Although your loved one or friend is no longer here in person, they will forever be in our hearts. Find their name, and sign the guest book with a fond memory or note for their family.
Douglas Ronald Hans
Douglas Ronald Hans, age 57 of Goodyear, AZ died June 19, 2019 in Goodyear, AZ. He was born October 10, 1961 in Highland, IL to Robert and Marlene Hans and grew up in Edwardsville, IL. Doug worked for the Palo Verde Nuclear Station for over 30 years. He loved sports and was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Doug loved family get togethers. He was a devoted husband, father, brother and uncle. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Hans; daughter, Katelyn Hans; son, Nicholas Hans; sister, MaryBeth Andrade (Manuel); and brother, Craig Hans (Christine). He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Marlene Hans.
A visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Monday, June 24 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ. Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am, Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at St. Henry Catholic Church, 24750 W. Lower Buckeye Rd, Buckeye, AZ. Burial is private.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Douglas Ronald Hans to the Lewy Body Dementia Association at https://www.lbda.org/donate or St. Henry Catholic Church in Buckeye, AZ.
Condolences for the family may be left at www.ThompsonFuneralChapel.com
Erin Elizabeth Burley
Erin Elizabeth Burley, age 36 of Phoenix, AZ died June 12, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ. She was born December 29, 1982 in Urbana, IL to John and Barbara Burley but lived her entire life in Arizona. She graduated from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale where she was first chair violin in the orchestra and played trumpet in the marching band. She began her college education at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC then transferred to Arizona State University where she completed her Bachelor’s degree and went on to receive her Master’s degree in music performance, graduating with honors.
Erin was a brilliant violinist who was deeply committed to her profession. She was a violinist in the Burn City String Quartet and frequently played violin in the pit orchestra of musical theater productions throughout the valley. From classical to contemporary to folk, she could play any style. Her proficiency provided her many opportunities to play at a variety of venues ranging from stints with Michael Bublé, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Manheim Steamroller in Las Vegas to a local bluegrass band, The Sonoran Dogs, as well as at weddings, funerals and other intimate events. Her love for her art encouraged her to explore all varieties of music. She learned many cowboy songs from her close friend Katie Lee. She played with a beautiful intensity that was contagious and inspired everyone to be a better musician and to have fun.
Erin was an extraordinary teacher who was highly respected by her peers. After playing for several musical events she was asked by St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School to begin a strings program. Several years later she began teaching music full time for the school. Her parents were both professional music teachers so teaching came naturally to her. Though not a professionally trained teacher, she developed her own style of teaching that was highly successful. She was a member of American String Teachers Association. She was passionate about inspiring the next generation of musicians and gave her heart and soul to her students, loving them as if they were her own children. Her students adored her and brought her endless joy.
Erin had an infectious, kinetic energy. She lived her life with passion and seized every opportunity to take on adventure. From running half marathons to hiking the Grand Canyon, she never turned down an opportunity to challenge herself and to be outside. She loved to travel, enjoying Spain, France, Italy, England, and Ireland, riding elephants in Thailand, and participating in a summer music program in Czechoslovakia. Regardless of where she went, she was always an Arizona girl at heart.
Erin was sassy, hilarious, and super fashionable. She loved vintage clothing and jewelry, although she could make a basic tee shirt look trendy and cool. She loved baking pies, cooking food with tons of flavor and spice, and hosting beautiful parties. She had the unique ability to make anyone that knew her feel treasured and loved. She put everyone before herself and was always thinking about how she could help her friends and family. She was the type of person that would drop her plans on a dime to help someone in need, stay up late into the night crafting presents or making plans to throw her friends parties. To be loved by her was the greatest honor.
Erin is survived by her mother, Barbara Burley, and her brother, Chris Burley. She was preceded in death by her father, John Burley.
A rosary will be said at 9:30 am followed by a funeral mass at 10:30 am, Monday June 24, 2019 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 13720 W. Thomas Rd, Avondale, AZ 85392. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School.
