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Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted anytime by graduates in the 1960s
William Tagmyer ’60, a longtime University of Portland board member, passed away on Sept. 27, 2013, after a short battle with cancer. He was 75.
William M. Necoechea ’60 died January 21, 2011.
William George Schroder ’60 died Aug. 11, 2010 at the age of 71, in Anchorage, Alaska.
Thomas J. Besmer Sr. ’60, Sep. 5, 1933 to Jan. 13, 2015. Tom Besmer was a big man in more ways than one. Standing at 6’5 ½” tall, he was not one to be missed. As a young man, and from a family of nine children, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After the Navy, he married Dovaleen (Gross) and he attended Santa Clara University. During those years, they lived in the old Quonset huts. It was an era when married students attended SCU and lived on campus. He played basketball for the Broncos and graduated with a BSEE in engineering in 1960.
Thomas C. Reasonover ’60 passed away on Feb. 5, 2013 at Stonebrook Convalescent Hospital at the age of 87. Born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma December 5th 1925, he settled in Northern California at the age of 17. He served in the Navy during World War ll as a Submariner. After his discharge, he obtained his degree from Santa Clara University. Then, was a forecasting manager executive for Kaiser Gypsum and Cement retiring after 25 years. He continued to work as a real estate broker for Coldwell Banker in Lafayette. He was a resident of Martinez. His wife, Edie, son, Randy and daughters Pam and Gretchen survive him. Tom is also survived by his granddaughters Kathryn and Kristen, nieces Phyllis and Wylma and many loving family members.
Richard L. "Dick" Hall '60 passed away peacefully on June 8, 2011, leaving behind his loving wife of 43 years, Jill, and their three sons, Dan (wife Tao), Dave (fiance Audrey), and Jeff (wife Patty), and grandson, James. He also leaves behind brothers Pete, Bob, and numerous special cousins, nephews, nieces and their children. His brother, Tim predeceased him. Dick graduated from Santa Clara University, where he maintained a long term active role in its Alumni Association, and Loyola Law School. He spent his legal career as a partner of the Pasadena law firm, Hahn & Hahn, LLP. He leaves behind many cherished friends.
Richard “Buzz” O. Kwapil ’60, 73, passed at his home surrounded by his family on April 18, 2012. His older sister, Carmel, bestowed the nickname before he was five years old for his always "buzzing around." Yearbooks, friends, and family embraced the name.
Buzz passed away after almost 20 years of marriage to his wonderful wife, Nancy Edwards Kwapil, whom he married on January 2, 1993. In 1992, Buzz asked each of Nancy's three adult children, Kathi, John and Jim for her hand in marriage, explaining he'd been diagnosed with cancer in 1990 and wasn't sure how long he had to live, but wanted to spend the rest of his few years with their mom, if "the kids" approved. Nancy's children happily agreed and joined Corinne (Cori) and niece Elena to become a blended Kwapil family spanning Reno, Houston, Denver and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Buzz frequently commented how blessed he was to have had two wonderful beautiful wives and such a large loving family to whom he became a father.
Buzz's first "sweetheart" was Leah Rae Larson, whom he married in 1962 and who passed away on 1991. Buzz and Leah were blessed when Corinne Marie Kwapil arrived on May 14, 1969. The couple were predeceased by two stillborn sons in 1970 and 1971. Buzz's niece, Elena, arrived to the Kwapil home in 1979 after his sister, Carmel K. Bannick, passed away from cancer. Buzz and Leah raised Elena as their second daughter.
A lawyer, world traveler, philanthropist, devout Catholic and bon vivant, Buzz fought non-Hodgkins lymphoma for more than two decades, becoming what he called a "poster boy" for his Reno oncologists and Stanford experimental treatment programs. What finally defeated him was the late effect of radiation on his heart and lungs after a treatment in July 2011 for a tumor near his heart. Regarding his prognosis-defying ordeal with cancer, Buzz declared, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."
