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Miscellaneous Cochise County, Arizona Obituaries


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Alfred A. Lester
1922-2002
Alfred A. Lester, of Willcox, died April 27, 2002, in Willcox at the age of 79. He was born on May 22, 1922. He is survived by his loving wife Edith "Granny" of 58 years. She and "Papa" were blessed with three children, LaRae Williams and Lee Lester, both of Tucson, and Larry Lynn Lester (deceased). They were also blessed with seven grandchildren; Darin, Darla, Lauren, Sydney, Moneque, Bryan and Brisa and one great-grandson, Romeo Alex Ballesteros. He is also survived by a sister Zoe Marie Thompson of Lubbock, Texas. Alfred was a WW II veteran of the U.S. Army as a TSgt. In 1942, he was sent to North Africa, Sicily and Italy. In 1945 he was sent to fight in Europe for an additional six months. In 1955, Alfred and his family moved to Willcox where he managed and was an auctioneer at the Livestock Auction. He later went to work for the Arizona State Livestock Board as a field officer and supervisor. He retired in 1984. The family would like to thank the staff of the Charles W. Leighton, Jr. Hospice for their care and compassion given to Alfred. Memorial services will be held today, Wednesday, May 1, at 10:30 a.m., at the First Southern Baptist Church of Willcox. Private cremation has taken place at Westlawn Crematorium. Contributions may be made to the Charles W. Leighton, Jr. Hospice, 319 W. Grant, Willcox, AZ 85643. Services are under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Gladys Bruce
Gladys Bruce, of Glendale, died April 26, 2002 in Glendale at the age of 80. Gladys was born in Willcox, and is the daughter of Bill and Ethel Cox. Services are pending.

Thomas N. 'Tom' Saunders
1936-2002
Thomas N. 'Tom' Saunders, of Pearce-Sunsites, died April 25, 2002 in Sunsites at the age of 65. He was born in Laconia, N.H. to Coleman Saunders and Edna Noyes Saunders on Nov. 14, 1936. Tom was a retired lineman for the Public Service Company in Laconia and proudly served in the U.S. Navy and was a member of the American Legion. While in Laconia he was very active in the Little League Baseball Program. Survivors include his wife Rita of Sunsites, daughters Linda (Jay) Goodwin of Lakeport, N.H., Michele Dixey of Laconia, N.H., Lauri (Sean) Martinez of Massachusetts, and Carla Percy of Maryland; sons Tom (Dawn) Saunders of Florida, Tim (Karen) Saunders of Gilford, N.H., Erick (Heidi) Saunders and Wayne Percy, both of Laconia, N.H.; along with 14 grandchildren. Private cremation was conducted at Westlawn Crematorium with a memorial mass on Tuesday, April 30, at 10 a.m. at St. Judes Catholic Church in Sunsites. A memorial service will be held at a later date in Laconia, N.H. Contributions may be made to charity of choice. Services were under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Mark W. Sanders
1951-2002
Mark W. Sanders, a Tucson resident since 1980, died April 20, 2002 on his ranch in Graham County near Bonita. He was born March 20, 1951, in Iowa. He is survived by his wife Susan, two daughters, his mother, two sisters, six brothers, and eighteen nieces and nephews. A service celebrating his life and eternal life with God was held Saturday, April 27, at 10 a.m. at the El Camino Baptist Church, in Tucson. Contributions may be made in his memory to Sarver Heart Center ( for biomedical research) or Ameritribes Missions.

Ledmon 'Butch' Smith
1946-2002
Ledmon 'Butch' Smith, of Willcox, died April 21, 2002 in Willcox at the age of 55. He was born in Tuscola, Ill., to Roger Eugene Smith and Juanita Cary Smith on May 5, 1946. He came to Willcox in 1955 and was a auto mechanic. On August 18, 1975 he married Paula Sufleta. Survivors include his wife Paula of Dunsmuir, Calif., a daughter Eva Smith of Willcox and a son Sonny Smith of Pearce. Also surviving is a brother and a sister. Preceding him in death were his parents and a son. Visitation was Friday, April 26, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Westlawn Chapel with a graveside service following at Sunset Cemetery in Willcox. Services were under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Gladys Tucker
Gladys Tucker, 90, of Willcox died March 5, 2001. Funeral Services will be held on Monday, March 12, at 2 p.m., at Willcox United Methodist Church with viewing one hour prior at the church. Burial will follow at Sunset Cemetery in Willcox. For further information contact Westlawn Chapel in Willcox.

