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Alexia Anneke Lanning

Alexia Anneke Lanning

February 12, 1931 - April 1, 2021

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, Alexia Anneke Tinkham Lanning (Lexi) passed away peacefully at home in Indio California, surrounded by family at the age of 90. She was born February 12, 1931, in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Gordon Proctor Tinkham and Florence Harriet Pribel. She is preceded in death by three of her children, Mary June Carter, Matthew Lanning, and Sevie Lanning, her ex-husbands, Edward Lanning Sr, and Eugene Jacklitch, and her great-grandson, Hunter Patterson.

Lexi is survived by her partner/spouse, Bernard Levesque, and her children Debbie Patterson, Thomas Lanning (Lily), Edward Lanning, Larry Lanning (Teresa), Brian Lanning (Maria), Becky Chrastek (Pat), and Steven Jacklitch (Susan), her stepdaughters, Marie Pearce (Rodney), Margaret Schnare (Barry), and Elizabeth Levesque. She is also survived by 35 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren.

She and her partner, Bernie Levesque, met at a bridge tournament in Las Vegas on April 1, 1997. Lexi earned the high achievement of Black Diamond in the ACBL. She and Bernie taught bridge on over 50 cruises around the world. When she was not traveling and teaching bridge, she was playing at bridge clubs in the Coachella Valley or playing poker at the casinos, Lexi's favorite pastime was playing cards and scrabble at the kitchen table with her family. She also enjoyed the daily crossword puzzles in the local paper.

Lexi was a realtor and broker in Minnesota, Florida, and California. She opened her own real estate company in Melbourne, Florida. In her 40 plus years of real estate, she broke multiple sales records and was the first million-dollar seller for Edina Realty in Minnesota. She was also a published poet and won an award for a poem entitled "My Children".

At Lexi's request, a Celebration of Life will be held in Rancho Mirage at her son Larry's home. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Parkinson's Resource Organization, 74478 Hwy 111, Palm Desert, Ca 92260.
 

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G. Gordon Liddy

G. Gordon Liddy

November 30, 1930 - March 30, 2021

G. Gordon Liddy, a cloak-and-dagger lawyer who masterminded dirty tricks for the White House and concocted the bungled burglary that led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, died on Tuesday in Mount Vernon, VA. He was 90.

His death, at the home of his daughter Alexandra Liddy Bourne, was confirmed by his son Thomas P. Liddy, who said that his father had Parkinson’s disease and had been in declining health.

Decades after Watergate entered the lexicon, Mr. Liddy was still an enigma in the cast of characters who fell from grace with the 37th president — to some a patriot who went silently to prison refusing to betray his comrades, to others a zealot who cashed in on bogus celebrity to become an author and syndicated talk show host.

As a leader of a White House “plumbers” unit set up to plug information leaks, and then as a strategist for the president’s re-election campaign, Mr. Liddy helped devise plots to discredit Nixon “enemies” and to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out.

 

But Mr. Liddy, a former F.B.I. agent, and E. Howard Hunt, a former C.I.A. agent, engineered two break-ins at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington. On May 28, 1972, as Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt stood by, six Cuban expatriates and James W. McCord Jr., a Nixon campaign security official, went in, planted bugs, photographed documents, and got away cleanly.


A few weeks later, on June 17, four Cubans and Mr. McCord, wearing surgical gloves and carrying walkie-talkies, returned to the scene and were caught by the police. Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt, running the operation from a Watergate hotel room, fled but were soon arrested and indicted on charges of burglary, wiretapping, and conspiracy.

In the context of 1972, with Mr. Nixon’s triumphal visit to China and a steam-rolling presidential campaign that soon crushed the Democrat, Senator George S. McGovern, the Watergate case looked inconsequential at first. Mr. Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, dismissed it as a “third-rate burglary.”

But it deepened a White House cover-up that had begun in 1971, when Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt broke into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, looking for damaging information on him. Over the next two years, the cover-up unraveled under the pressure of investigations, trials, hearings, and headlines into the worst political scandal — and the first resignation by a sitting president — in the nation’s history.

