|The Ventura County Free Press
Wednesday, September 21, 1977
Memorial services for Benjamin F. Gurnett, 81, of 328 N. Arnaz
St., Meiners Oaks, will be Thursday at 2 p.m. in St. Andrews' Episcopal
Mr. Gurnett died Monday in a hospital after a brief illness.
He was born Jan. 15, 1896, In Chicago. He came to Ventura County
in 1968. He was a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church and served
in the Army during World Wars I and II.
Survivors include his son, George B., Covina, and daughter Margaret
E. Neider, Tucson, Ariz.
Harry A. Lyon, business, civic leader, dies at 71. Harry Austin
Lyon, for more than a quarter of a century one of Ventura County's most
prominent and highly regarded business and civic leaders died Sunday of
He had long led the local campaign to suppress the disease.
Mr. Lyon, 71 Ventura, was pronounced dead at 8:47 p. m. at Community
Memorial Hospital, Ventura, where he had been in intensive care unit patient
since April 11.
His wife, Dorothy, son H. Edwin Lyon and other members of his family
were with him when he died. He had been critically ill for weeks and took
a turn for the worse on Friday.
Funeral services will be directed by the Joseph P. Reardon Funeral
Chapel, Ventura, and will include mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic
Church, Ventura, where Mr. Lyon was an active member of the congregation.
He died of a combination of a virulent form of lymph node cancer and
leukemia which developed suddenly and was diagnosed by his physicians only
A part of Ventura County's oil industry since he took a job as a roustabout
in the Ventura Avenue oil fields in 1936, Mr. Lyon retired in January as
chairman of the board of USA-Petrochem Corp., which produces a variety
of petroleum products, including diesel oil, bunker fuel and gasoline at
its Ventura Avenue-area refinery. He helped found the company 12 years
ago and also was a co-founder of Allied Construction Co. of Ventura, an
oil field constuction and maintenance firm.
But it was for his work on behalf of charities, youth groups, organizations
involved in medical research and community service groups that Mr. Lyon
was best known.
Often that work brought Mr. Lyon leadership positions in some of Ventura
County's most prominent civic and charitable agencies. But many who knew
him said Mr. Lyon also would frequently take small community-oriented projects
that few people ever knew about.
"Harry was one of the finest human beings who ever put his feet in
shoe leather, as a matter of fact. I don't think this community will ever
really know how much he's done for it" said Superior Court Judge William
L. Peck of Ventura, who once served as his attorney and was his close personal
friend for more than 20 years.
"I remember back when he was running Allied Construction. Harry would
make crews and trucks and back hoes and all sorts of things available for
all sorts of different groups of people on a no-charge basis. No one knows
how much he's done."
Ventura Youth Employment Service Executive Director Joyce Waldron who
nominated Mr. Lyon for the Ventura Citizen of the Year Award he won in
1979, called him "quite possibly Ventura County's most generous citizen"
and Alan Teague of Santa Paula, president this year of the United Way of
Ventura County, said he always thought of him "as Harry the good guy. He
always helped people."
Though he was born in Hartford, Ky., Nov. 24, 1912, Mr. Lyon considered
himself a Ventura County native. It had been his home since he was 2 and
he moved with his parents to the Ojai Valley. His adult life perennially
focused on Ventura County, its civic projects and charitable activies.
Besides being named Ventura Citizen of the Year by the Ventura Jaycees
in 1979. Mr. Lyon had received awards from the Girl Scouts of America,
the Amercian Cancer Society and the Ventura County chapter of the Arthritis
Foundation in recent years. On Oct. 8 last year he was named grand marshal
of the Ventura County Fair Parade and when he was feted at a retirement
dinner in January the crowd that wanted to get in was so large that nearly
100 had to be turned away because the Oxnard Hilton Inn cound not accommodate
Many who knew him said it was virtually axiomatic that if Harry Lyon
joined an organization he would one day wind up as its president. He was
past president of the Greater Ventura Chamber of Commerce, the Ventura
County chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Avenue Lions Club and
the Ventura Youth Employment Service. He helped found the latter organization
and served as its president twice.
Back in the mid-1970's, Mr. Lyon spearheaded the campaign that raised
more than $1 million to build the Tres Condados Girl Scout Council's Program
Center on a 37-acre site at Rancho Arnaz near Ojai. A strained glass window
bearing the likeness of a lion near the main entrance to the big training
facility is a permanent tribute to Mr. Lyon's leadership in the fund-raising
Mr. Lyon held a variety of offices in the Lions Club, including that
of district governor for the Tri-Counties area. Until his recent illness
he was president of the Southern California Lions Eye Insitute at St. John's
Medical Center in Santa Monica, a facility which provides comprehensive
eye care, including surgery for the needy.