Richard O. Workman
1923-2001
Richard O. Workman, 78, of Sunsites, died Feb. 27, 2001 in Pomerene. He was born on Feb. 5, 1923 in Marshall County, West Virginia to Henry Workman and Roberta West. Richard has been a resident of Sunsites for the last 3 years. He attended Blair's Ridge Methodist Church and proudly served in the U.S. Army during WW II. Richard retired from the Republic Steel Company in Canton, Ohio, after 23 years working in the transportation department. On April 3, 1948 in Moundsville, W.Va., he married Wilda Stollar. Survivors include his wife Wilda of Sunsites; brother Roy Workman of Moundsville, W.Va.; and sisters, Geneva Blake of Wheeling, W.Va., Thelma Sampson of Moundsville, W.Va., Naomi Johnston of Florida, Gerri Ewing of Young, Ariz., Susan Tuttle and Esther Fox both of Moundsville,W.Va.; and a host of nieces and nephews. Services will take place in Moundsville, W.Va., with burial in the Limestone Cemetery in Moundsville. Local arrangements are under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Evelyn C. Williams
1924-2001
Evelyn C. Williams of Sunsites died Sunday, April 1, 2001 in Tucson at the age of 76. Evelyn was born in Curlew, Iowa, on Aug. 23, 1924, to the Coultas family of three brothers and one sister. After high school, she joined the war effort at the U.S. Naval Drydocks in San Francisco, and at age 19, became the Navy's youngest civil service supervisor of a large accounting office during World War II. Evelyn received the coveted Navy E (for Excellence) award for her efforts. It is in San Francisco where she met Gerald Williams, and in 1945 became his beloved wife. In 1952, four years after the tragic death of their first born, Duane, and the births of their second and third sons, Dennis and Dallas, she and her husband become missionaries in South America for the Seventhday Adventist Church. During their stay in Venezuela in 1955, she gave birth to Dale. A few years later, while living in El Salvador, Dallas contracted leukemia and died in 1958. Their missionary tour of South America included countries such as Mexico, Panama and Colombia. Upon returning to America in 1961, Evelyn began a professional career in the fledgling managed elderly care system and became one of four founders to what we now know as the "modern nursing home." She served by appointment of President Reagan for four years on a National Health Advisory Board. Retiring in 1993, Evelyn received the Lifetime Achievement Award from her fellow American College of Health Care Administrators. Two years ago, she was asked by the United Nations to lead a team in Albania as the US Crisis Health Care Manager. Evelyn and her team repatriated over 100,000 Kosovars. At the time of her death, she was president of the Cochise County Board of Health and involved in numerous professional and charitable organizations. Although she had many accomplishments during her lifetime, it is Evelyn's spirit that will be most remembered. As God's ambassador, she embraced the lives of people from the U.S. to Europe to South America, and treated each individual as special and loved. Thus Evelyn was endeared by all. We will mourn the loss of this consummate lady, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, friend, and co-worker. Her life can be summed up by her favorite saying, "The world has its place for the Mary's, I've always considered myself to be a Martha, who served Jesus and mankind." Services were held Friday, April 6, at 2 p.m. at the Community Church of Sunsites. Contributions may be made to the Charles Leighton Jr. Hospice Fund, 319 W. Grant, Willcox, AZ. 85643. Services are under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Albert Lacy Alexander
1917-2001
Albert Lacy Alexander died April 2, 2001 at the age of 83. Albert was born Dec. 24, 1917 in Brownwood, Texas, to John Fred Alexander and Hattie Dale Smith Alexander. He married his best friend and life-long soulmate Bernice Johnson on Dec. 6, 1945 in San Diego, Calif. Albert and Bernice attended Christian Ministry School in Canada. He was employed by Ryan Aircraft in San Diego during World War II. After moving to Willcox he worked as a mechanic, well driller and farmer for many years. Albert is survived by his wife of 55 years Bernice Alexander of Willcox; four daughters, Vivian (Rockie) Hegel and Susie (Jeff) Reno of Willcox; Dorothy Phillips of Sierra Vista, and Sylvia (Dan) Milbourne of Pahraump, Nev.; brothers, Carl (Frances) Alexander of Abilene, Texas; Milton Alexander of Newberry Park, Calif.; and sisters, Dora (Chris) Christainsen of Tucson; Opal Harford of Phoenix, and Hattie Mae Meeker of Prescott. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren: Glenn (Sheryl) Childers, Stephanie Childers, David Reno, Amanda Reno and Darren , all of Willcox, Lane (Lenora) Hegel of Stockton, Calif; Grace Hegel of Tucson, Deanna (Tony) Dodds of Boise, Idaho; John (Sabrina) Phillips of Sierra Vista, Sylvia (Jesse) Dean and John (Heather) Wilson of Las Vegas, Nev.; and nine great -grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Hattie Alexander; son David Alvin Alexander; brothers Lynn Alexander of Carlsbad, Calif., Jake Alexander of Riverside, Calif.; sister Nita Carlson of Buckeye; soninlaw Dean Childers and Carl Phillips both of Willcox. Visitation was held on Wednesday, April 4, at Westlawn Chapel from 5 to 8 p.m., with cremation following. Arrangements are under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Robert "Bob" LaVerne Plough
1924-2001
Robert "Bob" LaVerne Plough of Casa Grande died March 25, 2001 at Desert Valley Care Center in Casa Grande, at the age of 76. Mr. Plough was born July 23, 1924 in Muskogee, Okla., to Charles "Verne" and Mary E. Plough. He was an Army veteran of World War II, and was a guidance counselor for Raleigh Hills Hospitals, before retirement. Mr. Plough and his father Charles "Verne" Plough owned and operated Plough's Grocery and Market on Railroad Avenue in Willcox for many years. Survivors include daughter Pamela (Jim) Sehorn of Avondale; a sister Jo Ann (Bill) Scott of Casa Grande; two nephews, Craig and Colin Scott of Casa Grande; two granddaughters, Stacy (David) Dodd and Amy Sehorn of Avondale; and one great-grandson David Dodd II, of Avondale. He is preceded in death by a son Robert Mitchell in 1979. No services are planned. Memorial contributions may be made to: RTA Hospice Foundation, 177 W. Cottonwood Lane, Suite 10, Casa Grande, AZ 85222 or American Lung Association, 102 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85003. Arrangements are under the direction of Cole & Maud Mortuary.

