banner     HOME - ABOUT - CONTACT
       

Year 2003

Click the month you wish to view to jump to that month

February - March - April - May - June - July - September - October - November - December

February 2003

Frank A. Anderson, Jr. passed away on January 25, 2003 in Gainesville, FL.  He graduated from CHS in 1936. He retired from the Panama Canal Civil Service in 1974 and moved to Dothan, Al. 

Sandra Bishop Ardis, 60, of Sumter, S.C. passed away on December 2, 2002. She was born in Colon, Republic of Panama and was the daughter of the late Horace and Blanche Bishop.

 Jacquelin Lee Arias, 50, of Dothan, AL. passed away on December 2, 2002. She was born in the Canal Zone and employed with the Panama Canal Commission prior to her retirement in 1996.

Bobbie Raymond Borgens, 92, passed away November 14, 2002 in Melbourne Beach, FL. She went to the Canal Zone in 1930 and had a job at the movie theater in the Old Cristobal Clubhouse.

William J. “Billy” Burns, 64, passed away in Mt. Home, AR. On December 12, 2002. He was raised in Curundu and graduated from BHS in 1956.

Joseph W. “Buddy” Coffin IV, 58, passed away on December 13, 2002 in Middlesex, N.J. He graduated from CHS in 1962 and CZC in 1964. He was the oldest son of the late Joseph W. Coffin III and Carolyn Geddes Coffin.

Ann P. Crecelius, passed away on September 30, 2002 in Flushing, N.Y. and moved to the Canal Zone in 1941, graduated from BHS and worked at Gorgas Hospital.

Raymond Dabek, 75, passed away on January 26, 2003 in Houston, TX.  He played professional baseball in the Canal Zone Leagues.

Rosa (Lee) Dill, 91, of Hemet, CA. passed away on March 19, 2000.  Rosa was the widow of Robert Leroy Dill, a Roosevelt Medal Holder for his construction day Isthmian Canal Commission service from 1911-1916.

 William E “Bill” Dolan, 62, passed away on October 17,2002 at Hartford Hospital in Conn.  He graduated from BHS in 1957, and was a graduate of Florida State University.

Mildred O’Neil Foster, 93 died Christmas Eve 2002 in Decatur, GA.  She moved to the Canal Zone in 1940 where her husband, Gilbert was employed with the Maintenance Division for 30 years. 

Mary Ivy Lewis, 89, passed away October 27, 2002 at her home in Panama City. She was the widow of Henry Edward Lewis who retired from the Industrial Division in Mount Hope in 1967.

James L. Malone, DDS passed away October 30, 2002.  He was born in Gatun and graduated from BHS in 1936.  He composed the song “Moonlight Serenade” and it became Glenn Miller’s theme song.

Charles (Charlie Mac) McArthur, 72, passed away on December 22, 2002 in Dallas, TX. He was a graduate of BHS 1948 and a retired from the Panama Canal Company with 36 years of service.

Howard Albert Moore, 81, died on January 3, 2003.  He was a graduate of BHS 1940 and was employed by the Balboa Mechanical Division and later the Industrial Bureau in Cristobal.

Elizabeth A. Moulton, 80 of St. Petersburg, FL. Died January 24, 2003.  She lived in the Canal Zone for 15 years.

Kevin Michael Mulroy, 38, died December 21, 2002 in Cedar Park, TX.  A native of Brooklyn, N.Y. he lived in the Canal Zone from 1964 to 1979.      

David “Tony” Oller, passed away in Panama on November 27, 2002.  Tony ran the “kiosco” (news-stand) at the Balboa Train Station until it was closed in 1989

Steven Rice Peck, Sr., passed away on February 11, 2003 in Tampa.  He was a professor of Spanish and chairman of the Foreign Language Dept. at the Panama Canal College until 1990.

Willis N. Pence, Jr., 71, of Largo, FL. died December 22, 2002.  He graduated from CHS in 1950 and attended Canal Zone Junior College.

Mary Ann Sams, 56, of Inverness, FL. died January 7, 2003 in Tampa. Born in the Canal Zone she moved to St. Petersburg, Fl. and worked for GTE Directories.

Evelyn (Shirley) Scott, passed away in Ft. Sumner, N.M. on November 14, 2002.  Born in Colon she graduated from CHS in 1941.

Hamilton I. Slimon, 76, of Sarasota passed away on January 18, 2003.  He was a Canal pilot and worked for the Panama Canal for 20 years.

