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Obituaries

January 2023
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Roland H. Watts

Mr. Roland Herbert Watts, 90 of Surprise, Arizona passed away on January 5, 2023, in Surprise, Arizona. He was born July 24, 1932, to Herbert and Margaret Watts in Coloma, Michigan.

He served in the United States Navy from June 20, 1950, to December 8, 1955, as an Aviation Machinists’ Mate R Third Class.

In his younger years, you could find Roland on the baseball field- playing men’s fast-pitch softball or coaching little league for his boys. When he retired you could always find him on the golf course playing a round of golf with his wife, Donna, his friends, or golfing in a ProAm tournament. He also loved boating, fishing, and jeeping.

Roland is survived by his daughter, Terri Needham (Mark) of Surprise, Arizona; his son, Mitch Watts (Carla) of Carson City, Nevada; his 6 grandchildren: Maci (Garrett), Desiree (Jeff), Ashley (Brodie), Jason (Heather), Scott (Brenna) and Sara (Tyler); as well as his 15 great-grandchildren: Carson, Cohen and Jillian; Kaleb and Wyatt; Zetta and Rowdie; Alaina and Raiden; Brixon and Revy Rose; Kane, Jacob, Jackson, and Liam.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Herb and Margaret Watts; his sister, Dorcas Senum; his brother Dean Watts; his wife, Donna Watts, his son, Robert Watts (Bobby); and his granddaughter, Melinda Needham.

Burial will be at Memory Gardens Cemetery, 3873 East Avenue, Livermore, California 94550.

Mark L. Gibson

Mr. Mark Lee Gibson, 62 of Surprise, Arizona passed away surrounded by his family on January 12, 2023, in Surprise, Arizona. He was born October 10, 1960, to Elise Pryor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mark was a dedicated employee of the City of Glendale for 24 years. While working for the city, he was awarded dozens of recognitions and awards. He was well respected by his peers and all he came in contact with. He loved working side by side with his City of Glendale family to help build a bigger and better future for the future of Glendale, Arizona.

He will be remembered as a loving father, husband, and grandfather.

He is survived by his spouse of 23 years, Misty Gibson; his daughters, Candice Rogers, and Ashley Gibson; his son, Christopher Gibson, and his mother, Elise Pryor, as well as his 9 grandchildren: Erykah Gibson, Lily Gibson, Cameron Gibson, Samantha Rogers, Roman Lapre, Jonathan Rogers, Nick Rogers, Topanga Pomeroy, and Will Avery.

Jessica Starr Fujimaki

Mrs. Jessica Starr Fujimaki 42, of Surprise, Arizona passed away on December 10, 2022, in Surprise, Arizona. She was born on June 02, 1980, to Roxane Yocum and Phillip Barto in Chantilly, Virginia.

Jessica graduated from Judson High School in Paradise Valley, Arizona where she met her future husband, Tad Fujimaki. Tad attended Judson High School as a boarding student from Japan and Jessica attended as a day student and they became high school sweethearts. Eventually they got married on July 25th, 2007, on Haleiwa Beach in Hawaii. Jessica attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California and then attended D’armi Esthetic University in Scottsdale Arizona. She also obtained her real estate license while living in Hawaii.

There is no easy way to describe the person Jessica was. Jessica was a soul beyond description and full of life, humor, and a presence that demanded attention. She loved to get dressed up and go out on the town with her friends. Even when she was struggling, she rallied so she could have just a few more good memories with her family and friends.  Jessica brought a distinctive energy into every room she walked into and was the life of the party. She was naturally silly and funny. There were many nights when Jessica and her girls would stay up late into the night laughing so hard their sides hurt and they were out of breath. Jessica had a collection of silly headbands she would wear around the house and once sat in the closet and tried on different ones for her girls opening the door between each and making puns about her headbands “Are you feeling wild today? Or you feeling stripes today? Are you feeling like picking cherries today? Or maybe you’re feeling peachy.” She went on and on until they couldn’t contain their giggles any longer.

Jessica loved her girls “to the moon and back”. She loved to be silly with her daughters and always prioritized quality time with her girls, even when she was sick. She never asked for a kiss from the girls but instead would tell them to “pucker UP”.

