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Don Dietrich

Don Dietrich

April 5, 1961 - February 16, 2021

Don Dietrich, a former Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman and longtime supporter of the game in his hometown of Deloraine, has died.

He was 59.

Dietrich, who played 28 games in the National Hockey League, battled Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

On his Facebook tribute page, which was active in the weeks before his death, his son Tristan posted the news on Tuesday morning.

"We are sad to announce that Don, Dad, Dins, Beaker passed away this morning peacefully," Tristan wrote. "He fought hard till the end. The ‘I can’ in him stayed true right till the end."

Don’s immediate family also includes his wife Nadine and sons Jacob and Nick.

Dietrich, who was profiled in the Brandon Sun’s Wheat Kings alumni series in 2016, said at the time that hockey played an instrumental role in his ability to fight the health issues that plagued him in his later years.

"The game is the main reason I’m here today for sure," Dietrich said. "If I could give back a tenth of what the game’s given me … I don’t think I’ve done that. There’s a saying that you’re only as good as your last shift and a lot of those things I take with me in life. And a lot of them I learned right here in Brandon."

He skated with the Wheat Kings for three seasons from 1978 to 1981 before embarking on a 10-year pro career that included stints with the Chicago Black Hawks and New Jersey Devils.

He retired after the 1990-91 season, and the family moved back to Deloraine in 1994. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a year later.

His health took another turn for the worse in 1999 when doctors found an aggressive type of cancer called leiomyosarcoma. He was given six months to live, but took an experimental drug for six months and then returned to work with Canada Customs.

Two years later the cancer was back, this time in his liver, but again an experimental treatment worked.

Despite his health issues, he never stopped giving back to the game of hockey.

He worked with the Deloraine Royals senior team and the Southwest Midget AAA Cougars. And as a member of Canada’s national coach mentorship program, he developed a breakfast club that allowed young players to come out twice a week to work on skill development.

He was elected to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame with the 1978-79 Wheat Kings in 2007, and Dietrich was inducted in the builders’ category in 2011.

His story was told in a 2007 book called No Guarantees, a collection of Dietrich’s memories assembled by Nadine and freelance writer Brad Bird.

Dietrich said he made $365,000 in 10 pro seasons, but the experiences his time in the game provided are priceless.

"I made a living at it, I didn’t make a fortune," Dietrich said. "But I wouldn’t change that for anything. That’s part of looking at that man in the mirror. Are you satisfied with him? Can you honestly look at him and say you did your best?

"I’d say I did."

Remembering Don Dietrich

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Lucy Roucis

Lucy Roucis

August 22, 1959 - February 8, 2021

Lucy Roucis is a living, breathing, and tremoring example of "turning something adverse around and making it work." Her young-onset Parkinson's disease actually helped get her a part in the film, "Love and Other Drugs." Director and writer, Ed Zwick, after reading over 40 actors for the role, was so impressed with Lucy's audition that he asked her to write for the scene and add her own dialogue. Lucy portrays a woman doing a stand-up routine, poking fun at having Parkinson's, and helps Anne Hathaway's character, Maggie, begin accepting her own diagnosis.

A native of Denver, Colorado, Lucy is the daughter of a dentist and a homemaker. She and her five siblings all received a private education. She attended Loretto Heights College in Denver, receiving a B.A. in theatre, Magna cum Laude. She immediately moved to Los Angeles to start her career. There she became a long-time student of Roy London, the late acting teacher who revolutionized acting technique.

She began getting work in the film, television, and modeling world as well, being tall and slender. She had parts on "General Hospital," "Santa Barbara," the CBS pilot "Domestic Life" with Martin Mull, and on-screen in "Better Off Dead" with John Cusack and "The Party Animal." On the theatrical stage, she was a member of the Los Angeles-based Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and the Colony Theater's "The Robber Bridegroom." She co-starred and produced the Celtic Arts Center's "A Tragedy You Can Dance To" by Ric Matheson. Several television commercials and print ads later, she was breaking ground as an actor when the Parkinson's reared its head.