Often referring to himself as "just a country lawyer," Buzz was a member of the Woodburn and Wedge law firm in Reno, Nevada from 1963 until his retirement in 2005. From its establishment in 1994, he served as Chairman and President of the Leonette Foundation, a philanthropy that supports innovative medical and assistance programs for needy seniors and deprived children who fall through the cracks of government assistance programs in Northern Nevada.
Buzz's philanthropy and personal altruism extended far beyond his foundation work. In so many different ways he generously helped friends and family in times of dire need. One of his favorites quotes, "do unto others as you would have other people do unto you," was indeed how he tried to live each day. One of his friends for 50 years noted to him recently, "it has been a certainty that there was no way we could out-give you."
At Reno High School where he graduated in 1956, Buzz recounted that some of his teachers thought him a "lazy student." For his junior year, his parents finally sent Buzz away to a Jesuit boarding school, St. Robert Bellerman, in San Jose, "a game changer in my life."
Already in love with Leah, he was a self-proclaimed "chiseler" who in his first months at Bellerman devised a way to visit her after receiving a letter from his father proclaiming he would miss Buzz at an upcoming duck hunt. Plotting his escape, Buzz decided to tell the stern President of the school that this was an important family tradition where men hunted and women folk cooked together. Academic leadership took pity on Buzz, allowing him a cash advance to take a bus toward Reno.
Upon Buzz's unexpected arrival back to Reno, his parents dutifully welcomed him, he saw Leah, and took part in the duck hunt. Thereafter his parents insisted on driving him back to school, where Buzz said, "I should have known something was up." The headmaster later told Buzz that he'd never received more of a tongue-lashing than from Buzz's mother for allowing him to leave campus.
Buzz graduated with a BSC from University of Santa Clara in 1960 and a law degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law in 1963 where he served on the Law Review. For the last 30 years of his law practice, Buzz served as attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas, encompassing the entire state.
In 2005, Pope Benedict conferred on Buzz a special Papal Award, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, a rare token of recognition for a life of exemplary service to the Catholic Church and the public. The esteemed award acknowledges Papal gratitude and respect for him and his dignified commitment to the Christian ideals of faith, justice and charity.
Buzz was also a Knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, having received the highest rank of Knight of the Grand Cross. Membership is considered one of the highest honors conferred upon clergy and laity alike. Selection occurs because of meritorious service to the Church, to the community and to one's fellow man. Since 1963, Buzz was also a member of Reno Prospectors' Club.
At the end of a walk in Bath, England in 2008, Buzz found inspiration in an old tombstone: "Here lies Fred. He's dead. Enough said."
Before embarking on a new (successful) round of cancer treatment three years ago, he told family he wanted his own epitaph to read: "Here lies Buzz. He was . . . "
And so it shall be done. Buzz wants others to fill in the rest, mentioning a few unprintable words some might choose, his humor intact through his last days.
Aunt Frances, the senior member of the Kwapil family whose ancestors arrived to Iowa from Bohemia in 1883, noted, "Buzz had a strong family sense. He put himself out to get the family together."
Another family member said Buzz was . . . "a toasted marshmallow, a little crusty on the outside and sometimes on fire, but all warm and mushy on the inside, and full of goodness."
The family thanks friends, clergy, doctors, and nurses (especially Stacia, Trent, Melissa, Karl-ER) at St. Mary's Hospital, and the amazing Cynthia and Tracy at BrightStar for the loving care and support provided in the past month.
Buzz is survived by his widow, Nancy, their children - daughters Corinne Kwapil-Golden (husband Kenny, Reno) known as "little Cori Kwapil," Elena (Nena) Bannick Ross (husband, Ben, Reno) and Kathi Walther Bouma (husband Richard, Johannesburg); sons, John Walther (wife Kay, Houston), Jim Walther (wife Lisa, Denver); grandchildren, Alex, Nicholis, Richard (Buzz's namesake), Hunter, Maeleigh (Reno, Idaho), Brittany, Lyndsay, Ben, Lance, Sean, Spencer, (Reno), Jack, Juliana, Karinne (Denver), Mary Claire, John (Chicago and Houston), Adam (wife Eleanor, London), William (wife Laura, London), and great grand daughter Emmie (London); niece, Elizabeth Bannick Sullivan (husband Dave, Atlanta), nephew Nick Bannick (wife Teresa, Houston); and Buzz's aunt, Frances Kwapil (Seattle), and other dear friends whom Buzz considered members of his extended family.