Verna L. Leetch
1921-2001
Verna L. Leetch of Pearce-Sunsites, died April 1, 2001 in Benson at the age of 79. Verna was born on Aug. 5, 1921 in Eugene, Ore., to Warren and Lulu (Liedke) Bergman. Verna came to Sunsites in 1978 from Eugene, Ore. where she had retired from the AgraPak Cannery. She was a graduate of Santa Clara High School, now known has Eugene High School, and made the first team in basketball. While in Eugene, she worked at the Cable DriveIn, and along with her husband, they had a retail house to house bakery, serving the area logging camps. She was a good bowler and enjoyed her yard and roses. At her home in Eugene she had 99 rose plants, and in Sunsites she had over 50 rose plants she cared for. Verna was a member of the Community Church of Sunsites and the Sunsites Country Club. On Feb. 15, 1938 in Eugene, Ore., she married Preston E. Leetch. Survivors include her husband Preston E. of Sunsites; sons, Uren Leetch and Larry (Terri) Leetch, both of Sunsites. Also surviving is her sister Betty Jackson of Eugene, Ore.; and her brother Leslie "Bud" Bergman of Canby, Ore.; along with four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, April 5, at 11 a.m. at the Community Church of Sunsites, with burial to follow at Pearce Cemetery. Friends may contribute to the American Cancer Society, 1636 N. Swan Rd. #151, Tucson, AZ 857124065 or to the Community Church of Sunsites, Treasure & Lansing Rd, PearceSunsites, AZ 85625. Services are under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Chloe Elizabeth Sisco Bixler
1914-2001
Chloe Elizabeth Sisco Bixler, a former Willcox resident, was born on Aug. 28, 1914, to Henry and Nora Sisco in Asage, Ark. Chloe was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, and two brothers. She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Al Bixler; two daughters, Betty Bixler and Sharon (Bill) Oftedal. No formal services are planned. An open house will be held in her honor on Saturday, March 31, 2001 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., at 7414 E. Arlington Road in Scottsdale. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 9034 N. 23rd Ave, Suite 8, Phoenix, AZ 85201, or the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 52177, Phoenix, AZ 85072. Arrangements are under the direction of Green Acres Mortuary in Scottsdale.