She had a double diagnosis of young-onset Parkinson's disease and thyroid cancer, undergoing thyroid removal and the cancer being eradicated. But Parkinson's is incurable so, defeated, she returned home to Denver, giving up on Hollywood. She reinvented herself as an actress with a disability and found work. Denver Audiences know Lucy well and her Parkinson's is just part of her package. She's a long-time member of the world-renowned PHAMALY (Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League, Inc.) where her Parkinson's is an asset, alongside her fellow cast members who each have a disability of his/her own. The award-winning company produces quality plays at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Roucis has starred in 20 productions, winning Best Supporting Actress in a Musical from WestWord Magazine for her Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls." She was cast in the pilot, "One Step Ahead," a Washington, DC-based weekly disability news program, as its Cultural Correspondent. In 2008, Lucy received the Mayor's Award for being an Unsung Hero.

In 2008 Lucy underwent deep brain stimulation at the Cleveland Clinic. This procedure, although temporary, lessens the symptoms of her now advanced Parkinson's disease.

Like Michael J. Fox, Lucy found her voice as an advocate for Parkinson's and disability awareness. She also found an outlet for her wit as a stand-up (or sit-down) comic, working fundraisers with comedian Josh Blue    

Remembering Lucy Roucis

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Les Levine

Les Levine

October 6, 1935 - February 3, 2021

Beloved husband of Allison (nee Skully). Loving father of Jeremy (Melissa) Levine, Jamie (Elan) Levine Daniel, Adam Mesnick and Mara (Victor) Bendersky. Devoted grandfather of Noah, Vida, Mayla, Leia and Mallory. Dear brother of Stu (Leslee) and Bill (Nancy) Levine. Private family services will be held Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 11 AM at the Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel. 

Les Levine had been battling Parkinson’s disease for several years, but continued to work until late December, 2020.

Les Levine, whose wit and opinions graced the Cleveland sports radio and television airwaves for decades across multiple stations, has died at the age of 74 after battling Parkinson’s disease & diabetes for several years.


Born and raised in Cleveland, Levine graduated with a political science degree from the Ohio State University, but had his sights set on being a sportscaster from a very young age. He got his start DJing and doing high school play-by-play in Jasper, Indiana, before returning to Northeast Ohio at Akron’s WNIR in the early 1970s to call local basketball games and double as the station’s sales manager.

In the 1990s he had his own show complete with his signature self-deprecating title: “More Sports & Les Levine.” His sense of humor was also a staple of his broadcasts, especially with his famous “How Come Quickes.” For example: “How come you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?”

Remembering Les Levine

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Alastair Scrivener

Alastair Scrivener

- January 27, 2021

Alastair, who started Scrivener’s Books & Bookbinding in 1997, died on January 27 after a long battle with Parkinson’s.

As well as a bookseller and knowledgeable binder, the “man of many talents” was also a sculptor, artist, bell-ringer, teacher, musician and local historian.

“True one-off” Alastair set about transforming the much-esteemed higher Buxton premises from a “junk-filled building” into the “theatrical book heaven” it is today 24 years ago.

Remembering Alastair Scrivener

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John William Kruse

John William Kruse

March 4, 1929 - January 27, 2021

March 4, 1929 - January 27, 2021 John William Kruse passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 91, surrounded by his loving family. He had been battling Parkinson's disease for several years. John was born March 4, 1929 to John William Kruse Sr. and Irene Miller Kruse in Pasadena, CA. He attended UCLA, graduating in 1951 with a degree in Engineering. He was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and the Naval ROTC. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War for three years, then attended USC, where he received his MBA. He worked as a Civil-Structural Engineer, where a notable project was working as a Project Manager on the Saturn missile test stand in Huntsville, Alabama in the 1960s. He retired from Fluor Corporation in 1992. While in the Navy, he met Paula Bush on Balboa Island in 1952, and they married in 1956. In 1958, they spent five months exploring Europe in a VW Bug they had purchased. This was the start of a life of travel, visiting all the continents and over 100 countries. They designed a house and had it built in La Cañada, CA where their three children were born. In 1975, they moved to Newport Beach where they have lived ever since. John became a member of the Newport Harbor Exchange Club, where he served as President 2002-2003. They joined a group of friends for weekly beach walks at Crystal Cove and holiday celebrations for over 30 years. John is survived by his loving wife, Paula, and his children Dana Kruse Uzzo, Lauren Kruse Moore and David Evan Kruse, and five grandchildren: Alicia & Andrea Jones, Rachel Moore, and Benjamin & Daniel Kruse. He was predeceased by his sister, Marilyn Buckler. Once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, a celebration of life will be held. 

