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Merritt Eugene Van Sant

Merritt Eugene Van Sant

April 7, 1929 - November 13, 2014

Merritt E. Van Sant, many times a Reagan appointee, died at his Newport Beach home on November 13, 2014. He was 85 years old.

Van Sant was an adviser to Ronald Reagan during his first term as governor of California, serving as Deputy Secretary of Business and Transportation. He also served in the Nixon administration from 1970 to 1971. When Ronald Reagan was elected president, Van Sant served the administration in Washington D.C. and later in San Francisco as a Regional Special Assistant to the United States Small Business Administration. These political appointments were the result of a lifetime of deeply held conservative beliefs and the lessons learned as a young lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Van Sant graduated from Beverly Hills High School in1947. He spent his college years at Stanford University where he was elected captain of the Stanford track team in 1951. He graduated from Stanford with a degree in Political Science in 1952. During his years as a civilian, Van Sant was an insurance executive for the Van Sant Company in Los Angeles. After moving to Newport Beach, he was chairman and CEO of the VSP Corporation until his retirement.

Van Sant is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 34 years, his brother, Thomas R. Van Sant, his nephew, Ryan Van Sant, his four sons, Edward C. Franks, John F. Van Sant, Barry F. Van Sant, James D. Van Sant, his step-son, Michael W. Stanley, his step-daughter, Susan E. Davidson, his god-daughter, Olivia Albrecht-Pieter, nine grand-children, five step-grand-children and five great-grand-children. Van Sant was born in Los Angeles on April 7, 1929. His parents were Merritt E. and Martha Van Sant. Merritt died, as he lived his life, with dignity and grace.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.

Merritt's wife, Marilyn, lead Parkinson's Resource Organization's Support Group in Newport Beach for 20 years. She understood, supported, taught, loved and counseled all who journeyed though Parkinson's. To honor Merritt's life, have a special memorial card sent to the Van Sants reciting your sentiments by donating to Parkinson's Resource Organization. To make a memorial donation, click below or mail a check to 74-478 Highway 111, No. 102, Palm Desert, CA 92260. Thank you for your support of Marilyn, we look forward to receiving your kind words and very special memorial donation to PRO.

Remembering Merritt Eugene Van Sant

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Lane Evans

Lane Evans

August 4, 1951 - November 5, 2014

Former Illinois Rep. Lane Evans, a Vietnam War-era Marine who fought for veterans’ rights during his 24 years in the U.S. House, has died after battling Parkinson’s disease. He was 63.

The Democrat died Wednesday at a nursing home in East Moline, Ill., said his former congressional staffer Michael Malmstrom, who also was one of Evans’ legal guardians.

“In the early days of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Lane was one of the first members of Congress to take on issues like PTSD and TBI,” said Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Chief Executive Paul Rieckhoff, referring to the acronym for traumatic brain injury. “He helped put our issues on the map.”

Evans joined the Marines at age 17 and had orders for Vietnam. But he served in Okinawa, Japan, as a security guard because his older brother was already deployed in the war.

As a congressman, he fought for the rights of veterans and became the senior Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He pushed legislation to help those exposed to Agent Orange and to give former service members rights to judicial review in pursuing benefits claims.

He also campaigned for veterans grappling with post-traumatic stress disorders and other health problems, as well as those having trouble finding employment.

Evans was born Aug. 4, 1951, in Rock Island, Ill. He was first elected from his western Illinois district in 1982, when he was a 31-year-old attorney, and went on to serve 12 terms. He worked for more than a decade after his Parkinson’s diagnosis but announced in 2006 that he wouldn’t seek reelection because of his deteriorating health.

Evans was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995, but he didn’t publicly announce the diagnosis for three years, worried the revelation would stigmatize him. He first realized something was wrong when he couldn’t wave his left hand during a parade.

He left office in January 2007.

President Obama has credited Evans with aiding his own political rise, saying once that he wouldn’t have made it to the U.S. Senate without early support from his fellow Illinoisan.