 

Unlike the other Watergate defendants, Mr. Liddy refused to testify about his activities for the White House or the Committee to Re-elect the President and drew the longest term among those who went to prison. He was sentenced by Judge John J. Sirica to 6 to 20 years but served only 52 months. President Jimmy Carter commuted his term in 1977.

“I have lived as I believed I ought to have lived,” Mr. Liddy, a small dapper man with a baldish pate and a brushy mustache, told reporters after his release. He said he had no regrets and would do it again. “When the prince approaches his lieutenant, the proper response of the lieutenant to the prince is, ‘Fiat voluntas tua,’” he said, using the Latin of the Lord’s Prayer for “Thy will be done.”

Disbarred from law practice and in debt for $300,000, mostly for legal fees, Mr. Liddy began a new career as a writer. His first book, “Out of Control,” (1979) was a spy thriller. He later wrote another novel, “The Monkey Handlers” (1990), and a nonfiction book, “When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country” (2002). He also co-wrote a guide to fighting terrorism, “Fight Back! Tackling Terrorism, Liddy Style” (2006), and produced many articles on politics, taxes, health, and other matters.

In 1980, he broke his silence on Watergate with his autobiography, “Will.” The reviews were mixed, but it became a best seller. After years of revelations by other Watergate conspirators, there was little new in it about the scandal, but critics said his account of prison life was graphic. A television movie based on the book was aired in 1982 by NBC.

Mr. Liddy found himself in demand on the college lecture circuit. In 1982 he teamed with Timothy Leary, the 1960s LSD guru, for campus debates that were edited into a documentary film, “Return Engagement.” The title referred to an encounter in 1966, when Mr. Liddy, as a prosecutor in Dutchess County, N.Y., joined a raid on a drug cult in which Mr. Leary was arrested.

In the 1980s, Mr. Liddy dabbled in acting, appearing on “Miami Vice” and in other television and film roles. But he was better known later as a syndicated talk-radio host with a right-wing agenda. “The G. Gordon Liddy Show,” begun in 1992, was carried on hundreds of stations by Viacom and later Radio America, with satellite hookups and internet streaming. It ran until his retirement in 2012. He lived in Fort Washington, Md.

Mr. Liddy, who promoted nutritional supplements and exercised, was still trim in his 70s. He made parachute jumps, took motorcycle trips, collected guns, played the piano, and sang lieder. His website showed him craggy-faced with head held high, an American flag, and the Capitol dome in the background.

Mr. Nixon, furious over the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, had directed Mr. Ehrlichman to set up the “plumbers” to plug leaks and punish opponents. Among other operations, Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt, who were in charge of the unit, broke into the Beverly Hills office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis Fielding, for material to discredit the military analyst. They found none.

When the group was disbanded in 1971, Mr. Liddy went to work for the Nixon campaign. His title was general counsel, but his role was to plot more dirty tricks under a code name, “Gemstone.” They included kidnapping radicals who might disrupt the Republican convention, sabotaging the air-conditioning at the Democratic convention in Miami, hiring prostitutes to entrap Democrats with hidden cameras, and killing the syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, whom Mr. Liddy viewed as a national security risk.

But only the Watergate burglaries were carried out. It was a piece of tape over the lock on a garage-level door that tripped up the burglars. A security guard called the police, and a crackling walkie-talkie in Mr. Liddy’s hotel room told the tale:

“It looks like … guns!” one burglar whispered. “They’ve got guns. It’s trouble.”

The team’s lookout, in a motel across the street, broke in: “Now I can see our people. They’ve got their hands up. Must be the cops. More cops now. Uniforms …”

“They got us!”

It was all over. Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt went home. It was 3 a.m. when Mr. Liddy got in, and his wife awoke. “Anything wrong?” she asked.

“There was trouble,” he said. “Some people got caught. I’ll probably be going to jail.”

George Gordon Battle Liddy was born on Nov. 30, 1930, in Brooklyn to Sylvester J. and Maria (Abbaticchio) Liddy. He grew up in Hoboken, N.J., a fearful boy with respiratory problems who learned to steel himself with tests of willpower. He lifted weights, ran, and, as he recalled, held his hand over a flame as an act of self-discipline. He said he once ate a rat to overcome a repulsion and decapitated chickens for a neighbor until he could kill like a soldier, “efficiently and without emotion or thought.”

