Obituaries: Local Spotlight

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    Longtime elementary school teacher Gina Boles dies

    BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer
    Monday, Jul 14 2014 07:09 PM

    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 grade each year to ensure she taught Clarke's son throughout elementary school.

    "She just made it engaging and fun for all the kids," Clarke said. "They loved her." Boles, 50, died July 10 at Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from pulmonary fibrosis -- a disease in which lung tissue becomes scarred.

    "The whole Fruitvale community -- staff, parents, kids -- they're just in a state of shock," said Mary Westendorf, superintendent of Fruitvale School District.

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    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...

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    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,...

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    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    Doug Bentz, ski shop owner and Bakersfield icon, dies at 70

    Almost every Sunday for the past 15 years, Doug Bentz met his son, Dirk, for a 25-mile, early morning bike ride. They rode together this past weekend, too, for the last time. The 70-year-old Bentz, owner of Bentz Ski Chalet and known as...

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    Nick Uricchio: 1926-2014 Restaurateur helped pioneer downtown resurgence

    Nicholas Mario "Nick" Uricchio, the local restaurateur known for bringing Beverly Hills sophistication to downtown Bakersfield through Uricchio's Trattoria, died Sunday. He was 87. His 17th Street restaurant, which he and son Steve opened...

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    People we lost in 2013: Their accomplishments lifted the community

    When people we have never met and only seen from afar pass away, they take a small part of us with them. And we hold a piece of them as well, in us. The hours spent watching a TV host, the inspiration gleaned from a man with an incurable...

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    An unexpected career, an exceptional life

    Michael Gagner had two careers. The first was 22 years as a petroleum engineer in different locales around the country. The second was living with the progressive, degenerative, neuromuscular disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which...

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    World War II veteran Wayne Heyart dies at 88

    Wayne Heyart was the epitome of a regular guy. He lived his whole life in Bakersfield, worked for PG&E, played golf and raised a great family. He was also a living piece of history whose memories could far surpass any Hollywood movie.... Daily Deal!

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