Paula Adame, age 88 of Avondale, AZ died June 19, 2019 in Avondale, AZ. She was born April 19, 1931 in Texas to Gumecindo Trevino and Paula Penilla. Paula was a devoted and loving wife and mother. She was a dedicated Jehovah’s Witness for over 40 years. She loved her city and her community.
Paula is survived by her daughters, Angelita Medina, and Rita Contreras; son, Richard Adame; seven grandchildren; nineteen great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.
A visitation will be held from 5:00 – 9:00 pm, Sunday, June 23 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ 85338. A funeral service will be held at 12:00 pm, Monday, June 24, 2019 at Thompson Funeral Chapel. Burial will follow at West Resthaven Cemetery, 6450 W. Northern Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85301.
Carolyn Shirley Colton
Mrs. Carolyn Shirley Colton, age 83 of Goodyear, AZ died June 8, 2019 in Goodyear, AZ. She was born April 21, 1936 in San Diego, CA to Carroll and Shirley Chapman. Carolyn was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She also belonged to the California Teachers Association and was voted Teacher of the Year.
Carolyn is survived by her daughter, Catherine Ann Colton, son, William Channing Colton, and grandson, William Christopher Colton. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Sprague Colton. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, July 6, 2019 at Christ Presbyterian Church, 925 N. Sarival Avenue, Goodyear, AZ 85338. The family suggests that donations be made to Doctors Without Borders.
Laura Jean Koncewicz-White
Laura Jean Koncewicz-White, age 56, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. She is survived by her father, Richard Koncewicz; she was preceded in death by her mother, Judith Koncewicz.
She left behind a sister Kimberly Koncewicz, brothers, John Koncewicz, Suchin and Gin Kim, Robert and Angelina Koncewicz; nephews and nieces Jason Daigle and family of Midwest, Oklahoma, Tristen Daigle and family of Erath, Louisiana, Sal Cortez, Alyssa Koncewicz, and Micaela Koncewicz, Mateo Koncewicz, and Stephanie and Samantha Kim of Atwater, CA.
Laura was a Navy veteran who served as a nurse and was stationed six years in Barstow, California. Laura was a loving, caring, fearless and resilient person who never gave up. We take comfort in knowing that Laura has embraced peace and is free from the struggles of life.
Private burial service to be held on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery 32053 W. McCabe Rd., Santa Nella, CA.
“Annette” Cecelia Marie (Drozd) Chalifour
Cecelia Marie (Drozd) Chalifour, age 91 of Buckeye, AZ died June 16, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ. She was born April 29, 1928 in Monroe, NE to Alex and Anna (Cyza) Drozd.
At the age of fourteen, Cecelia entered the convent of the Sisters of the Resurrection in Chicago, IL. She chose the name of Annette Marie as her religious name. She attended Resurrection Academy and graduated from De Paul University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in education.
Sister Annette dedicated thirty years of her life to charity, teaching at inner city schools in Chicago. In Florida, she was stationed at St. John’s school and taught at Tyndall Air Force Base. She also taught at St. Peter and St. Paul at Krakow, NE, St. Peters in Fullerton, and St. Bonaventure in Columbus. While in Krakow, she taught catechism to students at St. Rose of Lima in Genoa.
In 1974 she changed careers and married Ronald Chalifour in Columbus, OH. They moved to Tennessee where they lived for 28 years. They lived in Arizona for three and a half years.
Annette loved to travel and especially enjoyed visiting Panama City, FL, and Nebraska. She enjoyed camping with Ron in their camper and liked to play bingo.
Annette is survived by her husband of 44 years, Ron Chalifour, and sons, David B, and Russell J Chalifour. She was preceded in death by her parents, Alex and Anna Drozd; brother, Raymond Drozd; and sisters, Mary Anne Drozd, Lillian Carr, and Dorothy Krzycki.
Funeral services will be held in Nebraska.
Carmen A. Benitez
Carmen A. Benitez, age 84 of Goodyear, AZ died on Thursday, June 13, 2019. She was born on October 17, 1934 in Goodyear, AZ to Zacarias and Geronima (Ureño) Alvarado.