Like his father, a lawyer, Gordon attended all-male St. Benedict’s Prep School in Newark and Fordham University in the Bronx. After graduating from Fordham in 1952, he took an Army commission with hopes of fighting in Korea but was assigned to an antiaircraft radar unit in Brooklyn. In 1954, he returned to Fordham and earned a law degree three years later.

In 1957, he married Frances Ann Purcell. The couple had five children. Along with his son Thomas and daughter Alexandra, he is survived by another daughter, Grace Liddy; two other sons, James Liddy and Raymond J. Liddy; a sister, Margaret McDermott; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Mr. Liddy’s wife died in 2010.

From 1957 to 1962, Mr. Liddy was an F.B.I. field agent in Indianapolis, Gary, Ind., and Denver, and a supervisor of crime records in Washington. He then worked in patent law for his father’s firm in New York for four years. He joined the Dutchess County district attorney’s office as an assistant prosecutor in 1966.

In 1968, he began a dizzying, three-year rise from obscurity in Poughkeepsie to the White House. Challenging Hamilton Fish Jr. in a primary for the Republican nomination for Congress in what was then New York’s 28th District, he fell short, but his consolation prize was to take charge of the Nixon campaign in the mid-Hudson Valley, which the president won handily.

His reward was a job at the Treasury Department in Washington as a special assistant for narcotics and gun control. He helped develop the sky marshal program to counteract hijackers. Impressed, Egil Krogh, a deputy assistant to the president, recommended him in 1971 to John N. Mitchell, the attorney general, who recommended him to John D. Ehrlichman, the president’s domestic policy adviser.

 

By Robert D. McFadden for the New York Times

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Walker Lee Breland

Walker Lee Breland

November 30, 1935 - March 28, 2021

Dr. Walker Lee Breland, 85, husband of June Starr Price Breland, passed away on Palm Sunday, March 28, after a courageous 14 year battle with Parkinson's disease.


Walker, a native of Walterboro, SC, began playing music by ear in his elementary school years. Learning to read music came next, where he traveled to Charleston to take piano and organ lessons from Vernon Weston. A graduate of Walterboro High School, he served as drum major and accompanied various choral groups. Walker received a full scholarship to Furman University, where he served as the accompanist for the Furman Singers. After graduating from Furman, he married his high school sweetheart, June Price Breland, and served in the U.S. Army.


Walker pursued his Ph.D. in sacred music from Indiana University. While in graduate school, he served as organist of North Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana. Walker served as a professor of music at Columbia College, Columbia, SC from 1965-1972. Each summer, he led educational tours for his students all throughout Europe. While living in Columbia, Walker served as the organist of Cayce UMC and Trenholm Road UMC.


In 1972, Walker moved to Tennessee to work as a professor of music at the University of TN at Chattanooga. He led the Madrigal Singers and taught one of his favorites, a Survey of Jazz, as well as organ instruction. Walker chaired various committees including the Academic Affairs and Athletic Committees. He retired from UTC in 2004 after serving 32 years. Walker was a popular professor amongst the student body---it would not be unusual for former students to greet him while out and about in Chattanooga with his family, and remark that "they love jazz or classical music" because of his course at UTC.


While in Chattanooga, Walker served as the organist for First Centenary UMC, for 25 years. Upon retirement, he was named Organist Emeritus. Walker was encouraged to record a CD of his most requested organ pieces. One, in particular, the Fifth Organ Symphony in F, Op 42 #1, by Charles-Marie Widor, was always played on Easter services annually. This same recording was featured in his youngest granddaughter's wedding recessional when he was not able to play due to his Parkinson's disease. He was a gifted musician, who not only played the notes proficiently but allowed the Holy Spirit to infill his work, which he played to the glory of God. One of the honors of his life was to serve as the President of the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, in its early years of inception. Walker was proud of the offerings of all genres of music to the wider Chattanooga community and the many lasting friendships he made along the way.


Walker and June were fortunate to travel the world together before his Parkinson's diagnosis and loved spending time with their four grandchildren.


