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Obituaries from the Past Three Days

HALVORSEN, RICHARD E.  
Reverend Richard Ellis Halvorsen, age 79, of Fresno, CA, passed away at home surrounded by his family on Thursday, February 19, 2015. Richard was a caring, compassionate and generous man who dedicated his life to the ministry and helping people in need. After joining the United States Navy at 17, he was inspired to become a chaplain. He worked his way through Elmhurst College and graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology, Maywood Campus, with the help of his wife Barbara. Later, Richard earned two Masters degrees. After serving in Lutheran churches for three years, Richard became a chaplain in the United States Army and ministered to the soldiers of the 11th Armored Calvary in Viet Nam from 1968 to 1969. While there, he risked his life to pull three men from a burning vehicle and was awarded the Soldiers Medal and Bronze Star. After retiring from the military as a Lt. Colonel, Richard served as the Chief of Chaplains at the Fresno VA Medical Center for 11 years. He then ministered part time for Hope Lutheran Church until retirement in 2005. He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Gertrude; brothers, Ramon, Ken, and John; and niece Angela. Richard is survived by Barbara, his wife of 53 years; daughter, Chris Glad; sons, Richard, and Mark and his partner Melissa; grandson, Tad Baten; brothers, Eugene and his wife Marie, Bill, and Scott; sisters, Beverly Schramm, and Carolyn Columbo Scott; and 27 nieces and nephews. Our sincere thanks to the people of Hope Lutheran Church and Saint Agnes Hospice, for their love and care for Richard and the family. A Memorial Service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church, 364 E. Barstow Ave., Fresno, CA, on Sunday, March 1, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. Remembrances may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project; the American Cancer Society; or Hope Lutheran Church.
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Published in the Fresno Bee from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, 2015
IVANS, NICHOLAS J.  
Nicholas J. Ivans, long time Avenal businessman and community leader passed away in Coalinga, CA on Sunday, February 15, 2015, just two days before his 91 year birthday. Nick was born on February 17, 1924, in Hanford, CA to Peter Ivancovich and his wife Danitza Ninkovich, who immigrated from Bosnia- Herzegovina and settled in Hanford at the turn of the century. Nick was the youngest of six children. He attended the local schools and graduated from Hanford High School with the class of 1942. Nick's birth name was Mladan Nicholas Ivancovich but attended school and served in the military as Junior Nicholas Ivancovich. After graduation Nick attended Visalia Junior College until he was called into the United States Army to serve in World War II. As a member of the H Company, 101 Regiment of the 26 Yankee Division, he landed in France in the fall of 1944, and saw combat duty in France, Belgium, and Luxemburg, at the Battle of the Ardennes Forest, Battle of the Bulge. Under the command of General George Patton, in the third Army, he crossed the Rhine at Cologne and moved across Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, until the war ended in May of 1945. After the fall of Germany, he remained in the army serving as the Yugoslav interpreter for Upper Austria, assisting in the repatriation of refugees. Upon his return to the United States, Nick enrolled for a year at Fresno State College. From there, he traveled to University of California, Berkeley, where he hoped to pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine. However, his hands suffered frostbite during the war and he found the cold in the Bay Area difficult. He then enrolled in the University of Southern California and entered the School of Pharmacy in 1947. He never regretted his decision to change careers. There he met his future wife, Edna Logan, of Delano, CA. They were married in June of 1949, and would have celebrated their year of marriage in June of this year. In October of 1950, Nick and his wife purchased Tomer Drug in Avenal, CA. Although they sold the store in 1992, he was committed to the town and continued to serve as the part time pharmacist for the business until 2010, making sure that the needs of the community were being met. Nick employed many, many high school students in his business over the years as a part of his commitment to young people. In late 1954, shortly after the birth of their third child, Nick was stricken with polio. He was unable to work full time for over a year. He did not let his "sticks" slow him down in his work, family, or community life. Since 2006, he had to rely on his wheelchair the majority of the time, but continued an independent active life. Although Nick and Edna had four children of their own, they felt that they had room in their home and hearts for more children, and so after their youngest was born the first of five foster children came to them. One, Jerry Keeler, came when he was nine and remained a part of the family for nearly 50 years, until his death. In addition to a commitment to children in foster care, Nick