Self-expression was one of the most important things for Jessica and she wanted her girls to be able to express themselves while still being kids so she came up with all of these little rules for her girls. For Aiyana some of hers were “you can wear mascara but only on the top lashes never on the bottom ones” and “your dangly earrings are your weekend earrings, not for school.” For Kalina “you can wear your long nails during weekends and breaks but not to school”. She taught Kalina how to straighten her hair with the flat iron even though her arms hurt from the effort, taking breaks in between the sections. As she always said to Aiyana “beauty is pain!” Her love for her daughters was pure and unconditional even when they had their disagreements, Jessica was always there for her girls. She called her daughters her angels.  In a recent text message to Aiyana, she wrote “You melt my heart my angel and even when we have disagreements, I Always adore and love you no matter what!”  She is now their guardian angel and will love and watch over them every day of their lives.

Jessica loved people. She could talk to anyone about pretty much anything. A room full of strangers wouldn’t remain that way for long if Jessica had anything to say about it. Not even a language barrier could stop her. She always managed to find some way to communicate so no one was left felt out. Jessica was great at making new friends; people just really loved her and were drawn to her everywhere she went. Family and true friendship were so important to Jessica and were the driving factor for all she did.

Ballroom dancing was one of the other major loves of Jessica’s life. She went by Jessica Starr for all of her competitions because Jessica truly was a Star while performing. She won many awards throughout her life for her dancing and even in poor health Jessica took her daughters to Ballroom Dance events to watch others perform. She loved her dance studio, located in Scottsdale Arizona, and greatly missed the days when she could glide across the dance floor freely without a care in the world.

In the last few years while Jessica’s health began to worsen, she created new hobbies for herself to keep her spirits bright. She began painting and created quite a few works of art to decorate her new home here in Arizona. She also began collecting crystals. No matter how large or small the crystals were, she loved them for their healing energy and beauty. She continued to prioritize spending time with Tad and their girls and even made time to visit with her close friends. Even when Jessica couldn’t give her all, she gave the most precious thing she could give, she gave her time and her presence.

Jessica is survived by her spouse Tad Fujimaki; her daughters: Aiyana Starr Fujimaki, and Kalina Lily Fujimaki; her mother Roxane Gleghorn; her brothers: Casey Gleghorn, Justin Gleghorn, and Michael Wingate; and her Mimi Judy Yocum. She leaves behind her service dog Stormi, her other dogs: Chloe and Louie, and many dear and close friends.

Jessica was preceded in death by Nanny-Peg Barto, Pappy Ralph Barto, and Pappy Jack Yocum.

Michael Sullivan Brown

Michael Sullivan Brown chose to let go of the heavy weight of his heart and mind on Tuesday, January 3rd.  He left his family here, going somewhere we cannot follow. These words should not be written for a boy of 15.  He was born August 7, 2007, in Idaho, arriving shortly after a poker game between his parents which they never finished.  He was perfect and so quiet.  In the late nights when he and his mother Elizabeth were alone, they would sit and watch Iron Chef America in the dark hospital room (we secretly attribute his love of cooking to this early exposure). She was the first one to cradle his sweet face and the last one to hold him. Michael grew up in a home where things weren’t always perfect, but he always had his siblings to lean on.  He was a little brother to Brody and Gracelynne and a big brother to Caroline. Their relationships were full of all the secrets only shared by siblings and it was the four of them against the world. Everyone said that Michael was a mini-me of his father Gailen, and it’s the truth.  They both had the same stubbornness (when Michael decided to do something, there was no changing his mind), the same sense of immortality and adventure. Even when he tried to make it hard, Michael was loved deeply and unconditionally by his family.  From a young age, it was clear that Michael was exceptional.  Every parent says that about their child, but Michael was special, and that brilliance was his superpower and his kryptonite.  Genius is a double-sided sword, so while Michael was one of the funniest people you’d meet, whip smart and quick with the perfect joke for everyone, he held his sadness deep inside in a place we could not reach, no matter how hard we tried.  His smile was infectious, his anger knife sharp, his empathy unlimited. Michael loved music and was rarely seen without his earbuds in, listening to everything from Irish sea shanties to Rare Americans (his first concert), Childish Gambino, 1940s swing classics or Avatar.  In the evenings we could often hear him singing with abandon in his room.