Mr. Lyon had especially active for the past six years in United Way
of Ventura County, which last year raised about $3.7 million to be divided
among more than 50 charitable organizations. Earlier this year he was chairman
of United Way's special projects committe, which is looking into the establishment
of a permanent center for volunteerism near the United Way's Camarillo
headquarters. For the past two years he was United Way's allocations vice
president, in charge of the group which conducts detailed studies of each
agency requesting United Way funding and finally decides what the total
budget will be.
"He was and outstanding man," said Leo Pedlow of Thousand Oaks, last
years United Way president and chairman of its board of trustees this year.
"Harry has always cheerfully and willingly done and excellent manner any
particular task he was asked to do for United Way"
Judge Peck described Lyon as a "kind, generous and trusing man" and
Ron Franz of Camarillo, who served with Lyon on the board of directors
of the Ventura County chapter of the Amercican Cancer Society said he was
" a true giving person who was especially generous with his time."
Mr. Lyon's oil industry career began early 50 years ago in 1936 when
a took a job as a roustabout with what is today the Getty Oil Co. He retired
only last January to spend more time with his wife, Dorothy, who had been
in ill health since undergoing kidney surgery last year.
He worked in the Los Angeles Harbour shipyards for a time durning World
War 11 and then went to work for Shell Chemical Co.
He returned to Ventura to a management position with an oil field maintenance
firm shortly after the war and in 1955 he helped organize Allied Construction
Co., also an oil field contruction and maintenance firm. He eventually
bought that company, and although his family still owns it, Mr. Lyon was
not active in it in recent years.
With his son Ed, now 44, Lyon founded California Oil Purification Co.
in 1972. That firm was merged into what is now USA Petrochem Corp. four
Besides his wife and son, Mr. Lyon is survived by brother, Herbert
of Ventura, sisters Rosina Carr and Peggy Smeltz of Ventura; and grandchildren
Dan, Katie, Ron, Venessa and Jimmy Lyon, all of Ventura.
Source Ventura Star Free Press-copy of the orginal in my files.
Rosary tonight for Harry Lyon -rosary for longtime Ventura business
and civic leader Harry Austin Lyon will be at 7 tonight at Our Lady of
the Assumption Catholic Church, Ventura. Mass will be at 10 a.m. Thursday,
with Monsignor Donal Mulcahy officating. Burial will follow at Ivy Lawn
Memorial Park, Ventura.
Mr. Lyon, 71 was the retired chairman of the board of Ventura-based
USA Petrochem Corp. He died Sunday of cancer. Besides being
part of the Ventura County oil industry for nearly half a century, Mr.
Lyon was a founder and leader of some of the county's most prominent civic
and charitable organizations. He had held key leadership positions in the
Ventura County chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Ventura County
YMCA, Ventura Youth Employment Services, the Avenue Lions Club and the
United Way of Ventura County.
Friends may call at the Joseph P. Reardon Funeral Chapel, Ventura until
Source-Ventura Star Free Press
Funeral services for Mrs. Vena H. Lyon, who passed away Sunday
at Big Sisters hospital were held this afternoon at 2 o'clock at the E.
C. O. Clubhouse. Mrs. Caroline Warren of the Four-Square Gospel church
officated, with speical music by Mrs. Hatcher. Burial was in charge of
Barker & McCormick morticians.
Deceased is survived by her husband, D. E. Lyon and four children.
Prior to coming to Ventura two years ago, the family resided in Ojai.
Note: Zena died April 26, 1925. She was buried April 30, 1925. Her
husband was Daniel Edwin Lyon, children Rosina, Harry. Herbert & Margurite.
She was born in Spencer County, KY and the d/o Harrison & Nancy Whitaker
"Whitt" Terrell Lyon. Source-Ventura Star Free Press.
Herbert Lyon, 75 of Ojai, died Friday in an Ojai convalescent
hospital after a long illness.
Mr. Lyon was born April 15, 1915 in Ojai, and was a life-long county
He was retired, having been a chief petty officer in the Navy for 20
years, serving in World War 11 and the Korean War. He also worked as an
electronic technician for the Pacific Missile Center, Point Mugu. He was
a member of the American Legion in Ventura.
He is survived by son, Christopher of Ojai; daughter Shelley of Bonita
and Susan of Fresno; sisters Rosina of Yakima, Wash.; and Marguerite of
Ventura; and 6 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Sheilah
in 1973 and his brother Harry A. Lyon in 1984.
The body will be cremated and the remains will be scattered at sea
under the direction of the Neptune Society of Santa Barbara. Source:
Ventura Star Free Press. Herbert's date of death is Sept. 21, 1990.He
was the s/o Daniel Edwin and Zena Harcourt Lyon, Lyon.
