The Memorial Wall

Raymond ‘Ray’ Elmore Semrow

Raymond ‘Ray’ Elmore Semrow

March 6, 1941 - February 15, 2024

Raymond “Ray” Elmore Semrow passed away from Parkinson’s on February 15, 2024, in Waukesha. Ray was born in Vernon, WI on March 6, 1941, to Elmore and Clara Semrow.

Ray is survived by his two daughters, Michele (Wakeen) Brown of Anchor Point, AK, and JoDee Semrow of Albuquerque, N.M. He is also survived by his ex-wife, Audrey Semrow of Albuquerque, N.M. He was a proud grandfather of four grandchildren, Nicholas (Katie) Chapman and Mikhayla Chapman of Wasilla, AK; Logan Glenn(LaVan) of Palmer, AK; and Ethan Chapman of Bozeman, MT. He also loved his four great-grandchildren, Ryder Chapman, Lily Chapman, Dawson Chapman and Avi Glenn. He is further survived by his two brothers Robert Semrow and Alfred (Gloria) Semrow as well as his brother-in-law Richard Willgrubs. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews who were very special to him.

Ray was preceded in death by his father, Elmore; mother, Clara; stepfather, Joe Miller; sisters Joyce(Jim) Olson and Mary Semrow; sister-in-law Nadeane Semrow; nephew Rick Semrow; and niece Heidi Werginz.

Ray served in the U.S. Navy from 1961-1965 on the USS-WASP and received an honorable discharge. Ray went on to work at Cooper Power Systems in Waukesha for over 25 years. He was also a volunteer firefighter for many years at Big Bend Vernon Fire Department and was a faithful member of the Catholic Church in Big Bend. Some of the things he liked to do were: bowling, playing sheepshead, gambling at the casinos, and playing pool. He was a wonderful father, always willing to pick up a pool cue, ping pong paddle or softball and playing games with his daughters. He also enjoyed traveling to Alaska to play with his grandkids.

Remembering Raymond ‘Ray’ Elmore Semrow

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Thomas Boyd

Thomas Boyd

January 1, 1934 - February 13, 2024

Thomas Boyd didn’t learn how to read until he was in Lufkin High School in 1948. It was then his teachers found out he had dyslexia. Due to this, Tom, as friends and family called him, grew to love playing outside rather than staying at school.

Seeing he wasn’t learning very much, his mother read to him and taught him about language through poetry and storytelling. 

“This was the (academic) secret to Tom Boyd. His inability to read until he was in high school forced him into memorizing,” Barbara Boyd, Tom’s wife, said. “Then he became a master storyteller.”

Later on, Tom became an OU philosophy and religious studies professor, a public speaker, writer, preacher and a very well-loved member of the OU community.

On Feb. 13, Tom died from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 90. A memorial service is scheduled for March 23 at the First Presbyterian Church in Norman, a place where he and his wife used to preach.

Family members and colleagues reflect on Tom’s life and the many achievements he accomplished. A loving father, an affectionate husband and an esteemed colleague who never stopped caring for others.

Tom had a very positive childhood, Barbara said. He had a special relationship with his parents and was close to his two brothers. 

“This family was so full of laughter,” Barbara said. “They laughed and told stories. They would fall on the floor and roll.”

His family lived in Nashville, Tennessee, until Tom was 13. He moved to Texas for a year to live with his grandparents while his dad built a house in Lufkin, Texas, where he would live until he went to college.

At the age of 15, Tom started preaching. Raised in a Nazarene household, Tom was always drawn to religion and philosophy. 

While the Nazarene religion prevented him from doing activities such as going to the movie theater or playing games like dominoes, Barbara said this environment never affected Tom.

“I asked him if that scarred him many times,” Barbara said. “The reason why it never scarred him to be reared in such a conservative environment was because his parents were so loving, … (their) world was full of bike rides and picnics.”

After graduating high school in 1956, Tom moved to Oklahoma to attend Bethany Nazarene College, now known as Southern Nazarene University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1960 and later his master's at OU in 1962.