Melvin Prescott '60 after a long, courageous battle with many health issues, went to eternal rest on March 14, 2009 surrounded by his loving family. He leaves his wife Lynn of 41 years of marriage; loving dad to Matt (Jennifer) Prescott and Christine (Ed) Skubic; super papa to Nicole Skubic and Colin Prescott; loving baby brother to Pat Oswald and Bill Fernandez; brother-in-law to Steve Vlautin and Jean Madrieres, also many nephews and nieces. A native and proud San Franciscan, Mel attended Alvarado, James Lick Jr. High, Lowell High, and the University of Santa Clara. A Daly City resident and OLM parishioner for 41 years, Mel retired from Wyeth Labs as a sales rep. for 28 years. Mel was on the Daly City Park & Rec. Commission Personnel Board and a member of the San Mateo County Grand Jury, and a member of the Bronco Bench. Mel loved spending time with his family and friends. His children and grandchildren were everything to him, they made his face light up. His love for basketball and golf were right up there. He was athletic director and basketball coach at OLM for many years. He also ran and enjoyed the OLM festival every year. Mel was very proud of the two 8th grade teams he took to the CYO city championships. His other proud moment was his hole in one at the 14th hole at Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club (1989). He was totally beside himself over that proud moment. Playing golf with Matt and all their friends at the SF Father & Son Golf Tournament was high on his fun list. Of course watching the 49ers, high school basketball and college basketball were very high on his hit parade. His family and friends will miss him immensely. He was a giant man with a heart to match.
Lawrence Joseph Callan Sr. '60 entered into rest on Feb. 9, 2014. Born June 9, 1938 to James L. Callan and Mary L. Callan. Survived by his loving wife of nearly 54 years, Michele; children, Karen Hegarty (Steve), Kim Callan, and L.J. Callan, Jr. (Julie); grandchildren, Jeff Hegarty, Ashley Hegarty, Heather Callan, and Nicole Hegarty; brother, John Callan ’69, MBA ’76 (Linda) and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. Preceded in death by his parents, his sister Barbara, brother James, and his grandson Brett James Callan. Larry grew up in Marin attending St. Anselms, Marin Catholic, and Santa Clara University. For over 25 years, Larry was the owner of James L. Callan & Sons Jewelers. His second career was as the founder of Shark's Deli in Tiburon and L.J.'s Deli in San Rafael. Larry was a lifetime member of the San Rafael Elks Lodge 1108 and was a Past Exalted Ruler. He was also past president of the California Retail Jewelers Association and of the Marin County 49'ers Booster Club. Larry was loved and will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends.
Larry D. Kinser '60 died on March 21, 2010. He was born on August 27, 1938 in French Camp, Calif. In 1962, he married his wife, Patricia "Pixie'' Lamphere. He was the youngest of three children born to Carroll "Bud'' and Jean Kinser. Larry was raised in Stockton, where he graduated from St. Mary's H.S. Throughout his childhood, Larry loved playing sports and was a great athlete. He grew up bowling and playing baseball, football and golf. He continued to play baseball for Santa Clara University. In 1960, Larry graduated from Santa Clara University with a Business Administration degree. After college, Larry had a successful career in sales and marketing and worked at Sears, Xerox, Best Foods and Gallo Winery. In 1976, he bought Caples Lake Resort and became an entrepreneur. Other business ventures include a financial planning business, Kinser Shell Mini Mart, Sting Golf and Par 4 Homes. He was an active member of the Ripon Rotary and served a term as the President. Larry and Pixie spent the majority of their lives living in Modesto where they raised two children, Corbin Kinser and Diana Kinser Middleton. While his children were in school, Larry served as the President of the Father's Club at Sherwood School and was on the school board at Central Catholic H.S. He also coached golf, softball and little league. During his retirement, Larry enjoyed playing golf, traveling, spending time with his family and working at H & R Block doing taxes for fun.' Larry is survived by his wife Pixie, two children Corbin (Aly) and Diana (Brock), three grand- children: Jack and Quinn Kinser and Britton Middleton, sister Carole DeCristofaro and many nieces, nephews and cousins. His love and laughter will be forever missed.