Albert Clay Bixler
1914-2001
Albert Clay Bixler, age 86, of Miles City, Montana passed away Wednesday, May 23, 2001 at the Holy Rosary Health Center in Miles City, AlbeTt was bom on September 12, 1914, the youngest son of Stanley and Florence (Wilson) Bixler. He graduated from high school in Boulder, Colorado. Albert and Chloe Sisco were married on January 21, 1939 in Boulder, Colorado. In 1946, they moved to a ranch on the Powder River in southeastem Montana. This was the family home for nearly 30 years, followed by stays in Corvallis, Montana; Boulder City, Nevada; and a ranch nm Willcox, Arizona. In 1984, the Bixters movcd to Scottsdale, Arizona. After his wifcs death on March 26, 2001, Al moved back to Miles City to be near friends and family. Al loved good cattle, good hoTses, and successfully playing the stock market. Al was also preceded in death in death by his parents, his older brother Richard, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He is survived by his daughter and soninlaw, Sharon and Bill Oftedal, and his daughter Betty. Private graveside services, will be held in the Custer County Cemetery in Miles City. Friends are invited to an open house honoring both Mr. and Mrs. Bixler on Saturday, May 26, 2001 fTom 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Bixler home, 1341 South Strevell in Miles City. Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Miles City is in charge of the arrangements. Jn lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Miles City Public Library OT thC charity of ones choice.

Robert (Bobby) Villa
Robert (Bobby) Villa died April 2, 2001, in a tragic automobile accident in Green Bay, Wis. A memorial service will be held at the Apache Lair Restaurant, 12 miles north of Elfrida, on Thursday, April 12 at 10:30 a.m.

Irwin "Buster" Viers
1915-2001
Irwin "Buster" Viers of PearceSunsites, died April 3, 2001 in Willcox at the age of 83. Buster was born in Covington, Okla., to William Travis Viers and Grace S. (Emerson) Viers. He has lived in the Dragoon and Pearce area for the last 20 years. Buster retired from Inyo County in California has a heavy equipment operator. He also was a rancher and cowboy, and a foreman for the Lacey Ranch in California. He was active in rodeos and was a stunt horse rider for many John Wayne movies. Buster proudly served in the US Navy during WW II, and was a 33rd degree mason. Survivors include his son Gary (Cindy) Viers of Orangevale, Calif.; a brother Walter Viers of Covington, Okla.; and a granddaughter, Brandi Richards. Preceding him in death were his parents and one brother, Floyd Viers. Private cremation was conducted at Westlawn Crematorium with a Memorial Graveside Service on Friday, April 6, at 11 a.m., at Pearce Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Charles W. Leighton, Jr. Hospice Fund, 319 W. Grant, Willcox, AZ 85643. Services are under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Boyd Eugene Smith
Boyd Eugene Smith, 81, a retired farmer, died Monday, March 19, 2001 in Mineral Wells, Texas. Boyd Smith lived in Mineral Wells, Texas, since 1983. He served In Army Air Forces in World War II as a B24 pilot. He was a farmer and previously lived in Arizona for 18 years. He was a member of Central Methodist Church. Boyd was preceded in death by two brothers, John Harrold Smith and Ned Smith. Survivors include his wife, Margaret Smith of Mineral Wells; brother, Glen Smith and wife Evelyn, of Willcox. Also surviving are sistersinlaw, Thelma Smith of Denver City, Texas, and Doris Smith of Levelland, Texas; motherinlaw Ruth Wilson of Lubbock, Texas; and brotherinlaw, Harmon Wilson of Levelland, Texas. Funeral services were held on Wednesday, March 21, at 10 a.m. at White's Chapel. Burial was at the Rest Haven Cemetery in Lubbock, Texas, with visitation from 6p.m. to 8p.m., Tuesday at White's Chapel. Services are under the direction of White's Funeral Home, Mineral Wells, Texas.