He is survived by his wife of 61 years, June of Charleston SC; daughters: Beth Breland Snyder (Greg) of Johns Island, SC and Melanie Breland Hembree (Wade) of Milton, Ga; four grandchildren: Rachel Snyder Miller (Luke) of Knoxville, TN, Sarah Snyder Brown (Cary) of Myrtle Beach, SC, and Walker and Will Hembree of Milton, GA; one great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Frances Miller; and his sister, Irene Stokes (Don) of Dunwoody, GA. Additionally, Walker is survived by his extended family, sister-in-law, Judy Rembert Price of Simpsonville, SC; nieces and nephew, Paige Price McCluskey (Chris) of Anderson, SC, Rachael Price Garcia (Charles) of Simpsonville, SC and Becky and Jimmy Halford, of Atlanta, GA.


Walker was predeceased by his parents, Julius Earl Breland and Reba Walker Breland, of Walterboro, SC.

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Elaine Baxter

Elaine Baxter

January 16, 1933 - March 26, 2021

Burlington - Elaine Bland Baxter of Burlington, who helped blaze a trail for women in Iowa state politics, died March 26, following a brief illness, at Great River Hospice House in West Burlington. Elaine was born on January 16, 1933, in Chicago, IL. She was the daughter of Clarence and Margaret Bland. On October 2, 1954, she married Harry Youngs Baxter of Burlington in Oak Park, IL. Harry preceded her in death in 2013, following 58 years of marriage. Elaine received a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Illinois in 1954 and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa in 1978. She also received graduate training at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Following graduation from the University of Illinois, Elaine and Harry resided in San Francisco, CA for three years and then moved to Burlington. Under the guidance of her mother-in-law Kate, Elaine embraced Burlington, its history, and its families. Kate and Ray Baxter encouraged Elaine's involvement with the local Democratic party. This led to many years of volunteer work and ultimately public office. In 1973, Elaine became the first woman elected to the Burlington City Council, serving 2 terms. During this time, she initiated the effort to save and restore the Port of Burlington building and, in 1976, served as Chairperson of Burlington Steamboat Days.

After completing graduate school, she was appointed as a Congressional Liaison at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC. In 1980, she returned to Burlington and was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives for the 60th District (1983-'86.) She subsequently was elected as Iowa's Secretary of State, serving 2 terms (1986-'94).

Her statewide appointments included the Iowa Humanities Board, Iowa State Lottery Board, Mississippi River Parkway Commission Board, Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance, and Terrace Hill Society Foundation Board.

Elaine was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2006 and quickly became an advocate for improving the quality of life for Parkinson's patients. For the remainder of her life, she continued to be involved in civic and political activities. In 2016, she was named Outstanding Elected Official by the Iowa Democratic Party. Her other interests included historic preservation and gardening and she took great pleasure in renovating her North Hill home and garden and opening them for others' enjoyment.

Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Arlene. She is survived by her 3 children-- Katherine (Kate) Anderson (Art) of Dallas, TX, Harry of Miami Beach, FL, and John of New York, NY, her grandchildren, John and Will Anderson of Dallas and two nieces; Karen Varnhagen of San Francisco, CA and Sarah Brown of Coeur d'Alene, ID.

The family wishes to thank Nola DeBerg and her team for their dedicated caregiving over the past several years, which gave Elaine the blessing of continuing to reside at her home.

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Sandra Woods

Sandra Woods

September 15, 1941 - March 20, 2021

Remembering the names of elementary school teachers presents a challenge for most adults. Recalling the name of an elementary principal is a test few could pass.

Unless that principal is Sandra Woods, who made a big impact at North Star West Elementary from 1994 to 2004. Woods spearheaded a contest for students to rename the school after a prominent Black American, Lucy Craft Laney, who founded the first school for Black children in Augusta, Ga.

Sherome Milon of Bloomington benefited from Woods' leadership while he was a student at Lucy Laney from first to eighth grade in the late 1990s. "She always told us we'd be future college graduates," he said. "As a kid in the inner city, I told myself I was going to be one too. Her stressing academics motivated me to go to college. Now I'm teaching school and getting my master's degree."

Woods, 79, died March 20 of complications from Parkinson's disease.

