Obituaries

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October 2019
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Henry R. Bustamante

Henry R. Bustamante, 73, of Tolleson passed away on October 29, 2019. He was born on February 15, 1946 in Glendale, Arizona.

Henry was preceded in death by his father Juan and his mother Ernestina. He is survived by his wife Maria; his sons Enrique and Hector; his daughter Ximena; his sister Ernestina; his brothers John and Manuel; and several nieces and nephews.

Henry, along with his parents, operated John’s Market in Tolleson from 1955 to 2005. John’s Market provided the Tolleson community with local access to a grocery store and a place for friends and family to go and enjoy Henry’s amazing sense of humor and storytelling. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Henry was well known for his generosity and support for the community of Tolleson. He served as a board member on the Tolleson Service Thanksgiving Committee, City of Tolleson Industrial Development Authority and the Municipal Facilities District.

Visitation will be held from 6 pm to 9 pm on Friday, November 8th with a rosary at 7 pm at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Rd, Goodyear, AZ 85338.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 am on Saturday, November 9th at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 512 N. 93rd Ave, Tolleson, AZ 85353. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, 9925 W. Thomas Rd, Avondale, AZ 85392.

The family suggests that donations be made to the Ryan House at www.ryanhouse.org.

Condolences can be sent to www.thompsonfuneralchapel.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Thompson Funeral Chapel in Goodyear, AZ.

John Ventura Lopez

John Ventura Lopez, age 70 of Avondale, AZ died October 23, 2019, in Goodyear, AZ. He was born September 15, 1949, in Phoenix, AZ the 2nd youngest in a family of 7 children born to Tomasita Ventura Lopez. John grew up in Tolleson and graduated from Tolleson High School. He served in the US Army. He worked as a window clerk in the Maryvale branch of the US Post Office.

John was a man who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. Genuine and caring, your heart was always full after visiting him. John enjoyed engaging in conversations with just about anyone. He spoke the truth and gave advice freely, but his compassion for everyone was always obvious. John loved the Lord. His desire to live the gospel led him to become a new man in Christ. He put the Lord first in his life, read the Bible daily and praised God both in word and deed.

John loved sports – all sports. It didn’t matter whether he was watching professional athletes, college athletes, or kids playing recreational sports, he took pleasure in watching the competitions. He volunteered as a coach for baseball and softball when his children were growing up and enjoyed taking his grandchildren to all of their sporting events.

John was never happier than when he was with his family.   Each family member had a special place in his heart. When his children were young, he would take them to Disneyland and other local amusements that they loved. He wanted them to enjoy life, but he also encouraged them to become educated and self-sufficient. As a result of his encouragement, every one of his children, as well as his wife, graduated from college. John retired early, and through this, he was able to care for his grandchildren. Often the family activities revolved around food. John was a good cook. From green chili to tamales and even breakfast, he enjoyed providing food for the family to gather around.   Family mealtime remained a loving gathering time for John and his family.

John is survived by his wife, Juanita Lopez; daughters, Angela Lopez, and Aleta Preciado; son, Juan Lopez; grandchildren, Danielle Lopez and Aliana Preciado; son-in-law, Junior Preciado; sisters, Mary Melendez, and Frances Algaray; brothers, Jose Lopez, Raymond Lopez, and Ernie Lopez. He was preceded in death by Gavina Ventura Lopez Ayala, Sandra Ayala, Rudy Melendez, Abel Melendez, and Johnny Ray Lopez.

A visitation will be held at 11:00 am followed by a funeral service at 12:30 pm, Saturday, November 2, 2019, at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ 85338.

John R. Walsh

John R. Walsh, age 88 years, died October 27, 2019, in Goodyear, AZ. He was born April 28, 1931, in Chicago, IL, to Jack and Phyllis (Esposito) Walsh. He grew up in Lisle, IL and lived on a street surrounded by the homes of his Italian grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He considered many of his cousins among his best friends. He graduated from Downers Grove Central High School. After graduation, he attended North Central College and Illinois Benedictine College and played semi-professional football with the Elmhurst Travelers. He would say he wasn’t good, but he was fast and wiry!