Ruby Evelyn Brown
Ruby Evelyn Brown of Willcox, died April 8, 2001 in Sierra Vista at the age of 92. Visitation will be held Thursday, April 12, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at New Vision Family Christian Center in Willcox. Funeral services will be held Friday, April 13, at 2 p.m., at New Vision Family Christian Center. Arrangements are being made through Morris David's Funeral Home in Safford.

Samuel Bedolla Montano
Samuel Bedolla Montano, of Willcox, died on April 23, 2001 at the age of 40. Rosary will be said on Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m., at Westlawn Chapel with funeral mass offered on Saturday, April 28, 2001 at Westlawn Chapel. Burial will follow at Sunset Cemetery in Willcox. Services are under the direction of Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.

Robert Phillip Rathsack
1926-2001
Robert Phillip Rathsack of Richland, died on April 14, 2001, in Tucson at the age of 74. Robert was born on May 23, 1926 in Ladysmith, Wis., to Robert Rathsack, Sr. and Viola Gould Rathsack. Robert was a resident of Arizona for 35 years and a resident of Richland for the past 14 years. He was a member of Operating Engineers Local No. 428. Robert also served in the Air Force and Army during WWII. Robert was preceded in death by father, Robert Rathsack, Sr., in 1954; mother Viola Gould Rathsack Hansen, in 1986; brother Raymond; and sister Arlene. Robert is survived by his wife of 21 years, Ruth; daughters, Maxine Pechar, of Dallas, Texas, Phyllis Howard of Abilene, Texas, Sherry Deluca and Dawn Palamino, both of Tucson; sisters, Catherine Weidman, of Florence, Ore., and Sylvia Simon of Newark, Calif; brother Joseph Rathsack of Junction City, Ore.; seven grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place at Robert's request. There will be no services held. Contributions may be made to the University of Arizona, Dept. of Neurology for Alzheimer's Research. Robert's family would like to express gratitude to their neighbors and friends of the Richland and Sunsites area for their kindness and help.

Michael Lee Burke
1959-2001
Michael Lee Burke died in the Kofa Game Range, near Yuma, sometime in April, at the age of 42. He was born on Jan. 10, 1959, to Benjamin and Ruth Burke. Michael was a Cub Scout and served in the U.S. Marine Corp. He pursued many occupations during his lifetime. Michael was a Greyhound Bus driver, a fisherman out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska and a truck driver. Michael was preceded in death by his brother, Bruce. Michael is survived by his wife Constance of Bowie; sons, Elijha, of Bowie, Michael II of Moreno Valley, Calif., and Anthony of Wolf Point, Mont.; daughter Tiffany, of Riverside, Calif.; granddaughter Alecia Rose, of Riverside, Calif.; brothers, Julian Montelbano, of Long Beach, Calif.; Alan of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Abram of San Diego, Calif.; sisters, Carol Ward of Altadeno, Calif., and Laurel Perry of San Francisco, Calif.; mother, Ruth Burke of Bowie; and father Benjamin Burke, of Riverside, Calif.

Carl E. Guilliams
Carl E. Guilliams, of Cochise/Richland Ranchettes died on May 28, 2001, in Willcox, at the age of 75. Graveside services will be held this Friday, June 1, 2001, at 10:30 a.m. at the Cochise Cemetery. For further information, contact Westlawn Chapel & Mortuary in Willcox.


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