Obituaries: Local Spotlight

Recent Stories

  1. Adele Davis.JPG

    Beloved teacher, organizer of jazz festival dies

    BY JENNIFER SELF The Bakersfield Californian
    Thursday, Mar 05 2015 06:50 PM

    She had no experience as a concert impresario and couldn't read a note of music but everything Adele Davis needed to know about running the Bakersfield Jazz Festival she learned as a first-grade teacher, said husband Doug Davis, who spoke movingly about his wife Thursday afternoon, hours after her death following complications from abdominal surgery. She was 76.

    As a teacher -- briefly at Wayne Van Horn Elementary, then for the rest of her long career at Stockdale Elementary -- and as a den mother to her husband's Cal State Bakersfield music students, Mrs. Davis' mission in life was "ensuring each child would succeed," said her husband.

    But she knew that good intentions, even good teachers, weren't always enough. Enter the Bakersfield...

  2. 166736_10151438070864174_2026079452_n.jpg

    Champion of arts, civic pride dies

    During her lifelong campaign to uplift and support, Jan Fulton found a lot of creative ways to do both: championing the city and its neighborhoods, promoting the arts, filling bellies with her famous Cambrian salad at the Spotlight Cafe....

  3. SteveESwensonPortrait1.JPG

    Career reporter Swenson succumbs to cancer

    He pounded out countless crime stories over a 40-year career that began in the era of manual typewriters and concluded in the age of Facebook. As a veteran "cops" reporter for The Californian, he rode shotgun in patrol cars and saw the...

  4. MsgrJamesLogan.JPG

    Priest who built St. Philip's from the ground up dies

    The parish hall at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Bakersfield is named for James Logan, the founding priest of the parish, but Logan's impact transcends brick and mortar. The Taft native, who died Friday, is remembered for his dedication...

  5. DonMaxineSimpson4.JPG

    Couple married almost 62 years die four hours apart

    Married for almost 62 years, Don and Maxine Simpson didn't let death keep them apart for long. The two died within four hours of each other July 21 at the home of one of their granddaughters, where they'd spent their final days side by...

  6. Boles.JPG

    Longtime elementary school teacher Gina Boles dies

    Gina Boles, a longtime teacher at Endeavour Elementary School, was the kind of educator administrators wanted instructing their children. Deanna Clarke, a former Endeavour principal, even joked she considered moving Boles to a higher...

  7. MauriceSneed.JPG

    Sign spinner more than an advertiser to those he saw

    The six-lanes of White Lane and Gosford Road bring an estimated 67,700 vehicles through the intersection every day, and yet the man who stood dancing on the corner never went unnoticed. Tammy Rudd, 49, drove past the intersection where...

  8. Levan_1_fa.JPG

    Local philanthropist remembered as kind, intelligent

    As a humble, quiet, generous and kind man, Norman Levan most importantly loved helping others. Dr. Levan, a longtime Bakersfield dermatologist and philanthropist, died in his home Sunday at age 98. Robert Allison, his friend of more than...


    Aerospace pioneer, longtime Kern resident Bill Dana, dies

    The image of Tehachapi test pilot Bill Dana wearing a gleaming silver pressure suit, flying alone in a black X-15 rocket plane hurtling toward the edge of space, is practically the definition of the iconic phrase, The Right Stuff. Dana,...

  10. Duane3.JPG

    Duane Moore, local Democratic leader and union organizer, dies

    Duane W. Moore's wife joked he was a paid troublemaker. As an organizer first with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and later for the building and construction trades within the AFL-CIO, he traveled around the country...

  11. Imam Yusuf Islam.JPG

    Longtime Bakersfield Muslim leader dies

    When Sahib Mujahid was released from prison in 1985 after serving time for murder, the newly converted Muslim had nowhere to go and no family in the area. It was Imam Yusuf Islam who picked him up outside the Tehachapi prison gates and...

  12. Susan Ferguson.JPG

    Realtor, activist Susan Ferguson dies

    Bakersfield Realtor Susan Terry Cahan Ferguson didn't have breast cancer when she began volunteering for the American Cancer Society 18 years ago. It was pure altruism that motivated her back then, typical, say friends and family, of her...

  13. FuneralBus1.JPG

    Bus driver made riders feel like family

    She was short of stature yet maneuvered a 40-foot-long, 20-ton whale of a bus safely across Bakersfield for 33 years. Hundreds of friends, family members and Golden Empire Transit bus drivers squeezed into Rising Star Baptist Church on...