She grew up in Roanoke, Va., and went to college at a historically Black school, Central State University in Ohio. Education and good grades were important to her. She and a dozen of her teen friends formed a group calling themselves the Debonnaires or Debs. All were smart, graduating in the top 20% of their class. "We competed with each other to see who could get the best grades," said Pat Moore Harbour of Suffolk, Va.

Getting advanced degrees brought Woods to the University of Minnesota, where she was reunited with Delta Sigma Theta sorority sister Gertrude Barwick of Brooklyn Park, who also became a principal. "Our students came from poverty, but we still insisted on high standards for them," she said.

Woods adopted a program originated by Dr. James Comer, a professor of psychiatry at Yale Child Study Center. Its teachings encompassed the needs of the whole child, and working with a child's family was integral. "If a child's environment isn't working at home, it's not going to work at school," Barwick said.

That meant bringing together parents, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, a City Councilmember, police in the north Minneapolis community and the YMCA and YWCA. It worked. Lucy Laney's test scores in science and reading outscored other Minneapolis schools not using the Comer model, according to Beverly Probst, a special projects coordinator at Lucy Laney in the 1990s. "If a parent needed housing or a job, that's where I helped," she said.

Woods insisted that teachers send notes home for parents to sign that highlighted their child's good work. Tim Yurecko started as a new teacher at Lucy Laney when Woods was principal. "The biggest thing she taught me was to build strong relationships with students and families," he said. "Twenty years later I still have contact with students I taught 20 years ago, thanks to Sandra."

Her teaching continued after she developed Parkinson's. "She was always reaching out to others, asking how they were doing and what they were learning," said Rose Wichmann, director at Struthers Parkinson's Center in Golden Valley.

Longtime friend and caregiver Roderic Southall of Golden Valley described Woods as "a changemaker who lived to make the world better."

Before she retired in 2004, Woods was an English teacher, an administrator at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and vice president of the Minneapolis Urban League.

She is survived by daughters Sydnee Woods of St. Louis Park and Kimberley Jordan of Williamsburg, Va., and brother Ronald Jones of Roanoke. A virtual memorial service will be held on April 16.

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In Memoriam
Roald William Schroeder
In Memoriam

Roald William Schroeder

July 13, 1932 - March 14, 2021

Roald William Schroeder was born on July 13, 1932, and passed away on March 14, 2021, and is under the care of Trident Society - Central California

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Ralph Rodley Jr

Ralph Rodley Jr

June 11, 1954 - March 13, 2021

Ralph Rodley, Jr. was a retired conductor of Union Pacific Railroad (formerly Southern Pacific) who passed away on Saturday, March 13, 2021.

Originally hired out on the SP in Dunsmuir, California, Ralph finished his career in the Los Angeles service unit as a Crest Conductor at City of Industry in 2014. He was a member of Peer Support as well as Local 240.

Ralph or “Ralphie” or “JR” as he was fondly known, was born in McCloud, California on June 11, 1954, to Beverly and Ralph Rodley. He grew up in Dunsmuir where he played some high school sports, worked for his Father at Rodley Motors as well as for the lumber mill and eventually the railroad. He even had his real estate license and enjoyed flipping houses. He was a member of the Dunsmuir Lions where he was the youngest President.

After getting married, Ralph and Sandy moved to Covina, California. He was a devoted father and volunteered on the board of Covina American Little League, and even after the kids had gotten too old to play, he became President for 2 years so the program could continue. 

He had many passions some of which were going to all kinds of swap meets, restoring old cars, he loved woodworking, building, and creating in his shop. He loved the art of finding the “deal.” If he knew someone needed something he would set out to find that item and then get the best deal for it. He was always busy doing something for someone or starting a new project. He was the neighborhood fix-it guy.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 42 years, Sandy (Kline), and their children Vanessa (Jennifer), Justin, and Halle (Robert), and 4 grandchildren; Daniel, Andrew, Ella, and Ryan. He is survived by his sister Patricia and many cousins, Rail brothers, friends, and extended family as well as his beloved furry family.