After getting his master's, Tom was part of a one-year philosophy fellowship at Yale University, which Barbara said changed his view of religion. Having been raised with more conservative views, Barbara said, after attending Yale, Tom began to call himself a “bleeding heart liberal.”

At Yale, Barbara said he was put in the hands of some of the world’s best philosophers, which turned his world upside down as he questioned a lot of his own beliefs. 

“(Tom) began to behave very differently and think very differently,” Barbara said. “During that time, he realized he could no longer be a Nazarene.” 

As a very religious man, Tom began to look into a more open-minded and liberal denomination and chose the Presbyterian religion.

After his fellowship at Yale, Tom attended Vanderbilt University and got his doctorate in philosophy of religion in 1973. He also became ordained as a Presbyterian at Vanderbilt.

Tom started teaching philosophy at OU in 1969, while he was still working on his dissertation for his doctorate.

As Tom was used to public speaking due to his preaching, Katrina Boyd, Tom’s daughter and a film and media studies professor at OU, said his philosophy classes were very popular and dynamic. As time passed, the number of students kept increasing in his classes to eventually having 400 students in his Introduction to Philosophy course.

Tom first married in 1955 to Beverly Walker and divorced in 1975. They had two children, Katrina and Timothy “Kyle” Boyd.

Growing up, Katrina said Tom was very popular among students who would always come up and talk to him. 

“I’m a professor now. Students will come up and say, ‘I had your class, I enjoyed it.’ But with my dad, they’d come up (hold out their hand) and say ‘Dr. Boyd, you’ve changed my life,'” Katrina said.

When she was a kid, Katrina said Tom was a movie fanatic and would take her to the movie theater every Friday night. 

“My dad grew up very strictly in the Nazarene church and was not allowed to go see movies at all. He didn't see his first movie until graduate school (when) he was in his 20s,” Katrina said. “My parents had been so censored that they didn't censor us very much.”

Because Tom was a philosophy professor at the time, Katrina said Tom would find any interesting detail about the movie they watched on Fridays and use it for his lectures to keep his students engaged with the class.

Tom could talk about anything in his lectures and keep his students engaged. Barbara said Tom’s classes were casual and he made an impression on everyone, often teaching in a pair of blue jeans, a jean jacket and bingo boots.

Barbara and Tom's relationship started in the summer of 1979 when the two saw each other during a 4th of July party, which also happened to be Tom’s birthday, something that Barbara didn’t know at the time. 

“We ended up in a conversation. I was supposed to be the host of this party. It was between 11 (p.m.) and midnight when I looked up and there was nobody left from the party,” Barbara said. “Everybody was gone. I never even knew when they left because Tom and I were so engrossed in this conversation. … That was the beginning”

The couple married in May 1980 and were married for 44 years. 

Barbara said they had a very happy marriage. The couple would go on hiking and backpacking trips during the summers and talk to each other for hours, always in the company of each other. Barbara said those were some of the things that made their marriage stronger.

“A lot of people over the years say, ‘How are you and Tom doing this? What makes y’all able to click like that?’ And it is talking,” Barbara said. “I think that's what built such a strong marriage because we could just talk about everything, and we did. We had all the romance and all the love.”

Barbara said they decided to not have kids because she and Tom each had two kids from their previous marriages. This didn’t affect them or their family dynamic, she said, as the couple treated all four as their own.

Katrina said she and Tom had a great relationship. Even though her parents divorced when she was nine, Katrina said she would visit Tom and Barbara during the summers or throughout the year via train or airplane. She said she immediately felt a part of their renewed family. 

After working in the department of philosophy for 29 years, Tom decided to retire in 1996 when Barbara was offered a position as a head of staff pastor at a church in Aurora, Colorado.

The couple lived in Colorado for five years and moved to New Mexico for another year.

In 2002, then OU President David Boren, called the couple to come back and help develop the university’s religious studies program, with Barbara as the director of outreach and Tom lecturing and attracting students to the program.