and Edna opened their home to foreign students. After housing students from Finland, Iran, and Mexico, each for a year, they answered the call to help those evacuated from Vietnam after its fall. Two teenage girls became a part of their family and remained in Avenal until they graduated from high school. Since his arrival in Avenal, Nick's community service activities were many. In 1950, he joined the Avenal Chamber of Commerce, and the Avenal Rotary Club. Nick served the local Chamber of Commerce as president three times, and in Rotary has served as president, program chairman, editor of the bulletin, District Governor's representative and was responsible for extending Rotary's hand of friendship to over 50 new members. Through the years Nick was active with the Boy Scouts and sponsored Little League. After the closing of the Community Presbyterian Church, the congregation was welcomed by the Avenal First Baptist Church; Nick and Edna joined and have been active in that congregation. He actively supported the public schools and participated in Republican politics. Although Nick always served for personal satisfaction and for the pleasure of seeing his work improve the lives of others, over the years he received many local honors and awards. He was awarded the Milton O. Wilen Award for Community Service by the Reef-Sunset Unified School District. He served as the Grand Marshal of the Avenal Old Timers Day Parade and was named Avenal's Man of the Year. He and Edna were honored as Homecoming King and Queen for Avenal for the Kings County Homecoming Celebration in 1979, and in 1990, Nick was named the Grand Marshal for the Kings County event. Hanford High inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2001. He and Edna have given an annual scholarship at West Hills Community College for over 30 years. After all his years of service, in the 1980's, Nick achieved a sort of folkloric fame for his successful efforts to bring a state prison to the Avenal area. Obviously, he didn't bring the prison to Avenal all by himself. It is, however, generally acknowledged that it wouldn't have happened without his vision and hard work. It was the first prison built in the San Joaquin Valley. After the site was chosen, he was nominated to the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the Avenal State Prison and was elected chairman of the group. While serving in this capacity, they hosted a successful statewide Annual Conference in 1989. He continued to serve on this group until his passing. Nick enjoyed travel, especially with his children and grandchildren, and visited many countries and all 50 states in the United States. He especially enjoyed attending national and international Rotary conventions and visiting other Rotary clubs. Nick was preceded in death by his parents; his older brothers, Joaquin Ivancovich, Stephen Ivancovich, and Wayne William "Bill" Ivans; his twin sisters, Hope and Faith Ivancovich; and his foster son, Jerry Keeler. In addition to his wife, he leaves a son, Ivan N. Dana and his partner Barbara Stein of San Francisco, CA; daughter's, India Ivans and her husband John Sorensen of Fresno, Shannon DeFranco and her husband Dan of Columbia, and Fawn Altimus and her husband Rick of Hanford; daughter-in-law, Linda Keeler; Iranian son, Reza Banai and his wife Mitra of Toronto, and his family; Vietnamese daughters, Carol Huong Vu and her husband Harold Nguyen of Santa Clara, and their daughters, Tina Nga Vu and her husband Alan Nguyen, and their sons, of Santa Clara, and Finnish daughter, Marja Heikinheimo Pekkala. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Lillian Ivancovich, of Visalia, Della Ivans of Redlands, Kathryn Logan Barton and her husband Jim of Bakersfield; brother-in-law, George Logan and his wife Carlene of Atwater, and their families. Nick leaves six dearly loved granddaughters, Shaine Nichole DeFranco, of Columbia, Edna Marie DeFranco Stucker and her husband Mike, and their three daughters, Macie, Hayden and Whitney, of Denair, D'arci DeFranco Viss and her husband Elan of Turlock, Danielle DeFranco of Columbia and her fiancé Dennis Parks, Christine Altimus Williams and her husband Ryan, and their expecting Baby Boy Williams of Ardmore, PA, and Barbara Altimus Shreero and her husband Ryan, and their daughter Rosalie, of San Francisco; four nieces and nephews, Janet Flowers and her husband Greg of Highland, Laurel Taylor and her husband Scott of Encinitas, Peter Ivancovich of Los Angeles, and Philip Ivancovich and his wife Julie of Visalia, and their families. A Celebration of his Life will be held at the Avenal High School Auditorium, 601 East Mariposa Street, Avenal, CA 93204, on Saturday, March 14, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. A Luncheon will follow at the new gymnasium, across the campus from the auditorium. A private Interment will be held at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Remembrances may be made in his name to the Avenal First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 326, Avenal, CA 93204; the Nicholas and Edna Ivans Scholarship, West Hills College Foundation, 9900 Cody Street, Coalinga, CA 93210; or to your favorite charity. Arrangements are under the direction of Phipps-Dale Funeral Chapel in Lemoore.