Evans is survived by three brothers.


Remembering Lane Evans

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014

YouTube VIDEO:

Robin Williams, one of the greatest entertainers to ever live, sadly committed suicide on Monday, August 11 2014.  Williams suffered from severe depression and substance abuse for many years of his life yet recently Williams' widow, Susan Schneider, revealed that he was suffering from early stages of Parkinson's releasing the following statement:

"Robin's sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson's Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly. It is our hope in the wake of Robin's tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid."

Parkinson's Resource Organization helps people like Robin every day.  Parkinson's is a brain disease that often leads to depression as well other challenges that, at times, make everyday life seem almost impossible. The important thing to remember is there ís hope, encouragement, support, education and inspiration. Parkinson's Resource Organization, through its 10 support groups, numerous outreach programs, website/social media, telephone coaching sessions, webinars, monthly newsletter and "Road to the Cure" project, "Works so that No One is Isolated Because of Parkinson's".  

Help to carry on Robinís legacy so that others may find the "strength to seek the care and support they need." 

Remembering Robin Williams

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Mark Paul Moorman

Mark Paul Moorman

July 1, 1944 - August 7, 2014

Mark Paul Moorman, age 70, passed peacefully at his home in Granada Hills, California on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

Born July, 1, 1944, in Glendale, California, Mark spent most of his life in Northridge, California.  He worked for the city of Los Angeles for 31 years and as an assistant baseball coach at Pierce College for 27 years.  Mark dedicated thousands of hours to the community as an umpire and referee.  However, his favorite job was working the chain crew during the LA Raiders' games for 13 years.

He is survived by his mother Joy Moorman, his wife Carol Moorman, the love of his life for 51 years, his three children Casey (Victoria) Moorman of Canyon Lake, CA, David (Amy) Moorman of Thousand Oaks, CA and Nicole (Nathan) Rovey of Parker, AZ. He is also survived by his seven grandchildren Ashley, Jesse, Jenni, Elizabeth, Richard, Amanda, and Emilia.

Mark was preceded in death by his father Richard Moorman, identical twin Monty Moorman, and youngest brother Rick Moorman.

Services will be held from 11:00 - 2:00 on Monday, August 18th, at Calvary Community Church 5495 Via Rocas, Westlake Village.  Relatives and friends are welcome at the service and the reception immediately following at the same venue.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to:  Parkinson's Resource Organization, 74-478 Highway 111 No. 102, Palm Desert CA 92260

Remembering Mark Paul Moorman

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Stuart Grazier Bigler

Stuart Grazier Bigler

October 21, 1927 - August 3, 2014

Stuart Grazier Bigler passed away on August 3, 2014 after a courageous battle with Parkinson's disease.

He was born on October 21, 1927 to Stuart Roy and Catherine Grazier Bigler in Johnstown, PA. He graduated from Westmont High School in 1945 and shortly after enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he graduated from Naval Aerographer training in Lakehurst, NJ. While serving in the Pacific Fleet aboard the USS Bairoko (CVE-115), Stuart was responsible for conducting weather observations during the atomic detonation testing on the Eniwetok Atoll.|

After an Honorable discharge from the Navy, he married Katherine May Scott on October 24, 1948 in Santa Ana, CA. They remained happily married for 66 years and had five children Stuart Jr., Brian, Bruce, Barbara, and Denis. Stuart graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1952 with a B.S. in Meteorology. He then went on to the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University for post graduate studies receiving his M.S. in 1957.

Stuart started his career with the National Weather Bureau in Washington D.C in 1959 as Program Leader for the Installation and Operation of the Weather Radars. In 1970 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was created, incorporating the National Weather Bureau and renaming it the National Weather Service. He was selected for the position of Director of the Alaska Region, where he retired in 1987. Between June 1988 and May 1989 he spent a year in Saudi Arabia helping to modernize their weather service program.