“Tom and Barbara were kind of the godparents,” Thomas Burns, OU sociology professor and family friend, said. 

Burns met Tom at a faculty meeting in fall 2002. During that meeting, Burns said there was a disagreement among several of the members, but realized he and Tom were on the same side and shared the same points.

“I just felt his spirit and his energy and I thought, ‘Who is this guy?’” Burns said. “I stuck around after the meeting and introduced myself, and we started talking and getting acquainted for probably two hours.”

The two started what would be a very long and beautiful friendship. Over the years, Burns and Tom wrote several academic articles together and saw each other regularly until becoming best friends. 

Burns said Tom’s classes were very popular and saw how he acted as a mentor for several of his students. He said he was one of the most prepared and engaging professors he has seen. 

During his teaching career, Tom received nine teaching awards, including the Oklahoma Award for Teaching Excellence in 1996 and the David Ross Boyd Professor Emeritus of Philosophy. Tom wrote several articles and book chapters where he focused on religion and culture, including his book “Lusting for Infinity” in 2015 and “Where Wild Rivers Meet,” a fiction novel he co-authored with Barbara in 2020.

Tom also participated in the 2013 TEDxOU and the 2016 “Last Lecture” series, in which OU community leaders had the opportunity to reflect on their life lessons.

During this time, Tom preached at the First Baptist, First Christian, First Presbyterian and Memorial Presbyterian churches in Norman and almost all ministries on campus. He also preached in other states such as Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Hawaii and many others.

Burns said he attended Tom's sermons several times and pointed out the emotions Tom brought to preaching.

Barbara said he was a very active, passionate and well-delivered preacher.

“Tom was a giant personality. When he preached, he made you cry, he made you laugh, he made you think. You walked out with a moral lesson, there was no sermon he ever delivered that didn’t have a moral lesson in it,” Barbara said.

Tom and Barbara worked in the religious studies program for 11 years and retired in 2013 when they were 80 and 67, respectively. The couple moved to New Mexico where they lived for five years, before Tom’s Parkinson’s disease progressed.

“I'm glad that I made that decision because, if I kept on working, by the time I retired, Tom would have already been sick and we wouldn't have ever had those years to ourselves out our beloved mountains,” Barbara said. “I'm grateful it worked out that way.”

Barbara said Tom started showing small symptoms when he was in his 60s, but the couple didn’t pay attention to it until he was in his 70s, when they decided to get him a neurologist.

Barbara said they saw four different neurologists from his 70s to his 90s and his Parkinson's remained undiagnosed.

The couple kept backpacking and hiking, and while Tom still showed symptoms like vertigo or tremors, Barbara said she thinks the physical activity helped him as a form of physical therapy for the disease they didn’t know he had.

It wasn’t until, at 88, Tom went to the hospital for aspiration pneumonia and a bowel blockage that he was finally diagnosed and told he was in the fifth, and last, stage of Parkinson’s disease. 

The couple then decided to go back to Norman, where Katrina and all of his friends were.

Barbara said she always tried for him to keep doing physical activities and made sure he kept moving.

“We've got bicycles, and then he took a bad fall. So we got rid of those bicycles and got those recumbent bikes. We rode recumbent bikes for a couple of years,” Barbara said. “We had to quit backpacking. So what do we do? We started walking trails. Then when he began to stumble on trails, we stopped that and we found trails that were paved, and we just kept walking.

“Even when we moved here in Norman, … we would walk in this neighborhood and he literally pushed his walker around this block as long as he could, and then he just couldn’t do that.”

Barbara said even on the days he wasn’t feeling well, Tom kept trying to get out of bed and participating with his family and friends. 

Barbara said Burns went to their house every Sunday and visited Tom, where the pair would talk for hours. She said the two had a true friendship and considered them soul brothers.

After two-and-a-half years, Tom died on Feb. 13 after he contracted pneumonia. Barbara said it was their positive attitude and desire to keep living that gave him a long and very happy life.