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 28, 2015

Obituaries from the Past Week

BOOSALIS, THEODORE  
Theodore G. Boosalis was born on February 4, 1934 in Faribault, Minnesota to Gus and Maria Boosalis who were the proud owners of Olympia Greek Restaurant. He fell asleep in the Lord peacefully, surrounded by his loving family in his home on Sunday, February 22, 2015. He was the youngest of eight siblings, all of which he looked up to. Although Ted was not old enough to serve with his brothers in World War II; at 12 years old he would walk daily to the draft office hoping to enlist. His brothers Nick, Mike, John, Bill and George served our country with honor having a five star flag proudly displayed in their parent's home in Faribault, Minnesota. Growing up Ted loved numbers, which is what motivated him to receive his BA degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1955. With this degree he pursued a career as a stock broker for Paine Webber which later became UBS and thrived with the company for 38 years. In 1990, he met his beautiful wife Evelyn in Fresno, CA whom he was married to for 25 years. Ted loved to travel with his wife in such places as: Hawaii, Greece, Alaska, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, and many other places in the continental United States. He also enjoyed successfully trying his luck in Vegas. Ted will be remembered as loving his family, being an avid golfer, and also serving his Greek Orthodox Faith at St. Mary's in Minneapolis, MN and also later at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Fresno, CA. He was a proud member of The Order of AHEPA, The SIR's, and was also a Freemason. In 2002, Ted and Evelyn retired and moved from chilly Minneapolis to sunny Clovis, CA where he golfed almost year round. Ted and Evelyn enjoyed going to dinner and movies with loved ones. The family would like to thank Dr. K. Gade, Dr. Ambati, Dr. Estrada and their staff, Lira and Anthony, and everyone at Hinds Hospice. Ted was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Nick and George; and his sister, Georgia Kootsikas. Ted is survived by his wife, Evelyn; brothers, Mike, John, and Bill; and sister, Elaine Smith. "Uncle Teddy" was loved and surrounded by numerous nieces and nephews in California, Nebraska, and Minnesota. A Trisagion and Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 27, 2015 at St. George Greek Orthodox Church 2219 N. Orchard Fresno, CA. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to St. George Greek Orthodox Church Fresno, California. Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns and Blair Funeral Home, 1525 East Saginaw Way, Fresno, California (559)227-4048
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 25, 2015
BUKILICA, NICHOLAS JON  
Nicholas "Nick" Jon Bukilica was born in Fresno, CA on June 21, 1962 to Robert "Bob" and Sally Bukilica. He was the oldest of three children, and the big brother to Marion Bukilica Beard, and Matthew Bukilica. Nick graduated from Hoover High School in 1980, and went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree from Fresno Pacific University. In December of 1992, Nick married his beloved wife, Stacey Gabrielson, and they had two adored daughters, Amanda and Courtney, who became the center of his life. Nick enjoyed and was dedicated to his professional career in pharmaceutical sales, yet he was so much more than that. He was committed to his family, and enjoyed being involved in the lives of his daughters, and traveling extensively with them. He was an avid mountain biker and traveled the western United States on biking trips. He also picked up his love of golf from early days golfing as a young boy with his dad Bob, and continued his love of golf with other family members. His volunteer activities included coaching youth soccer, and supporting "Off the Front", a bike racing term, which supports helping kids from underprivileged backgrounds break away from obstacles to good education and fitness in the "race of life". He was a regular at the organization's bike repair clinics that were hosted in neighborhoods, one of the many quiet ways he did things for others and impacted their lives in positive ways. He is preceded in death by his father, Bob Bukilica. Nick is survived by his devoted wife, Stacey Bukilica; his cherished daughters, Amanda and Courtney; his mother, Sally Bukilica; sister, Marion Bukilica Beard and her husband Ken; brother, Matthew Bukilica and his wife Geri,; his niece Alex; his nephews, Rob, Ryan, and Chris; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Hal and Earlene Eidal; and his brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Tracey, Nikki, Kelly, and Brian; his aunt, Anita Chiames and her husband Paul; his uncles, Michael Bukilica and his wife Lorraine, and Louis Howell; his cousins, Chris Chiames, Paul Chiames, Terese Caire, Teri Prieto, Jason Bukilica, Jennifer Greer, Michael Howell, Lindsay Howell, Amber Howell, Josh Howell, John Howell, Charlene Kuykendall, Christina Gohike, and Bill Gohike. A Celebration of Life Service will be held, at The Well Community Church, 4545 N. Palm Ave., Fresno, CA 93704, on Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:00 a.m. Remembrances may be made to Off the Front, 2044 Nees Ave., Fresno, CA 93720.
