Recent Obituaries and Guest Books
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Abbott, Nancy - La Jolla  
Nancy Abbott, a La Jolla Village resident and treasure, passed away peacefully the morning of November 26, 2014, at the age of 78. This humble lady possessed an iron will but a soft heart, especially for her doe-eyed Pekinese "Pearl". Nancy suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, a disability she fiercely battled daily for over 40 years. She lived independently even as her illness limited her mobility to a motorized wheel chair. Each morning Nancy and Pearl summoned Nancy's neighbor and best friend, Ellyn, by calling to Ellyn's bedroom window. Ellyn affectionately referred to this ritual as "the Brooklyn phone line." It was time to walk their dogs together. During these walks Nancy and Ellyn developed a deep friendship, for which Ellyn is most grateful. Nancy possessed a wry and sardonic sense of humor and enjoyed chatting with her neighbors during her several daily walks with Pearl. Her slight stature, her "scooter", and Pearl were a welcome sight to those who enjoyed her fiery wit and intellect. Nancy was the personification of perseverance, having been featured in September on San Diego's NBC 7 News to address the need for possible exceptions to the leash law for disabled people. She had been cited for having Pearl off-leash and was required to appear in court and pay a fine. A generous La Jollan paid her fine after hearing Nancy's story. Nancy was born January 25, 1936, in Michigan but resided in La Jolla Village for many years. Her survivors include her daughter, Holly; son, Roger; and her beloved Pearl. Pearl has found a new home in Nancy's neighborhood.
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Published in La Jolla Light on Dec. 11, 2014
Bloom, Leon - San Diego  
Mr. Bloom, 85, of San Diego, passed away December 2, 2014.
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Published in the Pomerado News on Dec. 11, 2014
Dell Acqua, Marilyn Lois - San Diego  
Mrs. Dell Acqua, 86, of San Diego, passed away November 12, 2014.
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Published in the Pomerado News on Dec. 18, 2014
Gafford, George Nelson - La Jolla  
The world lost a true gentleman on December 6, 2014, when George Nelson Gafford, 98, passed away at home in La Jolla, California. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 25, 1916, to first-generation Hungarian immigrant parents, Mr. Gafford was educated in Cleveland Heights and Griffon House School in London. He received a four-year scholarship to Yale College, where he was on the 3-man Epee fencing team that won the Intercollegiate Fencing Championship. He went on to qualify as a member of the U.S. Olympic Fencing Squad. He graduated Cum Laude with A.B. Orations Appointment from Yale in 1936. Mr. Gafford received his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1939, where he was Vice President of the Student Bar Association, received the Order of the Coif and graduated first in his class. Immediately after law school, Mr. Gafford worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where he took on civil and criminal investigations, civil federal litigation and was Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney for criminal litigation. During World War II he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a civilian, where he specialized in counter-espionage and counter-sabotage as well as labor negotiations. He then joined the U.S. Navy for active duty from 1942 to 1946, where he was first introduced to San Diego. As a lieutenant, after Midshipman School and Anti-submarine Warfare School, he became Executive Officer of PC 816, a submarine chaser for the West Coast Frontier Command. Later, after Civil Affairs Training School, Mr. Gafford served as Military Governor in Ulsan Gun, Korea, and, following the war, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1946 to 1962. Returning to Ohio after WWII, Mr. Gafford was in private practice from 1946 to 1969. He served as Assistant Attorney General of Ohio and was Adjunct Professor at Cleveland College, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University School of Law, cultivating a deep love of teaching. Realizing he could teach in a beautiful place and play tennis year-round, Mr. Gafford moved to La Jolla in 1969 and became a full-time professor at California Western School of Law, where he taught until 1986. He devised the strategy and negotiated the purchase of California Western by a non-profit corporation from United States International University, creating a newly independent law school in 1975. There he coached law school jury trial, appellate moot court, patent court and client counseling teams, achieving three National Championships. After his retirement, Professor Emeritus Gafford served on the school's Board of Trustees for 25 years, including as chairman. The moot courtroom and the intramural trial competition at California Western bear his name in honor of his role in launching the school's successful team competitions. Mr. Gafford contributed much to his community, serving on the board of directors or board of trustees for numerous organizations, including La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Symphony Pops, San Diego Museum of Art (Collection Committee), and Mainly Mozart. He was a member of the University Club and La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. He authored four books: Odyssey of a Law School, Lawyers Are Us, 80 Years of Adventure and Take It Easy! , based on his signature phrase. George Gafford had a zest for life, loved traveling the world and was kind and wise. Though his body failed, his pride and intellect never waned. Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by knowing and loving him. Mr. Gafford is survived by his wife of 34 years, Martha Austin Gafford; his children, Gerald Cockrell of Abilene, Texas, Jana Bartlit and her husband, Fred Bartlit, of Castle Pines, Colorado, and Kathryn "Casey" Bolinger and her husband, Timothy William Bolinger, of Scottsdale, Arizona; as well as five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and four nieces and their families. George was preceded in death by his first wife, Toni Mehas Gafford; daughter, Diane Gafford; son, Frank Cockrell; sister, Joyce Grant; and his son Gerry's wife, Maxine Cockrell. George N. Gafford will be interred at El Camino Mausoleum in a family crypt. A gathering to celebrate his life will be held in January. Memorial donations may be made to George N. Gafford Moot Court Fund, California Western School of Law, 225 Cedar Street, San Diego, CA 92101; or the San Diego Symphony, 1245 Seventh Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.
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Published in La Jolla Light on Dec. 18, 2014
Grant Jr., George Leroy "Lee" - San Diego  
George Leroy Grant Jr., DDS, passed away on December 11, 2014, at the age of 79. He was a loving husband, father and friend and lived his life with dedication. Dr. Grant graduated from UC San Francisco School of Dentistry in 1960 to pursue his lifelong dream of practicing dentistry. He served our country as captain in the U.S. Army Dental Core 1960-1962 and continued to practice dentistry a total of 45 years. He was known by patients as the "gentle doctor" and as a "Master of General Dentistry" by the American Dental Association. Dr. Grant is survived by his wife of 36 years, Marion; four boys, Dwight, Duane, David and Donald; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He loved, was loved, and shared many adventures and fond memories with his family. Dr. Grant was active in his community in many ways. He was a member of Emmanuel Faith Community Church and he served the Kiwanis Club as past president and as a member for 49 years. He was also Grand Master of the Masonic lodge and was a 32nd degree Mason. He believed in service and lived life accordingly. A private military burial will be held at Miramar National Cemetery. A Memorial service will be held on December 29, 2014, at 1:30 pm at Emmanuel Faith Community Church with a reception to follow, all are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Global Outreach of Emmanuel Faith Church or Elizabeth Hospice.
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Published in the Pomerado News on Dec. 18, 2014
Harris, DeNiene Mary - San Diego  
The world lost a special person on December 12, 2014, when DeNiene Harris, 56, passed away at home in Murrieta, CA, after battling colon cancer for nearly four years. She was born on July 27, 1958, in Burlington, WI, to James and Irene Phillips. DeNiene is survived by her husband, Michael Harris of 32 years; two beautiful children, Brittani and Christopher Harris; father, James Phillips; sisters, Lisa Hernandez and Jackie Robers; brothers, Jim and John Phillips; sisters-in-law, Patti Phillips, Penny Harris, and Judy Harris; and brothers-in-law, Tom Robers, Don and Terry Harris. She was preceded in death by her mother, Irene Phillips; mother-in-law, Geraldine Harris; father-in-law, LeRoy Harris; and brother-in-law, Jessie Hernandez. She graduated from Burlington High School in 1976. After graduating from IBA Beauty School, she worked a number of years as a cosmetologist for JC Penneys in Milwaukee, WI, and then in Los Angeles, CA, before establishing her own Beauty Salon in Chatswoth, CA, with her business partner, Raja Syriani. DeNiene and Michael, "the boy next door," were married in Burlington, WI, on May 29, 1982. Following their marriage, DeNiene joined Michael in Los Angeles and the family moved to San Diego in 2000. DeNiene loved her San Diego Chargers and during football season on any Sunday you could find her at the Chargers game cheering on her neighbor, Antonio Gates, or at home watching the game on TV and messaging her friends on FaceBook. DeNiene loved the holidays and enjoyed decorating the house and entertaining family and friends. She enjoyed making fleece-tie blankets and giving them as gifts to friends and family. She served on the Board of Egremont, the children's grade school. DeNiene easily made friends with her outgoing personality, direct communication style, and big heart. She had a positive impact on many lives, and inspired many with her overwhelming strength and positive attitude throughout her battle with cancer. She will be missed by many, but never forgotten. Viewing and vigil will be held on Thursday, December 18, 2014, from 5:00-8:00pm at Poway-Bernardo Mortuary, and a memorial mass and entombment on Friday, December 19, 2014, at noon at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery.
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Published in the Pomerado News on Dec. 18, 2014
Heiden, Richard "Dick" - San Diego  
Dick was born on August 9, 1926, in Northhampton, MA, and relocated with his family to Buckeye, AZ, in the early 1930s. As a young adult, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a graphic artist. He met and married Faye Savage in 1955. They moved to the San Diego area in the late 1980s to live out their retirement years. Dick is survived by his sister, June; brother, Bruce; along with many nieces and nephews.
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Published in the Pomerado News on Dec. 11, 2014
Hill, Samuel - Poway  
Mr. Hill, 80, of Poway, passed away November 29, 2014. Services were held December 6, 2014.
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Published in the Pomerado News on Dec. 11, 2014
Hoshor, James C. - San Diego  
Mr. Hoshor, 90, of San Diego, passed away December 6, 2014.
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Published in the Pomerado News on Dec. 11, 2014
Keller, Jane McNeel - La Jolla  
Artist and teacher, Jane Keller, brought humor, exuberance and her sense of connectedness to every encounter. In her disarming way she charmed others through her creativity, communication, and feeling of kinship with all kinds of people; bringing others together in unexpected ways. Her touch lightened the world with laughter and joy and her irrepressible courage to be an individual. Born in January 19, 1933, in San Antonio, Texas, to Adalee McNeel and Jess McNeel, the middle of three daughters and a member of the Maverick family, her template was a land of cousins. When her grandmother was running a soup-kitchen/boarding house during the Great Depression, a man entered the house threatening with a gun. Recognizing his hunger Jane's granny disarmed him with a hot meal – while Jane and her sister watched cowering from the pantry, learning a formative lesson in compassion. In 1952 Jane Maverick McNeel and Carl Albert Keller, a veterinary medical student, were married, followed by a three-month honeymoon on Martin Mountain lookout tower in the Rockies, watching for forest fires for the U.S. Forest Service. "There was no doctor, no supermarket, nobody to complain to," she said. She credited this unusual honeymoon at 19 and her childhood experiences in the war, with helping her understand the power to turn the difficulties life throws our way, into "compost" for what can be life's garden. She was later to formalize this attitude as a casual student of Eastern philosophy and as a sponsor of many speakers she convinced to come to San Antonio, among whom were Dr. Victor Frankel and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She was also guide and host to National Geographic photographer David Hiser for the 1976 issue featuring San Antonio. After a divorce in 1960, she had returned to San Antonio, where she began to find and adopt "cousins" during the '70s and to extend her concept of family to the human family. She embodied an ecumenical spirit as a well-loved member of the congregation at University Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. Throughout her adult life she taught art and art therapy and got her degree in Art/Philosophy at the University of Incarnate Word and graduate studies in counseling and guidance at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. She received awards for her work with special needs children. As a young mother she had recruited family and friends to make comedic audiotapes she sent to American soldiers in Korea, which were so appreciated that they were transmitted over the loudspeaker in the mess halls. Her habit of communicating with soldiers continued through all American engagements since, and expanded to letters to prisoners on death row in more recent years. Jane said she really started living when she was able to follow her own heart's desire, working as an art therapist and later when she retired and was able to travel. Traveling opened her eyes to the world and to people she met around the globe. In the 1980s Jane began sharing her time between Texas and California. She painted the California life with wry social comment, made photo collages, and produced an enormous mural for a local San Diego school and collages for local churches in California, all while continuing to teach art to elementary and junior school children. In California she was an enthusiastic long time member of the La Jolla Play Readers Group. Although she loved California and was actively involved in local social life and church at Torrey Pines Christian Church in California, she spoke of her wish to return to Texas roots eventually. Her dramatically failing health prevented travel and any such return, however. She was involved in many philanthropic efforts among which in San Antonio were The University Presbyterian Church's SOL Center, where she was a founder, and Sunshine Cottage. She was an admirer and angel to the Pacific Coast Harmony men's choir in San Diego who in her later years were a great joy to her. She supported charities for the blind including the Helen Keller National Center, whose local chapter asked her to teach art when she became blind. Jane struggled with despair when she started to go blind in 2008, and lived in complete darkness from 2011 until her death in 2014. Her life's training in making compost of hardships led her to the realization that her blindness was actually her enlightenment. She shared this extraordinary insight with her family and closest friends and truly lived as a sage in recent years. Her quickness to show humor, love, compassion and forgiveness even in the grip of a terrible cancer continues to be an inspiration. In the last year of her life she often said, "I am the luckiest woman in the world." Jane died peacefully at home on November 28, 2014, with her two children at her side. She is preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Noel McNeel Gordon, and Rowena McNeel Dillon; and nephews, Jess Gordon and Nicholas Gordon. Jane is survived by her daughter, Katie; son, Jim; grandson, Sean; step-grandson, Theodore Watson; step-granddaughter, Beatie Wolfe; nieces, Laura Georgakakos and Rena Cruz; nephews, Reilly Dillon and Toby Gordon; and a world full of "cousins" whose lives she touched. She is sorely missed. She will lie in state on Sunday, December 14, 2014, from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm with family receiving friends from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Porter Loring Mortuary on McCullough Ave., San Antonio. A memorial ceremony will be held on Monday, December 15, 2014, at 10:30 am at the University Presbyterian Church, 300 Bushnell Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212. Graveside service will follow at 12:15 pm with a procession to San Jose Burial Park, 8235 Mission Road, San Antonio, TX 78214. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at Torrey Pines Christian Church, 8320 La Jolla Scenic Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037 Flowers, donations or memorial contributions are welcome and may be made to Helen Keller National Center or The Sunshine Cottage in San Antonio. Arrangements by Porter Loring Mortuary, San Antonio, TX.
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Published in La Jolla Light on Dec. 11, 2014
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