Bruce Herbert Soddy, passed away on December 27, 2002.  He worked as a graduate civil engineer for 30 years in Central and South American Project Offices, and was headquartered in Curundu, Canal Zone.

Woodrow “Woody” W. Speir, died on December 18, 2002 in Pasadena, CA.  He graduated from BHS in 1937. He worked for a time at the Naval Supply Depot, Balboa, Canal Zone.

Wilson H. Waldron, 90, passed away on January 31, 2003.  He was a supervisor of the Automotive Paint and Body Division. He moved to Albany, Ga. After retiring with 32 years of service.

Noreen E. Will, 89, passed away on January 9, 2003 in Petaluma, CA. Her father Victor Rakovsky worked for the Panama Canal Commissaries.  She was a graduate of CHS.

March 2003

Murray M Harper, 68, of Duncansville, Pa. passed away on December 22, 2002.  He retired from the U. S. Army in 1979. He was stationed at Fort Gulick.

 Fred Ryan, 79, of Pinellas Park passed away on February 25, 2003.  He was a harbormaster for the Panama Canal Company for 29 years.

 George Michael Wodraska, 56, of Albany, Georgia passed away on January 4, 2003.  He was born in Panama and graduated from BHS in 1965. He worked for the Department of Defense in the Canal Zone.

April 2003

Elvira Maria Dejernette de Gonzalez, 89, died November 27, 2002, at the Cherokee County Nursing Home in Centre, Ala. She worked at Gorgas Hospital as head nurse in the women’s ward and surgical ward until her retirement in 1972. 

Marguerite (Rita Engelke) Grammer, 61, of Siloam Springs, Ark., died January 30, 2003. She graduated in 1959 in the last class from Cristobal, C.Z. She worked at Wal Mart in Bentonville, Ark., in store planning and retired from personnel in 1989. She then began a twelve-year career as a travel agent for Tyson Foods International in 1990. 

Helen Kat, 89, died November 22, 2002 in her home in Coral Oaks, Fla. She was married to Jimmy Bradley and after he passed away in 1951, she continued to work for the Panama Canal Company. She married Captain Bert Kat in 1957. 

Maurice L. McCullough, 85, of Sarasota, Fla., died January 1, 2003 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He and his wife moved to the Canal Zone in August 1939 where he worked for the Motor Transportation Division and retired as Superintendent in 1976.He was active in baseball, basketball and golf. 

Captain Raymond “Ray” Novak died at his winter home in Wickenburg, Ariz., on March 16, 2003. He began his career with the Coastal Geodetic Survey out of Seattle to Alaska, followed by service with MSTS and American Mail Line. He retired in 1992 after 22 years with the Panama Canal. 

Alice Ray (Ward) Wier, 78, wife of Major General (retired) James A. Wier, passed away March 6, 2003, after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis and congestive heart failure. She attended elementary school in the Canal Zone and graduated from Balboa High School in 1943. When her husband retired in 1976 from Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, they moved into the home she designed near Tabernash, Colo.

May 2003

Doris Acheson, 84, passed away on February 18, 2003. She was a nurse in the U.S. Army and went to the Canal Zone in 1942. She resided mostly in Margarita after her marriage to William S. Acheson, working as an Army Nurse in Ft. Gulick. She retired from Coco Solo Hospital in 1971 and relocated to Florida in 1972 upon her husband’s retirement.

Marion Catherine Mauberret Amos, 87, died of natural causes on February 10, 2003 at her home with family at her side. Residing in the Canal Zone and Panama for 9 years (1953-1962), the family lived in Colon, Curundu and Curundu Heights. Mrs. Amos taught school at St. Mary Catholic School in Balboa 

Ethel Kozak Askew, 89, of Largo, Fla. died April 30, 2003. She was born at Gorgas Hospital, Ancon, Canal Zone and left the Zone at the age of five to live in Illinois. She returned at age 18 and subsequently went to work for the Panama Canal retiring in 1970 after a long career in accounting. She was the widow of Eugene I. Askew (deceased), former President of the Panama Canal Society.

Floyd W. Baker of Federal Way, Wash., passed away in Tacoma, Wash. on February 27, 2003 after a short illness. He moved to the Canal Zone in late 1960 and went to work for the Industrial Division on the Atlantic side and remained there until his retirement in 1981.