Carmen retired from Arizona Public Service in 1990. She was devoted to her family and had deep faith in God. She was a member of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Goodyear since 1962.
She is survived by her companion of 40 years, Oscar Hony of Phoenix; children Belén Herner of Phoenix, Miguel A. and his wife, Debra of Goodyear, Steven J. and his wife Martha of Laveen, Mary E. Barr and her husband Thomas of Glendale, and Juan R. and his wife Krista of Phoenix; 15 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Fidencio L. “Benny” Benitez; brothers, Socorro, Plutarco, and Johnny Alvarado; sisters, Soledad Trujillo and Refaela Trevino; and son-in-law, Robert R. Herner.
A visitation will be held at 9:30, with a rosary at 10:30 and a funeral at 11:00 am, Monday, June 24, 2019 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 539 W. La Pasada Blvd, Goodyear, AZ 85338. Burial will be at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, 10045 W. Thomas Road, Avondale, AZ 85392. Memorial contributions may be made to St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Hospice of the Valley, or the charity of your choice.
Eleanor Tequida Espinosa, age 71, a long-time resident of Avondale, AZ died June 12, 2019 in Sun City, AZ. She was born November 9, 1947 in Avondale, AZ to Enrique and Guadalupe Tequida. She graduated from Agua Fria High School.
Eleanor was a lot of fun! In fact, she was the life of the party! She loved to tell stories and would soon have everyone laughing with her many facial expressions and impersonations. She had non-stop energy which not only came through in the hard work ethic that she had but in the dancing that she enjoyed! She loved to dance and sing, especially if the songs were upbeat and had a great disco beat.
Eleanor worked as a quality inspector for Pacific Scientific, a job that she loved and was well suited for since she wasn’t shy about telling others when there was a problem. She was serious and conscientious about her work, but she sometimes brought her playful side, too, when she would embarrass her bosses and coworkers by dressing as Marilyn Monroe or Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She had a talent for impersonating others and was so successful in lip syncing with several of her friends that she was hired by some of the casinos in the area to entertain.
Eleanor loved her sports and actively participated in many. She played softball, volleyball, basketball, women’s football, and was even a roller derby girl. She enjoyed traveling with friends, going on cruises, and especially visiting Santa Barbara. She loved to go to her home in Flagstaff and enjoyed traveling around Arizona with her husband.
Eleanor was considerate, generous, and very giving. She would care for anyone around her that needed something. She was passionate about her causes and would always let you know how she felt about them. She loved to be with her family, brothers, and sisters, spoiling her grandchildren and anyone else that needed her special touch. She cared deeply about her animals, especially her dog, Patches.
Eleanor is survived by her former husband, Roque Espinosa; daughter, René Espinosa; son, Roque Reggie Espinosa (Edie); sisters, Mary Bower (Duane), Josie Cordova (Antonio), Mary Luisa Krawietz (Steve), Terry Cruz (Salvador, Lupe Hellum (Larry) and Mary Ellen Tequida; brothers, Ramon Tequida (Felipa), and Manual Tequida (Susan); four grandchildren, Alexis Espinosa, Gabrielle, Gilbert, and Derek Rivera; great-grandchildren, Aiden, Ryan, Jackson, Julianne, and Jailynn Rivera. She was preceded in death by her parents, Enrique and Guadalupe Tequida.
A visitation will be held at 9:30 am, followed by a funeral at 11:00 am, Friday, June 21, 2019 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 539 E La Pasada Blvd, Goodyear, AZ 85338. The funeral cortege will follow in procession to Holy Cross Cemetery, 9925 W. Thomas Road, Avondale, AZ 85392. The family suggests that donations be made to the Arizona Humane Society.
Lino Albert Aragon
Lino Albert Aragon, age 93, of Buena Park, CA, formerly of Avondale, AZ, died June 9, 2019 in Anaheim, CA. He was born July 23, 1925 in New Mexico to Tomas and Justita Aragon. At a young age, he moved to Goodyear, AZ and grew up in Avondale, AZ. On July 1, 1943, just shy of his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the US Navy. He served in the Pacific theater where he was a part of the liberation of the Philippines. On February 21, 1947 he received a letter of commendation for his naval service.
