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Obituaries

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.

January 2021
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Nancy Lee Roetter

Nancy Lee Roetter passed away January 16, 2021. She was born on December 16, 1932 to Ernest and Martha Hetzler. Previously was a resident of Pleasant Hill, Ohio and Mebane, North Carolina.

Her husband Roger Roetter predeceased her in 1989.

Her son Randy K. Roetter, Buckeye, Arizona, Rolanda Sue Roetter, Buckeye, Arizona and Rosemarie Suszkiw Brookville, Maryland, survives her. Son in law Jan Suszkiw Brookeville, Maryland and Venessa Roetter, Buckeye, Arizona.

Her sister Martha Pat Delk of West Milton, Ohio survives her.

Her grandchildren Reeves Suszkiw, Riley Suszkiw of Brookville, Maryland and Randy Roetter of Buckeye, Arizona, survive her.

Graveside service to be held in Pleasant Hill, Ohio once the Pandemic is over.

Thompson Funeral Chapel, Goodyear, Arizona is assisting the family with arrangements.

Jimmy “Jim” Jensen

Mr. Jimmy “Jim” Jensen, age 73 of Prior Lake, Minnesota passed away at home, surrounded by his family on January 13th, 2021 in Buckeye, Arizona after a valiant fight against Covid-19.  He was a loving husband to his wife Pamela “Pam” Jensen and an amazing father, grandpa, and papa to his two daughters and five granddaughters.

He was born in Cook, MN August 2nd, 1947 to James and Marcella Jensen. Jim was the youngest of four children.  He grew up on the Iron Range until he joined the army at the age of 18.  Jim was sent to fight in Vietnam and was the recipient of two Purple Hearts.

Jim married Pamela Hokanson in Two Harbors, MN in 1970.  They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 1st.  They moved to Kellogg, MN in 1972. Jim attended and graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor’s degree in business.  Pamela taught at the local elementary school while they raised their two daughters, Tammy and Annie.  Jim held various jobs over the years and ended his career as a self-employed woodcrafter.

In his younger days, you could find “Jumpin Jimmy Jensen” skiing down the hills at Coffee Mill Ski Area with his daughters.  He enjoyed trapping with his dad, bow hunting, square dancing with his wife and friends, watching his daughters’ athletic events, and working in his garage on woodcrafts. He also loved time spent at the cabin up north with family and friends.  Jim enjoyed fishing, boating and tooling around the old logging trails on four-wheelers.  His granddaughters could always count on him to play games and read them book after book.  Jim and Pam wintered in Buckeye, Arizona to be closer to Annie and her family.  Four years ago, they sold their home in Kellogg, MN and moved to Prior Lake, MN to be closer to Tammy and her family.

His greatest love was family and he will be greatly missed by his. Jim is survived by his wife, Pam and two daughters, Tammy Higgins and Annie Shanahan, and two son-in-laws, Nate Higgins and Patrick Shanahan.  He is survived by his five granddaughters: Celia Shanahan (14), Avari Higgins (14), Autumn Shanahan (12), Glory Shanahan (10), and Rilyn Higgins (10).  He is also survived by his two brothers, Ronald (Barbara) Jensen, Donald (Patricia) Jensen, and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.  Jim was proceeded in death by two infant daughters, his parents, James and Marcella Jensen and his older sister, Marlyn Kelly. Services will be held at a later date.

Regino Ortiz Sr.

Regino Ortiz Sr, 72, of Phoenix, Arizona died on January 14th, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born on January 10th, 1949 to Guadalupe and Aurelia Ortiz in Brownsville Texas.

Regino was a kind and caring man who didn’t know the meaning of the word “stranger”. He was the kind of man who would become your new best friend if you gave him five minutes of your time. Regino loved the outdoors and was an excellent fisherman; he was also a skilled welder and craftsmen.  Regino was a hard worker and loved to work with his hands. He served his community as a Hot Shot Firefighter and had also worked as a migrant farmworker before he eventually retired as an Aerospace Welder for Karsten/Ping.

Regino is survived by his daughter, Theresa Ortiz, his sons Ernesto Ortiz and Regino Ortiz Jr., his sisters, Alicia Tijerina, Guillermina Burnias, Olga Murray, and Maria Almaraz, his brothers, Joe A. Ortiz and Jose Ortiz Sr. and his four grandchildren.

Brenda Sue Burch

Brenda Sue Burch, 63, of Goodyear, Arizona died on January 6th, 2021 in Goodyear, Arizona. She was born May 19th, 1957 to Dwayne A. Bell and Yvonne M. Spence in Cherokee, Iowa.

Brenda is survived by her daughters, Stephanie George, Kristal Moses, and Sarah Redline, Her sons William George, Loren Moses, and James Redline. She is also survived by her nine grandchildren, James, Kaylee, Trinity, Christian, Riley, Savannah, Jackson, William, and Triston. Brenda was proceeded in death by her parents Dwayne A. Bell, Yvonne M. Bortel and Charles W. Bortel. Services are private at this time and the family suggests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to The Sojourner Center in Brenda’s honor.