John enlisted in the US Air Force and worked as an Aircraft Electrician. An Atomic Veteran, he was among the Airmen who witnessed the Atomic Bomb testing in the Pacific Island theatre and worked on aircraft that flew in the nuclear zone.

John was an excellent salesman. He could sell anything, from tiny brackets to large industrial equipment. He had a great sense of humor and a personality that immediately put others at ease. He was genuinely interested in everyone he met, radiating warmth and caring. He lived in the PebbleCreek community in Goodyear, AZ for 22 years and was loved by many friends as well as his family. They kept track of his humorous sayings, regaling him with “Johnny Walsh-isms” on his last birthday. Sayings like, “I’m in good shape for the shape I’m in,” “Here’s looking up your old address,” and “Who’s the old guy in the mirror?” will fondly be remembered by all who knew John.

John’s grandsons affectionately called him “Padrino”. An excellent carpenter and a handyman that could fix anything, John would spend many hours with the boys, building forts in the backyard and doing other special projects for them. He enjoyed attending their school events from elementary school through college. They would often remark that everyone wished they had a Padrino!

John is survived by Yvonne Kamholz Walsh, his wife of 47 years; son, Scott Walsh; daughters, Heather Walsh Krueger and Beth Jacobs (Steve) Speckhard; brother, Larry Froehlich; grandsons, Jacob and Garrit Speckhard; niece Laurice (Don) Souron; and great-nieces Laural and Taylor Hite.

As Johnny Walsh used to say, “Don’t worry, nothin’s gonna be alright!”

Richard Michael Hirth, Sr. “Mick”

Richard Michael Hirth, Sr. (“Mick”), age 86 of Litchfield Park, AZ died October 26, 2019, in Litchfield Park, AZ. He was born September 25, 1933, in Cincinnati, OH, the youngest of two sons born to John and Betty (Price) Hirth. Known to his family and friends as “Mick” and to his grandparents as “Mickey Mouse,” Mick grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of Greenhills, OH. An outstanding athlete, he played football at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, as well as summer league baseball.

Mick served as a Tactical Fighter Pilot in the US Air Force for over 20 years, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He was a member of the first class of tactical specialists to graduate from the US Air Force Fighter Weapons School. He served two tours of duty in England and France, one tour in Korea, and one tour of duty in Vietnam. His prowess earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross among other medals and citations. He was highly trained in survival skills as well as combat skills; knowledge that saved his life when his F84 crashed into Tampa Bay. A true patriot, he wanted others to learn from his experiences and sacrifices. He was in the midst of recording many of the ventures he had as a fighter pilot in a book that he was writing with a friend.

After retirement, Mick took up golf. He loved being on the links and had many great golfing buddies. He was an avid University of Arizona football fan. He and Shirley had season tickets and faithfully tailgated and cheered on the Wildcats for 25 years. Mick was also passionate about gardening. He was famous for his roses, but they were just a portion of the thousands of flowers that adorned his yard. He had 99 pots full of exquisite flowers, each lovingly cared for and hand-watered every day.

Mick’s care of his garden was only rivaled by his care of his family. He met his wife Shirley at RAF Bentwaters Officers’ Club while he was stationed in England. They found friendship as two Americans living in England, began dating and eventually married and raised three children. As a military family, they led very ordered lives. Mick ensured that he was home every night to eat dinner and spend time with his family. Weekends were filled with household chores and outdoor family activities. Family time was precious to Mick and his children felt his love and constant care for them. He loved to go to spring training games, especially Cincinnati Reds’ games, and often took his children with him, even taking them out of school so they could attend. Those beloved outings continued until the last year of his life.