Requiem mass for Mrs. Sheila Mary Lyon Drey, 49, of 111 St. Paul
St., Ventura, will be celebrated at 9 a.m., Wednesday in Sacred Heart Church,
Mrs. Drey died Saturday in a local hospital after a brief illness.
She was a native of England, born Sept. 21, 1923, in London. She had lived
in Ventura since 1949, and was a beautician, employed by Hans Hair Styling
Surviving are her children, Chris, Susan and Shelley Lyon all living
Private interment will be Wednesday in Ivy Lawn Park. Friends may call
at the Ted Mayr Funeral Home after 5 p.m. today. Source: Ventura
Star Free Press.
Mrs. Minnie Carl Beckwith, 71 of 7386 Eisenhower St., Ventura,
died yesterday at a local hospital after a long illness.
Mrs. Beckwith came to Ventura County 22 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio.
She was born July 6, 1892.
Surviving are her husband, George Beckwith, Ventura; daughter Mrs.
Irma Frickberg, Ventura; three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be conducted in the Loma Vista Funeral Chapel
of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, Ventura, Thursday, at 2:30 p.m.. Interment
will be in Ivy Lawn Cemetery.
Source: Ventura Star Free Press
Harold T. Smeltz, 83, Los Angeles, died Thrusday, Nov. 25, (1993),
arrangments by Ted Mayr Funeral Home, Ventura. Source: Ventura Star
Robert "Bob" Smeltz, 75, Ventura, died Monday in a Ventura hospital
after a brief illness.
Mr. Smeltz was born April 3, 1913, in Lamar, (Prowers County) Colo.,
and was a 44-year county resident, coming from Long Beach.
Mr. Smeltz was retired, having worked as a steamfitter for Plumber &
Steamfitters Union Local 484 for 30 years. He is survived
by his wife Peggy; daughters, Hallie Birdsong-Martinson of Ventura and
April Griggs of San Diego; brother Walter Smeltz of Avenal; grandchildren
Jason Griggs of San Diego and Rebecca Jensen of Ventura. Cremation
arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, Ventura.
Memorial contributations may be made to the Arthritis Foundation of Ventura
Source: Ventura County Star Free Press. Note: Robert "Bob" Smeltz
worked in the ship yards in Long Beach during WW 11as a steamfitter, after
the war he & his family moved to Ventura where he was a fireman for
the City of Ventura. He was the s/o Charles Grant & Minnie Keairns
Sunday, Dec. 18, 1988-Ventura Star Free Press
Graveside services for William W. Smeltz, 67, of 1219 E. Cypress
St., Anaheim, were at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, Montalvo.
Mr. Smeltz died May 30, (1968) in an Anaheim hospital after a sudden illness.
Born June 12, 1900, in Granada, (Prowers County) Colo., he had lived in
the Los Angeles area since 1926. Surviving are his brothers, Walter
of Anaheim ( should be Avenal), Robert of Ventura, C. D. of Denver, Colo.,
sister, Pauline S. (Smeltz) Oliver of Ventura and a nephew and three nieces.
Source: Ventura Star Free Press.
William Charles "Bill" Bunker, age 80, passed away Thursday, May 21,
1998, following a short illness.
Mr. Bunker was born on Nov. 4, 1917, in Los Mochis, State of Sinaloa,
Mexico, where he was raised until the age of 10. His parents, William Samuel
Bunker and Elisa Garcia Bunker, then arranged to send Bill to live and
attend school in Simi Valley under the sponsorship of cousin, Tom Robertson.
While attending school, he lived with the I.V. Brown family and worked
on the Sinaloa Ranch graduating from Simi Valley High School, class of
In 1940, Bill married his wife of 58 years, Catherine "Kay" Sumter.
After World War II, Bill and Kay settled in the San Fernando Valley, where
he became a successful building contractor and began to raise his four
children, Cecilia, Lucinda, Daniel and Leslie.
In 1955, the Bunker family returned to Simi Valley, the farming community
of Bill's childhood, where he and Kay have lived ever since. Bill was active
in the Simi Valley Lions Club, where for a time he served as president
and was a charter member of the Simi Valley Elks Club. During his lifetime
he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He
was also "Godfather" to the many members of his large extended family.
Bill will be greatly missed by his family and numerous friends.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine of Simi Valley; daughters, Cecelia
Morris of Corona, Calif., Lucinda Neff of Truckee, Calif., Leslie Stock
of Valencia, Calif.; and son, Daniel Bunker of San Francisco, Calif., and
sisters, Esther Braswell of Fallbrook, Calif., and Jeneva Benavides of
Monterey, Mexico. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for family and friends will be held at 1 p.m. Friday,
May 29 at the Simi Valley Elks Lodge, 1561 Kuehner Dr., Simi Valley. The
family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a medical research
foundation of the donor's choice.