Bevilie Edith Gardiner Brigman, 85, of Orlando, Fla., formerly of Tampa, and long-time resident of the Panama Canal Zone passed away on March 30, 2003, at Orlando Regional Medical Center. She lived first in Gamboa and then in Los Rios, and was employed as Secretary for US Army Logistics Support in the Office of the Commander at Corozal from 1952 until she retired in 1972.

Mary Dignam Brzezinski, 83, passed away March 12, 2003 in Houston, Texas. Mary retired from Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio in 1989 after many years of service.

Barbara Bishop Edginton, 89, of St. Petersburg, Fla., died April 3, 2003 at her daughter’s home under the care of Hospice of the Florida Suncoast. She lived 25 years in the Panama Canal Zone.

Boyd Walbridge Ferry, 83, passed away March 30, 2003 at his home in Wellsboro, Pa. He retired in 1974 with 32 years service. He was a supervisor of Sheet Metal and Roofing Shops in Balboa.

John Joseph Ford, Jr., passed away unexpectedly on April 5, 2003 at his home in Viera, Fla. He worked for the Department of the Army for many years in Washington, D.C. and the Panama Canal Zone.

Barbara Joan Hatch passed away on March 4, 2003, at the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. She died from complications following a heart attack. She graduated from Balboa High School in 1948 and lived in many different places as a result of her father’s military career (Brig. Gen. Clare T. Budge).

Frances Maravilla passed away March 22, 2003 in the arms of her husband, Joe, at her home in Ocala, Fla. She was surrounded by her family.

Linda (Askew) Martin, 56, of Mobile, Ala., passed away on March 3, 2003, shortly after being diagnosed with heart failure. Linda was born in Gorgas Hospital and grew up on the Pacific side where she graduated from Balboa High School in 1965. She left that same year to live in Mobile.

Norma Marie Martin, 91, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., died on November 23, 2002. She was a native of Nicaragua and had resided in Gulf Breeze since 1969. Prior to that time, she lived in Ecuador and Old Cristobal, Canal Zone.

James P. McConaughy, 78, died April 26, 2003 in Palm Harbor. He was born in the Canal Zone and came to Florida in the 1950s and was a real estate broker and operator of Vigilant Real Estate in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Erin Gemmie Moser, 73, of Douglasville, Ga., died November 29, 2002 at her residence after a long illness. She was employed by the Panama Canal Co. as a teacher and retired in 1979.

Lois Avery Smith, 83, passed away on March 5, 2003 after a lengthy illness. She went to live in the Canal Zone after WW II when her husband returned to his job with the Police Department. Lois was a long-time resident of Gatun and worked for a short time for the Commissary Division and left the Canal Zone in 1970.

Jessie Jean Bennett Veit, 101, of St. Petersburg, Fla., died April 8, 2003 at Westminster Shores Health and Rehabilitation Center. She came to Florida in 1955 from the Panama Canal Zone. No other information available.

Dorothy B. Webb, 94, died March 1, 2003, of natural causes at the Olathe Medical Center, Olathe, Kan. She married Winton A. Webb in 1937 and went to the Panama Canal Zone that same year.

Winton A. Webb, 94, died March 29, 2003, of natural causes at the Olathe Good Samaritan Center, Olathe, Kans. He married Dorothy B. Webb in 1937 and they went to the Panama Canal Zone where they lived in both Ancon and Balboa while Winton served as a pharmacist at Gorgas Hospital and at outpatient clinics in Pedro Miguel and Balboa. He and Dorothy left the Canal Zone in the fall of 1956.

June 2003

Doris Acheson, 84, passed away on February 18, 2003, in Boca Raton, Fla.   She was a nurse at Coco Solo Hospital and retired in 1972.

Ethel Kozak Askew, 89, of Largo, Fla., died April 30, 2003.  She was the daughter of a Roosevelt Medal holder and left the Canal Zone at age 5.  She returned to the Canal Zone at 18.  She subsequently went to work for the Panama Canal Company and retired in 1970 after a long career in accounting.  She was the widow of Eugene I. Askew, past president of the Society.

Catherine H.G. Jenkins, 96, died of natural causes at her home in Malvern, Pa., on March 2, 2003.  She was the widow of Thomas A. Jenkins, Sr., and they lived in the Canal Zone from 1935-1942 and from 1945 to 1962 when she retired from the Balboa Warehouse.