He was a rock, a warrior, and never gave up hope. He lived with Parkinson’s disease for over 16 years and passed away from complications caused by it. In his memory his family would love it if you could make a contribution to the Ralph Rodley Memorial at Parkinson’s Resource Organization: 74090 El Paseo, Suite 104, Palm Desert, Ca. 92260.

 

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Christian A Soe

Christian A Soe

May 4, 1936 - March 12, 2021

Professor Christian Soe, a member of the Department of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach since 1967, passed away peacefully on March 12, 2021. Christian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1999. He fought the advance of PD by exercising his body and his brain until just before his death with Parkinson’s but not from Parkinson’s on March 12, 2021, just before his 85th birthday. He lived a long, fulfilling life, was an excellent husband and father, had a great career in research, was a gifted teacher, and got to work at what he loved. 

He was an extraordinarily well-loved colleague, friend, teacher, and researcher, and his loss is mourned by his wide-ranging community of friends and family. An expert on German politics, particularly on German political parties and the special role of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), he taught courses on Western European politics, comparative politics, political theory, and American politics until his retirement as professor emeritus in 2006. 

Soe was born in Denmark in 1936. Following the second world war, Soe’s widowed mother moved the family to British Columbia, where he completed high school. He completed his B.A. degree in political science at the University of British Columbia, after specialized studies at the University of Michigan, McGill University (advanced French), and Middlebury College (advanced Russian). Deciding to pursue an academic career, he attended the Free University of Berlin for his graduate studies, receiving his Ph.D. summa cum laude in 1972. 

Apart from his research specialization on German liberalism, Soe published works on a number of other topics, including Danish-German relations, Denmark during the second world war, the practice of direct democracy in California, neoliberalism in Canada and the U.S., and more. In the wider discipline, he was perhaps best known for editing twenty-five consecutive annually revised editions of Comparative Politics (McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, Inc., 1983-2007), the most widely used anthology for introductory courses on comparative politics in the American academy. 

But it was in his specialization of German politics that Søe made his deepest and most important mark as a political scientist and scholar. After publishing his doctoral dissertation on the Der Spiegel Affair, he authored eleven book chapters and journal articles on German politics, most of them on German liberalism and the FDP. He co-authored several more book chapters in edited volumes. He also published nine entries on German liberalism and German liberal political leaders in the two-volume Modern Germany (Garland Publishing, 1998). In addition, Søe co-edited six influential books on German politics, German political parties, and German foreign policy. As an internationally known leading scholar on the special role of the FDP in German politics, Søe’s work on Germany’s political party system and the FDP both preceded and followed the stunningly rapid transformation of German politics via the country’s reunification in 1989. He also presented more than fifty scholarly papers and/or scholarly lectures at professional conferences and similar venues in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden.

Soe’s distinguished scholarship was enhanced by his wide-ranging and frequent travels to observe German politics in action. In recognition of his expertise, he was an invited observer of eight consecutive Bundestag elections in Germany, from 1980 to 2005. The first seven of these were organized and sponsored by the German government’s Information and Press Office. The eighth (2005) was organized and sponsored by the U.K.-based Association for the Study of German Politics and the U.S.-based German Studies Association. Soe was also an invited observer of the first free election to the Volkskammer in East Germany in March 1990. As an invited member of these election observer teams, Soe met with and came to know multiple political leaders, scholars, and influential journalists from all shades of German politics. 

Through these wide-ranging friendships and professional contacts, he was able to organize a very influential series of six bi-annual Pacific Workshops on German Affairs that were held on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. These were three-day events, beginning in 1983 and until 2001 (a period during which Germany went through some of the most consequential changes in the last half of the twentieth century), bringing together scholars on German affairs from throughout the world, including some of Germany’s leading scholars of politics. Søe organized and hosted the workshops virtually on his own, and did the fund-raising as well, garnering enough funds to bring all the scholars on the program to the event at no cost to themselves. The Soe family often opened their home to traveling scholars, journalists, and political leaders from Germany and other European locales who were spending time in southern California. He was a consummate host: gregarious, generous, and thoughtful, and enjoyed nothing more than talking about politics and ideas until late in the night. In addition to his scholarship, Soe contributed to a broad range of professional associations and organizations. 