Remembering John William Kruse

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Donald G. Tober

Donald G. Tober

March 8, 1931 - January 16, 2021

Donald G., beloved husband, admired philanthropist and successful business executive, chose to end his life today after facing the increasingly debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease. He would have been 90 years old in March. Donald was Chairman of Sugar Foods Corporation, whose team he saw as a second family. He served as former Chairman of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, Vice Chairman of the Culinary Institute of America and as a board member of the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association. He was a patron of associations that serve to elevate the quality and appreciation of food and wine, including of the Commanderie de Bordeaux and the Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Culinary Institute of America (where he was Trustee Emeritus). He was a founder and Honorary Board member of the Citymeals-on-Wheels program in New York City. Donald's contributions positively impacted a tremendous range of institutions beyond the food business. He served on the board of the New York Landmarks Conservancy and was honored in 2019 along with his wife Barbara as Living Landmarks. He also served on the board of the Manhattan Institute, the American Austrian Foundation for Medical Scholarship, the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID), the National Dance Institute with Jacques d'Amboise, and was a long-time supporter of Lincoln Center, the Philodoroi and Amati Societies of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), and The Juilliard School, to name only a few. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, Donald practiced law in New York City before joining Sugar Foods Corporation. In 1973 he married Barbara Maud Starkey. It was not the first marriage for either and proved an unusually happy enduring union for both. A funeral for family only is scheduled. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.  

Remembering Donald G. Tober

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Lyndell Austin Samples

Lyndell Austin Samples

January 20, 1940 - January 13, 2021

Lyndell Austin Samples, 91 of Rancho Mirage, California passed away on January 13, 2021, leaving behind his spouse of 41 years, C. Jay Scott, II. Lynn was born on September 11, 1929 in Baxter Springs, Kansas to Paul J. and Florence H. Samples, one of two children. His family moved shortly thereafter to Portland, Oregon where Lynn grew up. Lynn spent his entire working life in clothing retail initially in Portland and later moving to San Francisco, California where he began a 32-year career with Brooks Brothers. Lynn ultimately became the manager of the store's University Shop, which he directed until his retirement in 1989. Lynn's passions were music (in particular playing his beloved Yamaha concert grand piano), collecting antiques and travelling, which he was able to enjoy to the fullest for many years with Jay. They traveled around the world, primarily on ocean cruises, with Lynn particularly enjoying Europe and the Baltic countries, to which they frequently returned. A gentle, kind and caring man, Lynn was a consummate host and gourmet chef who so enjoyed hosting dinner parties with Jay for their family and friends. In addition to Jay, Lynn is survived by his sister, Betty Samples and related family.Interment to be at Riverside National Cemetery.

Remembering Lyndell Austin Samples

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Edward P. Beard

Edward P. Beard

January 20, 1940 - January 11, 2021

Congressman Edward P. Beard of Providence, passed away January 11, 2021 at the age of 80.

Known as “Eddie Beard” to fellow Rhode Islanders, born January 20, 1940 in Providence Rhode Island.

“Eddie” attended the Assumption Catholic elementary school in Providence and Hope high school in Providence. He served in the Rhode Island National Guard, completed high school as well as a college-level course in agriculture. He was a life-long devout Catholic. He was also an avid boxer and competed at a semi-pro level. Eddie could be found at the YMCA hitting the heavy bag when he wasn't jogging. He became interested in politics when, by chance, as a child he met Congressman John E. Fogarty. In the early 1960's he obtained a job as a house painter at the Rhode Island School of Design. While employed there he began his campaigning for State Representative. Eddie would be recognized for his iconic paint brush held in the breast pocket of his suit, a symbol of his blue-collar roots, as well as the holes in his dress shoes from walking door to door to hundreds of his soon-to-be constituents. He began his political career as a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives serving from 1972 to 1974. Elected as a democrat to the Ninety-Fourth Congress, he was reelected to the Ninety-Fifth and Ninety-sixth Congresses. Eddie Beard served in the U. S. House of Representatives from January 3, 1975, to January 3, 1981, and was Chairman of the Labor Standards Committee and a member on several the House committees including; House Ways and Means, Elderly Affairs, Labor Standards, Education and Labor, Armed Forces, Foreign Affairs and Veterans' Affairs.