Joseph “Joe” Michael Hester ’60 passed away May 29, 2012. Born in Oakland, Calif., he attended Catholic schools in the Bay Area, including Santa Clara University, before being drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
Upon his return he transitioned straight into his life's work at McGuire and Hester in Oakland. His career spanned more than 50 years. He was so very proud of all things Catholic, Irish, and Oakland and was passionate about his family, his work, and was committed to education. He was especially generous in support of Catholic education and headed many projects at Bishop O'Dowd, St. Elizabeth, and St. Joe's High Schools.
He followed his father's footsteps in generous support of St. Vincent De Paul and at Holy Names University. As life brought him towards his life dream of a family ranch, which he found in Stonyford CA in 1998, his generosity extended north through organizations and individuals he touched.
He is survived by the love of his life, Mary, with whom he shared so close to 50 years of marriage, his brother Fr. John Hester and sister Sr. Maureen Hester, SNJM, and his children Mike (Janice), Pegge (Mike) Deely, Colleen (Paul) Ustach, Kevin (Amy) Hester, John, Moira, Tim, Annie, Matt, Rich and Allen. "Jo-Jo" to his grandchildren Nichola, Tyler, Molly, and Ben Hester; Tina, Jack, Pat, Claire, and Seamus Deely; Kaz, Cy, Stan, and Mary Ustach; and Claudia and Ella Hester. Joe also leaves many nieces and nephews and countless cousins both in the States and Ireland.
James R. Tormey Jr. J.D. '60 May 27, 1935 - October 5, 2013 Resident of Medford, Ore. James "Jim" Roland Tormey, Jr., passed away on Oct. 5, 2013 in Medford, Ore. at the age of 78. Born to James R and Hope Allario Tormey of San Jose, Jim was raised in San Mateo, attended San Mateo High School ('53), then San Jose State ('57) where he met and married Mary Pat O'Donnell, also of San Mateo, in 1957. He resumed his studies after his ROTC service to earn his Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University in 1960, returning to San Mateo where his 5 children were born, raised and educated. Jim practiced Law from his San Mateo offices until 1997, when he retired to his family's beloved ranch on the California/Oregon border. Jim was first elected to the Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District in 1971 and served on the board for 24 years. He was a founding director of the Borel Bank & Trust Company (now Boston Private Bank & Trust) from 1979 to 2002, and served as Judge Pro-Tem in the San Mateo County Courts from 1972 to 1997. Jim was an active member of several service and professional organizations, many for decades and often serving as President or Board Chair, including the San Mateo County Congress of Elected Officials, San Mateo Heart Association, Combined Health Agencies Drive, The Bombay Bicycle Riding Club and the Kiwanis, which he joined in 1963. Jim was a fierce advocate for public education, an avid skier, dedicated outdoorsman and appreciator of the challenges and rewards of the rural lifestyle. Jim is survived by Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Tormey, his wife of 28 years, of Medford, Oregon, and his children Anne (Richard) Freeman of Auburn, Erin Tormey of Half Moon Bay, Christopher Tormey of Auburn, Gregory (Stacy) Tormey of Cotati, Marc (Deanna) Tormey of San Mateo, step-daughters Tobi Fenn of Fremont and Jacqueline (Clinton) Ward of Redwood City and 11 treasured grandchildren.
James F. Russi '60 passed away on June 2, 2014 at the age of 76. Beloved husband of Arleen Russi of Alameda. Loving father of Jack (Jodie), Tim (Alicia), Joe (Lynn), Cathy Thomas, Patrick (Kelly) and Shelley (Rahn Twitchell) . Adored Papa of 18 grandchildren.