Soe also provided an extraordinary amount of service to the Department of Political Science at California State University, as well as to the college and university as a whole. He was an immensely hard-working and gifted teacher, and students from the first year to graduate levels appreciated his talent for wrapping political knowledge into stories seen from a human and humane perspective. Unusually available for office hour consultations, he would work tirelessly with students, trying to help them improve their academic skills, as well as their life coping skills. His colleagues also benefitted consistently from Christian’s generous spirit and expertise as a teacher and scholar, and he provided mentorship to a number of junior colleagues throughout his career on the campus.

Christian Soe is survived by his wife of fifty years, Dr. Louise Soe, three adult children, and two grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

 

 

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In Memoriam
Anya Hoffman
In Memoriam

Anya Hoffman

April 3, 1935 - March 5, 2021

Anya Hoffman passed away on March 5, 2021, from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. She died as she lived, a fighter to the end, always prepared to take on the challenges that life presented her and to enjoy its pleasures to the fullest. She was born on April 3, 1935, In the Bronx, New York, the youngest child of Samuel Hoffman and Rose Saidel Hoffman, who had immigrated in the early 1900s from the part of Russia now known as Belarus. Her siblings, May Hoffman Radding, Edith Hoffman Barry, and Benjamin Hoffman all preceded her in death.  None of the Hoffman sisters used the names on their birth certificates! May was initially Mildred; Edith was Ida, and Anya was originally Ethel. She changed her name in her 40’s, as she began to more fully manifest the powerhouse woman she hadn’t been able to fully express before.  

Though she was the baby of the family, she was independent at an early age. She told stories of navigating the subway from the age of 7 to visit the museums and libraries of Manhattan on her own (though this might have been as much the result of being insufficiently supervised, as much as her independence)!  Her father died when she was just a girl, and when she was 16 her mother died as well. She then lived with her sister Edith‘s family until she married Herb Biskar.  

Anya & Herb welcomed their three children into their family: Jonathan, Sanford, and Paul Biskar, (married to Anne Marie). Being the Mom to three extremely energetic & curious boys was a handful. She once told the story of a time when she took the boys on a train trip to San Diego, and by the time they arrived, the dress she was wearing was so destroyed she had to throw it away! But their home was always lively, interesting, and full of love. In 1972 they moved with their children to Portland, Oregon. 

Anyone who knew Anya was familiar with her wry, irreverent sense of humor. She usually took the opportunity to try on a crazy hat and was known to hang a spoon on her nose at a family dinner. But mostly she could find the funny in any situation, and her laughter would fill the room. Though not a traditionally observant Jew, Anya embraced her cultural heritage. She famously hosted a large and hilarious family Chanukah party for many years, presiding over the event with an Auntie Mame-inspired cigarette holder in hand. She could shop! Somehow she always found the $80 item for $7.50, and she could take some forgotten and forlorn item, bring it home, and place it in the perfect location to make it look like a million bucks.

Anya had the creative sensibilities of an artist. Her beautifully decorated home was always warm and welcoming, filled with treasures she collected from around the world.  She was an excellent and intuitive cook. When you thought there was nothing in the refrigerator to eat, she could pull out a few things and create a delicious meal you didn’t imagine was possible. She always had some creative project she was working on, whether it was knitting a sweater, re-finishing a cabinet, making jewelry, or tending her plants. She had such a green thumb that she graduated from the Landscape Technology Department at Portland Community College, developed an interior landscape business, and co-authored a book, Green Plants For Gray Days. She was always ready for adventure, and traveled widely in Europe, Asia, Mexico, and the U.S., collecting beautiful artifacts and memories along the way. She appreciated music, dance, and theater, and even when ticket prices were prohibitive, she found a way — by volunteering as an usher.

She was a champion of progressive causes. She worked in the labor movement, made her voice heard at protest marches, supported progressive candidates, and engaged in passionate discussions about politics throughout her life.      