After his discharge, Lino received his high school degree from Litchfield Park High School on May 27, 1947. He received his BA in Education from Arizona State University in May 1952. He moved to California where he received his teaching credentials in Industrial Arts from Long Beach State College in 1957. Lino never did teach, instead, he began working for North America Aviation which later became Rockwell as a quality engineer. His work with Rockwell allowed him to be a part of the Apollo and space shuttle programs. He received the Apollo Achievement Award on June 20, 1969 for his work on Apollo 11.
After retiring from Rockwell Lino returned to Phoenix to be closer to his family. He visited the South Mountain Chamber of Commerce several times a week to help them take care of their facility. He loved building and repairing homes and would often buy them, repair them and rent them. He was a charter member of American Legion Post #61 in Avondale, AZ. He also enjoyed woodworking and especially loved making small wagons to give to friends and family.
Lino is survived by his children, Brenda Lightner, Jack Bentley, Melanie Donegan, Jenny Klein, and Andrew Aragon; sisters Martha Bodner, Lila Schneider, Theresa A. Faulkner, Mary Jane Boros; brothers, Patricio Aragon, and Tony Aragon; 12 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by brothers and sisters-in-law, Alonzo and Margie Aragon, Ben and Jean Aragon, Abe and Hazel Aragon, Morris and Juanita Aragon, Juan Andres Aragon and Oscar Paul Aragon.
A visitation will be held from 4:30 – 7:30 pm, with military honors scheduled for 5:00 pm, Wednesday, June 19 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ 85338. A mass will be held at 10:00 am, Thursday, June 20, 2019 at St John Vianney Catholic Church, 539 E La Pasada Blvd, Goodyear, AZ 85338. Burial will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024.
Della Marie (Spaid) Lelakowski
Della Marie (Spaid) Lelakowski of Litchfield Park, Arizona, passed away peacefully on June 9, 2019. Della was born the eldest of four children, in Syracuse, New York to Frederic and Frances Spaid on April 7, 1943.
Della attended school at Fabius Central and married Robert Lelakowski, remaining in New York until moving to Arizona in 1971. While in Phoenix, she received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and taught high school English for many years.
Upon retirement, Della volunteered in many organizations including the Juvenile Justice Court and the New Life Center against domestic violence. She was very active in her book clubs and in her church. She had a strong faith in God and St. Francis of Assisi.
Della loved to read, sew, and garden. Della also loved animals, especially her dogs. When she was younger, Della owned horses and loved to ride. Most of all, Della loved her family. Whether it was camping or staying at home, Della always had plenty of food to cater to anyone’s special taste and she was hospitable to all. Family gatherings were her favorite. There was always an abundance of laughter.
Della is survived by her daughter Julie McCarty (Terry) of Minnesota, son Rob (Laura) Lelakowski, son Larry (Monica) Lelakowski, son Tim (Michaela) Lelakowski and sister Sarah Herzog, all of Arizona. She is also survived by her six loving grandchildren (Robbie, Theo, Tyler, Gianna, Karsyn and Adley) of whom she was so proud and by other loving family members and friends. Della was preceded in death by her parents, stepfather Paul Richardson, brother Clinton Spaid and sister Laurie Richardson.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 10:00 AM (visitation at 9:00 AM) at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 400 Old Litchfield Road in Litchfield Park, AZ 85340 followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery at 9925 W. Thomas, Avondale, AZ 85392. A reception at St. Peter’s will follow the burial.
Donations in her name may be made to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church or New Life Center (P.O. Box 5005, Goodyear, AZ 85338).
Joe E. Garcia
Joe E. Garcia, age 61, a life-long resident of Avondale, AZ died June 7, 2019, in Goodyear. He was born January 15, 1958, in Phoenix, AZ to Henry and Mary Garcia. He graduated from Agua Fria High School and worked as a stock manager at Food City in Avondale.