Stuart received many awards including the American Meteorological Societyís Special Award in recognition of his work during the Bryan, Texas tornado of April 5, 1956. His timely warning saved the lives of an unknown number of children as it crossed the grounds of a local school. Additionally, Stuart received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for outstanding leadership in establishing the Nation's weather radar network the highest award the Department can bestow. Stuart believed that it was important to contribute to his community. One of his many contributions was with the Boy Scouts of America first as a Scout, then as a Scoutmaster for 10 years, culminating as a member of the Executive Board, Western Alaska Council for 16 years. After enjoying many years living in Alaska, Stuart and Katherine relocated to Palm Springs, CA. He is survived by his wife Katherine, his children, his brother Richard, nine grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, Stuart and Catherine, and his son Denis.

In Lieu of flowers, the Bigler family wishes to support the Parkinson's Resource Organization. 

Remembering Stuart Grazier Bigler

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem

Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem

April 27, 1932 - June 15, 2014

In October 2013, Kerri Kasem announced her father had Parkinson's disease, diagnosed in 2007. However, a few months later, she said he had Lewy body dementia, which is hard to differentiate from Parkinson's. His condition left him unable to speak during his final months.

As Kasem's health worsened in 2013, his wife Jean prevented any contact with him, particularly with his children from his first marriage. On October 1, the children protested in front of the Kasem home. Some of Kasem's friends and colleagues, and his brother Mouner, joined the protest. The older Kasem children sought conservatorship over their father's care. The court denied their petition in November.

Jean removed Kasem from his Santa Monica, California nursing home on May 7, 2014. On May 12, Kerri Kasem was granted temporary conservatorship over her father, despite her stepmother's objection. The court ordered an investigation into Casey Kasem's whereabouts after his wife's attorney told the court that Casey was "no longer in the United States". He was found soon afterward in Washington state.

On June 6, 2014, Kasem was reported to be in critical but stable condition in a hospital in Washington state, receiving antibiotics for bedsores and treatment for high blood pressure. It was revealed he had been bedridden for some time.[58] A judge ordered separate visitation times for Kasem's wife and his children from his first marriage. Judge Daniel S. Murphy ruled that Kasem had to be hydrated, fed, and medicated as a court-appointed lawyer reported on his health status. Jean Kasem claimed he had been given no food, water, or medication the previous weekend. Kerri Kasem's lawyer stated that she had him removed from artificial food and water on the orders of a doctor and in accordance with a directive her father signed in 2007 saying he would not want to be kept alive if it "would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning." Murphy reversed his order the following Monday after it became known that Kasem's body was no longer responding to the artificial nutrition, allowing the family to place Kasem on "end-of-life" measures over the objections of Jean Kasem.

On June 15, 2014, Kasem died at St. Anthony's Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington at the age of 82. The immediate cause of death was reported as sepsis caused by ulcerated bedsore. His body was handed over to his widow. Reportedly, Kasem wanted to be buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

By July 19, a judge had granted Kerri Kasem a temporary restraining order to prevent Jean Kasem from cremating the body in order to allow an autopsy to be performed. However, when Kerri Kasem went to give a copy of the order to the funeral home, she was informed that the body had been moved in the direction of Jean Kasem. Kasem's wife had the body moved to a funeral home in Montreal on July 14, 2014. On August 14, it was reported in the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang that Kasem was going to be buried in Oslo.

Jean Kasem had him interred at Oslo Western Civil Cemetery on December 16, 2014, more than six months after his death.

In November 2015, three of Kasem's children and his brother sued his widow for wrongful death. The lawsuit charges Jean Kasem with elder abuse and inflicting emotional distress on the children by restricting access before his death. A 2018 police investigation initiated by a private investigator working for Jean found that he had received appropriate medical care while in Washington and that there was no evidence pointing to homicide. The suits were settled in 2019.


In 1981, Kasem was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame radio division in 1985, and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992. Five years later, he received the Radio Hall of Fame's first Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2003, Kasem was given the Radio Icon award at the Radio Music Awards.