George Henry Jordan, Jr.

George Henry Jordan, Jr. 75, of Goodyear, AZ passed away on January 15, 2021 in Phoenix, AZ.  He was born October 16, 1945 in Hinsdale, IL to George Henry Jordan, Sr. and Minnie Jordan. George earned a MS Degree in Information Security Systems. He was a lifelong golfer and loved fishing.

George is survived by his wife of 53 years, Wanda Barbara Jordan; daughter, Tina (Jordan) Blocker; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Nicole Jordan; mother, Minnie Jordan; and father, George Henry Jordan, Sr.

Services will be held in Hillside, IL.

James O’Donnell Fitzgerald

James O’Donnell Fitzgerald, age 50 passed away on January 13, 2021 in Buckeye, Arizona. He was born March 27, 1970 to James and Claudette Fitzgerald in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

A visitation will be held from 6-9PM on Monday, January 25, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 South Litchfield Road, in Goodyear, Arizona.

Matthew Lionel Miranda

Matthew Lionel Miranda was born 5/20/1988 & passed away 12/27/2020.
Matthew was a son to Calistra J Flores and Michael Miranda ,Brother to Michael Jr, Gabriel, Daniel Ray Miranda. He had two sisters in laws Lisa and Elicia Miranda, He was a Uncle, friend and cousin. We would call him “Matt” for short . He was 32 years old he had 9 nephews 6 nieces he loved them dearly. He graduated from Peoria High School he was assistant coach for the football team he loved to be involved anyway that he could . He loved everyone and one thing he loved the most was his family and Friends. No matter what obstacles came in his life he over came them with a smile he would accomplished anything in his life . Matt was a fighter and his faith was so strong in God. He always try to make a effort to go to his church with his nana Priscilla “Why“ because Matthew knew he was a miracle himself God bless him with 32 years with his family. After church On Sundays he loved watching his favorite team play the Arizona Cardinals and his favorite superhero was Superman because he was super tuff when it came to him having to go in out of the hospital never gave up. Here’s a little something you should  know about Matt.. He loved listening to Elvis Presley and Country music he would be up late at night listening to music and writing poetry or coloring while he was doing that he always stop to  think about people he loved and that was family and friends. Matt always kept in touch with people he cared about and that was everyone. He will be truly missed forever in our hearts it’s not goodbye it’s see you later.
We will be having a service for Matthew on February 5, 2021 at Thompson in Funeral Home at 6:00 pm to 9pm . We are requiring mask and please if you’re feeling sick or have a cold or cough runny nose please stay home.

Thomas James Johnson

Mr. Thomas Johnson, age 60 of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on January 10, 2021 in Eloy, Arizona. He was born April 2, 1960 to Donald Brown and Ann Ring in Helena, Montana. He served in the US Army from May 11, 1982 to June 27, 1989, he ended his time in service as a Staff Sergeant, 33Q30 and 31C30.

He earned the Army Achievement medal with a two oak leaf cluster, a good conduct medal, the NCO Professional development ribbon, the Army service ribbon, the Overseas Service ribbon, and the Army Achievement medal with the third oak leaf cluster.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Carole A. Johnson, his daughters; Trisha Cole, Danne Bailey, and Jenna Foger, his sons; Michael Johnson and Jeremiah Fern, his sister; Kathlene Sampson, his brothers; Dan Johnson and Don Brown. Thomas is also survived by his fourteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held at 12:00PM on Friday, January 22, 2021 at Skyway Church, 14900 W. Van Buren St. in Goodyear, Arizona.

Nancy Martinez

Nancy Martinez, age 45, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away on January 4, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. She was born March 19, 1975 to Carlos Batres and Alicia Somoza in Los Angeles, California.

Nancy raised four kids, she was a talented singer and was always the life of the party. She was able to carry a conversation with anyone for hours and brought the most introverted people outside of their shells. She acted as an extra in several movies including: One Eight Seven and Starship Troopers. Nancy was a self-taught chef and she spent her last years giving to the poor, even when she was in the same position herself.

She is survived by her daughters; Natalie Martinez, and Lexine Martinez, her sons; Johnathan Castillo and Dillon Martinez, her sisters; Norma Barraza and Diana Silesky, and her mother; Alicia Caballero Somoza. Nancy is preceded in death by her uncle, Jaime Somoza.

Services are private at this time.

Brenda Sheryl Gant

Brenda Sheryl Gant, 71, of Litchfield Park, AZ, passed away on January 12, 2021 in Litchfield Park, AZ. She was born October 24, 1949 in Nashville, TN to John D. Taylor and Julia Newsome. A visitation will be held from 1-4pm on Monday, January 25th at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Rd in Goodyear, AZ. She will be taken to her final resting place at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix, AZ at a later date.

Higinio Lopez

Mr. Higinio Lopez, age 85, of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on January 10, 2021 in Goodyear, Arizona. He was born February 28, 1935 to Pablo Lopez and Maria Espinoza in Iturbide, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

Higinio grew up in McAllen,TX where he married his life partner of 66 years, Maria Luisa and moved to Idaho before settling in Arizona in 1957. Higinio farmed cotton in the Rainbow Valley, and Harquahala and Buckeye Valley.