James (Jim) was born in San Francisco on June 1, 1938 to Francis John and Catherine (Carroll) Russi. He was an older brother to Fr. John Joseph Russi and Carroll McDaniel both deceased and an Uncle to Carroll's two children Kitty and Patty. He graduated from St Cecilia Grammar School , St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, and Santa Clara University, where he was a basketball player. He was second team all-conference in 1960 and honorable mention in 1959. He is in the Hall of Fame at Santa Clara University. The pinnacle of his sports career was to be a first round draft pick for the St Louis Hawks in 1960.
Jim was a CPA and a long-time partner in Yandell Truckaway and Santa Clara Warehouses. Jim coached CYO basketball from 18 years of age and was Athletic Director for over 25 years at St Joseph's Grammar School in Alameda. For many years Jim and Arleen ran the CYO East Bay Parochial League for the Oakland Diocese and their impact on youth and sports in the Bay Area has been substantial . He was a legend in adult basketball leagues in the area and frequently sought after pick-up basketball player at Franklin and Washington Parks.
Jim lived his life with a few simple principles. God and family were always first and if you were going to do something then try to be the best. He has been a significant and positive influence for so many, and truly has left the world a better place. He will be dearly missed.
Gerald A. "Ben" Benedetti '60, on June 16, 2009. A resident of Livermore, "Ben" passed away at home in Livermore at the age of 72 on June 16, 2009. He was born March 2, 1937 in Salinas, one of two sons of Andrew and Eula Benedetti and graduated from Salinas High in 1954. Ben's early passion in life for all things mechanical led him to the field of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University, a Masters degree from Oregon State University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University. After marriage to Nancy in 1960 and starting a family, engineering moved to second place. He was a resident of Livermore since 1962 and employed at Sandia National Labs for over 35 years, retiring in 1997. Ben loved traditional Jazz and Dixieland music; on any given afternoon or evening if you were to stop by for a visit, "his" music could always be heard coming from the stereo. He and Nancy often traveled to Jazz festivals throughout the west, especially after retirement. He also loved the outdoors and family camping trips when his two sons were young. Another avid pursuit of Ben's was fixing anything that was broken. There was seldom a time when he didn't have a mechanical project of one sort or another underway. There seemed to be nothing he couldn't fix or overhaul. Automatic transmissions, engine overhauls, washing machines, the microwave, whatever it was he'd always find a way to fix it. If anyone had some thing they needed help with, they could ask Ben and he'd help out. If he didn't know how, he'd find a manual and then become an expert on that subject. He also took the opportunity to laugh whenever he could and loved exchanging jokes and funny stories, and he loved animals. Ben is survived by his wife of 49 years, Nancy; sons Aaron (spouse, Karen) and Andrew (Sirikanya); grandsons Ethan and Darren; brother Don (Nadine); nephews Michael and Ronnie; niece Donna Benedetti; and brother-in-law Richard Leffingwell (Doreen), and Richard's daughters Karen and Janet. He was a generous man in all ways that mattered, whether taking time out to talk, help or offer advice. He will be dearly missed.
George Laurence Singewald Jr. '60 on Feb. 8, 2009. A native of San Jose, he worked as an assistant assessor for Siskiyou County for many years. He was a member of the I.O.O.F. Lodge #19 in Yreka and Elks #1980 in Yreka. He was active in Yreka youth baseball and football and North Siskiyou youth baseball. He is survived by his wife, Velzora; four sons; two step-sons; and 10 grandchildren.
Gayle Eileen Gutierrez '60 died on January 29, 2010. Gayle was born April 30, 1940 to William O. Standrine and Rose Gallagher Standrine in
Frederick B Maguire '57, J.D. '60 passed away on May 29, 2010 at the age of 74.
Frank Cannizzaro '60 entered into rest at his home in Millbrae on May 2, 2011. Frank was a San Mateo County resident for 46 years and beloved husband of Caroline Cannizzaro for 50 years. He was the loving father of Roselyn Pallas (husband Mike); Christine Cannizzaro; Frank Cannizzaro III '87 (wife Ximena); Danille Rodriguez (husband Nowell); Caroline M. Cannizzaro '01. Dear brother of Domenic, Ann, and Carmel. Also cherished by his grandchildren Mike, Frank IV, Marianna, Andrew, Trestin, Ethan, and Marissa. A 73-year-old San Francisco native, Cannizzaro was a 3 term Mayor of Millbrae, City Councilman for 17 years, a member of the Knights of Columbus for 48 years, and an active and revitalizing member of La Madonna del Lume in San Francisco.