Remembering Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Leah Michaels Pozil

Leah Michaels Pozil

March 25, 1935 - May 12, 2014

Loving wife of Richard; mother to Sheri, Bennett, Robert, the late Edward; devoted grandmother of nine. She attended Fairfax High and UCLA. She was a kindergarten teacher for 28 years. In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations in Leah's name be made to Parkinson's Resource Organization:

Remembering Leah Michaels Pozil

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Frances Louise "Frannie" Zostant

Frances Louise "Frannie" Zostant

December 13, 1937 - May 7, 2014

Frances Louise Zostant "Frannie", 76, of Wethersfield, Windsor and Vero Beach, FL, passed away on Wednesday (May 7, 2014). Our dear Frannie passed on peacefully with her family by her side. We know that she is now with God. Born in Worcester, MA on December 13, 1937, she was the daughter of the late Alexander and Marceline Zostant. Frannie was a nurse for over 30 years. She worked at Mt. Sinai and St. Francis Hospitals, retiring as Head Nurse of the ICU. She also loved the time she spent working in the NICU. Frannie will be remembered for her love, thoughtfulness and generosity to all that knew her. A beloved angel will be dearly missed by her family, Thomas McGrath, Pam McGrath, Jeff Phillips and his wife Jane Campbell, Barbara and Joe Madgis, Carol and Paul Stodulski, Michael and Kim Zostant and Michael Nugent, as well as her many co-workers and friends. Funeral services and burial will be private at the convenience of the family. There are no calling hours. The James T. Pratt Funeral Service, Wethersfield has been entrusted with the arrangements. 

Remembering Frances Louise "Frannie" Zostant

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins

October 26, 1942 - April 29, 2014

Actor associated with tough-guy roles, but capable of playing the poodle as well as the Pitbull.

Plenty of better-looking performers than Bob Hoskins, who has died aged 71 of pneumonia, have found themselves consigned to a life of bit parts. Short, bullet-headed, lacking any noticeable neck, but with a mutable face that could switch from snarling to sparkling in the time it took him to drop an aitch, Hoskins was far from conventional leading-man material. In his moments of on-screen rage, he resembled a pink grenade. But he was defined from the outset by a mix of the tough and the tender that served him well throughout his career.

As the beleaguered, optimistic sheet-music salesman in the BBC series Pennies from Heaven (1978), written by Dennis Potter, he was sweetly galumphing and sincere. Playing an ambitious East End gangster in The Long Good Friday (1980), he added an intimidating quality to the vulnerability already established. Hoskins could be a poodle or pitbull; as a reluctant driver for a prostitute in Mona Lisa (1986) and a patiently calculating murderer in Felicia's Journey (1999), he was a cross-breed of the two. No other actor has a more legitimate claim on the title of the British Cagney.

When international success came in the mid-1980s, Hoskins made not the least modification to his persona or perspective, maintaining the down-to-earth view: "Actors are just entertainers, even the serious ones. That's all an actor is. He's like a serious Bruce Forsyth."

Born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and raised in north London, he was the only child of Robert, a bookkeeper, and Elsie, a teacher, and school cook. Bob left school at the age of 15 and took various jobs – bouncer, porter, window cleaner, fire-eater – after dropping out of an accountancy course. Accompanying a friend to an audition at the Unity Theatre, London, in 1968, Hoskins landed a part. He acted in television and theatre in the early 1970s; Pennies from Heaven, filmed shortly after the acrimonious collapse of his marriage to Jane Livesey, secured his reputation and showed him to be an actor as deft as he was vanity-free (he likened himself in that musical drama to a "little hippopotamus").