A woman of many interests, she earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Evergreen College in 1981 and then opened a psychotherapy practice. In addition to traditional talk therapy, she studied Neo-Reichian therapy, Bioenergetics, hypnotherapy, and massage. Through these professional pursuits, she also met an extraordinary group of women, who established a group to discuss clinical cases with each other. This group evolved over the years into an incredibly rich network of friendships that, even after many of them had retired from practice, continued to sustain and support them all for 40 years. Though grieving the loss of Anya, the group continues. The same qualities she used in her practice of psychotherapy — empathy and a willingness to tell the truth — also made her a reliable source of support to family and friends.

In 1984, some years after divorcing Herb, Anya moved to the Washington D.C. area, where she met Ernest Culman, whose warmth and kindness won her heart. They married in 1992.  As was her way, she made many more friends. She also established other branches of her career. Working for the Jewish Community Center, she worked with seniors, planning events and organizing field trips. In addition, she ran support groups for divorced women for a number of years. She took specialized courses on exercise for elders with arthritis and then conducted classes, keeping her students motivated by creating her musical playlists using hits from their younger years. Running around from senior center to senior center, teaching up to a dozen classes a week also kept her in shape.  In 2016 Anya and Ernie moved back to Portland, not long after Anya’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s; and then in 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, they moved once again to Palm Desert, California. 

Anya is survived by her husband, her three sons and their families, several nieces and nephews, a granddaughter and a grandniece, and innumerable friends.  She will be sorely missed.

 

Remembering Anya Hoffman

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Walter Gretzky

Walter Gretzky

October 8, 1938 - March 4, 2021

Walter Gretzky, the father of hockey great Wayne Gretzky who built a backyard rink to improve his son’s hockey skills as a child and later appeared with him in commercials died on March 4. He was 82. Wayne Gretzky confirmed that his father had Parkinson’s disease and other health problems.

Walter Gretzky became a name himself, a constant in Wayne’s world, beginning in their hometown of Brantford, Ontario. As Wayne’s star ascended, Walter remained a blue-collar symbol of a devoted hockey parent in a country filled with them. The two were also often intertwined, their father-son story used in commercials from Tim Hortons restaurants to Coca-Cola. Mr. Gretzky’s celebrity status increased after making a remarkable recovery from a stroke suffered in 1991. His story was told in a 2001 autobiography and a 2005 made-for-TV movie. His immigrant parents — a Polish mother and Russian father — started a vegetable farm in 1932 in Canning, Ontario, on the Nith River, where Wayne learned to skate when he was 2.

Walter Gretzky was born Oct. 8, 1938, in Canning and played hockey throughout his youth and teens but did not play professionally. He and his wife, Phyllis Hockin, were married in 1960. She died in 2005. Wayne Gretzky was the oldest of their five children. One of his younger brothers, Brent, briefly played in the NHL.

In 1961, the same year Wayne was born, Walter Gretzky fractured his skull in a work accident as a Bell lineman. He spent some time in a coma, lost the hearing in his left ear, and was off work for 18 months. He eventually transferred to another Bell department and became an installer/repairman. When Wayne was 4, Mr. Gretzky turned the backyard of their Brantford home into a rink. He recruited older kids for Wayne to practice against and found him a spot on a team of 10-year-olds when he was 6.

“You knew he was good at his age at what he was doing,” Mr. Gretzky said in 2016. “But to say that one day he’d do what he did, you couldn’t say that. Nobody could.”

Wayne recalled crying after his first year of hockey when he didn’t receive a trophy at the end of the season.

“Wayne, keep practicing and one day you’re going to have so many trophies we’re not going to have room for them all,” his father said.

Walter drove one old blue Chevy station wagon after another — calling each the Blue Goose. After Wayne succeeded in the National Hockey League, he bought his parents a blue Cadillac for their 25th wedding anniversary. Walter Gretzky was a much sought-after banquet speaker and was a national spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He was named to the Order of Canada in 2007. In 2010, Walter Gretzky carried the Olympic torch before the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Games in Vancouver, where Wayne lit the Olympic flame.

Mr. Gretzky was 53 when he suffered his stroke, just a few months into retirement after 34 years at Bell. He slowly recovered much of his lost memory. He later worked with youth hockey groups and became an avid golfer. In addition to his children, survivors include numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Remembering Walter Gretzky

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Contact Us

Address
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
info@parkinsonsresource.org

 

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Updated: August 16, 2017