“He was very loving, kind and generous with people,” Katrina said. “He would sit down and talk to anyone who approached him and give them his full attention.

Burns said he would love people to remember Tom as a peaceful warrior who brought out the best in people and knew how to find goodness in anyone he met. 

Tom's greatest achievement, Barbara said, was the legacy he left in the hearts of all the students, friends and audiences who got to meet him. It was his uniqueness and the love trail he had left behind.  

“He was probably the most engaging, warm, authentic human being that I've ever known. Most folks say that's their experience of Tom,” Barbara said. “It didn't matter their religion. It didn't matter their color. It didn't matter their gender preference. He counseled a lot of students when he was a professor. Why? They always knew that they could go to Dr. Tom Boyd."

Tom is survived by his wife, Barbara; his two children, Kyle and Katrina; his two stepdaughters, Heather Ford and Jennifer Pool; and his eight grandchildren. 

Remembering Thomas Boyd

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Larry Kripke

Larry Kripke

January 1, 1944 - February 13, 2024

Larry Kripke, founder of aluminum brokerage firm Kripke Enterprises Inc. (KEI), Toledo, Ohio, died this morning at the age of 80 after battling Parkinson's disease.

In an email shared by the company about his death, KEI describes Kripke as “not only a visionary in our industry but also a cherished husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend,” noting his “remarkable kindness, unwavering values and generous spirit” and the “indelible mark” he has left on his family, community, workplace and the industry.

Kripke began working in the recycled metals industry in the mid-1960s at Sherwin Metals in Toledo, where he joined his father, Sherwin, and brothers, Harley and Bobby, in the family’s recycled metals brokerage business. After graduating from the University of Michigan Business School in 1965, Kripke returned to Toledo and the family business. Under his leadership, Sherwin Metals merged with Tuschman Steel in 1976, forming Kripke-Tuschman Industries, with Kripke spearheading nonferrous operations.

Kripke-Tuschman merged with OmniSource Corp. in 1983, and Kripke eventually led the Ohio nonferrous trading group. He managed a secondary smelter, a copper granulating line, a hedging operation and numerous aluminum and copper operations before founding KEI in 1993, where his legacy of innovation and integrity continues, the company says.

His son, Matt Kripke, CEO of KEI, previously told Recycling Today one of the best lessons he learned from his father is that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. He credited his father's success as an entrepreneur and leader to this philosophy, adding that he loved his employees like family and treated them all with respect.

KEI says Kripke’s positive impact on those around him and his contributions to the industry will be remembered and cherished. “As we mourn the loss of a true pioneer, we also celebrate the incredible life and achievements of Larry Kripke. His spirit will forever be the foundation of our company, guiding us as we continue to honor his legacy in all that we do,” the company adds.

Remembering Larry Kripke

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Joan Jensen Peterson

Joan Jensen Peterson

May 11, 1941 - February 12, 2024

Sister Joan Jensen Peterson, wife of Elder Wayne S. Peterson, died Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, in Salt Lake City after enduring the effects of Parkinson’s disease. She was 82.

She served as a leader of the California Oakland Mission from 1985 to 1988, alongside her husband during his call as a General Authority Seventy from 2001 to 2007 and then as matron of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple from 2007 to 2010. The Petersons also served together over the Family and Church History Headquarters Mission for two years.

“Joan lived a life of service and sacrifice and exemplified the pure love of Christ. Throughout her life, she met challenges with trust in the Lord and faith in Him,” her obituary stated.

Joan Alice Jensen was born on May 11, 1941, the second of six children of Ronald Victor Jensen and Delores Schiess Jensen. Growing up on a dairy farm in Hyrum, Utah, she enjoyed taking care of the animals, riding horses and helping to care for her younger siblings. 

After graduating from South Cache High School, she attended Utah State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development and elementary education. While attending a dance, she met Wayne Peterson. She remarked to a friend, “Now, he would be nice to marry.”