Frank Sousa '60 on August 2, 2009.
Francis E. "Frank" Quinn ’60 died on August 11, 2013 in Seattle. He was born in Seattle to Albert and Frances Quinn on October 10, 1938. He graduated from the St. Joseph Grammar School and Seattle Preparatory in Seattle, and The University of Santa Clara in California. He served for four years as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the Viet Nam Conflict. He is survived by his four daughters, Corrine Fishman, Colleen Quinn, Kathleen Quinn and Kelly Quinn, all of California, three grandsons, and a granddaughter. He is also survived his siblings Joseph Quinn ’56 of Medina, Philip Quinn of Seattle, Louise Sifferman of San Juan Capistrano, and Catherine Turner of Escalo, California.
Eugene Stelzer ’60, born September 11, 1938, passed away August 17, 2012. He is survived by his wife Lois. Eugene received an accounting degree from the University of Santa Clara and a master's degree in Anthropology from the University of the Americas, and he worked for the state of California in the Department of Savings & Loan.
Elliott Chielpegian ’57, J.D. ’60 was born October 26, 1935 and passed away September 20, 2012. In his own words, "Just a simple kid from West Fresno," Elliott was born on October 26, 1935, in a bedroom of his parents' house on Kearney Boulevard. Elliott was the third and youngest child born to Armenian immigrants, Michiel and Florence Chielpegian, who owned and operated a small corner grocery store called Boulevard Market. Ellliott attended St. Alphonsus Grammar School and graduated from San Joaquin Memorial High School in 1953. While at SJM, Elliott excelled as a student, played football and basketball, and served as senior class president. Elliott continued his education at Santa Clara University, having never seen the campus prior to his arrival for the first day of classes. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, cum laude, in 1957, Elliott remained at Santa Clara for law school, graduating in 1960. Elliott cherished the wonderful education he received from the Jesuit priests and law professors at Santa Clara. In an effort to give back to Santa Clara, Elliott served as a Member of the Board of Fellows from 1973 to 1983 and as a Member of the law school Board of Visitors from 1997 until his passing. In 1960, Elliott returned to Fresno. A few years later, in the parking lot of St. John's Cathedral after Sunday Mass, he met the love of his life, Agnes Mathiesen. Elliott and Agnes were married in 1969 and had two sons, Michael '92 and Mark '94 J.D. '97. Elliott practiced law in Fresno for over 50 years. In 1979, Elliott started his own firm, the Law Offices of Elliott D. Chielpegian. Following in their father's footsteps, his sons returned to Fresno to practice law with Elliott and the name of the firm was changed to Chielpegian Law Offices. Known throughout the Valley as an attorney of skill and integrity, Elliott never once lost sight of the fact that the practice of law is a profession, and to him that meant always putting the needs of his clients first. Elliott was an early member of San Joaquin Country Club. He served as club president in 1976. Although he never quite mastered the game, he loved golf because of the unhurried time it allowed him to spend with Agnes, his sons and his many close friends. Elliott enjoyed watching sports, whether it was his grandchildren or his beloved San Francisco Giants. Despite the constant nagging from his family and doctors, Elliott loved to eat. Some of his favorites included salami, Italian sausage, hamburgers, hot dogs, traditional Armenian foods, and homemade ice cream. Jazz also brought much joy to Elliott's life. Elliott's family will be forever grateful for the skill and compassion exhibited by the doctors and nurses at Stanford Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Hinds Hospice during Elliott's final illness, especially Dr. Chooljian, Dr. Chambers, Dr. Hackett, Dr. Wakelee, and Dr. Loo. Elliott was preceded in death by his parents, Michiel and Florence Chielpegian; sister, Doris Chielpegian; sister in law, Juanita Normart; and brother in law, Joseph Marcelli. Elliott is survived by his devoted wife, Agnes; son, Michael and his wife Laura '92; son, Mark; grandchildren, Matthew, Lucy, Gaby, and Cate; sister, Betty Marcelli; and many other loving relatives.