Joe’s life was centered around his children and grandchildren. He loved joining them in their favorite activities. Whether it was hunting with his son Joe, or traveling to his grandchildren’s sports tournaments with his daughter Rachel, Joe was always happy and excited to be with them. He rarely missed any of his grandchildren’s activities, but when he did he would call Rachel to get a real-time, play by play commentary over the phone. His relationship with his grandchildren was special, full of laughter, joking, encouragement, and love. He scheduled Wednesday morning “Breakfast Club” meetings with his grandson and always expressed his love, encouragement, and pride in their accomplishments to his granddaughters through phone calls. His family was in his every thought and was the source of his deepest joy.
Joe is survived by his daughter, Rachel Cabrera (Javier); son, Joey Garcia (Chandy); sisters, Caroline Ortiz (Domingo), and Sylvia Flores (Alex); brothers, Rudy (Sheila), Henry, Mike, and Rick Garcia; and seven grandchildren, Destinee Cabrera, Desiree Cabrera, Joshua Cabrera, Brandon Garcia, Jacob Garcia, Jordan Mills, and Justin Garcia. He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Mary Garcia.
A visitation will be held at 9:30 am with a rosary at 10:30 am followed by a funeral service at 11:00 am, Friday, June 14, 2019, at St. John Vianney Church, 539 E La Pasada Blvd, Goodyear, AZ 85338.
Gary James Reddy
Gary James Reddy, age 69 of Litchfield Park, AZ died June 5, 2019, in Litchfield Park. He was born February 9, 1950, in Manhattan, NY to Raymond Reddy and Helen Grupp. He served in the US Army from November 1969 to September 1971. He graduated from Queen’s College with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and worked as the Regional Sales Manager for Hilti, a fastening systems company. His passion was for his family, church and Boy Scouts.
Gary was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed his horses, hunting, boating, camping, and any other activity that allowed him to be outdoors. He was a gun connoisseur and loved collecting and shooting replicas of historically significant guns. He was passionate about history and loved to share his knowledge with others, often telling wonderful stories. He enjoyed woodworking. All of these talents and activities blended together made him an exceptional Boy Scout leader.
Gary volunteered for the Boy Scouts of American for over 21 years. He began as a parent volunteer, then became Scoutmaster for his son, Jonathan’s troop. He went on to become the Assistant District Commissioner for the Frontier District in the Pikes Peak Council in Colorado Springs, CO. He was serving as the Assistant Scoutmaster for Buckeye Troop 263 at the time of his passing. He was also very active in the Lutheran Church where he sat on several councils.
Gary’s greatest accomplishments were as a husband, father, and grandfather. Loving and helpful, he was a great listener and confidante. He was always supportive of his children, especially when they needed him to lean on. His grandchildren were loved beyond measure. He enjoyed taking his wife, Helene on cruises where she could dress in a gown and he a tuxedo. He cherished every minute of time he spent with his family. He is survived by his wife, Helene Reddy; daughters, Jill Warner and her husband, Lt. Col (ret) Matthew Warner, and Colleen Goldfein and her husband, Major Alex Goldfein; son, Jonathan Reddy and his wife, Amy Lee Tautges; and six grandchildren, Jack Warner, Hank Warner, Charlie-Anne Warner, Addison Goldfein, Sadie Goldfein, and Riley Reddy. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond Reddy and Helen Grupp.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the BSA Pikes Peak Council. All donations will be used to assist scouts to go to summer camp and can be made through this link https://donations.scouting.org/#/council/060/appeal/1828 or by contacting the Pikes Peak Council directly.
Elnora Cozetta Troxler
Elnora Cozetta Troxler, age 85 of Buckeye, AZ died May 31, 2019, in Goodyear, AZ. She was born September 17, 1933, in Dexter, MO to Elvis and Beulah Robinson. Elnora was a woman of great faith who kept the church and her family central in her life. As a mother and homemaker, she lovingly cared for her home and carefully taught her children to share in her faith. As a part-time custodian for her church, the First Free Will Baptist Church of Hazel Park, she devotedly cared for the building as her spiritual home. More recently she was a member of Inman First Free Will Baptist Church where her faith brought her great joy and helped give her the strength to overcome breast cancer.