Dean Wilson Morrison
Dean Wilson Morrison, age 78, of Lewisville, Texas, died Saturday,
at a Lewisville hospital, following a brief illness.
Dean was born Oct. 20, 1919, in Morrisonville, Wis., to James Hill
and Edith Eastman Morrison. He married Ruth Warren on Sept. 6, 1941, in
Madison, Wis. He was a Navy veteran of World War II. Dean worked as an
import/export entrepreneur for 30 years, until his retirement in 1985.
He then attended the U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Academy to become an
immigration officer/adjudicator with the U.S. Department of Justice from
which he officially retired on March 2, 1998.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughters, Susan Canestro of Simi
Valley and Patricia M. Schafer of San Diego; son, Richard Dean Morrison
of Kirkland, Wash.; sister, Muriel Schwebs of Wisconsin; brother, Wayne
Morrison of Monona, Wis.; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Friends may call from 12:30 until 1:30 p.m., with a funeral service
at 1:30 p.m, Thursday, at the Conejo Mountain Funeral Home.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, in his
Kathryn Graffo Reese
Mrs. Kathryn Graffo Reese, age 78, passed away on Thursday, May 21,
1998, in Simi Valley of heart failure.
Born April 23, 1920, in Birmingham, Ala., Mrs. Reese was a resident
of Simi Valley for 30 years. She had been a homemaker for 47 years. She
was a member of the Republican Women's Club, Congressman Elton Gallegly's
Congressional Club and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. Mrs.
Reese traveled extensively with her husband while he was in the Air Force,
having resided in Stewart AFB in Tennessee, Pope AFB in North Carolina,
Maxwell AFB in Alabama and in New York. His oversees assignments took her
to Tripoli, Libya, Wiesbaden, Germany, Tangier, Sidi Slimane, Belgium,
Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria.
She was the Vice President of the Wiesbaden Officers Wives Club and a member
of the Libya Officers Golf and Bowling Teams.
She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Lt. Col. Harvey Reese,
Retired USAF, State Military Reserve; daughter, Deborah Reese of Canoga
Park; son Harvey Reese of Los Angeles; daughter Yvonne Kaufman of Orange
County, and two grandchildren, Rachel and Adam Kaufman of Orange County.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 1998, at
Reardon Simi Valley Mortuary, 2636 Sycamore Drive, Simi Valley. A Funeral
Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, 1998, at St. Rose of Lima
Catholic Church, 1305 Royal Avenue, Simi Valley. Graveside services will
be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 28, 1998, at Riverside National Cemetery,
22495 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Reardon Simi Valley
Roy E. Heller
Roy E. Heller, age 72, of Port Hueneme passed away May 18, 1998.
Roy was born on April 26, 1926, in Riverside, Calif., the son of Ralph
and Mabel Heller. Roy began an exciting and fulfilling career in the U.S.
Navy at the young age of 16. His naval career took him around the world.
He was stationed at Barber's Point, Hawaii; Patuxet River, Md.; and finally
Point Mugu. Roy served his country in Japan during World War II and flew
early warning aircraft missions during the Korean Conflict. He retired
from Point Mugu as a chief petty officer in 1962. Roy is a proud member
of the VFW and FRA. Roy served the community in various ways during his
38 years living in Port Hueneme. He served as grand marshal at one of Hueneme's
first Fourth of July parades. He also assisted with the construction of
Hueneme High's football lights. He enjoyed playing Santa Claus for various
organizations. The past 23 years, Roy was an outstanding sales representative
for KAR products, making Winner's Circle seven consecutive years. Roy will
be remembered for his positive outlook on life, his greeting "Unbelievable,"
and his bear hugs.
He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Margaret Heller. Together,
they had three beautiful daughters, Linda Robertson and husband Lyle of
Chula Vista, Lani Sheridan of Paso Robles and Debbie Lee and husband Bryan
of Moorpark. He has eight wonderful grandchildren, Pamela Powers and her
husband, Richard; Mark Robertson; Wendy Sheridan and her fiance, Darren
Amaral; Sean Sheridan; Kelly and Scott Granger; Katie and Robyn Lee; and
his first great-grandson, Tyler. Roy is also survived by his sister, Vicki
Gollings of Riverside.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 30, 1998,
at Conrad-Carroll Mortuary in Oxnard.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the
American Cancer Society.
Arrangements are under the direction of Conrad-Carroll Mortuary in