Dennis "Denny" Riopel '60 died of cancer on June 17, 2010, at his home in Anaheim, Calif. At his side were his wife Ellen of 50 years and his children and other family members. Denny retired 6 years ago following a career in sales, most recently as an insurance agent for the Knights of Columbus. Denny was very proud of his relationship with the First Friday Friars, Catholic Cursillo and the Knights; his many roles included Grand Knight, District Deputy and head of the Columbian Squires. Denny received many awards for his contributions to the Knights, insurance associations and community services, including Orange County Catholic Man of the Year in 2008.Denny is survived his wife Ellen, son Paul (Leslie and grandson Alexander) Riopel, daughter Patrice (Darrell and grandsons Christopher and Jonathon) Lee, brothers Dave (Lora), Bob (Cheryl), Richard (Harriett), Bill (Suwan), John (Joyce) and Phil (Margie) Riopel. He was preceded in death by parents John and Ardis Riopel and brother Michael.
Daniel E. Lester ’60, age 75, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Aug. 15, 2014, the day that commemorates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.
Dan was born on Oct. 8, 1938 to proud parents Ed and Willa Lester, residents of Santa Cruz, California. The family moved to Watsonville where Dan attended Freedom Elementary School and Watsonville High School – where he met his only love and lifetime soulmate, Patricia Copriviza.
Inspired by the popularity of rock and roll, Dan learned to play the guitar and recorded four original songs – making him a popular local musician. He decided, however, that a career in music would not become his life's pursuit. After graduating from Santa Clara University in 1960, Daniel and Patricia were married at St. Patrick's Parish in Watsonville on June 11 of that year. After settling into their first home on Green Valley Road, Watsonville, Patricia gave birth to five children in the first six years of their marriage. The children attended Moreland Notre Dame in Watsonville, followed by Aptos High School before moving on to various colleges and careers.
Dan launched his career in the home sales industry and eventually formed a partnership with trusted colleagues Richard Roach and Don Gardiner, with a focus in commercial development. William Locke-Paddon later joined the firm known as Lester Roach & Gardiner, which currently owns and operates residential and commercial property in Santa Cruz County.
Dan was always full of life and adventure, and he relished worldwide travel – collecting art and antiquities along the way. He loved to share his lust for life with his family and friends, and often traveled with them on trips to places such as Asia, Africa and Indonesia. His worldwide travels inspired him to create impressive paintings with Aboriginal, Asian and Pre-Columbian influences – recognized by many as superb works of art. He was intensely interested in the history and culture of the places he visited, and loved to collect relics of the past and display them with pride and knowledge, always ready to answer questions about the ancient artifacts he had collected.
Saltwater and freshwater fishing was a great source of enjoyment to Dan, and he recently won a world-class fishing tournament in Mexico. As a testament to his achievements, his family office, Lester Company, is adorned with many of his trophy fish. Following his lifetime dream of owning a ranch, Dan purchased land in the Aptos hills, planted a successful vineyard that has produced many award-winning wines. He and Patricia later built their dream house on the ranch – always a welcoming venue for family, business and charitable gatherings.
Dan was a unique man who was well loved by all his family. He had the rare ability to make people feel intensely important in his presence, and built bonds of friendship with almost everybody he encountered throughout his life. As a successful man, he was generous to those in need and always ready to give a helping hand. He was moved by the inequalities he observed throughout his life and travels and made a habit of being generous to others and helping them pursue their dreams.
In the passing of Dan Lester, the community has lost a true renaissance man who will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife Patricia, sons Mark Lester ’83 (Suzy), Sean (Lori) and Joseph his daughters Lori Johnson ’85 (Steve) and Kelly Armstrong also his grandchildren Megan and Logan Johnson, Jackson Armstrong, Tobin and Annie Lester and great grandson London Johnson. He is also survived by his first cousin Steve Benson (Evette).