They wrote to one another while Elder Peterson served a full-time mission to Australia and then continued their courtship upon his return. They were married in the Logan Utah Temple on July 20, 1962. The Petersons welcomed six children to their home: four daughters and two sons.

Blessed with a soprano voice, Sister Peterson loved to sing, read, play tennis, ski and cook. With her knowledge of childhood development, she enjoyed volunteering in many classrooms and served on the PTA board. She also served on the board of “Love Lights the Way” for the Cottonwood Healthcare Foundation and on the board for the Utah Governor’s Mansion Foundation.

Through the years, she served as a stake Relief Society counselor, and as a ward Relief Society president, Young Women counselor, Primary president and teacher. Wherever she served, she led in a gentle and loving way, her obituary noted.

She is survived by her husband of close to 62 years, Wayne Skeen Peterson; her children: Linda (David), Jill (Richard), Judith (Jim), David (Marcia), Kathryn (Mike), and Paul (Emily); her siblings Jon, Rosemary and Maureen; 25 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Ronald and Jeffrey, and one granddaughter, Ashley Peterson.

Remembering Joan Jensen Peterson

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Mark W. Nauman

Mark W. Nauman

January 16, 1949 - February 10, 2024

Mark W. Nauman, a lifelong resident of Kirkwood, Missouri, has died after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.  He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Vicky (Brennan) Nauman, son Aaron (Marissa Minkevich), grandchildren, Isabel, Tommy, and Zoe, and son Jason (Katie Rinck) and grandchildren, Brady, Quinn, and Harrison. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Wilma (Nowotny) Nauman, brother John and sister Ellen (Schroer).  

After growing up in the Greenbriar neighborhood, graduating from Kirkwood High School in 1967 and attending Southeast Missouri State University, he joined the Marines and was honorably discharged in 1974 with the rank of corporal as an Optical Instrument Repairman.  After his service he and his furry sidekick, Deacon, spent time in California where he met his future wife who also happened to be from Kirkwood.  His mother, Wilma Nauman, a kindergarten teacher at Keysor Elementary School for several decades and a Kirkwood School Board member, was persistent that her grandchildren attend Kirkwood schools. Mark and Vicky bought their first Kirkwood home as Aaron was starting kindergarten at … Keysor!  She did not live long enough to see Aaron and Jason graduate from KHS but would undoubtedly be pleased to know that all six of her great-grandchildren are Pioneers.

During his working life, Mark spent the longest period in the printing business, having worked at the Type House in Maplewood and Messenger Printing in DTK (Downtown Kirkwood).  He later became a salesman and office manager for Balfour, owned and operated by one of his oldest and closest friends Randy “R.T.” Thompson. Mark had no shortage of nicknames in his life so you may have known him as Darby, Snacks, and when he became a grandfather, “Boompa.” R.T. strongly encouraged it.

The corner of West Monroe and South Harrison was the epicenter of wiffle-ball, BBQ, cold beer and loud music. Very loud.  Mark Nauman did not listen to bad music.  He tended to stay in his swim-lane consisting of heavy doses of R&B, soul, funk, blues and rock.  Beatles or Stones? The Kinks, actually.  On any given Friday the turntable would spin Koko Taylor, the Radiators, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Graham Parker back-to-back. Who does that? Mark Nauman.  The last album that he listened to on his deathbed was “Yellow Moon” by the Neville Brothers. If you haven’t listened to it, he would highly recommend that one. Often the party would cross the Harrison Ave. Bridge to Tom and Anne’s because we never knew where Grandpa Brennan would show up.  Sometimes it was 241 W. Monroe, other times 118 S. Harrison. Countless meals together.  Cardinal’s baseball on the radio or TV.  That was growing up in Kirkwood in a nutshell.