He is survived by his spouse Maria Luisa, his daughters; Luisa Boren, Marta Lopez, Carmen Stemwedel, and Diane Lopez, and his son; Marcos Lopez. He is also survived by his three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Higinio is preceded in death by his son, Armando Lopez.

Services were held on January 20, 2021 at Louis B. Hazelton memorial cemetery in Buckeye, Arizona.

The family suggests that donations be made to AZ Center for the Blind and Visually impaired, www.acbvi.org.

Luis A. Salguero

Luis A. Salguero, 87, of Avondale, died January 6, 2021 in Goodyear, AZ.

He was born October 30, 1933 in El Salvador to Alejandro Arevalo and Leandra Salguero.

Services are private.

 

Lucia Jara

Lucia Jara, de 60 años de edad, de Avondale, Arizona, falleció el 10 de enero de 2021 en Avondale, Arizona. Nació el 19 de octubre de 1960 hija de Aurelio Fernandez y Monica Hernandez en Colima, México.

Lucía la matriarca de su familia dedicó su vida a cuidarlos. Ella siempre sabía exactamente qué decir y cuando las palabras no eran suficientes, daba abrazos que te hacían sentir que nada más en el mundo importaba. Lucía siempre podía encontrar el lado positivo de cualquier situación. A Lucía le encantaba bailar, viajar y cocinar. Era una mujer que nunca conoció a un extraño porque todos eran sus amigos. Quienes la conocieron la extrañarán mucho.

 

A Lucía le sobreviven su esposo Modesto Jara, sus hijas Gladis, Cristina y Liliana Jara, su hijo Juan Carlos Mejía, sus tres hermanas y sus tres hermanos. También le sobreviven sus once nietos y dos bisnietos, Adriana, Manuel Jr. Ethen, Daniel, Roxanna, Carlos Jesus, Andrea, Erica, Jose Luis, Paulo, Daleyza, Lionel y Baby Zavala. Le precedió en la muerte su hijo Eric Daniel Jara.

Los servicios se llevarán a cabo en California.

Larry Dawson Jr.

Larry Dawson Jr., a resident of Goodyear, AZ passed away on January 10, 2021 in Litchfield Park, AZ. Larry was born August 22, 1946 in New Orleans, LA and was a United States Air Force veteran. Larry left to cherish his memory, his mother, two brothers, and a host of family and friends.

David V. Blake

David V. Blake, age 60, of Buckeye, Arizona passed away on December 15, 2020 in Buckeye, Arizona. He was born May 11, 1960 to Jim and Amanda Blake in Ajo, Arizona.

Services are private at this time.

Ralph Eugene Spencer Jr.

Ralph Eugene Spencer Jr., 70, of Buckeye, Arizona passed away on January 6th, 2021 in Goodyear, Arizona. He was born May 17th, 1950 to Ralph Spencer and Donna Adams in Inglewood, California.
Services are private at this time.

Candelario Valdez Canedo

Candelario Valdez Canedo, age 87, of Avondale, Arizona passed away on January 5, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born February 2, 1933 to Pedro Valdez Lizarraga and Mariana Canedo Valdez in Cacalotan, Sinaloa, Mexico.

He worked for the Ferrocarril del Pacifico, (Union Pacific Railroad) from 1949 to 1988 in Mexico as a supervisor.

He is survived by his spouse, Maria Armida Corrales de Valdez, his daughters; Ana Isabel Valdez, Armida Valdez, and Elisa Valdez, his sons; Victor M. Valdez, Jesús D. Valdez, Mario P. Valdez, Uriel Valdez, Candelario Valdez, Francisco Valdez, and Gilberto Valdez. He is also survived by his thirty-seven grandchildren, forty-nine great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his son, Felipe Valdez.

A visitation will be held at 9:00AM on Friday, January 15, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 South Litchfield Road, in Goodyear, Arizona. A funeral service will be held at 10:00AM following the visitation. Burial services will be held at Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery, 2300 W. Van Buren St. in Phoenix, Arizona.

Hector Martin Gutierrez Sr.

Hector Martin Gutierrez Sr. , 57, of Avondale Arizona died on January 4th, 2021 in Avondale Az. He was born on June 11th, 1963 to Teodoro and Ofelia Gutierrez in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Unfortunately, we lost a great human being in the Battle against Covid-19. Life will never be the same without you.

He is survived by his wife, Obdulia Sidón, his sons; Hector, Ramon, Jair, and Jonathan Gutierrez, his sisters; Leticia Gutierrez, Norma Gutierrez and Claudia Fernandez, his brothers; Gustavo, Oscar, Osbaldo Gutierrez, and Edgar Fernandez,  his father, Teodoro Gutierrez, his mother Ofelia Gutierrez, his stepfather Federico Fernandez. He is also survived by his four grandchildren Aitana, Fernanda, Camila, Alexander Gutierrez. Life will never be the same without you.