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 26, 2015
BURNS, ANDY - Fresno  
Andy Burns, a resident of Fresno and San Jose, California for the past two years, is now residing in a mansion built for him by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Andy departed this world at 4:40 a.m. Thursday, February 19, 2015 in San Jose after a valiant 10-day struggle following a bleeding stroke Andy was one of 12 children born in Newcastle, England, to Elizabeth Badger Burns and Andrew Joseph Burns on April 28, 1950. Raised in poverty and in a poor home environment, he left St. Bedes school in Jarrow at age 15 and worked at many jobs. Having been robbed of a formal education, he rarely talked to people other than very polite greetings. At one job he met an older co-worker who recognized his potential and mentored him for six years. During this time Andy flourished and his superior intellect became apparent. He was a voracious reader and soon became very knowledgeable on many subjects. He memorized most of the dictionary during those years and boy, did he use those words! He was shop steward for the union for many years and did an excellent job in negotiations. You didn't want to go up against Andy Burns. Before leaving England and moving to Windsor, Ontario, Canada for sixteen years, Andy was a police officer (special constable) in Somerset. He was outstanding in that job because he knew how to handle situations without escalating them. He was very much respected. In Canada he worked in security for the Canadian Coast Guard, and later Brighton Beach, with Commissionaires Security. Andy had many interests. He played soccer, or football as the rest of the world calls it, in his school years, and always cheered on Sunderland, his favorite team. He was a table tennis champion, and won many online Scrabble tournaments. He was a Beatles fanatic and knew everything there was to know about them. The same is true of football, golf and tennis trivia. He wowed many when competing in quizzes at the pubs in England. In his teens he learned to play the guitar and realized that he could sing. He sang and played the guitar with his brother Paul and in a group on weekends to supplement his income. Many people encouraged him to get a manager and go professional, but that kind of life never appealed to him. He had over a thousand songs in his repertoire. In February, 2010, Andy met his soulmate and love of his life, Kathleen Heinrich, through their mutual love and admiration for Scottish singer Susan Boyle. As a result of this blossoming storybook romance, Andy returned to his childhood devotion to God. They were married June 6, 2013. Andy described these 20 months as the happiest time of his life, and praised God daily for granting at the end of his life the miracle that he had prayed for all his life. Andy had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. He was very outgoing, very polite, and was a wonderful humanitarian. We will miss his laughter and deep-thinking serious side. He was preceded in death by his parents; and siblings, Jimmy, Betty, and Olive. He is survived by his beloved wife, Kathleen; his daughters in England who were his pride and joy, Louise Woolacott and Christine Burns; and his two grandchildren, Georgia and Ethan. He also leaves in England brothers, Paul and John; sisters, Mavis, Nancy, Jean, Pat, Moira, and Sandra; as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. A Graveside Service will be held at Fresno Memorial Gardens, corner of Whitesbridge and Cornelia, on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Remembrances may be sent to The Salvation Army or to the donor's favorite charity in Andy's memory. Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns and Blair Funeral Home, 1525 East Saginaw Way, Fresno, California (559)227-4048
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 24, 2015
BUSS, MICHAEL  
Michael Buss of Clovis, CA, was born on April 26, 1954, and passed away at home surrounded by family on Monday, February 23, 2015. He was the former owner of the Napa Auto Parts in Sanger, CA. He was preceded in death by his father, Curtis Buss; brother, Raymond Buss; and nephew, Andrew Buss. Mike is survived by his loving wife Trish; children, Ryan and special friend Sarah Hartel, Jami Pazmino and her husband Dominic; mother, Katherine Rew Buss; brothers, Gerry and wife Eileen, Bill and his wife Cherie; sister-in-law, Donna Buss; and numerous aunts; uncles; nieces; and nephews. A Celebration of Life will be held at the family home on Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 27, 2015
COLE, VERNE H.  