Mick volunteered as a Boy Scout leader and Scoutmaster for Litchfield Park Troop 90 for many years. He would often take his troop on campouts and backpack trips, always making sure that his daughters were included as well as his son in those outings. He stayed involved in the Litchfield Park community and served on various town committees.

Mick’s faith was an integral part of his life. He was an active member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church since 1971. He served as a eucharistic minister, was a member of the building committee, and in the men’s club where he loved to organize fish fries. His deep devotion to his religion formed the foundation of faith that his children have built on.

Mick is survived by his wife, Shirley Hirth; daughters, Jenni Petersen (Tim), and Suzy Brimmer (Robb); son, Mike Hirth (Jena); brother John Hirth (Marty); and seven grandchildren, Jake Wachtler, Hutton Wachtler, Max Hirth, Luke Hirth, Madeline Hirth, Cole Petersen, and Kaitley Petersen. He was preceded in death by his parents, Betty and John Hirth.

A visitation will be held from 6-8:00 pm, with a rosary at 7:00 pm, Sunday, November 10, 2019, at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ.  Military honors will begin at 11:00 with a mass to follow on Monday, November 11, 2019, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 13720 W. Thomas Road, Avondale, AZ 85392 with a reception to follow at Palm Valley Golf Club. Interment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ 85054 at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley, Wounded Warrior Project or BSA Troop 90.

Judith Ann Hamel

Judith Ann Hamel 49 died suddenly September 23rd in Buckeye, Arizona.  She was born in New Hampshire on February 27th,1970.  She graduated from Ware High School, in Ware, Massachusetts. She attended Becker College and obtained her Master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. For the past 15 years, she has owned and operated a true no-kill animal sanctuary, Forever Faithful Animal Adoption and Sanctuary. She dedicated all her resources and time to help save and find new homes for the abandoned animals in Arizona. She is survived by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Philip Hamel, her brothers Steven and wife Doreen, Joseph, Vincent, Ernest, Kenneth and wife Shelly.  She leaves behind many nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles. A religious memorial service will be held at Cebula Funeral Home in Ware, Massachusetts on Saturday, October 26th, 2-4 pm.

Raymond Banks

Raymond Banks, age 93 ½, passed away Monday, October 14, 2019, in Goodyear, Arizona, his residence for 25 years. Ray was born in 1925 to Lena and Max Banks in Granby, Connecticut. He was the youngest of seven children. He had one sister, Ethel, 2nd from the oldest, who virtually raised him. He was a graduate of Simsbury High. Ray joined the US Army Air Corps and after two years he enrolled at the University of Connecticut where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree. He joined the US Air Force as a 1st Lt, became a navigator and retired as a Major after 21 years of service. He received four Air Medals plus numerous awards and decorations. While in the Air Force he met the love of his life, Mary Mann.   They were married in April 1953.   They spent 60 years together until her death in 2013. Upon Ray’s retirement, they settled in Sacramento, CA where Ray earned another degree at the State University at Sacramento. Ray worked for the State of California until his second retirement. They spent 24 wonderful years there, as members of the Yacht Club, boating on the rivers and the Pacific Ocean. During that time they had three miniature Schnauzers that were their children (Pasha, Pirate, and Peanuts). Ray and Mary traveled all over the world: Ireland, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Hawaii, England, and many other places. When they moved to PebbleCreek Community 25 years ago they took up golf and made many lifelong friends. Ray and Mary especially cherished their PebbleCreek Community Church. Ray was a social person with a wonderful sense of humor and quick wit. He cared deeply about his friends and family. He was always there to provide support.   Ray was a Mason.

Ray is survived by his nieces, Judi Stevens and husband Eddie, Deborah Banks, Tammy Banks-Spooner; goddaughter Erica Millard; nephews, Martin Goldfarb, Craig and wife Barbara Banks, Marc and wife Joyce Banks, Randy and wife Jane Miller, Scott and wife Lynda Miller, and Stephen and wife Jeana Miller. He is survived by grandnieces and nephews; Laura Luddy, Micah and Isaiah Goldfarb, and Zeke Spooner.