 

 

Héctor Martín Gutiérrez Sr. , 57, de Avondale Arizona falleció el 4 de enero de 2021 en Avondale Az. Nació el 11 de junio de 1963 hijo de Teodoro y Ofelia Gutierrez en Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Desgraciadamente Perdimos a un gran ser humano en la Batalla contra el Covid-19

Le sobreviven su esposa, Obdulia Sidón, sus hijos; Héctor, Ramón, Jair y Jonathan Gutiérrez, sus hermanas; Leticia Gutiérrez, Norma Gutiérrez y Claudia Fernández, sus hermanos; Gustavo, Oscar, Edgar y Osbaldo Gutierrez, su padre, Teodoro Gutierrez, su madre Ofelia Gutierrez, su padrastro Federico Fernandez. También le sobreviven sus cuatro nietos Aitana, Fernanda, Camila, Alexander Gutierrez. La vida nunca sera igual sin ti.

 

 

Willie James Tribbet Jr.

Mr. Willie Tribbet, age 71 of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on January 8, 2021 in Goodyear, Arizona. He was born July 29, 1949 to Willie Tribbet and Clarice Hodges in Wardell, Missouri.

Willie is survived by his wife, April Tribbet, his daughter; Tess Tribbet, his sons; Lance, Dirk, Shane,and Marco Tribbet, his sister; Brenda White, his brother; Michael Tribbet, as well as his seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A visitation will be held at 1:00PM on January 22, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 South Litchfield Road in Goodyear, Arizona.

William Leo Hott

Click here for the memorial slideshow of William Leo Hott (Papa) was born on June 9th, 1946 to Marvin Hott and Elva Hott in Springfield, West Virginia. Leo was the youngest of five children with three brothers and a sister. He served in the US Air Force from 07/1964 – 07/1968 as a communication specialist.

Leo moved to Phoenix, Arizona and married his previously deceased wife, Sherry Hott and had two children, Michelle and Julie. He was a grandpa to seven grandkids and a great grandpa to eight great-grandchildren with another on the way. Leo was known for his strength, love, sense of humor, and amazing advice, who loved his family more than life itself.

With a heavy heart, we will be saying goodbye on Saturday, January 16th, 2021. He was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and military veteran.

Sonia Maria Reese

Sonia Maria Reese, 66, of Surprise, Arizona died on January 04th, 2021 in Sun City Arizona. She was born May 06th, 1954 to Julio Pernudi and Essilda Cruz in Granada, Nicaragua.

Sonia was a paragon to her friends and family, with a smiling face and a warm heart. Her kindness affected everyone she met. She had a joy for life and a sense of humor that could make everyone laugh. She was a beacon of light that touched thousands of lives from all over the globe.  Sonia loved to dance and was usually the first one out on the dance floor. She was a devoted mother and grandmother who loved to spend time with her family any chance she got. She loved to shop and make jewelry with her daughter. Sonia was an amazing cook who made sure that everyone was well-fed, even if they said they weren’t hungry. No one left her home without a full stomach.

Sonia is survived by her loving husband, Steve Reese, her daughter, Kristina Reese (Kevin Reese), her sons; Clifford William Walton III (Tammy Walton), and Andrew Walton (Melissa Walton), her sisters; Cecilia Guerrero, and Florence Mayes, her aunt, Olga Mason, her cousin, Vera Zihal, her mother Essilda Fornari: and her two Boston Terriers Ellie and Star. Sonia is also survived by her six grandchildren; Alden Reese, Dylan Reese, Bryson Reese, Franklin Walton, Landon Boss, and Lily Boss. She is proceeded in death by her uncle Isaias Cruz. Services will be held at Thompson’s Funeral Chapel on January 30th, 2021 for immediate family only the services will also be available online via live stream. The family requests that all flowers be sent to Thompson Funeral Chapel.

Danny and Sherry Jannett

Danny and Sherry Jannett are two of the kindest people you ever met. Whether you knew them forever or a few days it was as if you had known them your whole life. They were the couple to be like to have a love like that was so unbreakable. Danny Lawrence Jannett born December 19, 1947 passed December 31, 2020. Danny was strong hearted, and always put his family first. Sherry Leigh Jannett (Mosher) was born August 5, 1949 passed December 28, 2020. Sherry was the light of the family. She was so sweet and did everything possible to provide for the family, she lit up any room she was in with so much love.

Danny and Sherry Jannett are now joined with Orson (Chub) Mosher and Joyce Mosher (Clark) in heaven. They leave behind Mark Jannett (son) and his wife June Jannett and four grandkids, Christian,  Nathan, Zachary and Hailey Jannett, Andy Jannett (son) and his wife, Imogen Jannett. They leave behind many siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews; Jannetts, Lattimer, Clarks, Moshers, and so many more family members and friends; more than you can count. Siblings include: Ken Jannett, wife Pat; Emily Bober, Martina Jannett; Tom and Ruby Rawald; Michael Lattimer; Sue Warfle; Russell Lattimer; Randy Lattimer; and Gary Jannett, Sherry was an only child and also leaves behind Larry Atkinson who was a brother to her and always there for her. Preceding them in death are Nick Jannett and Shirley.