In The Long Good Friday, he showed the charismatic swagger necessary to fill a cinema screen, though it was the picture's final shot – a protracted close-up of Hoskins's defiant face – that sticks most indelibly in the memory. In 1981, he played Iago opposite Anthony Hopkins in Jonathan Miller's BBC adaptation of Othello and also met Linda Banwell. The following year she became his second wife, and the person he would credit with helping him survive periods of depression. He wrote a play, The Bystander, inspired by the nervous breakdown he suffered after his first marriage ended.

For more than a decade, he did little television; there were only a handful of exceptions, including some ubiquitous television commercials for British Telecom in which he delivered the catchphrase "It's good to talk". He concentrated predominantly on his film career. Highlights included his playful odd-couple double act with Fred Gwynne in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club (1984), and his portrayal of a down-at-heel businessman wooing an alcoholic piano teacher (Maggie Smith) in The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987). He was amusing in a cameo as a heating engineer in Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985) and as a coarse screenwriter in the comedy Sweet Liberty (1986), one of four films he made with his friend Michael Caine.

Hoskins's pivotal roles in that period could not have been more different. Playing the belligerent but kind-hearted ex-con in Mona Lisa, Neil Jordan's London film-noir won him many awards (including a Golden Globe and the best actor prize at Cannes), as well as his only Oscar nomination. A year later, he took on his greatest technical challenge in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Robert Zemeckis's fusion of live-action and animation, in which Hoskins was one of the film's few flesh-and-blood participants.

n the wake of the film's success, he worked widely in Hollywood: with Denzel Washington in the comic thriller Heart Condition, and Cher in Mermaids (both 1990) and playing Smee (a role he reprised on TV in the 2011 Neverland) in Spielberg's Hook (1991). The chief catalyst of his disillusionment with Hollywood was his work on the disastrous 1993 videogame spin-off Super Mario Bros. His parts in US films were intermittent thereafter, and included playing J Edgar Hoover in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995).

"You don't go to Hollywood for art," he said in 1999, "and once you've got your fame and fortune – especially the fortune in the bank – you can do what you want to do. It's basically fuck-you money."

Hoskins directed two undistinguished features – a fable, The Raggedy Rawney (1988), and the family film Rainbow (1995) – but claimed: "I just got fandangled into it." If it is true that, in common with Caine, he made too many films purely for the money, it is also the case that he never lost touch entirely with his own talents. Although he dredged up his brutal side on occasion, such as in the action thriller Unleashed (2005), tenderness predominated in later years. He played a wistful boxing coach in Shane Meadows's Twenty-Four Seven (1997) and appeared alongside his Long Good Friday co-star, Helen Mirren, in the bittersweet 2001 film of Graham Swift's novel Last Orders, about a group of friends scattering the ashes of their dead chum (played by Caine).

He co-starred with Judi Dench in Stephen Frears's Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005) and played a loner coming late to love in Sparkle (2007), as well as a sympathetic union rep standing up for Ford's female employees in Made in Dagenham (2010).

In 2012, at 69, he announced his retirement after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. His last screen role came as one of the seven dwarves in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), in which his face was superimposed on another actor's body. But he was characteristically subtle as a publican standing up to thugs in Jimmy McGovern's BBC series The Street (2009), for which he won an International Emmy award.

Hoskins is survived by Linda; their children, Rosa and Jack; and Alex and Sarah, the children of his first marriage.

Remembering Bob Hoskins

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

William Rehburg

William Rehburg

May 21, 1932 - March 21, 2014

Bill was born May 21, 1932, in Westfalen, Germany. He came to the United States in 1952, later joining the Army 6th Armored Division Battery "C" in 1954. After the Army, he worked on the DEWLine Project in the Aleutian Islands.

Remembering William Rehburg

Use the form below to make your memorial contribution. PRO will send a handwritten card to the family with your tribute or message included. The information you provide enables us to apply your remembrance gift exactly as you wish.

Contact Us

Parkinson's Resource Organization
74785 Highway 111
Suite 208
Indian Wells, CA 92210

Local Phone
(760) 773-5628

Toll-Free Phone
(877) 775-4111

General Information


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Updated: August 16, 2017