Elnora enjoyed exercise, especially walking. She loved jigsaw puzzles and was gifted in crocheting and painting. She is survived by her daughters, Cindy Troxler (Gail), Debbie Sanders (Steve), and Robin Jones (Chris), two grandchildren, Kim Melton (Kevin), and Michael Sanders (Maria); and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Elvis and Beulah Robinson; husband, Lester Troxler; sister, Ruby Reagan; and brother, Elvis Robinson.
Funeral services are planned in Spartanburg, SC; the date and time are yet to be determined. The family suggests that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Sandra B. Donnan
Sandra B. Donnan, age 74 of Goodyear, AZ died June 2, 2019, in Phoenix, AZ. She was born March 15, 1945, in San Francisco, CA to Jack and Diane Birdwell Burdette. Sandra was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was valiant in every capacity in which she served. Her great passion was family history.
Sandra is survived by her husband, Leland M. Donnan; daughter, Stacy D. Smith; son, Erin M. Donnan; sister, Janice L. Tate; brothers, Paul Ringleman, and Stanley J. Bransgrove; and four grandchildren.
A visitation will be held at 9:00 am, followed by a funeral service at 10:00 am on Friday, June 7, 2019, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 425 S. Estrella Pkwy, Goodyear, AZ. Burial will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.
Joel Raymond Liles
Joel Raymond Liles, age 83 of Tucumcari, NM died June 3, 2019 in Sun City, AZ. He was born May 31, 1936 in Amarillo, TX to Jesse Lee and Florence Liles. Raymond was a man of deep faith who lived to serve God and his family. He was a farmer in the Porter community for 30 years. Additionally, he worked for the USDA farm service agency for 25 years, receiving many distinguished service awards. A hard-working man, he always left home early and came home late.
Raymond was a Deacon in the First Baptist Church of San Jon and a youth Sunday School teacher for many years. He always looked for ways to help others and found great satisfaction in service. He was a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He loved baseball and especially loved watching his grandson, Landon play. The Dodger’s were a close second. He was a great husband and protector of his wife of 64 years, Carolyn Liles.
Raymond is survived by his wife, Carolyn; son, Wayne Liles; sister, Skeet Hedgecock; brother, R. W. Liles; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse and Florence Liles; daughter, Vicki Dorgelo; and brothers, Harmon and Jerry Liles.
A memorial service will be held at 10:00 am, Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at the First Baptist Church of San Jon, 7th St & Oak Ave, San Jon, NM 88434. Burial will be in the San Jon Community Cemetery in San Jon, NM.
Mitchel (Mitch) J. Irlenborn
Mitchel (Mitch) J. Irlenborn, age 77 of Goodyear, AZ passed away May 27, 2019. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother. He was born September 18, 1942, in Philadelphia, PA to Gus and Ann Irlenborn.
Mitch graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1964. He earned a master’s degree in Safety at Central Missouri State University in 1979. He served twenty-five years in the United States Air Force as a navigator, Minuteman Launch and Operations Officer, Ground Launch Cruise Missile Commander, and a flight planner for the U-2 and SR-71 pilots. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and numerous other medals and retired in 1989 as a Lt. Colonel. After military retirement, he worked in loss prevention for insurance companies and ran his own business, MI Safety Solutions. In his free time, he enjoyed being outdoors, hiking and fishing, and listening to talk radio.
Mitch is survived by his wife, Carolbeth; daughter, Nia (Sidney) Clark; son, Dustin (Angie) Irlenborn; brother, Gus (Lois) Irlenborn; five grandchildren, Austin (Martha) Irlenborn, Braden Irlenborn, Kaylee Irlenborn, Isabella Irlenborn, and Zoey Irlenborn; and previous wife, Nancy Lowe.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 am, June 8, 2019, at PebbleCreek Eagle Nest Military Memorial Plaza. Following the memorial service, family and friends are welcome to gather in the PebbleCreek Tuscany Chianti room for a video presentation and appetizers. The family request that donations be made to Wounded Warriors or Soldier’s Best Friend.