Thank you to Pastor Robert Ripley and the congregation of PebbleCreek Community Church, Sharon and Greg McKenzie, Mary Morgan, Donna and Ned Grover, Sharon and Doyle Yoder, and Vern and Elizabeth Peterson, Akemi Brewer and the many others that have been his family.

A memorial service will be held at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Masonic Homes of California or charity of your choice.

Ray Price Larson

Ray Price Larson of Buckeye, AZ, passed away peacefully on October 13, 2019, at the age of 87 while surrounded by his family. Ray will be greatly missed by his beloved wife of 64 years, Janet Busby Larson, and his four children Steven Ray Larson of Buckeye, Maryanne Jordan (Norman) of Flower Mound, TX, Jane Winegar (Wallis) of Park City, UT, and Nancy Cooper (Todd) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, his brother Gene Robert (Joyce), and many other dear relatives and friends.

Ray was the youngest of 5 children born to Tilford and Mary (Price) Larson in Solomonville, AZ on February 16, 1932. He had a childhood full of happiness and adventure on the family farm. He was an engineering student at the University of Arizona when he met his sweetheart, and the two were married on April 7, 1955, in the Mesa, Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   Ray always told his children how much he loved their mother and how lucky he was to have her.

Ray loved his family unconditionally and found his greatest joy in spending time with them. This love was reciprocated by all of his posterity. Beyond the love for his family, he was also a great example of readily showing compassion and helping those less fortunate.   Another highlight in Ray’s life was watching University of Arizona sports. He was a die-hard fan and for many decades rarely missed a game.

One of Ray’s most remarkable traits was his keen intelligence which constantly amazed his family and those who knew him. In addition to his 25 years as a Mechanical Engineer at Garrett AiResearch, he had an entrepreneurial spirit and worked side by side with his wife having success in many varied endeavors.

Relatives and friends are invited to the viewing at 10:00 and funeral service at 11:00 on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel located at 22487 W. Sundance Parkway, Buckeye, AZ with the internment and luncheon to follow.

Paul Gunnard Ingvertsen

Paul Gunnard Ingvertsen, age 70 of Sun City, AZ died October 6, 2019, in Sun City, AZ.   He was born November 26, 1948, in Hartford, CT to Bud and Margaret Ingvertsen. Paul played and coached softball and baseball for 30 years earning many championships. In his later years, he found his calling in educating future mechanics at the Arizona Automotive Institute. Many of his students maintained contact with him after graduation. He was a proud fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Like his dad, he loved the game of golf. He had a passion for Civil War history that resulted in his owning a great deal of memorabilia. Paul was an excellent pool player and loved to help others play the game. He loved books and enjoyed sitting in the sun reading three to four books a week.

Paul is survived by his wife, Debbie Ingvertsen; sister, Roxanne Ingvertsen and her husband, Bernard Daley; brother, Dane Ingvertsen; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bud and Margaret Ingvertsen.

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 am, Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ 85338. The family suggests that donations be made to the animal charity of your choice.

Alyce Marie Thorning

Alyce Marie Thorning, age 55, of Buckeye, AZ died October 7, 2019, in Buckeye, AZ. She was born June 24, 1964, in Dayton, OH, the youngest of four children born to Grover Edward and Bessie Mae (Beard) Whiting. Alyce was the kind of mother that woke her children with the smell of breakfast. Their clothes were always washed, folded, and waiting outside the bedroom doors when they awoke. She constantly thought of others’ needs first and looked for ways to help wherever she could.

Alyce loved animals. She persistently posted photos of pit bulls that were up for adoption. She loved her own pit bull, Bondo. She enjoyed gardening and raised luscious strawberries, flowers, and other vegetables. She loved to fish and often took her children fishing. She enjoyed crafting and found coloring very enjoyable. A visit to a casino was always a welcome pastime.