Eddie Beard is remembered for his relentless work on behalf of the blue-collar workers of America and the founder of the “Blue-Collar Caucus.” He was well known for his diligence on cracking down on abuse and neglect at nursing homes and institutions of mental health. He was the elderly and aged champion and gained national media attention for his legislation on “Unannounced Inspections.” He proposed several pieces of legislation that supported veterans' benefits throughout his career as a Congressman. He served as director of elderly affairs for the City of Providence, Rhode Island, from 1986 to 2002

He is survived by his son Edward P. Beard Jr, of PA, his daughter Diane Louise Brennan of RI, grandchildren; Destini, Dustin and Michael, his brother John Beard and a niece and nephew.

He is preceded in death by his father Thomas J. Beard and mother Anne “Fitzpatrick” Beard and siblings Anne and Thomas Jr.

Due to COVID restrictions, services will be private for family only.  A Celebration of his life for the citizens of RI who he served will be announced in the future once restrictions are lifted.

Remembering Edward P. Beard

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Rafael “Ray” Vega

Rafael “Ray” Vega

August 27, 1934 - January 9, 2021

Rafael "Ray" Vega, an entrepreneur and restaurateur passed away peacefully on January 9, 2021 at the age of 86.

Ray was born on August 27, 1934 to Rafael and Maria Vega. He migrated to the US from Tijuana with his parents as a toddler. His parents had dreams of owning a restaurant in LA and were able to bring that dream to fruition. Ray grew up on Olvera Street in downtown LA, around his parent's Mexican Restaurant, Café Caliente. He attended John Boroughs High School in Burbank and continued on to study Hospitality at San Francisco State University. He came back to LA at the age of 22 to find a way to support his parents who had recently been forced to close their restaurant. In 1956, with the promise of a few months free rent and while working a few other side jobs, Ray opened Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks on Ventura Blvd. Ray's father was the first bartender and his mother was welcoming guests while keeping an eye on the family recipes coming out of the kitchen. He was very active in local LA politics serving on the LA County Housing Authority and as Commissioner of Dept. of Public Social Service in the late 1960's-1970's. In 1976, Ray married Charleen, a beautiful woman whom he had met at Casa Vega.

As a young businessman, Ray was successful in obtaining government contracts for dining services all around California and Nevada. One of those contracts, Nellis Air Force Base, took Ray and Charleen to Las Vegas in 1978. Las Vegas opened lot of opportunities with Ray's love of work, his vision, creativity, drive and willingness to take risks. Ray started and owned numerous successful businesses in Las Vegas under VEGA Enterprise: VEGA Vending; VEGA Wholesale; VEGA Bar & Concessions; VEGA Foods; VEGA Marketing; VEGA Spirits; VEGA Dairy and many others, along with buildings, warehouses and other business ventures. Ray loved being a businessman and was a trailblazer within the Latino Community. In 1996, Ray was appointed Honorary Counsel General to Mexico for the State of Nevada. He sat on more hospital (Providence Hospitals) and bank boards than we can list.

After retiring from Las Vega, Ray was happy to move back to his hometown of Los Angeles, to spend his days near his first (and favorite) business, Casa Vega. He never missed a day of work. Ray took immense pride in teaching his daughter, Christina "Christy" Vega, how to navigate in business and keep his legacy alive. This year, Casa Vega Restaurant celebrates 65 years of business in Ray's honor.

Ray is survived by his wife, Charleen; his children Kelly, Robbie and Christina; and his grandchildren Anthony, Taylor, Emillee, Lizzy, Jackson, Rafael Palmer, Ryan' Jr., Cruz and Mia.

Services are pending.

Remembering Rafael “Ray” Vega

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David Brun

David Brun

July 19, 1958 - January 9, 2021

It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of David Brun January 9, 2021 at the age of 62 after a long brave battle with Parkinson's disease. David was born July 19, 1958 in Chicago but moved to Clearwater at the age of 10. He always considered himself a Florida native and enjoyed living and playing on the beautiful Gulf Coast. David graduated from Tampa College with a BA in Business Administration and Management. He worked at Eaton Cutler Hammer formerly Westinghouse from 1982 to 1999. He then worked for many years at Thasetronics in Clearwater. David is predeceased by his parents, Eleanor and Harold Brun and his brothers, Hal and Rick. He is survived by and will be sadly missed by the love of his life wife, Trina Brun and his sister, Barbara Brun of Chicago. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

Remembering David Brun

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Contact Us

Physical Address
Parkinson's Resource Organization
74090 El Paseo #104
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Local Phone
(760) 773-5628

Toll-Free Phone
(877) 775-4111

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Updated: August 16, 2017