As a little boy, he had a unique sense of style, and as a teen he was known for constantly wearing a hoodie sweatshirt, regardless of the temperature. He drank way too much Dr. Pepper and would argue with you about which restaurant’s french fries were the best deal based on taste and size (Wendy’s in case you were wondering). He and his father were currently on the hunt for the perfect street tacos.  He was too young to be survived by a wife or child, too young to have a career. He was too young.

In life, Michael was a member of the Great Mills High School JROTC, he was part of the chess team and engineering team.  He enjoyed trying new things and participated in Model UN, Mock Trial, and probably other things that he kept to himself. He felt school was useless, yet he always made an impact on his teachers, becoming a favorite student, much to his own disbelief.  People told us he was always surrounded by friends.  So many people have shared memories of a Michael we only knew in part.  A wise soul, a compassionate friend, an encourager, a peacemaker.  Michael continued to create a family of his own with his closest friends; Kenzie, Charles, Kaz, Tony and the rest of the Kingdom.  Michael was an adored nephew to Anne and Brandi and their husbands Brandt and Ryan, he was a beloved cousin of Nicholas, Niah, Sawyer, Sophie, Luke and Ivy.  He was a joy and a mystery to his grandparents: John and Carol, Wendell and Traci and MariAnn. We believe firmly that he is without despair, without sorrow and experiencing true joy with his Nana and Gigi and held tightly by Jesus.

Our family has been broken by a decision made in an instant, a decision that was the endpoint of a painful journey for our son. We won’t ever have the answers we seek, the unending question of why, but we do know that Michael was plagued by mental illness that dragged him down and blinded him to his worth and the possibility of a life beyond memories of the past.  He reached out and received help, but the chains were too heavy to break quickly, and so he let go instead of fighting against them longer.  Our family’s hope is that our tragedy will save someone else’s life.  If you are pressed down and broken by your thoughts and feelings, please call 988, talk to someone, ask for help.  Share the burden of your pain with others rather than taking it all on yourself.  You are worth so much more than you know.

Bonnie J. MacDonald

We are sad to announce the passing of Bonnie Jean MacDonald of Goodyear, AZ, previously of Rohnert Park, CA. Bonnie was born on April 6, 1964, at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, CA to parents Bruce and Margaret MacDonald. Bonnie was raised in San Rafael, CA where she graduated from Terra Linda High School. Bonnie went to college at the Colorado School of Mines. She later returned to Northern California and spent several decades working in the grocery business. Most notably Mollie Stones, from which she retired in early 2021.

Bonnie enjoyed reading books on her Kindle and exploring the beachfront highways of Northern California. She moved to Arizona during the summer of 2021 where she was able to spend quality time with family. Bonnie passed away at age 58 around December 1, 2022. She is survived by her sisters Marie Townsend and Diane Guffey and her nephews Eric Arnsbarger, Paul Arnsbarger, Chris Guffey, and Scott Guffey.

A celebration of life will be held for Bonnie in Northern California in the Summer of 2023.

Dorothy A. Gould

Dorothy Arlene Gould (Rough) passed away January 1, 2023, in Surprise, AZ, at the age of 89. She was born November 8, 1933, in Grants Pass, OR. Dorothy was the second child of Douglas Garner Rough and Helen Louise Martin. She was preceded in death by both parents and all five of her siblings: Darrell, Gene (died at birth), Janet, Jerry, Chuck and her husband Paul.

Her firstborn child, Melvin Gene passed away in 2004 (his widow Scherell lives in Springfield, OR). Dorothy is survived by her six living children: Evelyn Louise Scott and her husband Ben (Grants Pass, OR); Randy Lee Gould and his wife Kathleen (Aumsville, OR); Michael Wayne Gould and his wife Karen (Grants Pass, OR); Cynthia Ann Gould (Medford, OR); Gary Paul Gould and his wife, Tina (Waddell, AZ); and Jerry Alan Gould and his wife Felicia (Grants Pass, OR). Her posterity consists of 20 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and 6 great great grandchildren.

The legacy of Dorothy’s life is one of devotion to her family. She will be remembered as a person who was willing to work hard for the benefit of her loved ones. Her life is a testament to the principle of work and pressing forward amid hardship, which is in itself a legacy to one’s life.

Dorothy will be buried with her husband Paul at Hawthorne Memorial Gardens in Grants Pass. A private memorial service will be held at a later date for family and close friends.

Rest in Peace

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