A memorial service will be held at 3 pm on Saturday, January 30th at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Rd in Goodyear, AZ.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to www.HopeTeamAZ.org in memory of Danny and Sherry Jannett.

Jesus “Jesse” Rogelio Martinez

Jesus “Jesse” Rogelio Martinez, age 50 of Buckeye, Arizona passed away on December 16, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born on February 25 1970 to Ramon Martinez and Angela Alvarado in Juarez, Mexico.

Jesse was a wonderful father, and loved his wife, Dolores, unconditionally. He always guided his kids through talks about life and the challenges that they may face. He was able to build his dream house and he loved his career as an Aerospace Inspector which he had proudly done for 30 years.

He is survived by his wife, Dolores Nava, his daughter; Xiamara Rose Martinez, his sons; Andrew Ponce, Alexes Sebastian Martinez, Jessie Alejandro Ponce, Emilio Issac Martinez, and Christian Noel Martinez, his sisters; Linda Martinez, Angie Martinez, and Patricia Martinez, his brother; Juan Martinez, as well as his mother; Angela Alvarado.

Services are private at this time.

Donald Joseph Straka

Donald Joseph Straka of Goodyear, AZ passed away January 9, 2021 after a short battle with cancer. He was born April 13, 1948 to Sylvia (Wronski) Straka and Edward Straka in Germantown, WI. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 49 years, Patricia (Sowards) Straka. Additional surviving family members include Aunt Marie Wronski, sisters Christine (Straka) Weimann and Theresa (Straka) Czeslowski, his daughters Dawn Alexander (Pete), Peggysue Fromm (Earl), Cynthia Schultz (Andrew), and eight grandchildren.

Don retired as a decorated US Navy Commander. His naval career included earning his Engineering degree from Marquette University under the NESEP program, multiple sea tours and deployment for Desert Sheild/Storm. After his military retirement he continued his career in the engineering field at Niagara Mohawk then Palo Verde before he happily fully retired. Don was a well-known Miller Lite connoisseur who enjoyed many evenings at Happy Hour with his Canta Mia cooking club. A devoted Green Bay Packers fan, he never missed a game. As an animal lover he adopted several dogs and will be missed by his best furry friends Rosie and Ally. Don will be dearly missed and always remembered. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in his memory to VFW Post 6310 c/o Rich Durso, PO Box 1178, Tolleson, AZ 85353; or America Freedom Paws, Goodyear, AZ (paypal americasfreedompaws@gmail.com).

James Schneider Stites

Mr. James Schneider Stites, age 80, of Camp Verde, Arizona passed away on January 2, 2021 in Goodyear, Arizona. He was born November 27, 1940 to William Stites and Portia Schneider in Urbana, Illinois.

James loved hunting and fishing. He was also the Chief of the Public Service Commission for the Natural Gas Department for the State of South Carolina, until he retired in 1999.

He is survived by his daughter, Jami Shelton, his son; Martin Stites (Leslie), and his five grandchildren; Zachary Stites, Emily Stites, Ryan Shelton, Aaron Shelton, and Kara Shelton. He is preceded in death by Carey Sue Morris Stites.

Services are private at this time.

Steven Wayne Andrews

Steven Wayne Andrews, age 65, of Surprise, Arizona passed away December 30, 2020 in Surprise, Arizona. He was born August 6, 1955 to William Miles Andrews and Martha Jane (Baker) Andrews in Cincinnati, Ohio.

He is survived by his brother, John M. Andrews and his wife Judy.

Services are private at this time.

The family suggests that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association.

Sandra Kay Chesser

In the early evening hours of December 30, 2020, Sandra Kay Chesser (DeFreese) took her final breath, leaving this world for her home in heaven.  For 76-years, Sandy, as most knew her, served as one of God’s great blessings to this world, living a life of unbridled compassion, grace, faith, and abounding love. She was born a daughter and sister, then married and became a beloved wife and mother, and she proudly wore as a charm around her heart the title of grandmother and great grandmother.  Her loss cannot be measured by words or tears, just as her life could never be captured by a few sentences on a page.  And while her soul now shines bright among the stars in God’s nighttime sky, our days are darkened by her unexpected departure.

 

Sandy was born on October 1, 1944, at Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, IN.  In passing, she was preceded by her parents, Lester and Marilyn Tavernier of Union, MI; sister Vicki Balcom of Union, MI; and granddaughter Brooklynn Dunn of Shreveport, LA. Sandy is survived by her husband Floyd Chesser; son Corey Chesser and daughter-in-law Carey Chesser; son Stacey Chesser and daughter-in-law Christie Chesser; step-daughter Gwen Felkins, step-daughter Zena Forristall and son-in-law Lindsay Forristall; grandchildren Brandon Rossow, Lathan Forristall, Nicole Forristall, Amy Jones, Geoff Jones, Kristen Rott, Michael Rott, Tamara Mametieff, Chelsey Patera, Stephen Patera, Cassidey Chesser, Courtney Chesser, and Gabrielle Dunn; great-grandchildren Lathaniel Forristall Jr., Eleanor Forristall, Elijah Jones, Noah Jones, Isiah Jones, Jamison Rott, Landon Rott, Kaylyn Mametieff, Dylan Mametieff, Finn Patera, Oakley Patera, and Sawyer Doran; brother Greg Tavernier and sister-in-law Diane Tavernier of Naples Florida; and brother-in-law Chet Balcom of Union, MI; and many nieces and nephews.