Alyce had the ability to see good in everyone around her, sometimes trusting when others would be cautious. She was an excellent listener and often had friends call her with their problems. She was everyone’s mom and loved to help others. She is survived by her daughters, Miranda M. Jones, and Krissy D. Viars; sons, Dalton R. and Broden R. Hicks; sister, Gayle Salyers; brother, Royce Whiting; and eight grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Bessie and Grover Whiting; brother, Myron Douglas Whiting; and nephew Royce Gray. Alyce will be buried next to her parents in Dayton, OH.

Ralph Carroll Evans, III

Ralph Carroll Evans, III of Avondale, AZ, passed away on October 5, 2019, in Avondale, AZ, following a brief battle with cancer. He was born on November 26, 1944, in Columbus, OH to Ralph C. Evans, Jr. and Lillian Fenker Evans.

Ralph worked for Wetterau, Inc. (SuperValu) in Florissant, MO as Director of Labor Relations and as President of their Scott City (MO) Division. While living in Cape Girardeau, MO, Ralph was a Scout Master, leading his troop on many camping trips and hikes. He moved to AZ in 1985 as President of McLane Sunwest in Goodyear, and from there was sent to Madrid, Spain, to locate a site and build a division warehouse in cooperation with Chupa Chups of Spain. Upon his return to the U.S., Ralph purchased Centre Point Travel and eventually started Points of Interest Travel, followed by Zýmages, an imaging company, along with his son, David.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Mary Rose; sons Ralph IV, Mesa, and David, Avondale; granddaughter Emma, Mesa; sisters Cynthia Fiore, North Carolina, and Erin Skinner, Georgia.

A funeral mass is scheduled for Monday, October 21, 10:30 AM, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 13720 W. Thomas Rd., Avondale, AZ. An inurnment service will be in the chapel at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Montgomery, OH, on Monday, October 28, at 10:00 AM.

Michael Albert Martinez, Jr.

Michael Albert Martinez, Jr., age 27, of Goodyear, AZ died October 5, 2019, in Glendale, AZ. He was born May 6, 1992, in Flagstaff, AZ to Michael Albert Martinez, Sr. and Joy (Hamilton) Adams. Michael attended Desert Star School as well as Desert Edge High School in Goodyear, AZ. He was active in youth sports and played in Pop Warner Football and Little League Baseball. He was a member of the Desert Edge baseball team. He was employed as a cook and a manager for Nina’s, an event service company.

Michael was an avid outdoorsman. He loved fishing and spending a day on the lake wakeboarding. He was always ready for any adventure on his 4-wheeler. He enjoyed car shows and working on cars, especially old Chevy trucks. He appreciated all types of music and was equally happy listening to country music as he was rapping on YouTube. He enjoyed traveling, even if it was for work obligations.

Always smiling and happy, Michael was a gentle giant. He was very well mannered and a true gentleman. He loved his nieces and nephews and took excellent care of his mother when she became ill. His friends and family will miss him deeply.

Michael is survived by his mother, Joy Adams, and stepfather, Tony Adams; father, Michael Martinez, Sr. and stepmother, Daneil Martinez; sister, Wendy Vandergriff; brothers, Jordan Delgado, and Jay Vandergriff; grandmother, Victoria Oakman; nieces, Safire Delgado, Maria Joy Avery, and Aniya Avery; nephews, Braedyn Kindred, Kymani Delgado, Royale Kindred, Andres Delgado, Wesley Culp, Ayden Dalrymple, and Zyer Avery, and his beloved dog, Whiskey. He was preceded in death by his maternal great grandparents, Raymond and Evelyn Hamilton, and paternal, great-grandparents, Gavino and Lucy Reyes.