Mark was fortunate to have the support of his brother-in-law, Tom Brennan III, during his battle with Parkinson’s who was selfless in helping transport him to appointments within the VA system.  Mark and his father-in-law, Tom Brennan Jr. (Grandpa), loved ribbing each other about their branches of the military, in between watching old westerns and enjoying each other’s company. Those two were very close, no doubt in part to Mark’s own father passing away at an early age. Mark had many childhood friends, nieces, nephews, who we hope will share stories for many years to come.

An obituary is an impossible task to capture everything a person has done or become in their life.  And writing one about your father conjures up a flood of emotions of what was and what could have been.  It was difficult to see someone who was once gregarious withdraw from his wide circle of family, friends, and interests as his stages of Parkinson’s grew worse. Remember him for the time you had together, not the extended pause in your communication. He cared about you whether he had an opportunity to tell you.

Remembering Mark W. Nauman

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Joe Louis Dudley Sr.

Joe Louis Dudley Sr.

January 1, 1938 - February 8, 2024

Joe Louis Dudley Sr., 86, a pioneer in the haircare industry, died Feb. 8.

As the New York Times reported, Dudley built an empire from his and his wife’s kitchen, eventually founding schools that trained generations of cosmetologists. Dudley’s business began as a family affair, he stirred the formulas in a steel drum with a large spatula while his wife, Eunice, created the labels. Their children screwed the tops on the bottles after the mixtures had cooled and set by the next morning. 

From those humble beginnings, the Dudleys took over S.B. Fuller’s business in Chicago. They had sold the company’s products while attending North Carolina A&T. The coupled moved the business to Greensboro and built a plant, which also sold Fuller products.

Dudley, like Fuller, was described as a sales evangelist and was also a man of deep Christian faith, often employing those who had been incarcerated or experienced drug problems. 

Dudley required his employees to open savings accounts and usually opened his sales meetings with repurposed popular songs or jingles. In 2009, while filming his documentary Good Hair, comedian Chris Rock journeyed to the Kernersville Dudley factory, where he learned about relaxer, a strong hair straightener.

The economics of the chemicals shocked Rock, who learned that a 7,000-pound vat of relaxer was worth around $18,000. Meanwhile, the camera panned to show the Dudley family mansion.

Dudley, named after the Black boxing legend Joe Louis, was born on May 9, 1937, in Aurora, NC, the fifth of 11 children. He stuttered as a child, which led to him being held back in the first grade; teachers called him “mentally retarded.”

His mother, Clara, encouraged her son to “prove them wrong, Joe. Prove them wrong,” a moment that drove Dudley throughout his life.

Lafayette Jones, the chairman emeritus of the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute, an association of Black manufacturers, told the Times that Dudley was “a leader among Black hair care royalty.”

In 1995, Dudley won the Horatio Alger Award, given to “leaders who have triumphed over adversity,” according to the organization. The other honorees that year were two legends in their field: music producer Quincy Jones and football coach Don Shula. 

Ahead of the recession, in 2007, a section of the Dudley haircare factory that manufactured 90% of its products, suffered a fire. Dudley’s daughter, Ursula Dudley Oglesby, a Harvard-educated attorney, helped the family reorganize the company. She became the president and chief executive of what was now called Dudley Beauty Corp. 

At the time of his death from Parkinson’s disease, Dudley was still working. Eunice has no plans to stop working either. Dudley and Eunice divorced in 2000 on amicable terms and remained business partners. 

Remembering Joe Louis Dudley Sr.

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Joel Belz

Joel Belz

August 10, 1941 - February 4, 2024

Joel Belz, a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America and founder of the prominent Evangelical news organization World News Group, has died at the age of 82, following complications from Parkinson’s disease.

In a press release issued Sunday, World announced that Belz had passed away, leaving behind his wife of 49 years, Carol Esther, as well as five daughters, 16 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

John Weiss, chairman of the WNG board, was quoted in the press release as describing Belz as a “leader, a publisher, a visionary, a faithful servant of his Lord and a friend and mentor to all of us.”

“His ever-ready words of encouragement to all will be sorely missed. But we know the One in whom Joel placed his faith has now called him home to his glorious reward. For Joel the battle is over and the victory won,” stated Weiss.