 

Many years ago, Sandy’s youngest son asked his mother what she dreamed of becoming when she was a little girl.  Her answer was simple but honest, “A mother.  That’s all I ever wanted to be, and I am.”  And it goes without question her children were her greatest joy in life.  She beamed with the pride of Victorian Queen at the wedding of her firstborn son, and she ran without hesitation to the side of her youngest son whenever he needed her warm embrace, and that was often.

 

For 55-years, Sandy loved her husband with unwavering loyalty and devotion.  From their first days together as a married couple in Banning, CA. until their last hours together in Buckeye, AZ., Sandy cherished and honored her groom Floyd, and he loved and adored her equally in return.

 

If she stood up straight and planted her heels squarely against a brick wall, Sandy swore she measured 5’ 1” tall.  While that fact remains highly questionable, what is known for sure is that Sandy lived a grand life by any measure.  At the age of 50, she learned to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle and went snow skiing for the first time.  She learned to ride the New York City subway solo, attended a Flaming Lips concert on New Year’s Eve, and spent a night in the hotel where JFK honeymooned.

 

Sandy also had three fur-babies, Peebles, Mindy, and Roxie, each of them miniature poodles that she possibly loved a little bit more than her human offspring.  But who could blame her?  The pups all behaved better than her children, and the dogs were cuter than her kids.

 

While she filled our hearts with a lifetime of memories and love, the penning of this obituary note on her life happened far too soon.  A terrible, cruel disease stole Sandy without allowing us to say goodbye in the manner she deserved.  And that is a wound from which it will be impossible to heal, for, in all her years on Earth, Sandy made not a single enemy nor judged a solitary soul.  Why God chose this to be her fate, we will never know.  But we find some comfort and hope for peace in this: thirteen months ago, on the eve of her sister’s death, Sandy was baptized in the same hospital where she was born, assuring that she would spend life eternal in the Kingdom of God.

 

A memorial service for Sandy and her sister Vickie is in the planning for a future date near Union, MI.  In place of flowers, please consider donating in Sandy’s name to the COVID-19 COMMUNITY RESPONSE FUND, a charitable partnership between The Community Foundation of Elkhart County and United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties.

Larry Henry

Mr. Larry Henry, 78, of Buckeye, AZ passed away on 4 January 2021.  He was born on 31 October 1942 to Albert and Mary Henry in East Liverpool, OH.

Throughout his life cars were his career and his passion.  In March 1998 he retired from Chrysler after over 30 dedicated years.  Following his retirement, he continued to be involved in the car community in Michigan and then Arizona.

He is survived by his loving wife Glenda, four children, six grandchildren, and his brother Hiram Henry.  There will not be a service or in person memorial held.  His family has created an online memorial for him at http://never-gone.com and ask that any donations be made to the Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation, in his honor.

Marshaline Bernice Pettigrew

Marshaline Bernice Pettigrew, 83 of Avondale, Arizona passed away December 30, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. She was born September 22, 1937, to Marshall Taylor and Arquilla King in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A visitation will be held at 7:00 PM on January 14, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Rd., Goodyear, AZ 85338. A funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM on January 15, 2021 at Fountain of Life House of Worship, 8838 S. 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85041.

Eric Rainier Backhaus

Eric Rainier Backhaus, child of the most High God, returned to be with his Savior and Redeemer on January 3, 2021. Eric was born to Mike and Judy Backhaus (Mattson) on February 21, 1991, in Tacoma, WA.

He blessed his parents as a wonderful, very inquisitive child who was fond of vacuum cleaners evolving into his passion for trucks and cars (especially diesels) as he grew into adulthood. He graduated from Black Hills High School in Tumwater WA in 2009. He served his country in the US Army as a helicopter structural repairman from 2013 until 2018, including a tour in Afghanistan and Germany. Post service, Eric worked as a telecommunications technician for Ericsson.

He met the love of his life, Brisa Moreno, in Phoenix Arizona in May of 2018. He loved her so much he bought a house for them to live together in Phoenix after his military service. They were planning to marry this Spring.

Eric is survived by Brisa and children Lailah & Daniel, his parents, sister and brother-in-law Tracy Backhaus and Daniel Garriga, grandparents Betty & Al Steiner and Pat & Vilas Backhaus. He was proceeded in death by his grandparents, Emma and Fred Mattson, and his cousin Taylor Feldmann.

We are thankful for all the great and loving friends of Eric we were able to meet during his short but meaningful time with us. To God be the Glory.

