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It is with great sadness that I share the following obituary for our colleague John Smith. Rest in peace John.
In Loving Memory of John Anthony William Smith
John Anthony William Smith, beloved husband, father, teacher, advocate, leader, and coach, peacefully passed away in the presence of his loving wife Charlene on the evening of Thursday, May 18th, 2023, in South Orange County, California. John passed at 89 years young and felt grateful to have lived longer than he had ever imagined.
Born and raised in Southern California, John’s passion for education, personal excellence, and improving the lives of others defined every step of his remarkable journey in this world. He had charisma, presence, conviction, and a missionary zeal for life.
The second youngest of six, John was raised in a hardworking and loving Catholic family. He was a dedicated student and athlete from his years at Mount Carmel High School to his time on UCLA’s 1954 National Championship Football team. John served our country honorably, with two years of service in the U.S. Navy as an Ensign and Lieutenant (j.g.) and an additional ten years in the U.S. Navy Reserve, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
For 13 years, John worked as a math and science teacher and athletics coach in public and parochial schools. After his teaching career, he joined the California Teachers Association and advocated tirelessly for teachers’ rights for 26 years. John’s bold ideas and unwavering commitment made him a trusted advocate to teachers in need and made him a trailblazer in his field.
John loved being in nature, often packing up the family for camping trips to lakes, forests, mountains, and deserts–ready for any adventure. He was a lover of our U.S. National Parks and often dreamed of getting everyone together for a great time camping, waterskiing, backpacking, snow skiing, or hiking. Invitations were open to everyone, as long as you promised to “leave the place better than you found it.”
While John Smith had the most common of names, he left you smiling with the most unique lasting impression. Described as fun, encouraging, tenacious, and dedicated, John had a great sense of humor and was a man you could always rely on.
John’s memory will be cherished by all who knew him, and his contributions to this world will continue to resonate for generations to come. With warm hearts, wonderful stories, and a bold Bruin 8-clap, we celebrate John’s inspiring life and open the next chapter of our dear relationship with him in our minds, hearts, and prayers.
John is survived by his wife, Charlene Pearson, and their children Christopher Pearson-Smith and Charles Smith, as well as his first wife Sandra Nash and their children, Jeffrey Smith, Julie Popp, Melissa Smith, Allison Millington, Evan Smith, and his sister Margret Moyneur.
John’s Celebration of Life will be held this July in Southern California. For details please contact O’Connor Mortuary at 877.872.2736.
Another CTA warrior has passed away. You can find Aleita's obituary at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/sacbee/name/aleita-huguenin-obituary?id=51600860
REACTA has regretfully learned that member Jim Deaton recently passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s. Jim was a teacher leader and active politically in Long Beach. He was TALB President in 1991-1995. Afterwards Jim went into Option II staff work at TALB. He remained in Long Beach after he retired from TALB as their Executive Director. We will try to get more information from his church regarding services and will share it as soon as we do. RIP Jim.
Our dear friend and REACTA member Lisa Longabaugh passed away 11/26/2022. No information on services is available at this time. Cards may be sent to Rick Longabaugh, address in the Directory. Our condolences to the family. Her husband Rick posted the following:
“I’m truly sorry to inform all y'all of Lisa's passing. Lisa passed away the mornin of November 26, 2022. She fought to the very end. Painful to watch but I would take her cancer ridden body back in a minute. She was so beautiful inside and out. Not a mean bone in her body and she would give you the shirt off her back without a second thought. I miss you Burby. Save me a spot or sneak me in the back door. Love you More!, forever...”
REACTA was recently advised that Pat Drow passed away on February 5, 2022. Our condolences to the family.
Audrey Ohlson Smith
Our colleague Audrey Ohlson Smith passed peacefully Saturday (7/16/2022) at her home surrounded by family. She was 91. Audrey and Debby Edginton had a last lunch in Grass Valley July 6, 2022 at her favorite Italian restaurant. She was as always beautiful, intelligent and interesting, a wonderful woman.
Former REACTA President Dick Sawtelle passed away earlier this month. Dick had a long history of advocacy, working on staff in Florida and California. He was instrumental in getting CTA to provide a purchasing power adjustment for staff who retired before 1989. This benefit continues for our long-term retirees. His colleague Marla Reyes wrote a touching tribute to Dick and how he impacted the lives of educators and staff colleagues. This will be posted on the REACTA Facebook page and included in the next REACTOR. Condolences to his wife Sharon.
Our friend and retired CTA colleague Sam DeHaven passed away on June 24 after a battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Sam had a long and rewarding career as a teacher advocate, working on the staff of the Indiana State Teachers Association, the National Education Association and CTA. Services are pending.
Doug Appel Celebration of Life
West Coast Celebration of Life, June 12, 2022 Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA We will hold an in-person celebration of Doug's life on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at the Grace Dodge Chapel in the Asilomar Conference Center. The service will be held from 2-3:30 pm, with a reception to follow. To RSVP, please fill out this form. (We are taking RSVPs in order to plan for food.)
East Coast Celebration of Doug's Life in New York in late August This will be an Open House in Manhattan for East Coast family & friends. We held a Virtual Gathering via Zoom on May 6. That recording is available. . Condolences can be sent to Doug's wife Amy, and daughter Clara. If anyone wishes to make a memorial donation in Doug's honor, we invite them to contribute to Labor Notes and/or the MSA Coalition.
Obituary link: https://www.joincake.com/memorial-pages/doug-appel/#obituary
"It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of beloved husband/father/grandfather, Wiley Jones. Pastor Wiley Jones went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 31, 2022 in Phoenix, AZ, surrounded by his family. Information on the California Celebration of Life Service for Pastor Wiley Jones is forthcoming, and the family will provide details at a future date. The Family of Wiley Jones"
Marjorie Bladwin (1929-2021)
REACTA just learned of the passing of member Marjorie Baldwin on December 15, 2021, retired from the San Bernardino RRC.
Tommye Hutto (1939-2022)
It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our colleague Tommy Hutto on January 22, 2022. As shared by family: " Her love and compassion touched many people over the course of her life, and know you share my heartbreak in this news. We are deeply proud of her life and accomplishments and her resolve to be true to herself in her passing. A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, February 4, 2022 at Culley’s MeadowWood Funeral Home in Tallahassee, FL.."
We have received sad news that our colleague Peter Haberfeld passed away this week from a sudden heart attack. Peter worked in the Bay area and will be missed. Cards may be sent to his family at Peter's address in the Directory. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the East Oakland Collective at www.eastoaklandcollective.com.
Dr Matthew C. Krier (1924-2021)
By Dom Summa
I learned of the passing of Matt Krier at the age of 97. Matt was a long-time CTA staff consultant working in communications and in the field. He retired in 1988 and enjoyed painting and traveling the world with his wife Kathy. I especially enjoyed Matt's friendship the last 21 years living close to each other in the desert near Palm Springs. He was a kind gentleman who favored Pinot Grigio and vanilla ice cream! He will truly be missed. Matt's obituary can be viewed at:
George William (Bill) Gibson
I received an email from Robert Gibson informing me that his father, George William (Bill) Gibson passed in June. Bill was 96. Bill was a long time educator before working for CTA as a health insurance consultant, retiring in 1980. He attended several of our Annual Meetings in Cambria and took pride in winning the prize for the oldest retiree in the room! Our condolences to his family.
Charley Hinton (1931-2021)
By Jeannette Logue
Charley Hinton whose impact on CTA, its staff, and California teachers will long be remembered, died on May 13, 2021, at age 89. As his wonderful wife Mable said, “He is in a better place.”
Charley held many positions in CTA including field staff, bargaining specialist, manager of the Human Rights Department, and executive management, and was asked to return from a well-deserved retirement several times. Regardless of his position in CTA, Charley was approachable to everyone. He placed a high value on experience, but he also understood that the future of organizations depends upon bringing in new members. To this end, he encouraged and was a mentor to many teachers who had not been previously involved in CTA.
A man of principle, Charley Hinton made sure that everything he did was in service to CTA’s official mission statement, adopted in 1863:
The California Teachers Association exists to protect and promote the well-being of its members; to improve the conditions of teaching and learning; to advance the cause of free, universal, and quality public education; to ensure that the human dignity and civil rights of all children and youth are protected; and to ensure a more just, equitable, and democratic society.
CTA is fortunate indeed, to have had Charley Hinton as an advocate for so many years.
Cards and notes of condolence to Charley’s family can be sent to Charley's wife, Mable Hinton. Address is in the REACTA Directory.
We learned this week that former colleague Ben Ridlon passed away. Ben was former Executive Director of the Napa-Solano UniServ Council. Ben was a dedicated professional who worked hard for his members. His obituary can be viewed at: https://www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com/tributes/Maynard-Ridlon?fbclid=IwAR3XKwZFZFMUmtkbuG80Cn02ss9cDyx18D2DychCbxaeRa8S3oDF9zIw7sw
REACTA just learned of the passing of CTA colleague Lee Lipps on April 18, 2021. No further information is available at this time as to funeral and/or memorial service.
It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Vince Amendola on March 3, 2021. From President Dom Summa: "He was 97 and lived in St. Helena. Vince was one of these larger than life figures who had a major impact on the growth of CTA, especially in the SF Bay Area. He was my first manager but a lot more. He mentored the field staff and made sure we were delivering exceptional service to our members. Our staff meetings were always lively and our end-of-year parties enjoyable. He inspired many who followed. I have included a link to his obituary. Our condolences to Claire and the rest of his family. His obituary can be seen at:
Rose Marie Nichols, Burlingame HQ office, passed away recently. No additional information currently available.
REACTA member Bill Davis recently passed away in North Carolina. Bill worked as staff in New York for 6 years before being hired by CTA in 1980. Bill worked in the Fresno RRC until his retirement in 2000 and spent most of his staff years in the Training and Bargaining Department. He used his superb negotiating skills to settle many difficult contracts. Bill was a dynamic trainer of members and staff and used his preaching skills to capture the audience in the room. As an exceptional organizer, he not only memorized Alinsky's "Rules" but also practiced them. Bill's obituarry can be found at:
REACTA was recently informed that Bill Rogers (retired 1986) recently passed away. Bill worked in the Monterey/Santa Cruz area for CTA. His obituary may be read at: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/santacruzsentinel/obituary.aspx?n=bill-rogers&pid=196814021
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