Belz was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1941, the second of eight children. He went on to graduate from Cono Christian School, Covenant College and the University of Iowa.

In 1977, Belz moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and began working for the theologically conservative news publication The Presbyterian Journal, eventually becoming interim editor.

During the 1980s, while still with the Journal, Belz founded a middle school news publication called It’s God’s World, later called God’s World News, which would be praised by prison ministry leader Chuck Colson for its influence on a rising generation of Christians.

“Almost 28 years since its founding, the staff is beginning to see a generation of young adults who've been raised on God's World News. One young lady, currently a student at the University of Virginia, wrote them to say, ‘I'd always enjoyed [the publication], but now I realize that you were teaching me to think like a Christian,’” wrote Colson in 2009.

“It thrills me to hear that because my greatest worry at this point is the lack of worldview training for youngsters. When they go off to college or enter the workplace, the studies show that most of them lose their faith. So I've got a great idea for you for a Christmas gift for your children or grandchildren — give them a subscription to God's World News.”

As the student newspaper expanded its interest, Belz was reportedly encouraged to found an adult version. As a result, in March 1986, Belz launched World magazine.

Belz was active in the PCA, regularly attending annual meetings of the denomination, and serving as moderator for the Presbyterian body when it held its General Assembly in 2003.

In 2005, after stepping down as chief executive officer of World, Belz continued in other capacities, such as the writing of approximately 1,000 columns, including a 2010 piece that was recently republished titled “When politics is cover for coveting.”

“We sit and stew all day and wish we were as rich as our neighbor—and at the end of the day, even if the tax law gets changed so that rich people have to pay 40 percent of their income instead of just 30 percent, the coveters end up with virtually none of that difference,” Belz wrote.

“We’ve gotten to the point that it doesn’t matter much anymore how we change things. All the taxpayers together haven’t got enough money now to change the fact that we’ve spent ourselves into oblivion. There’s not a whole lot left to covet.”   

Remembering Joel Belz

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Robert "Bob" Jeffrey Carr

Robert "Bob" Jeffrey Carr

March 7, 1945 - February 2, 2024

On February 2, 2024, Robert "Bob" Jeffrey Carr – the longtime owner of Tops for Shoes who played a pivotal role in the revitalization of Downtown Asheville in North Carolina – passed away from Parkinson's disease in Asheville. He was 78 and surrounded by his family.

Under Bob's leadership, Tops for Shoes became a Downtown Asheville anchor institution that attracts customers from throughout the Southeastern United States and is known for its wide selection, full-service and exceptional staff with decades-long tenures.

As a past chair of the Asheville Downtown Commission, Asheville Merchants Association and Bele Chere festival, he helped to orchestrate the transformation of Downtown Asheville during the 1980s and '90s from a ghost town into a thriving business district and tourist destination.

Bob was born in Albany, New York on March 7, 1945, to the late Theodore and Eleanor Carr and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was also preceded in death by his sister Joanne.

After serving in the U.S. Air Force for four years, he graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. He then earned a Master of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, which he attended on a full academic scholarship and graduated from first in his program.

Bob started his career as a television announcer for the CBS affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia where he met and married Ellen, whose parents – Louis and Sylvia Resnikoff – founded what became Tops for Shoes in 1953. When Louis' health started to decline in the 1970s, he called on Bob and Ellen to move from Atlanta to help run the business.

Bob and Ellen expanded Tops for Shoes in the early 1980s from 3,000 to more than 30,000 square feet, at a time when other stores located downtown were either closing or flocking to the Asheville Mall. Tops for Shoes is now run by their son Alex.

Bob also served on the board of directors of Mission Hospital and the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, among others, as well as a president of Beth Israel Synagogue and member of the Rhododendron Royal Brigade of Guards.

He was deeply loved by and most proud of his family. He is survived by his wife Ellen of 50 years; children Teddy, Dana and her husband Jan, and Alex and his wife Lauren; grandchildren Zoe, Jack, and Allison; brother Lloyd and his wife Irene; and nephews Edward and Charles.

