Interment followed at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard.
Arrangements were under the direction of Clausen Funeral Home,
Vida V. Simonitz
Vida V. Simonitz, 89, of Ojai, died
Sunday, May 12, 2002, at Ojai Valley Community Hospital. She
was born April 12, 1913, in Kansas. She lived in Ojai for 28
years, coming from Chickasha, Okla.
Mrs. Simonitz was a homemaker. She is survived by her nephews,
Jack Weedon, of Ojai, and Jimmy Weedon and Farrel Weedon, both
of Bakersfield, and Joe Weedon, of Walnut, Calif.; and other
nieces and nephews out of state.
Graveside services will be held Thursday, May 16, at 10 a.m.
at Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, with Pastor Lyn Thomas officiating.
Arrangements are under the direction of Clausen Funeral Home
Beverly "Bev" Stevenson
Beverly "Bev" Stevenson, 72,
of Ojai, died Thursday, May 9, 2002, at Ojai Valley Community
Hospital. She was born Nov. 19, 1929, in Lafayette, Ind., and
lived in Ojai for five years, coming from Scottsdale, Ariz.
Mrs. Stevenson was a secretary.
She is survived by her husband, Robert "Bob" Stevenson,
of Ojai; daughter and son-in-law Cherie and John Kemp of Auburn,
Wash.; sister and brother-in-law Jean and Wally Edgar of Scottsdale;
and two grandchildren.
Private services were held in Ojai.
Arrangments were under the direction of Clausen Funeral Home
Maria Norbury was born in Fairview,
Alberta, Canada, to Peter and Josephine Gans. Her parents were
homesteaders and created a farm that is in its fourth generation
of family operation. Maria attended UCLA and graduated with an
MA in Art and English. She operated a kindergarten in L.A., and
also taught high school for 28 years in Woodland Hills.
Maria met and married Burton J. Norbury in 1949. The couple moved
to Camarillo and raised their children and a passel of animals.
They were married for 22 years until Burton's death in 1971.
Maria briefly returned to Canada after her retirement in the
early '80s, but found that she missed California. She moved to
Ojai and has been here since. Her passions were painting, roses
Maria Norbury passed away in her sleep during the early hours
of May 10. Maria was 89 years old. Two brothers and three sisters
survive Maria: Martin Gans, Leo Gans and Trudi Skinnarland, of
Canada, Margaret Shinn and Helene Gans of Ventura. Maria is also
survived by two sons, Edmund Norbury of Boise, Idaho, and Nelson
Norbury of Ojai, Calif.; and four grandchildren, Carissa, Jason,
Lori and Michael. Waldo, her German shepherd, will also miss
A memorial Mass will be held Wednesday, May 15, at 4:45 p.m.
at St. Joseph's Chapel. Anyone interested in honoring Maria's
memory may make a donation to the Ojai Humane Society or the
Dennis Charles Wolfe
Dennis Charles Wolfe, 61, of Ojai, passed
away Wednesday, May 1, 2002, after a brief illness.
Dennis was born March 23, 1941, in Los Angeles. He grew up in
Arcadia and Brea, California, and raised his children in Temple
City, Covina and Ojai, California. He had been an Ojai resident
for 20 years.
For the past 15 years, Dennis had been employed with Snap-On
Tools as an Industrial Sales Manager. He enjoyed spending time
with his family and fishing, traveling, and bicycling with his
friends. He was known for his fine woodworking skills and the
ability to throw a great barbecue.
Dennis will always be remembered as a man who never met a stranger
and always had a smile on his face. He will be greatly missed
by all who knew and loved him. He leaves us with an inspirational
legacy of hard work, gentle words, and kind thoughts.
Dennis was preceded in death by his mother, Louella Marie Wolfe,
in 1968, and his father, Frank Edward Wolfe, in 1987.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Billie Wolfe, of Ojai; son Erik
Wolfe and his wife Jeana of Trabuco Canyon, Calif.; son Ryan
Wolfe of Corvallis, Oregon; sister Marilyn Goodwin and her husband
John of Lebanon, Oregon; sister LeeAnn Garman and her husband
John of Crestline, California; and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Dennis' life will take place from noon to 4
p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2002, at the home of Jim and Mary Sanders,
2235 Los Encinos Drive, Ojai. Friends and neighbors are welcome
to join his family in this celebration.
Contributions may be made in Dennis' memory to the Ojai Recreation
Department at the Boyd Center in support of activities for the
youth of Ojai. Contributions can be mailed to P.O. Box 1570,
Ojai, California 93024.
Erma W. Bye
Erma W. Bye, 95, of Ojai, died Tuesday,
May 14, 2002, of natural causes. She was born Oct. 3, 1906, in
Council Bluff, Iowa, and lived in Ojai for four years, coming
from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Mrs. Bye was a secretary for both the city of Pasadena and San
Dimas Valley Community Drive-In Church. Her interests included
studying and writing poetry and some of her poems were published.
She is survived by her daughters, Karen Cudaback, of Shasta Lake,
Calif., and Laura M. Bye, of Ojai; three grandchildren; and three
She was preceded in death by her husband of 27 years, Bruce Neil
Bye, in 1968.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 18, from 11 a.m.
to 2 p.m. at South Coast Fellowshp Church on Market Street in
Ventura, with Pastor Earl Kerssey officiating. Private interment
will be at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Calif.
Arrangements are under the direction of Clausen Funeral Home
Kathryn Wyatt Sampson
Kathryn Wyatt Sampson, 55, of Henderson,
Nev., died Monday, May 6, 2002.
She was born Oct. 16, 1946, in Bakersfield, Calif., to William
and Juanita Wyatt.
She was raised and attended school in Bakersfield. She married
Richard Sampson in 1977. They lived in Ojai from the late '70s
to the '90s and moved to Henderson eight years ago.
Her interests included gardening, bird watching and craft projects.
Mrs. Sampson is survived by her husband, Richard; her daughter,
Lisa Baldridge, of Bakersfield; son and daughter-in-law Michael
and Ileen Baldridge of Bakersfield; mother-in-law Helen Dowd
of Henderson; stepdaughter Jessica Sampson of Henderson; her
father and stepmother, William and Katie Wyatt, of Fullerton;
sisters Bobbie Wyatt and Laurie Mitchell of Bakersfield; two
grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
A day of remembrance will be held Saturday, May 18, in Henderson,
Nev., at the Sampson home beginning at 4 p.m.
Flowers may be sent to the home or donations made in Mrs. Sampson's
name to any charity that supports wildlife and birding, or the
charity of your choice. For details on the service, call (702)
Jocelyn Sandberg, 41, died Friday, April
26, 2002, after an altercation with an unknown assailant in Colorado
Springs, Colo. She was born Dec. 2, 1960, in Port Hueneme, Calif.,
to Evalyn M. and Harley T. Sandberg.
She attended school in Ojai, graduating from Nordhoff High School.
She worked in Ventura and other California locations as a baker
and as an organic produce buyer.
Ms. Sandberg moved to Colorado Springs in 1989, where she worked
at Poor Richard's restaurant and volunteered as a program host
at public radio station KRCC. Later, she moved to Columbus, Ohio,
where she was a radio announcer-producer at station WCBE.
Returning to Colorado Springs two years ago, she became operations
manager and announcer at KRCC, and resumed her relationship with
the people at Little Richard's.
She is survived by her parents and her eight siblings, Tyler,
Judith, Tracy, Janet, Timothy, Thane, Jill and Tod; and many
nieces and nephews and extended family members.
A memorial service was held in the chapel at Colorado College,
the sponsor of KRCC. Interment will be in a family plot in the
City Cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley