Miscellaneous Orange County, California Obituaries


First Name:
Last Name:
May 30
Caroline Ellene Kanis
Woodbridge High School student Caroline Ellene Kanis lost her battle with leukemia May 16 at Children's Hospital in Orange. She was 17. She had been hospitalized for about six weeks with pneumonia and other complications of her treatment and her body finally just gave out, according to a family spokesperson.
Services are planned for Saturday, June 1, at 11 a.m. at Mariners Church, 5001 Newport Coast Drive in Irvine. 
Caroline was featured last summer in the Irvine World News when her brother Brad, then 17, donated bone marrow for a transplant. Doctors said at the time that a transplant from a family member would give her the best chance of recovery from the acute myeloid leukemia that she had been diagnosed with in the spring. 
She was also a recipient in March of a Make-A-Wish Foundation wish granting, which allowed her to meet the cast of the TV show, "Friends."
Before her illness she loved going to the beach and the mall and playing basketball at Woodbridge High School. She also participated in track at Woodbridge where she attended since her freshman year.
She was born April 25, 1985, in Portland, Ore. Her family moved to Southern California six years ago and she attended middle school at Corona del Mar High. She played the violin in the Corona del Mar orchestra and sometimes played first violin despite having no private lessons, said her mother, Kirsten Kanis.
The last months were difficult with frequent hospitalizations and complications from her treatment and the disease. But her courage and spirit remained.
"She was an exceptional human being and the world will miss her," said the family spokesperson.
She was an outgoing young woman with many friends, said her mother. When she had to spend her 16th birthday in the hospital, about 70 friends showed up to give her a party. 
"She always kept the doctors and nurses at the hospital laughing. She was always up to something," said her mother.
She is survived by her parents, Kirsten and Doug Kanis of Irvine; her brothers, Chris and Brad Kanis of Irvine; and her grandmother, Ava Kanis of Portland.
The family asked that memorial donations be made to Children's Hospital of Orange County and Make-A-Wish Foundation Orange County.

Mary Virginia Crowley
Irvine resident Mary Virginia Crowley died May 24 at Western Medical Center, Santa Ana, of respiratory failure. She was 79.
Visitation and vigil were held this week at Saddleback Chapel in Tustin. Burial was planned beside her husband and son at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in San Fernando. Mrs. Crowley spent many years as a docent and volunteer at the mission and her work there was one of the things that were important to her, according to her cousin, Sister Miriam Therese Larkin.
Mrs. Crowley was born May 19, 1923, in Tucson, Ariz., where her father worked for the Southern Pacific Rail Road. She graduated from Tucson Senior High School and attended Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. She earned her degree as a registered nurse from St. Vincent's School of Nursing in Los Angeles.
She joined the U.S. Army as a nurse during World War II. She was a first lieutenant and was on the first ship to enter Yokohama Harbor in Japan at the end of the war. She met her husband, Peter Crowley, on the ship. He was also a first lieutenant. They both left the military after the war and married in Los Angeles May 24, 1947. Mrs. Crowley died on her wedding anniversary.
They made their home in Los Angeles and she worked as a nurse until her children were born. Mr. Crowley was a vice president for Bobrick Corp. They lived for brief times in Natick, Mass., and Atlanta, Ga., but raised their three children and lived most of the time in Northridge. After the children were school-aged, Mrs. Crowley went to work as a nurse for Disney Studios in Burbank.
After Mr. Crowley died in 1983, Mrs. Crowley moved to Cypress. She moved to Irvine within the last year. 
In her free time she enjoyed knitting. She also had many friends and maintained contact with people from all periods of her life through letters and phone calls. She was a great conversationalist, said her cousin. 
She worshiped at the San Fernando Mission Church when she lived in Northridge. She attended St. Hilary's Catholic Church in Los Alamitos when she moved to Cypress.
Mrs. Crowley was preceded in death by her husband, Peter Crowley; and by her son, Patrick Crowley, who died in an automobile accident when he was 21.
She is survived by her daughters, Susan M. Sanders of Irvine and Theresa A. Crowley of Buena Park; and five grandchildren.

April 25
Edward Vincent Halpin
Edward Vincent Halpin died April 9 at Kindred Care Hospital in Westminster of natural causes. He was 84 and lived in Irvine for 23 years.
A memorial mass will be celebrated in his honor Saturday, April 27, at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Irvine. Family and friends are invited to attend the mass, as well as a luncheon immediately following. 
A memorial service at the Groves Mobile Home Park Clubhouse will begin at 2 p.m. His ashes will be scattered at sea in a private ceremony off the coast of Newport Beach.
Mr. Halpin was born March 9, 1918, in Corning, N.Y. He moved to New York City to live with one of his five siblings and attended St. Anne's Academy there. After graduation, he earned a degree at Renouard's Embalming School in New York City.
While attending school in New York, he met his future wife, Mary Teresa Conroy, in Manhattan. They raised six children and were married 53 years when Mrs. Halpin died.
Mr. Halpin began his military career with the U.S. Air Force in 1942. He was trained as a navigator and flew many missions in both World War II and the Korean War. He was a director of intelligence, CICV, during the Vietnam War. He retired as a colonel from the 15th Air Force at March Air Force Base, Riverside, in 1970. He was active with various POW/MIA causes.
After retirement he devoted more time to his passion for long distance running. He competed in World Masters Track and Field Championships and won gold medals in the 220, 440 and 880 events.
He also spent many years coaching young runners and officiating at national track and field meets. He is remembered for his enthusiastic energy and stamina on and off the track, said his daughter Kate Halpin.
Mr. and Mrs. Halpin moved to the Groves Mobile Home Park in Northwood in 1979. He enjoyed working on cars for family and friends. He liked to drive his truck to the high desert to find solace in the warm desert air, said his daughter. 
He was a member of the Groves Service Club and the Emergency Preparedness Team. He was also an after-school tutor at Thurman Elementary School in Tustin and supported an orphanage in Haiti.
Mr. Halpin was predeceased by his son, Richard Conroy Halpin, who died in Vietnam; and his wife, Mary Teresa Halpin who died in 1996.
He is survived by his three daughters, Mimi Emery of Rancho Palos Verdes, Helen Conroy of Irvine, and Kate Halpin of Long Beach; his two sons, Chip Halpin of Denver, Colo., and Patrick Halpin of Riverside; and six grandchildren, Hanna, Sean, Megan, Marisa, Aron and Ryan. 
The family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Haitian orphanage through Theo's Work Inc., 120 Claremont Road, Ridgewood, N.J. 07450.

Richard Koichi Sase
Irvine resident Richard Koichi Sase died April 15 following a battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65.
Services are planned for Saturday, April 27, at 10 a.m. at Mission Valley Free Methodist Church, 1201 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel. The Rev. Carl Yoshimine will officiate. Burial will be at Rose Hills Memorial Park with arrangements by Kubota Kikkei Mortuary in Los Angeles.
Mr. Sase was born Jan. 24, 1937, in Boyle Heights. He attended University of California, Los Angeles and remained a lifelong fan. He rarely missed watching a football or basketball game.
He and his wife, Margaret Masako Sase, met at a church youth group and even though the two attended rival high schools, they hit it off. They married in December 1960. Mr. Sase worked as an engineer and his wife worked for the Los Angeles Police Department until she retired in 1965 when their first daughter was born. They moved to Turtle Rock in Irvine in the early 1970s.
The Sases were known in Irvine for their enthusiastic support of their daughters' athletic careers at University High School in the 1980s. 
He coached girls basketball and soccer for seven years, and continued even after his daughters, Lori and Noelle, graduated from high school. 
When he wasn't coaching, he and his wife Margaret were constant supporters from the stands of Lori's University High School and UCLA soccer games and Noelle's University High School basketball games.
"He made an incredible impact on people's lives as a mentor, father and friend," said Noelle.
He is survived by his daughter, Lori Sase of Irvine, and his daughter and son-in-law, Noelle and Ryan Dey of Aliso Viejo; his brother, Hugo (Sadako) Sase; his sister, Yuriko Sugita of Japan; his mother-in-law, Martha Yoshida of Los Angeles; and two brothers-in-law, Gerald Yoshida of San Pedro and Arthur Yoshida of Las Vegas.

April 18
Kristopher Michael Shine
Irvine resident Kristopher Michael Shine, 30, died early April 13 when his car crashed into parked vehicles on Yorba Street near Santa Clara Avenue in Tustin. He was on his way home about 2:15 a.m. and died instantly, according to his father, Mike Shine.
He was born Dec. 6, 1971, in Dallas, Texas. The family moved to the Heritage Park area of Irvine in 1980. Young Mr. Shine attended Greentree Elementary School, Venado Middle School and Irvine High School. He graduated from SELF High School.
He attended Irvine Valley College, Orange Coast College and the University of North Texas. He lived in San Francisco where he worked in customer service in the corporate offices of Williams Sonoma, a retailer. He moved back to Irvine about a year ago and lived in Westpark.
He worked as an administrator for Berkshire Mortgage in Irvine and loved his job, said his father.
He loved music and in his free time enjoyed playing the electric guitar. He also liked to read and was an avid bicycle rider, his father added. 
Services were planned for April 17 at Saddleback Chapel in Tustin. Burial was to be at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas, in a family plot where his grandparents are buried.
He is survived by his parents, Michael and Anna Shine, of Irvine; his brother, Stefan Shine, of Santa Ana; and his grandmother, Genevieve Turek, of Dallas.

Samuel F. Kniss
Longtime Irvine resident Samuel F. Kniss died April 15 at his Woodbridge home after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable form of cancer. He was 67.
Services are planned for Sunday, April 21, at 1 p.m. at Arbor Park in Woodbridge.
He was born Jan. 23, 1935, in Oklahoma. He had lived in Irvine since about 1970. His family and friends recall him as an optimistic person, always up even toward the end of his life, said his daughter, Kelly Hershey.
Mr. Kniss' career as a civil engineer began in 1964 with the Orange County Road Department. In 1969, he and Fred McGavran became partners in a waterfront construction company, Trautwein Bros. in Newport Beach. They built and designed thousands of residential docks and large commercial projects, including the Dana Point West Marina, Ventura West Marina and Peter's Landing in Huntington Beach. After the company closed in the mid-1990s, Mr. Kniss continued consulting for other firms while golfing nearly every day.
He was an avid golfer, with a handicap of eight until his illness began. He was still playing in March despite his illness. He was an active member of Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa. If he wasn't on the golf course he could usually be found in the clubhouse or card room, said his daughter.
Mr. Kniss was an outgoing and friendly man and had many friends, said his wife of eight years, Carol Winslow Kniss. He liked to go with the flow and almost never got angry. He was also a generous man.
"He loved everybody and everything," she added.
He is survived by his wife, Carol Winslow Kniss, of Irvine; his son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Laurie Kniss, of Cameron Park; his daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Michael Hershey, of Bellvue, Wash.; his stepchildren, who he regarded as his own, David Winslow of Irvine, Tom Winslow of Newport Beach, and Terri Phillips of Virginia; his sister, Kathy Smith of Carson City, Nev.; his first wife, Sally Plummer, of Rancho Murietta; and his grandchildren, Nicole and Sam Kniss, Jenna and Elena Hershey, Steven, Eric and Andrew Winslow, and Matthew and Colin Phillips.
The family asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society or the donors' charities of choice.

John "Gary" Pietila
Former Irvine resident John "Gary" Pietila died April 1 in his La Jolla home. He was 59 and was diagnosed with brain cancer about a year and a half ago. He had an eight-month remission during his illness but his condition worsened again.
Mr. Pietila was born Dec. 7, 1942, in Tacoma, Wash. He graduated from Lincoln High School and was a 1964 graduate of the University of Washington. He earned his degree in mechanical engineering.
He was a second lieutenant in the Army ROTC program, serving at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and at Fort Riley, Kan.
Mr. Pietila worked for Proctor & Gamble for 30 years. He retired as the director of product supply, North American Customer Services/Logistics-Central.
"He was a really nice person. He was loved and respected by everyone," said family friend Cheryl Esmond, adding that honesty and integrity were some of the major themes at his memorial service.
He retired five or six years ago. After retiring, he and his wife moved from their Northwood home to La Jolla. While living in Irvine he was active with the Irvine High School football team fund-raising efforts in the early 1990s. He has maintained many of the friendships made in Irvine, according to Esmond.
He was a member of the Torrey Pines Men's Golf Club and served as two-term president of the Coronado Council of the Navy League of the United States.
"Gary loved his wife, Patty, the game of golf, his country, his company, his family and friends," according to his family.
A memorial service was held April 11 at Calvary Community Church in Sumner, Wash. 
Mr. Pietila is survived by his wife Patty Pietila of La Jolla; his sons Dan Pietila of Phoenix, Ariz., Jeff Pietila of Olympia, Wash., Erik Pietila of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Todd Thomas of Davis; his sisters, Pat Mansfield of Puyallup, Wash., Beverly Bjerke of Billings, Mont.; and his grandson, Hunter Pietila.
The family asked that memorial donations be made to Vitas Healthcare Corp (Hospice), 8880 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 950, San Diego 92108.

April 11
Mary Carl
A memorial service for well-loved Irvine preschool and Regional Occupational Program (ROP) teacher Mary Carl is planned for Sunday, April 21, at 4 p.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 4400 Barranca Parkway. Friends, family, students and colleagues are invited to attend. The Rev. Gordon Yeaton, a friend and pastor at the church, will preside at the service.
Irvine resident Carl, 53, died March 19 at Irvine Medical Center of stroke and kidney failure. She was working as a teacher at St. Andrew's Children's Center the day she collapsed and went into a coma. She had been hospitalized for about a week when she died.
"She was an awesome lady, very loving and always went that extra mile for her students, her coworkers, for everyone. She just was the most giving person I ever met," said colleague and longtime friend Glenda Akers.
Staff members at the preschool wore pink for a day in her honor. Many went to Malibu for the March 23 funeral services.
Ms Carl was born July 11, 1948, in Malibu. She grew up there and was the fifth of 12 children. She returned to school and earned a degree at California State University Long Beach after she married and had children.
She taught early childhood education to high school and adults students in ROP for more than 15 years. She taught at the preschool for two years.
Although she loved to do things with her four grandchildren and looked forward to the birth of her fifth grandchild, none of them lived locally. She spent most of her time working her two jobs.
"Her work was the love of her life," said colleague and friend Akers.
She lived in Huntington Beach for many years and then moved to Costa Mesa. She moved to the Groves Mobile Home Park a few months ago.
She is survived by her three children. Her son, Greg Carl, is a Marine Corps pilot who recently returned to his home in South Carolina from the Middle East. Her daughter, Colleen Carl, is a kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts; her daughter, Debbie Wiersma lives in Denver. She is also survived by 11 brothers and sisters; and four grandchildren.

Joe G. Martinez
Irvine resident Joe G. Martinez died March 24 at his Deerfield home after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 54.
He was born Nov. 4, 1947, in Upland. He grew up there and graduated from Upland High School. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 1969.
He met his future wife, Katie Marsh, in grade school and they played in a string quartet together in high school. They married in 1970.
Mr. Martinez had a career as a computer systems analyst. He went to work for IBM soon after he graduated from college. He and his wife made their first home in Colorado and then lived in several Southern California locations while he worked for IBM.
They settled in Irvine in Deerfield. He took an early retirement from IBM in the mid-1990s and then decided to go back to work for Hewlett Packard in 1995. As a senior consultant he was the company's representative in Mexico, Central and South America, particularly in Brazil. He continued to work from home until a few weeks before he died.
He enjoyed the challenge of his work, but most of all he liked working with people.
"Joe was a passionate man who aimed to make a difference on my behalf," wrote one colleague.
"He always found humor when times were tough to help us regain our perspective," wrote another.
Although he enjoyed his work, his first priority was always his family, according to his sister-in-law, Violet Marsh. He was active with his children in their activities.
With his son, Dan Martinez, he was in a remote control model airplane club, Indian Guides and Boy Scouts. He was an active fan when his son was on the swim team and the marching band at Irvine High School. He was president of the Band Boosters for two years. 
With his daughter, Shelli Martinez, he participated in the Indian Princesses and followed her career as a varsity cheerleader at Irvine High.
Mr. Martinez liked being active. He enjoyed hiking and bicycling. He played softball in a city league for many years.
He also had a lifelong interest in music. He played the viola in the Orange Coast Symphony and more recently in the Chapman College Symphony Orchestra.
In his spare time he liked to play with his computers. He enjoyed social things in the neighborhood as well and was an animal lover, said his sister-in-law. He could be seen almost nightly walking is friendly big brown pit bull, Rudy, in the park.
Memorial service was held March 26 at New Community Church in Irvine, where he and his family were members. Arrangements were by the Neptune Society.
He is survived by his wife, Katie Martinez, of Irvine; his son, Daniel Joseph Martinez, of Beaverton, Ore.; his daughter, Shelli Aileen Martinez, of Fullerton; his brother, Andrew Martinez, of Garden Grove; and one grandchild, Savannah Rayne Martinez, of Beaverton.
The family asked that memorial donations be made to donors' favorite charities.

Harriette Anna Basting
Long-time Irvine resident Harriette Anna Basting died March 28 at Irvine Regional Hospital in Irvine after a short bout with cancer. She was 84.
She was born Jan. 26, 1918, in Pasadena, the only child of dentist Russell W. Force and Harriette N. Tuttle Force. She grew up in Pasadena and graduated from a private high school there. She attended Occidental College from 1934 to 1936, where she studied literature.
She met Roderick Basting through a mutual friend. They married in 1937 and made their home in Pasadena. He was a businessman. They moved in 1956 to Newport Beach to get away from the smog for their son's health.
Mrs. Basting was a devoted mother and participated in many of her children's activities, including the PTA and the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
"She was born to be a mother," recalled her daughter, Carolyn Kirchhof.
After moving to Orange County, Mrs. Basting also had a career outside her home. She worked as a purchasing agent in the fishing rod and vaulting pole divisions of Browning Silaflex in the Newport Mesa area.
As she neared retirement in the early 1980s she worked in the office of Mineralia, a gem and mineral business. She enjoyed her jobs very much, said her daughter.
In the mid-1970s she and her husband moved to University Park in Irvine. He died about four years ago.
In addition to loving children, Mrs. Basting also liked gardening and loved flowers and plants. She enjoyed birds and had feeders in her yard. She also loved animals and was saddened by the loss of her 19-year-old small poodle, Susie, about four years ago, her daughter recalled.
One of the important things she remembers about her mother, said Mrs. Basting's daughter, was her supportiveness. She would always listen attentively to her children's problems. She had the gift of offering her opinion without criticizing.
She was also witty and loved to read and play bridge. Until a few weeks before she died she continued to play bridge regularly at the University Park Community Center.
Services were held April 1 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Irvine. Her ashes were scattered at sea.
Mrs. Basting is survived by her daughter, Harriette Carolyn Kirchhof, of Costa Mesa; her son, Roderick Russell Basting, of North Bend, Wash.; three grandchildren, David Gerald Abbot of Glendale, Danielle Erin Basting of North Bend, and Erik Clayton Nylander of San Diego County; and one great-grandchild, Tyler Abbot of Glendale.
The family asked that memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society. 

March 28
Peggy Pate Sunshine
Longtime Turtle Rock resident Peggy Pate Sunshine was known for her love of dogs and her support of animal organizations, her devotion to her family and her outgoing nature. She died March 17 of lung cancer. She was 66.
Mrs. Sunshine was born July 26, 1935, in West Point, Ga. Her father worked for the Department of Agriculture and the family moved fairly often during her growing-up years. She graduated from high school in Maryland and then earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at West Maryland College.
She and her husband, Norman Sunshine, were married in June 1957 in Westminster, Md. She taught school while Mr. Sunshine earned his doctorate at the University of Maryland. He went to work for Dupont and they moved to several locations before settling in Southern California about 1970. They lived in Newport Beach before moving to Turtle Rock in 1982.
She was a consummate homemaker, said her sister Mary Soper, always proud of her home and devoted to her children.
"She was probably the world's best mother," said her sister, adding that Mrs. Sunshine was proud of her children's accomplishments.
Her son Joel Sunshine, was working on his master's degree in engineering at Dartmouth when he was killed in a mountain climbing accident in 1988. Her daughter Patricia Ann Sunshine lives in New York City where she works in the entertainment industry. Both children graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara.
Mrs. Sunshine was probably best known in the community for her love of dogs, said her sister. She walked her two dogs, a golden retriever named Josie and a West Highland terrier named Jerry, two or three times a day in the park near her home in Turtle Rock. 
She volunteered weekly at Irvine Regional Hospital, where she also made many friends.
Memorial services were held March 23 at Pacific View Cemetery in Newport Beach.
Mrs. Sunshine is survived by her husband, Norman Sunshine of Irvine; her daughter, Patricia Ann Sunshine, of New York City; her sister, Mary Soper, of Bigfork, Mont.; two nephews, a niece and their spouses and children. The family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Irvine Animal Care Center, Guide Dogs for the Blind, or any animal shelter that preserves the lives of dogs.

Jim A. Quay
Youth sports coach and devoted sports fan Jim A. Quay died March 22 at his home in University Park. His family worked hard to fulfill his wish to come home to die, according to a family friend. He was just shy of his 47th birthday.
He was born April 6, 1955, in Ferris Hills, outside Philadelphia, Pa. He studied at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa., and earned a degree in chemical engineering in 1977. After he graduated he moved to Bakersfield where he worked as an engineer for Gulf Oil and Tennaco Oil.
At Penn State he met Laura Mullaney while playing intramural softball. They married in 1979 in Las Vegas.
They moved to University Park in 1982. Mr. Quay worked for Tidelands Oil Production Co. in Long Beach. He was vice president of engineering when he died.
Mr. Quay was known as a friendly and outgoing man, said family friend Wendy Donohue. He loved sports and being active and he was devoted to his family. He coached youth softball and basketball when his daughter Michelle, now 12, played. He coached Pony Baseball when his son Matthew, now 15, was a player. His team won the division twice, going undefeated both seasons, and took second place two seasons, said his son.
He enjoyed playing golf and placed in several golf tournaments, including finishing in first place at three in 1999. He was still scoring in the low 70s when he had leukemia and played until he was too ill to go out.
He also played on an adult softball team. He was a longtime member of the Silver Bullets team. Last year he and his wife started playing in a coed soccer league.
His friend said Mr. Quay was a "die-hard and devoted fan" of the professional sports teams of Philadelphia.
Graveside services were held March 27 at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach.
He is survived by his wife, Laura Quay, of Irvine; his son, Matthew Quay, of Irvine; his daughter, Michelle Quay, of Irvine; his parents, Judd and Mary Quay, of Oceanside; and his brother, Jeffrey Quay, of Langshorne, Pa.
The family asked that donations be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Santa Ana, 233 N. Broadway, Suite 320, Santa Ana 92706.

Feb. 28
Robert W. Hitt
Irvine resident Robert W. Hitt, died Feb. 21 at Hoag Memorial Hospital, Newport Beach. He had collapsed in his Rancho San Joaquin home and died after a short stay in the hospital. He was 62.
Friends and relatives are invited to a celebration of Mr. Hitt's life Saturday, March 9, at 10 a.m. at 2137 Trently Lane, Beverly Hills. Directions and information are available at (310) 278-1968.
Born in San Francisco on June 22, 1939, Mr. Hitt served in the U.S. Navy as a radio specialist. After leaving the service, he graduated in 1965 from the University of Arizona and worked for an oil company. 
He was working on his master's degree in business administration when he lost his sight in an accident related to the Sylmar earthquake in 1971. He was the lone survivor of his third-floor ward in the hospital where he had checked in for a physical. He was pulled from the basement with his optic nerve severed.
He went on to obtain his master's degree and started his work as a stock broker, said his longtime friend Marsha Kaye. At the time of his death he was an independent financial adviser and investor.
Mr. Hitt moved to Irvine in 1975 and lived in Northwood and Rancho San Joaquin. He and his companion guide dog, Augie, a black Lab, were a familiar sight around town, according to Kaye. 
He served on the city's Residents with Disabilities Advisory Board's committee on transportation. His friend Kaye recalled that he was instrumental in getting the Irvine street medians shortened to make street crossing easier for people with disabilities.
"He was one of the most fiercely independent people I've ever known," said Kaye. "He did just fine."
He was active with Guide Dogs for the Blind, California Council for the Blind and Lyons Club Guide Dogs of America. He also worked nationally for blind veterans' causes.
Kaye said Mr. Hitt was outgoing and had many friends from all walks of life. 
He enjoyed music and going to plays. He also loved to go out to eat, though he was a good cook himself, she added.
Mr. Hitt was particularly proud of the accomplishments of his son, Scott Hitt, a doctor whose specialty is AIDS and HIV. His son was chair of President Clilnton's Presidential Advisory Council on AIDS and HIV and is an international expert on the AIDS crisis.
Mr. Hitt is survived by his son, R. Scott Hitt of Los Angeles; his sister, Carol Key, of Elizabeth, Colo.; four nieces, several cousins, many close friends, and his guide companion, Augie.
The family said that in lieu and flowers donations should be sent to the Guide Dogs for the Blind. 

Feb. 14
Margaret Masako Sase
Margaret Masako Sase died Feb. 9 in her Irvine home following a six-year battle with cancer. She was 62. 
"She fought the most valiant fight for six years. She was such a little warrior, such an inspiration," said her daughter Noelle Sase, adding that she outlived doctors' predictions by about five years.
Services are planned for Saturday, Feb. 16, at 10:30 a.m. at Mission Valley Free Methodist Church, 1201 S. San Gabriel in San Gabriel. The Rev. Carl Yoshimine will officiate. Burial will be about 1 p.m. at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. Arrangements are by Kubota Nikkei Mortuary in Los Angeles.
Mrs. Sase was born Sept. 29, 1939, in Los Angeles. She grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Garfield High School. 
She met Richard Sase at a church youth group and even though he went to a rival high school they hit it off. 
They were married in Los Angeles Dec. 17, 1960.
Mrs. Sase worked for the Los Angeles Police Department and her husband was an engineer. She retired when her first daughter was born in 1965. The family moved to Turtle Rock in Irvine in the early 1970s.
Mrs. Sase was known for her enthusiastic following of University High School girls soccer, with her daughter Lori Sase, and girls basketball, with her daughter Noelle Sase. Her daughters graduated from University High School in the 1980s.
"She never missed a game," said Noelle. "She knew the games better than the coaches. She was the number one fan."
Mrs. Sase was also an avid Beanie Baby collector. She especially enjoyed her frequent outings with her "let's go to lunch" friends. She was devoted to her family, said her daughter.
She was a loving and unselfish person, her daughter added. She did not feel sorry for herself during her illness. When she went for chemotherapy she was more concerned about lighting up the lives of other patients than about herself.
Mrs. Sase is survived by her husband, Richard Kiochi Sase, of Irvine; her mother, Martha Misako Yoshida, of Los Angeles; her two daughters, Lori Sase of Irvine and Noelle Sase of Aliso Viejo; her brothers and sisters-in-law, Arthur and Amy Yoshida of Las Vegas, Nev., and Gerald and Carole Yoshida of San Pedro; and her brother-in-law and his wife, Hugo and Sadako Sase of Monterey Park.

Evelyn L. Copeland
Former Irvine resident Evelyn L. Copeland died Feb. 6 of cancer in Woodbridge, Va. She was 91.
Mrs. Copeland was born Sept. 28, 1910, in Vienna, Ill. She graduated from Vienna High School. She and Raymond C. Copeland married in Illinois in 1938 and moved to San Gabriel. They raised two children and made their home there until he died in 1963.
Mrs. Copeland moved to Irvine in 1968 and lived there about 10 years. She sold residential real estate in Irvine from about 1968 to 1977. She moved to Woodbridge, Va., in 1978 to live near her son, Raymond C. Copeland Jr.
She was an outgoing, friendly person and loved entertaining, said her son. 
She was active and taught Sunday school at the Calvary Church in Santa Ana.
No services are planned, at her request. Interment was to be at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale next to her husband and daughter. Her daughter, Barbara Duzzel, died in 1973.
Mrs. Copeland is survived by her son, Raymond C. Copeland, of Woodbridge, Va.; and her brother, Henry Six, of Phoenix, Ariz.

Jan. 24
James Campbell Graham
Longtime Irvine resident James Campbell Graham died Jan. 18 after an eight-month battle with cancer. He was 65 and had lived in Northwood for 21 years.
Services are planned for Saturday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m. at Saddleback Chapel in Tustin. Interment at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside will be private.
Mr. Graham was born Sept. 25, 1936, in Athens, Ohio. His father was a farmer and house painter but making sure all four children attended college was important to his parents. Mr. Graham grew up in Athens, graduated from high school and earned a degree in accounting from Ohio University in Athens.
Mr. Graham served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1959 to 1996. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.
He loved sports car racing and enjoyed attending many local races, said his wife, Linda Sue Graham. He also enjoyed going to the desert and relaxing in Palm Desert. 
He and his wife met through their mutual interest in snow skiing. They were both living in the San Jose area and met at a ski club. They were married Feb. 14, 1982, in Irvine. Each brought two children to the marriage and both thought of them all as "their" children, said his wife. Mr. Graham enjoyed doing things with the family and the couple spent much of their free time doing family things, she added.
Mr. Graham began his career in accounting and went into human resources. He retired last year as manager of human resources at Ricoh Electronics after being with the company 12 years.
He was an outgoing, friendly person, his wife recalled. He became a member of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa in recent months. When he lived in Northern California, he was active in the Junior Achievement program.
Mr. Graham is survived by his wife, Linda Sue Graham of Irvine; his son, James C. Graham II of Sun City; his daughters, Grace Dawson of Tustin, Lori A. Cramer of Tustin, and Lynette M. Rowles of Fullerton; his former wife, Shirley Heath of Seal Beach; his sisters, Dorothy Duncan of Walnut Creek, and Anne Mac Nicol of Perth, Scotland; and six grandchildren.
The family asked that memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society.

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