Remembering Robert "Bob" Jeffrey Carr

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Richard Caster

Richard Caster

January 1, 1949 - February 2, 2024

Former Jets tight end Richard Caster died Friday after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease, J.T. Keith of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger reports. Caster was 75.

The Jets made Caster a second-round pick in 1970 out of Jackson State.

He helped revolutionize the tight end position at 6 foot 5 and 228 pounds and with 4.5 speed in the 40. He earned three Pro Bowls in eight seasons with the Jets and went on to play for Houston (1978-80), New Orleans (1981) and Washington (1981-82).

Caster made 245 receptions for 4,434 yards and 36 touchdowns in his time with the Jets, and he finished his career with 322 receptions for 5,515 yards and 45 touchdowns, averaging 17.1 yards per catch.

He appeared in 161 games with 119 starts.

Remembering Richard Caster

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Larry Reynolds

Larry Reynolds

January 1, 1953 - January 27, 2024

Larry Reynolds put his stamp on the UC Riverside men’s basketball program before building the Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team into a NCAA Division II national contender.

“His impact was so subtly good that people didn’t realize it,” said Reynolds’ former UCR teammate Tony Masi. “He was just a regular guy who loved basketball and people and his impact was like a heartbeat – you don’t realize it’s working, but you absolutely need it and couldn’t work without it.”

Reynolds, the former UC Riverside player and assistant coach and a four-time California Collegiate Athletic Association coach of the year at Cal State San Bernardino, died Saturday, Jan. 27, after a long battle with Multiple System Atrophy, an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease. He was 71.

“What a winner and a champion in all ways – as a coach and as the most respected, professional, genuine, kind and loyal man I have ever known,” former CSUSB athletic director Nancy Simpson said. “Larry was truly larger than life and will be missed tremendously.”

Reynolds guided the Coyotes to a national No. 1 ranking and the Elite Eight in 1999 and provided “the opportunity of a lifetime” for long-time assistant coach and eventual successor Jeff Oliver.

“Me and my family owe everything to him,” said Oliver, who was hired as Reynolds’ replacement before coaching the Yotes for 16 years. “I was there in ’99 when we kind of broke everything open and put San Bernardino on the map, and they haven’t looked back since.”

“During his time at CSUSB, he consistently inspired me to be a better coach,” CSUSB women’s volleyball coach Kim Cherniss said. “His presence was simply undeniable.”

A native of Los Angeles, Reynolds was the CCAA’s player of the year in 1975 at UC Riverside and was an assistant coach alongside John Masi for 16 seasons.

“He did it all really, extremely well,” said Masi, who played alongside Reynolds at UC Riverside. “He was an amazing athlete. Smooth and quick and could shoot the ball and it was an absolute pleasure to play with him.”

As a player, Reynolds was the catalyst as the Highlanders won two West Regional championships. As an assistant coach starting in 1976, Reynolds was a trusted lieutenant as UCR won seven CCAA titles, received 10 NCAA Division II tournament bids, advanced to the Elite 8 three times and played for the NCAA Division II championship in 1995.

“His connection with my brother, John, was tremendous and he was that guy,” Tony Masi said. “He got along with everybody and was a personable, friendly and enjoyable guy to be around. “

After San Bernardino, Reynolds spent five seasons at Long Beach State and coached Stanislaus State to its first and only NCAA Division II tournament berth in 2013. He was inducted into the CSUSB Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.

“He set the standard for Coyote basketball winning championships, making NCAA tournament runs and elevating the program on a national level,” current CSUSB basketball coach Gus Argenal said. “Coach Reynolds had a lasting impact on his players and has mentored so many in the coaching profession, including myself.”

Reynolds’ all-time winning percentage (.759) at CSUSB remains the best of any coach in the school’s history.

Remembering Larry Reynolds

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Updated: August 16, 2017