A visitation will be held from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Thursday, October 10, 2019, at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ 85338. A funeral service will be held at 8:00 am Friday, October 11, 2019, at Thompson Funeral Chapel. Burial will follow at West Resthaven Cemetery. A reception will be held at the American Legion Hall, 6822 N. 57th Drive, Glendale, AZ 85301. The family suggests that donations be made to Alzheimer’s Association, https://alz.org/get-involved-now/donate, or American Association for Cancer Research, https://donate.aacr.org.

Glenn Eric Blocher

Glenn Eric Blocher, age 32, passed away on October 2nd, 2019 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, AZ after a 15 month battle with Glioblastoma. He was born in Fort Worth, TX on March 31, 1987, to Eric and Debbie Blocher, the youngest of 3 children. He was raised in Wyomissing, PA and moved to Litchfield Park, AZ in 2004 where he met and married Stacie Kubasko from Goodyear, AZ on April 4th, 2009. In 2015, Glenn and Stacie gave birth to their twin boys, Logan and Mason.

Glenn graduated from Millennium High School in 2005 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Phoenix in 2014. He has an incredible sense of creativity and a passion for developing innovative business strategies, which he used in his career in digital marketing.

Glenn was involved in the boy scouts and achieved the Eagle Scout rank in 2005. He was an avid mountain biker and loved being outdoors. He participated in several mud runs and obstacle races. He enjoyed volunteering to create and clear biking/hiking trails. He also enjoyed camping, traveling, collecting video games and spending time with his family.

Glenn is survived by his wife, Stacie; two sons, Logan and Mason; mother, Debbie and father, Eric Blocher; sister, Jennifer and brother-in-law, Robert Simmers; sister, Jill and brother-in-law, Luke Stokebrand; nieces, Anna Simmers, Lily Stokebrand, and Mae Simmers; nephews, Isaac Simmers, and James Stokebrand; aunt, Renee and uncle, Doug James; cousin, Hannah James; and grandmother, Ruth James. He is preceded in death by his grandfather, Norval James.

A gathering will be held at 1:00 pm with a memorial service to begin at 1:30 pm, Saturday, October 5, 2019, at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Glenn’s memory to the Glenn Blocher Memorial Fund at gofundme.com. (https://www.gofundme.com/f/glenn-blocher039s-fight-with-glioblastoma).

Shirley Ann Castor

Shirley Ann Castor, age 83 of Goodyear, AZ died September 30, 2019, in Phoenix, AZ. She was born July 29, 1936, in Mifflin County, PA to Charles and Bessie Mae (Casner) Dunmire. She was a graduate of the Central Pennsylvania Business School and mastered the art of shorthand and could type 80 wpm on a manual typewriter. She worked for many years as an Executive Assistant, most notably for Pennsylvania State Senator George Wade.

Strong-willed and fiercely independent, Shirley was unafraid of anything.   She knew exactly what she wanted out of life and how to make it possible. She was cheerful and outgoing, a social butterfly that was known and loved by many. Her compassion motivated her to extend kindness to every person that she encountered. She was intensely protective of her children’s individualities and skillfully guided them to be their best selves.

Shirley enjoyed golf and traveling. She loved to sing and sang in the choir of nearly every church to which she belonged. She was instrumental in the development of a grass-green golf course in Curtis, NE. She was highly creative and took pleasure in cross-stitch, crocheting, and decorating her house for every season of the year.

Shirley is survived by her husband, Bob Castor; son Bradley C. Knepp, and daughter-in-law Wendy; daughter, Beth Ann (Castor) Bryan, son-in-law Mike; grandchildren, Mike Bryan, Jr., Zach Bryan, Peter Knepp; and great-grandchildren, Lillie and Carson. She was preceded in death by two sisters, Sally and Janet; brother-in-law, Barney Wilson; and two cousins, Peggy and Joan.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00, Saturday, October 5, 2019, at Christ Presbyterian Church, 925 N. Sarival Avenue, Goodyear, AZ 85338. The family suggests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrier Project, https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org.

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