James P. McConaghy, 78, of Clearwater, Fla., died April 26, 2003 in Palm Harbor, Fla.  He was born in Ancon.  He was the retired owner of Vigileant Real Estate in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Van Neil Morgan, Sr., 78, of Lake Helen, Fla., died April 14, 2003, at the Hospice Care Center in Port Orange.  He was a retired 14-year engineer for the Panama Canal Railroad and also was an engineer for the Florida East Coast Railroad for 20 years.

Erin Gemmie Moser, 73, of Douglasville, Ga., died November 29, 2002, at her residence after a long illness. Gemmie was employed as a teacher by the Panama Canal Company and retired with 23 years service in 1979.

Alfred J. Neckar, Jr., 71 (BHS’49 and CZJC’51) of Van Buren, Arkansas., died May 10, 2003, at his home.  Born in Colon, R. de P., and educated in the Canal Zone,  He played baseball and football for the high school and college, as well as the Canal Zone working boys league.  He is survived by his wife, Lillian Vale (BHS’51).

Alice Elizabeth Pierce, 92, died March 31, 2003, in Corpus Christi, Texas.  She worked for the Panama Canal Company and U.S. Army Caribbean Command Transportation Corps in the Procurement and Supply Division.  She retired as a Purchasing Agent at the VA Hospital in Coral Gables, Fla., in 1971.

Herbert William Rose, 90, passed away on April 14, 2003, in Ojai, Calif.  He was a retired locomotive engineer, having worked 35 years with the Panama Railroad.  He also worked on the building of the Casitas Dam as an equipment operator.

Merlena A. Searle, 83, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died March 9, 2003.  She moved to the Panama Canal Zone in 1945 where she worked for the U.S. Navy at Rodman Naval Station and later for the Federal Aviation Administration until retirement in 1969.

James Edgar Stearns, 85, of West Palm Beach died May 4, 2003, in Boynton Beach, Fla.  He was a retired Language teacher in high school and junior college with the Panama Canal School system.  He retired in 1973 after 27 years in the Canal Zone.

Kellie Gottfrieder Taylor, 46, died April 29, 2003, in Emory, Utah.  She was born in the Canal Zone in Coco Solo Hospital.  The family moved from base to base until returning to Utah where she graduated from high school.

James Christopher Wood, 89, of Seminole died May 13, 2003, at home after a long illness.  He retired in 1969 as an Admeasure for the Panama Canal Company after 38 years and was a second generation admeasure. 

July 2003

Joan E. “Janice” Bennett, 52, of St. Petersburg, Fla. died July 2, 2003 at Pasadena Manor. Born in Panama, she came here in l985 from Cocoa.

Michael J. Burza, 86, died June 11, 2003 in Plano, Texas. He was a retired Lead Foreman Machinist for the Industrial Division. He lived in the Panama Canal Zone for 35 years, mostly in Margarita and La Boca.

Nadja Camille (Van Hoose) Campbell, 45, died May 23, 2003 at the Hospice House of Northeast Indiana in Fort Wayne. She was born in the Canal Zone in 1957 and graduated from Balboa High School in 1975.

John B. Coffey, Jr., 65, of Dunwoody, Ga., died on July 6, 2003. Born in the Canal Zone, he grew up on the Atlantic side, graduating in June 1957 from Cristobal High School. He went right into an electrical apprenticeship and then to work for the Gatun Hydroelectric Station. He retired on August 3, 1998, as a Supervisory Power Dispatcher.

John Gallagher of Brick, N.J. died on May 27, 2003. He was formerly employed in the Panama Canal Zone. No further information available.

Catherine H.G. Jenkins, 96, died of natural causes at her home in Malvern, Pa. on March 2, 2003. Catherine was employed by the PCC Supply Division at Balboa Warehouse from 1951 until her retirement in 1962.

Earl Casper Keeney, 88, long-time resident of McAllen, Texas and the Panama Canal Zone, died at Seasons Hospital in Rochester, Minn., on June 25, 2003. He was employed by the Panama Canal Company in various financial fields until 1977.

Rhodeva LeWarne, 66, of Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., died June 24, 2003 at Sun Coast Hospital, Largo. She came to Florida in 1969 from the Panama Canal Zone. She was a medical administrator at Bay Pines VA Medical Center.

Thomas Edd McGraw, 54, of Supply, N.C., died March 3, 2003. A 1966 graduate of Balboa High School in the Panama Canal Zone, he was a 1972 graduate of Pembroke College and was employed in Wilmington, N.C.

John Warren Meeker, Jr., 77, of Oldsmar, Fla., formerly of Spring Hill, died June 17, 2003 at Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor. He was a merchant marine veteran of WWII and relocated to the Panama Canal Zone area where he worked as a ship’s pilot and retired as senior assistant port captain.

Van Neil Morgan, Sr., of Lake Helen, Fla., a retired 14-year engineer for the Panama Canal Railroad, died April 14, 2003, at Hospice Care Center, Port Orange. He was a Navy veteran of WWII and an Army veteran of the Korean War. 

Albert J. Neckar, Jr., 71, (BHS’49 and CZJC’51) of Van Buren, Ariz., died May 10, 2003 at his home. He was born in Colon, Republic of Panama and raised and educated in the Panama Canal Zone. Al played baseball and football for the high school and college, as well as the Canal Zone working boys league.

Vera Mae (Miller) Perry, 80, of Orlando, Fla., passed away May 31, 2003 at Florida Hospital in Orlando after a brief illness. She was a teacher in the Panama Canal Zone retiring in 1982 after 30 years at Balboa High School and Cristobal High School.

Ralph Henry Peterson, 67, of Dothan, Ala. died June 6, 2003, at his residence. After three years in the Army, he taught school in Denver, Guam, and the Panama Canal Zone retiring in 1988.

Alice Elizabeth Pierce, 92, died March 31, 2003, in Corpus Christi, Texas. She worked for the Panama Canal Company and the U.S. Army Caribbean Command Transportation Corps in the Procurement and Supply Division.. 

Herbert William Rose, 90, passed away peacefully April 14, 2003, in Ojai, Calif. He was a retired locomotive engineer, having worked 35 years with the Panama Railroad.

Merlena A. Searle of Colorado Springs, Colo., died March 9, 2003. She moved to the Canal Zone in 1945 and worked for the U.S. Navy at Rodman Naval Station and later for the Federal Aviation Administration until retirement in 1969.

September 2003

John Michael Ambrose, 47, of Oak Ridge, N.C., died on July 22, 2003, of a sudden massive heart attack at UNC Hospital-Chapel Hill, N.C. He was born on March 2, 1956, at Gorgas Hospital, Ancon, Canal Zone. During his years in Panama, he lived in Curundu and was a member of Crossroads Bible Church and El Cangrejo. He was active in baseball, Boy Scouts/Explorers, and ROTC. He graduated from Balboa High School in 1974.

Anita Morales Buelhmann, 84, (BHS’38) of Boca Raton, Fla. passed away August 2, 2003. She was born at Gorgas Hospital in Ancon, Canal Zone and married Kenneth Buelhmann in 1946. She was involved in several volunteer activities including Panama Canal Society Reunions.

Harriet Viola Dolven Elich, 87, died July 9, 2003 of consequences from a fall. Born January 11, 1906 in Harlem, Mont., she was married to Nick Elick in Montana and moved to the Panama Canal Zone in 1939, living there until his retirement in 1967. Harriet was a member of the Eastern Star and was well-known in Panama for the beautiful orchid corsages and arrangements she made.

Captain Evan G. Evans, Jr., passed away on July 31, 2003 in Sarasota, Fla., after a short illness. Captain Evans was born in Batavia, N.Y., in 1918. He went to the Canal Zone with his family in 1952 and retired as a senior pilot in 1982. He was a member of Masters, Mates and Pilots and served as an officer in the Canal Zone Pilots Association.

Francis E. Geddes, 86, formerly employed by the old Mechanical Division, left in the early forties--passed away on July 9, 2003 in New York. His father, Thomas K. Geddes, was a Roosevelt Medal Holder. 

Guy U. Hall, 82, passed away on August 8, 2003 in Sarasota, Fla., after a short illness. He brought his family to the Canal Zone the first time from 1957-1960 while on tour with the U.S. Army, and they returned in 1963 and continued to maintain a residence in Panama until his death. He was the former proprietor of the Curundu Photo Service, and provided years of memories for Canal Zone families by being the “school picture man”.

Berniece Hayes, 77, of St. Petersburg, died August 11, 2003, at home under the care of hospice. She came here in 1976 after 28 years in the Panama Canal Zone where she married, raised three children, was an accomplished artist, and a member of the National Society of American Penwomen. She was a registered nurse during her years in the Canal Zone and continued at Bay Pines VA Hospital and at the St. Petersburg Medical Clinic. 

Michael J. Heidinger, 52, passed away June 26, 2003 at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., after many months fighting cancer. Mike, a fourth-generation Zonian and descendant of a Roosevelt Medal Holder, was born in Ft. Clayton, Canal Zone, and lived his earlier years in Curundu. 

Mrs. Ermin E. Highley, 77, of Dothan, Ala., died July 28, 2003 at her residence. She was born in Roberta, Ky., and moved to the Panama Canal Zone at an early age. She resided there for more than 50 years before moving to Dothan in 1980.

Evelyn R. Koperski, 87, of Holiday, Fla. passed away August 7, 2003 at home with her family and Hernando-Pasco Hospice, Inc., at her side. She was a Public Health school nurse and retired on June 5, 1976 from the Public Health Division in the Canal Zone after 27 years of service.

William Henry McCumber, 68, of Rockwood, Tenn., passed away on July 20, 2003, after a short illness. He played football in high school in both Balboa High School in Panama and in Midland, Texas. A former Panama resident, he was a professor at the Graduate School of Management and Technology of the University of Maryland University College of Adelphi, Md., and had taught systems engineering for decades. 

Bess B. McGloin passed away June 25, 2003 in Midland, Texas. She married James F. McGloin in 1939, and he went to the Canal Zone in 1941 to play baseball for the winter months. While there, he was offered a job and Bess joined him shortly thereafter. They lived on the Atlantic side for 25 years.

Ed Nance passed away suddenly on August 3, 2003 from an apparent massive heart attack. He was from Indiana and was one of the top landscape engineers working with the Army Corps of Engineers in many places in the old Canal Zone, particularly the old Amador Golf Course.. He lived for many years in Curundu and retired sometime in the late 70s.

John Aldo Nespeca, D.D.S., died suddenly at his home in Hutchinson Island, Fla., on June 7, 2003. He spent 1975 to 1979 as the oral surgeon at Gorgas Hospital, Canal Zone Health Bureau. John was assigned to the Panama Canal zone after completing an Army resident program in oral surgery. He was a member of the Balboa Yacht Club and sailed the waters of the bay, hunted in the interior, went deep-sea fishing on both coasts, and spent many happy hours on Gatun Lake fishing and swimming with other families.

Dorothy Houser Neville, 93, of Palm Harbor, died July 30, 2003 at Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor. She came here in 1972 from the Panama Canal Zone. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin and taught middle school for 41 years.

Woodrow W. Richardson, 85, of Gautier, Miss., died June 13, 2003. He went to work in the Canal Zone in 1942. At the time of his retirement in 1972, he was a lock operator at Gatun, a member of the Gatun Yacht Club, the Union Church and Crossroads of the World Shrine Club, Abou Saad Temple.

James Bryan Thrift, 49, died at his home in Melrose, Fla., on April 9, 2003. He was born in Colon, raised in the Canal Zone, graduated from Balboa High School, and completed his electrical apprenticeship before leaving the Canal area and moving to Florida in 1977. 

Ruth (Eberenz) Turner, 94, passed away on July 30, 2003 in El Paso, Texas. She was born in the old Ancon Hospital and lived on the Pacific side for a few years before moving to New Cristobal. She worked in the library in Old Cristobal where she became the head librarian and after many years there she was transferred to the main library in Balboa, retiring in 1966 after 30 years of service.

October 2003

Josefa (Chefa) Maria Barrows of Portland, Ore., died on April 26, 2003. She was born in Chiriqui, Panama and was the widow of Lester H. Barrows who worked for the Locks Division in Gatun until 1967.

Angela M. Damiani, 87, of Alpharetta, Ga., passed away on September 11, 2003. She traveled to the Canal Zone in 1943 to join her husband Louis. She was a long-time resident of Margarita and Gatun until retirement in 1973.

Robert Millard Fretland of Compass Lake, Fla., died September 8, 2003. He was a professional tolfer and was the pro at Brazos Brooks Country Club. He married Ada Lee Sullivan in Gatun.

Capt. Daniel M.R. Haff, 83, passed away September 4, 2003 at his home in Hartford, N.Y. He was with the Marine Division as a Panama Canal Pilot from 1959-1975.

Helen Leach Meisinger, 86, who was a long-time resident of the Canal Zone, passed away August 6, 2003. She was a graduate of Cristobal High school, and was employed by the Panama Canal Government Accounting Office. She retired in 1969 and moved to Miami, Fla.

Dorothy Houser Neville, 93, of Palm Harbor, Fla., died July 30, 2003. She came to Florida from the Panama Canal Zone in 1972.

Robert Rogers, 63, of Tequesta, Fla., passed away September 27, 2003 at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City from cancer. He was the husband of Dalys “Didi” Bremer Rogers (BHS’61). 

Thomas J. Street, Sr. “Jack”, 80, of St. Petersburg died September 4, 2003. He was chief of construction for the Panama Canal Co., and was an avid golfer, fisherman, and reader.

William Ashton Sullivan, 74, of Dothan, Ala., died September 16, 2003. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone and lived there until moving to Dothan in 1981. At the time of his retirement he was serving as president of the Panama Canal Zone Insurance Board.

Ruth E. Thompson, 85, of Bradenton, Fla., died August 18, 2003. She went to the Panama Canal Zone after service in the Army Nurses Corps and worked as an RN at Gorgas Hospital until retiring in 1980.

Bobbye Lou Herrington Wellington, 58, (BHS’63), died from pancreatic cancer on September 3, 2003. She was the wife of Donald F. Wellington (BHS’63), the daughter of Robert and Dorothy Herrington of Clearwater, Fla., and the sister of Russell Herrington (BHS’67).

James A. Yates of Largo, Fla., passed away on August 30, 2003. He was a member of the Panama Canal Society of Florida. No further information is available.

November 2003

Winifred Brome, 85, a resident of the Canal Zone for thirty years, went to be with the Lord on October 4, 2003. She worked for the Postal Division in the Canal Zone and retired in 1970.

Teresa Llaurado de Caldwell, 88, passed away August 31, 2003, at San Fernando Hospital, Panama City, Panama. She was born in Costa Rica and moved to Panama later where she resided until her death. She was married to Louis C. Caldwell, who retired from the PCC Accounting Division.

Col. (Ret) Barry Lord Davison, 61, of San Antonio, Texas, died on September 24, 2003 from a lingering illness. He was a 1957 graduate of Cristobal High School where he was active in football, thespians, rifle team, ROTC, orchestra and band. He was also involved with scouts and paddled a cayuco from the Atlantic to Pacific in the very first cayuco race in 1954.

Eugene Day, 79, of Largo, Fla., died October 10, 2003 at home. He came to Florida in 1980 from Panama, where he retired after 35 years as a photogrammetrist with the Department of Defense.

Capt. John Welch Farmer, Jr., passed away on October 19, 2003 after a hard-fought battle against acute leukemia. He went to Panama to be a ship pilot on the Panama Canal and after 22 years retired in 1984.

Alden Farrell, 45, of Gainesville, Fla., passed away on September 27, 2003 due to a brain aneurysm. She went to the Canal Zone in 1960 and grew up in Diablo and graduated from Balboa High School in 1975 and from Canal Zone College in 1977.

Ferdinand Garcia passed away September 24, 2003 at the age of 84 in Panama City, Panama. He joined the Army Air Corps and was assigned to France Field in Panama and England during WWII. He returned to Panama and reteired with more than 35 years of service with various defense department agencies in the Canal Zone. 

Neil B. Heitman, 77, passed away on July 12, 2003, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital in Alaska following a lengthy illness. He graduated from Balboa High School in 1943 and after one semester at Canal Zone Junior College, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Albrook Air Base.

Charles Daniel “Chuck” Lavallee, 87, of Pensacola, Fla. passed away in Pensacola on August 24, 2003, after several weeks of medical complications attendant to suffering several minor strokes. Chuck was discharged from the Army at Corozal in 1941. Embarking on a career in the Canal Zone, he worked for the Panama Canal Company then the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until retirement in July 1975. 

Raymond Newell Shaw died peacefully on September 19, 2003 in a nursing home in Greenwood Village, Colo., after a long and undiagnosed neurological illness. He worked as a surveyor for IAGS in Panama, and for the Dredging, Surveys and Construction organizations in the Panama Canal Company. He retired as Chief of the Construction Division in 1980.

Mrs. Jean Centner Sholk died October 7, 2003. After her marriage to Alvin Sholk, MD, Colonel, U.S. Army Medical Corps, they lived in Japan, Germany, and Panama.

Mary M. Wheeler, 77, of Pinellas Park, died October 7, 2003 at Northside Hospital and Heart Institute. She came to Florida in 1974 from the Panama Canal Zone.

Joseph E. Wright, 84, of Tallahassee, Fla., the former owner/operator of Wright Brothers Plumbing in Colon and Panama, died October 6, 2003. He was a resident of the Republic of Panama for more than 40 years.

December 2003

Peter James Barr, Sr., 72, beloved husband of Betty Barr, died November 1, 2003 at his residence in Aiken, S.C. Mr. Barr was born in the Canal Zone and moved to Aiken in 1980 after 28 years of service as Assistant Chief of the Panama Canal Fire Division.

Robert William Blades, 85, passed away on October 25, 2003 in Lindale, Texas. Mr. Blades served over 30 years as a United States Government Motorcycle Highway Patrolman in the Canal Zone. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Ismas.

Richard “Dick” K. Erbe, 81, passed away in Longview, Texas on November 13, 2003, after a long illness. Born in the Canal Zone, he graduated from BHS in 1940. He worked for the Panama Canal Company for 33 years, retiring in 1979 as Director of the Supply and Community Services Bureau. While in the Canal Zone, he was an active member of the Boy Scout Council, chairman of the Canal Zone Cancer Committee and co-founder of the Canal Zone Heart Association.

Mary Phyllis (Brennan) Gundersen, 74, passed away on September 25, 2003 in Tampa, Fla., after a long illness. She was a teacher in the Canal Zone for 17 years. She married Captain Christian Gundersen in 1972. After his retirement in 1976 they lived in El Valle until December 1994 when they moved to Florida.

Ermin Willett Highley, 77, of Dothan, Ala., passed away July 28, 2003 after a long battle with cancer. She went to the Canal Zone with her family when she was two years old. She met and married Laurel Highley and they lived on the Atlantic side. She and her husband left the Canal Zone in 1980.

Patricia E. LeBrun died November 14, 2003 in Sacramento, Calif., following a long and valiant fight against cancer. She was born in Gorgas Hospital and attended schools in the Canal Zone. She was employed with the Panama Canal Company and the Canal Zone Girl Scout Council.

Elenor D. Miller, 93, passed away August 17, 2003 in Auburn, Calif. No further information is available at this time.

Dallys E. Perry, 71, of St. Petersburg, died December 4, 2003 at home. Born in Panama City, Panama, she came here in 1994 from Columbus, Ohio. She attended the Business College at the University of Panama.

Velma Medina Reilly, 70, of Hickory, N.C., died July 29, 2003 at Frye Regional Medical Center. Born in the Canal Zone, she graduated from BHS in 1952 and attended CZJC. She went to work for the Inter-American Geodetic Survey where she retired as a Logistic Management Specialist on May 31, 1998.

Shirley E. Sargent, 86, of Williamsport, Pa., died October 31, 2003 at her residence. She was born in the Canal Zone and graduated from the Dickinson Seminary in 1937.

Dr. Melchor Zook Sayoc passed away October 10, 2003. Dr. Sayoc received a D.M.D. Degree from the University of the Philippines. He was in private practice in the Canal Zone and the Bay Area for 34 years. He was also appointed Honorable Counsel, Republic of the Philippines to the Republic of Panama.

Frances Brown Whitlock, 84, passed away quietly October 31, 2003 at her retirement home in Springdale, Ark. She was born during the construction era in Empire, Canal Zone and graduated from BHS in 1927 and married Andrew A. Whitlock on July 31, 1928. She worked for the U.S. Army and Naval Intelligence during WWII and later was employed by the Navy in Coco Solo until leaving the Canal Zone in 1959. She was the Reunion guest speaker at the 1992 Annual Luncheon where she entertained the members with stories of life in the Canal Zone. She was a 3rd-generation Roosevelt Medal descendant and a long-time member of the Panama Canal Society.

Anne E. Williams, 100, of Palm Harbor, Fla., died November 14, 2003 at Manor Care Palm Harbor Nursing Home. She spent most of her life in the Panama Canal Zone and retired in 1965 as a payroll clerk for the Panama Canal Company.

Charlotte “Lottie” Witt, 83, of Mathis, Texas, died October 31, 2003 at the Mathis Nursing Home. She spent 12 years in Margarita, Canal Zone with her husband, the late Harry M. Witt, who worked for the Motor Transportation Division of the Panama Canal Company as foreman of the Repair Shop, Cristobal Pier area.

Copyright © 2000-2011 Panama Canal Society, Inc.  | Public Service Award  | Canal Record