Funeral service will be held at Thompson Funeral Chapel in Goodyear, Arizona on Sunday, January 10th with public visitation from 1:00 – 2:30pm followed by the memorial service from 2:30 to 4:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, please donate directly to the Wounded Warrior Project or go to his obituary at Ever Loved at this link: Give to a good cause in memory of Eric | Ever Loved and type in Wounded Warrior Project.

Ruth Elizabeth Brassart

Ruth Elizabeth Brassart, age 83 of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on December 27, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. She was born April 21, 1937 to Robert Thomas Allen and Ruth Eichler Allen in Whitaker, PA, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania.

Ruth graduated from Jeannette High School were she also earned her cosmetology license. Ruth and her sister, Joyce, opened their beauty shop together and named it “Ruth and Joyce’s Beauty Shop” in Manor, PA. She would say, “Once a hair dresser- always a hair dresser.” After closing their beauty shop, Ruth became a floral designer at McShanes Floral Shop in Belle Vernon, where she worked until moving to Arizona in 2004.

Ruth is survived by her daughter; Joyce Lynn Trent, her sister; Joyce Allen Lehosky, and her brother and sister-in-law; Robert Allen and Ruth Jane Allen. She is also survived by her loving niece; Laurie- Lehosky Kukurin and her brother George Kukurin of Goodyear, AZ and her niece Susan Allen Miller of Manor, PA, as well as her one grandson; Jason Davis. She was preceded in death by Ferdinand Brassart Jr.

A memorial service will be held from 1-4PM on Saturday, January 23rd, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 South Litchfield Road, in Goodyear, Arizona. Burial services will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Rd. in Phoenix, Arizona.

The family suggests that donations be made to the Arizona Humane Society.

Gabriel C. Pompa

Gabriel C. Pompa, age 72, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away on December 28, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born April 24, 1948 to Ricardo Pompa and Maria Pompa in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Salmos 17:15

Yo en justicia veré to rostro. Seré saciado cuando despertare a tu semejanza.

Gabriel is survived by his wife, Maria Pompa, his daughters; Raquel Nesmith (Ken Nesmith,) and Sonia Nava, his sons; Gabriel Pompa Jr., and Jacob Pompa, his sisters; Ezperanza Becerra, Armida Moreno, and Esther Avila, and his brothers; Gregorio, Juan, Samuel, and Ricardo Pompa. He is also survived by his six grandchildren; Elizabeth Nesmith, Hector Nava, Bethany Pompa, and Joseph, Elias and Seth Nesmith, and his one great-grandchild, Elysium Castillo Nesmith.

Services were held on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel in Goodyear, Arizona. Burial services were held at West Resthaven Park Cemetery in Glendale, Arizona.

Hugh M. Black

Hugh M. Black, 89, of Litchfield Park, AZ. died December 26, 2020 in Goodyear, AZ. He was born May 18, 1931 in Kearny, New Jersey to Charles and Agnes (Prentice) Black. Hugh Served in the US Army from May 1951 to May 1971 and held the rank of Major. He later retired to New Jersey and acquired an oil business and in 1986 moved to Tucson, AZ and then to Phoenix, AZ in 1998.

Hugh is survived by his wife Janet M. Black; daughter Susan Meacham; sons Hugh M. and Charles Black; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel. Committal services were held on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at his final resting place at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix, AZ.

Rafael A. Gutierrez Sr.

Rafael A. Gutierrez Sr., age 74, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away on December 27, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was born April 4, 1946 to Rafael Gutierrez and Refugio Fierro in Obregon, Sonora, Mexico.

Rafael was a great singer.

He is survived by his daughters; Guadalupe Lopez, Anabel Molina, and Jazmin Gutierrez, his son; Rafael Gutierrez, his sister; Guadalupe Zazueta, his brothers; Antonio Fiero, Manuel Gutierrez, Abel Gutierrez, and Rodolfo Gutierrez. Rafael is also survived by his twelve grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

A visitation will be held on Friday, January 8, 2021 at St. Williams Catholic Church, 11025 W 3rd St.in Cahsion, Arizona at 10:00AM. A funeral mass is scheduled for 12:00PM following the visitation at the same location. Burial services will be held at Louis B. Hazelton memorial cemetery in Buckeye, Arizona at a later date.

Gilberto C. Duarte

Mr. Gilberto C. Duarte, age 64, of Phoenix, Arizona went to be with his Lord and Savior on December 24, 2020 after a lengthy, courageous battle with his heart. He was born April 8, 1956 to Arturo Duarte and Socorro Cordova in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

He is survived by his wife; Maria A. Duarte, his children from his former marriage; Anna Alicia Duarte and Gilbert Duarte Jr., and his children from his current marriage; Jimena A. Duarte and Isaac A. Duarte, his sister; Ana Uria, his brothers; Ismael Contreras and Carlos Contreras, and two special people who have always been there for him; Chris Duarte and Ray Flores. Gilberto is also survived by his five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Mercedes Yadira Duarte.

