Vanderhurst, 77, of Oak View, died Tuesday, April 29, 2003 in
Ojai. He was born Aug. 2, 1925, and was raised in the San Francisco
Bay area by parents Byers G. Vanderhurst and Bertille Belasco
Vanderhurst. He was a fourth generation Californian, both sides
of his family having settled in California in the 1840s and 1850s
in San Francisco and Monterey counties.
He attended Van Nuys and Hollywood high schools and the University
of Southern California. He was a volunteer worker at the U.S.O.
Hollywood Canteen. Mr. Vanderhurst saw active Navy service in
the Southwest Pacific during World War II, followed by U.N. relief
work in China, prior to his first Navy separation.
After active Navy service in Korea, Mr. Vanderhurst joined the
Smith and Ganz advertising agency in Hollywood as an account
executive, later operating his own agency for 10 years in Hollywood.
He was employed by Radio Station KLAC as a production assistant,
KGIL in San Fernando, KSBW in Salinas, and as an account executive
for KAFY in Bakersfield. In the 1960s and '70s, he was employed
by Cap Cities Broadcasting handling programming and public affairs
for the stations in Los Angeles. Following that, he was owner,
developer and operator of the Sherman Oaks Athletic Club, selling
the club and retiring to Oak View in 1990. He played tennis and
helped youngsters learn the game.
Mr. Vanderhurst and his wife, Judy, took many trips in their
motorhome to the East Coast and the Pacific Northwest.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Judy; his children and
their spouses, Richard Vanderhurst, Gayle and Rich Pierce, Leslie
Fitgerald, and Cynthia and Tracy Neumann; and five grandchildren.
A graveside service is being held today at 10 a.m. at Ivy Lawn
Memorial Park, with Pastor David Burgeson officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Help
Arrangements are under the direction of Clausen Funeral Home,
didn't have time for athletics when he was young. Growing up
in New York City in the 1930s, he worked his way through college
and became an engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory in Hawaii
during World War II. He earned a master's degree in electrical
engineering at Columbia University, then worked as an aerospace
engineer in Los Angeles.
It wasn't until retirement, at age 63, that he participated in
his first Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, the first of 11 annual
swimming, biking and running endurance events that he took part
in from 1983 to 1994.
"As a kid growing up during the Depression, I always thought
of sports as a luxury," he said. "In my neighborhood,
we were too busy trying to get by to waste our time with those
kinds of things." Melville, 83, died at his Ojai home on
April 26 from colon cancer. No public memorials are planned.
He set age group world records in the 1990s for the 50-mile run
and 1,000-meter relay swim. He twice completed the Tevis Trail
Ride, a 100-mile horseback event in the Sierras. Melville was
an avid surfer in the 1940s and 1950s and a mountaineer in the
1960s and 1970s. He built a futuristic Burt Rutan-designed airplane
in 1977 and, with wife Wilma at the controls, flew it across
He helped found the National Search Dog Foundation, an Ojai-based
group that trains rescue dogs and handlers from around the world.
He also started the "Irongents," a group of over-60
triathletes who meet annually before each Ironman triathlon.
"A golden moment for me was during my first Ironman,"
Melville said in a published history of the Irongents. "One
of the volunteers was watching me with pity in his eyes. But
I was thinking, 'Hot dog. Six hours and 45 minutes left and only
a marathon to do!' "
Other lifelong interests included movies, music and history.
He is survived by his wife, Wilma Melville of Ojai, sons John
Melville of Los Angeles, George Melville of Maui, and Philip
Melville of Cerritos, and daughter Vicki Palisi of New Orleans;
stepsons Jason Hirschman of Los Angeles, David Hirschman of Atlanta,
Harry Hirschman and Micah Hirschman of Palo Alto, and six grandchildren.
Near the end of a two-year terminal illness, Melville told his
wife he was amazed at how well life had turned out.
"He used to say, 'Not bad for some jerk from New York,'"
Lucile N. Wood
When we come
to the end of our lives, what really matters is the love and
the lessons you leave to others. My grandmother, Lucile N. Wood,
was the best teacher I ever had. Every day with her was a lesson
in how to live.
She was born to parents John and Lucile Nicholson from Topeka,
Kansas, in 1901, while her father was working in Mexico City,
Mexico. They came back to live near family when little Lucile
was 4 months old. She lived through her parents' divorce, which
was then front-page news. She lived with her grandfather, who
was a Civil War veteran, endured family deaths, lived through
the influenza epidemic, a case of smallpox, and a less-than-stable
home life. In 1918, she and her mother moved to Long Beach, California.
She met her husband, Frank C. Wood, a dental student, at a St.
Patrick's Day party and they soon married. They had one son,
Frank C. Wood Jr., in 1924; he was the joy of their lives. They
lived through the Great Depression, through seeing their son
off to war and, thankfully, his coming home.
Throughout her life, Lucile was involved with many charitable
endeavors. She helped at the USO, knit sweaters for the soldiers
in World War II, and drove great distances to give talks to raise
funds for missions for the Philippines through the First Baptist
Church of Los Angeles. She was also a member of the Assistance
League and the Friday Morning Club. Her husband, a talented dentist
and avid golfer, passed away in 1951, and then her son, a successful
lawyer, in 1973. Through it all, she was strong. She carried
on with what God gave her. She had a special spot in her heart
for a ministry through her church called the Children's Baptist
Home. I remember her always mentioning how the children needed
some more blankets or clothing. She was the head of the project
for some time, and I know she made a difference in many children's
Lucile lived in Los Angeles, in the Larchmont Village area, in
the same house for 62 years. She was smart in business and in
real estate. She took good care of herself and looked after those
she loved. As her granddaughter, I was one of those fortunate
ones. When I was young, I thought she was bossy. Now, I thank
God for every word she gave to me. She was showing me how to
live, not only by her words, but by her life and by her positive
attitude. The time I spent as a child with her, which was plenty,
was the best time of my childhood.
Lucile moved up to Ojai, first to The Gables of Ojai in 1998,
and then soon after, in with me. Again, lessons that I have learned
from taking care of her have enriched my life and have given
me an appreciation and such rich blessings that words cannot
do justice. A couple of years ago, her hip broke and she moved
into the Skilled Nursing Facility at the Ojai Valley Community
Hospital. She continued to live there with a positive attitude
until her death.
Let me thank the staff at the Ojai Skilled Nursing Facility for
taking such good care of my grandmother. Let me thank God for
giving me the privilege of being the granddaughter of Lucile
N. Wood. I will continue to pass along the love and life lessons
she taught me whenever I can. Her memory will continue through
me and through my children. Her love will never be lost or forgotten.
Arrangements by Clausen Funeral Home, Ojai; private ceremony
with Stephanie Wood-Hartmann and her children.