October 20, 1959 - February 14, 2014 Corky Retson, 54, of Eagle Rock, California, passed away on February 14 from sudden cardiac failure. He leaves behind in grief his beloved husband of 34 years, Scott Ferguson; his parents, Dr. James and Jessie Retson; his siblings, Flip Retson and Betsy Jenner; aunts, uncles, nieces, cousins and friends. Corky was born on October 20, 1959 in Appleton, Wisconsin, and was raised there and in Tempe, Arizona, and San Diego, California. After graduating from Valhalla High School in San Diego, Corky earned his degree at UCLA. It was in Los Angeles that Corky met Scott Ferguson, whom he called simply, 'The One." In 1980, Scott was offered a job in Seattle and asked Corky to join him. Corky agreed without hesitation, embarking on a remarkable love story that would flourish over the next 34 years. Scott and Corky returned to LA in 1982, ultimately making their home in Eagle Rock at Casa Loleta, an art-filled, welcoming sanctuary where Corky served as co-host to a constant stream of friends and family, played avant-garde gardener and set up a successful design studio. As a graphic designer, Corky was an exceptionally talented artist who also loved to paint and draw. Throughout his illustrious career, Corky left a design legacy for entertainment corporations and nonprofit organizations alike, including Disney, The Colburn School of Music, Project Angel Food, Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, Community Partners and Sussman/Prejza, with whom he collaborated on the 1984 Olympics. Corky was a passionate marathoner, a member of several running groups and was training for his second Los Angeles Marathon. He eagerly started every Saturday morning with a 7am warm-up by Coach Ezra Weisz of the Pasadena Pacers. Blessed with natural athletic ability and youthful vigor, Corky is remembered most as the consummate running mate-always quick with a beaming smile, delightful wit and words of encouragement. Among Corky's gifts to the world was his instinctual sense of fairness, his unwavering moral compass and his unique ability to impart his beliefs with beauty, clarity and candor. His social and environmental consciousness, both local and global, was inspiring and often enlightening. He was a staunch progressive-and proud of it. Those who knew Corky considered him an old soul with a childlike sense of wonder and curiosity who combined a keen intellect with a kind heart. He was a skeptic yet also patient, understanding and giving. He was brilliant at seeing the humor in a situation and summing it up in a well-timed one-liner, erupting into unabashed laughter that could light up a room. He was god to his dog Hershel and soulmate to Scott. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and community. Scott held Corky's hand as Corky slipped away from this world, perhaps discovering a new path as he continues his journey. The love and light that Corky shared with Scott and so many others are eternal. In lieu of another remembrance, donations can be made in Corky's honor to: www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/kn04/corky-retson-memorial-fund For Corky's memorial, please come walk, run or just be present with the Pasadena Pacers and Corky's spirit down one of his favorite trails in the Arroyo on Saturday, March 1. Stretching will begin promptly at 7am on the grass south of the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center in Pasadena by the picnic tables: 360 N. Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91103. Please park in lot "H" and walk south to the tables. This event is rain or shine and open to everyone who wishes to honor Corky's life through one of his great passions.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times from Feb. 26 to Feb. 27, 2014