Verne H. Cole passed peacefully February 17, 2015. Born December 19, 1925, Verne was the oldest of 10 children of the late Norman H. and Ruby Cole. Born and raised in Michigan, he settled in Fresno with his young family after taking a job as a reporter for The Fresno Bee in the late 1950's, later becoming Associate Editor. He retired after 30 years with the Bee. A wounded World War II veteran, Verne was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the Fifteenth Air Force, 483rd Bomb Group, in the Mediterranean where he served as a tail gunner on a B17 bomber. Verne was known for his love of history and was a member of the Fresno Historical Society and E Clampus Vitus. He also served as president and newsletter editor for The 483rd Bombardment Group Association. He authored various publications, had a substantial library and loved to read. Verne's greatest love was his family. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Cole, of 67 years; son, Jeff Cole; daughters, Karen Judge, Nancy Crisp and Ellen Briones; eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He was loved and respected by many and will truly be missed. A Memorial Service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church on Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 11:00 a.m.
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 25, 2015
GRIFFIN, MOLLY - Fresno  
Molly was born in San Jose, CA, on August 26, 1991, to Douglas and Doris Griffin. She passed away on Saturday, February 21, 2015, in Fresno, CA, at the age of 23. Molly loved her friends, traveling, the San Francisco 49ers, and San Francisco Giants, and her new profession, but most of all her family. She was in the process of buying her own home. Molly was a nurse at Madera Community Hospital. Molly is survived by her parents, Douglas and Doris Griffin; her brother, Joseph Griffin; and sister, Paige Griffin, all of Fresno, CA; her grandparents, Walter and Margaret Hesse; two aunts, Denise Ahlberg and her husband Sven, and Donna Mercier; three uncles, George Griffin and his wife Cindy, Charles Griffin and his wife Olga, and Dominic Mercier and his wife Janette. She also leaves numerous cousins. Visitation will be held at Boice Funeral Home on Friday, February 27, 2015, from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday, February 28, 2015, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held at Clovis Hills Community Church, Clovis, CA, on Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, remembrances honoring Molly's life may be made to the Molly Taylor Griffin Nursing Scholarship at California State University, Fresno. Checks should be payable to the Fresno State Foundation and mailed to 2345 E. San Ramon, M/S MH26, Fresno, CA 93740-8031, or by contributing online at https://www.fresnostate.edu/advancement/giving/givenow.html. Mark "Other" and enter "Molly Taylor Griffin Scholarship". Boice Funeral Home, 308 Pollasky Avenue, Clovis, California (559)299-4372
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 26, 2015
HARAUTUNEIAN, JEANETTE  
Jeanette Anahied Harautuneian passed away suddenly on February 23, 2015. Jeanette Muckjian was born to Bedros and Rose Muckjian, on March 25, 1932, in Fresno, CA. Jeanette attended Roosevelt High School, and Fresno State University. At Fresno State, Jeanette met Andrew Harautuneian, whom she married and had two beautiful daughters, Karen and Michelle. Jeanette is survived by her husband Andrew; daughters, Karen and Michelle; sons-in-law, Jeff Welsh and Gunther Toth; and grandchildren, Jessica and Trevor Welsh. A Funeral Service will be held at Pacific View Chapel, Corona Del Mar, CA, on Sunday February 28, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 27, 2015
Hirata, Bill  
Bill Hirata died peacefully on February 19, 2015 with family by his side. He was a farmer, married to Mary Kubo and they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. He is survived by sons Steve and his wife Joyce, Phil and his wife Jane, Art; daughter Annette and husband Clement Lew; nine grandchildren Ryan and wife Erica, Tiphanie, Brent, Andra, Garin, Jared, Brandon, Anise, Autumn,; and great-grandaughter Taylor. A Memorial Service is scheduled at Reedley Buddhist Church, Friday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m.
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 25, 2015
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