Gilberto, Founder/Owner of Casa Duarte LLC, came to the United States at the age of eighteen, in seek of a better life and to live the American dream. Gilberto was an active member of; Love International Church. His Christian faith was central to his life and often encouraged others with God’s love.

Gilberto was a wonderful dad, grandfather, brother, uncle, and a loyal friend. He loved to cook, travel and spending time with family & friends. Gilberto was known for his funny jokes and his sense of humor. He loved entertaining everyone with them. He loved to travel and did not ever seem that he would slow down. Gilberto’s favorite foods; Shrimp, carne asada and fresh fruit. He would cook his own shrimp and enjoyed peeling them too.

His loving daughter writes:

“Dad, I give thanks to God to have allowed me to be with you the last few months. The last day that I saw you was when I took you to the hospital before your parting and you caressed my arm, I felt your warmth as when I was a little girl, your baby girl and thank me for being there with you. I watched you suffer, I saw you die, but all I could do, was sit close by. You went away, we had to part, God eased your pain, but broke my heart. I know it was not your choice to leave but God called you home. I pray that God will give me the strength and somehow get me through… As I struggle with the heartache that came when I lost you”

A visitation will be held on Friday, January 8, 2021 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 South Litchfield Road, in Goodyear, Arizona at 8:30AM. Funeral services will be held at the same location at 9:30AM. Burial Services will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Avondale, Arizona following the funeral.

Lewis Charles Trujillo

Lewis Charles Trujillo, age 58, of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on December 20, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. He was born April 15, 1962 to Robert Trujillo and Maxine Heckart in Gallup, New Mexico.

Lewis died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. He was a loving, devoted and loyal husband, father, grandfather, son, and brother. He made friends wherever he went. You would never have to ask him for twice for help. He made everyone laugh until they cried. He will be greatly missed by family and friends everywhere.

Lewis is survived by his wife, Francine, his sons; Eric Trujillo, Kevin Trujillo and his wife Joy, his sister; Elizabeth Diaz, his brothers; Angelo Trujillo, Steven Trujillo, and Robert Trujillo Jr., his parents; Maxine and Mark Heckert, as well as his three grandchildren; Lucian, Makaelynn, and Nickolas. He is preceded in death by his brother, Thomas Trujillo, his father; Robert Trujillo, his paternal grandparents; Pete and Mary Trujillo, and his maternal grandparents; John and Connie Silva.

The family has selected Angelo Trujillo, Elizabeth Diaz, Rob Mathers and David Radosevich to act as pallbearers for the service to be held.

A funeral mass will be held Monday, January 11, 2021 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church at 10:30AM. Burial services will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery following the funeral mass.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers to make a donation in Lewis’s name to www.als.az.org.

Francis “Fran” Ciliberti

Francis “Fran” Ciliberti, age 54, of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on December 22, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. He was born February 8, 1966 to Michael and Joyce Ciliberti in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Fran played basketball for and was a graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School, class of 1984, from his time playing basketball in high school he earned a basketball scholarship to Ithaca College and graduated from there in 1991. After graduating college, Fran began his more than 26 year career with Costco.

He was a proud Philadelphian that loved his Philly sports teams, going to the Jersey shore, playing golf, attending concerts, walking his puppy Sherlock, and just being a great family man.

He is survived by his wife DinaMarie (Nee Perez) Ciliberti, his son; Connor Ciliberti, and his brothers; Michael and Patrick Ciliberti. Fran is also survived by his in-laws, Pedro and Mona Lisa Perez, and his buddy, Sherlock.

Services are private at this time.

Lee M. Valenzuela

Lee M. Valenzuela, known to many as Kiki, age 81, passed away December 29th in Goodyear, Arizona. He was born to Librado Valenzuela and Petra Martinez on August 11, 1939. Kiki was a lifelong resident of Buckeye, Arizona. He was a member of the Local Laborers Union in which he had various jobs. He also worked for the B.I.D. and Roosevelt Irrigation District. If you knew Kiki, you knew of the love he had for dogs.

He is survived in death by his brother Frank Valenzuela (Dora), his sister Beatrice Wimblerley, and many nephews and nieces. Preceding him in death, were his parents: Librado and Petra, his brothers: Manuel Sernas and Frank Bon Sr., his sisters: Carmen Davis and Mary Yanez.

Services will be held January 7th at 10AM at St. Henry Catholic Church in Buckeye.

Gary Dean Lawson

Gary Dean Lawson, age 62 of Avondale, Arizona passed away on December 14, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. He was born July 14, 1958 to Ector E. Lawson and Helen M. Lawson in Washoe, Nevada.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1977 to 1997 and ended his time in active duty as an E-5/ SSGT.

Gary is survived by his wife, Judy M. Lawson, his daughters; Jessica Rosenblad, Jamie Angus, Sabrina Gavriilidis, and Nicole Langworthy, his sons; Dustin Lawson and Benjamin Davis, his sister; Tina Bevers, his brother-in-law; Stan Bevers, his parents; Helen and Ector Lawson. He is also survived by his fifteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A visitation was held on January 2, 2021 at 1:00PM at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Rd. in Goodyear, Arizona.

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