Published: January 11, 2006
Richard G. Villa
Richard G. Villa passed away on December 11, 2005 in the Santa Ana-Orange area, of cardiac arrest after a medical procedure.
A very special person was born to Herman and Guillerma Villa on Halloween of 1924. He was born and reared in Santa Paula and attended Santa Paula High School until he was drafted at the end of his junior year. He was class vice president as a freshman and sophomore, and was junior class president, participating in athletics his freshman year only, as interscholastic play was suspended for two years during the war. His initiation into the social science forum was nullified by his premature academic departure.
Richard completed pilot training in Texas, receiving his commission and his wings in December 1944. Because of his bilingualism, he was assigned as a flying instructor in the lend-lease program, which furnished material and other assistance and training to allied countries. This included Central and South American countries and Mexico, which declared war in May 1942 and then sent pilots to the Pacific.
After his World War II service, Richard worked for the city and the Bennett Engineering Co. He was secretary-treasurer of the 20/30 Club in the 1940s. He was working for Shell Oil Co., and was in the volunteer air reserve unit in Ventura when his younger brother, Herman, was killed in Korea. Richard volunteered for active duty and was recalled in April 1953. Bob Grainger was recalled the same day, so they traveled back together. They remained firmly convinced that their recall was instrumental in the cessation of overt hostilities.
Again, Richard found himself in the back seat, after attending a refresher course and basic instructor school. When relations between the United States and Spain took an upturn, he was assigned to Spain to help open the first United States-Spain Airbase (1954-55), and for this he spent several months at the Pentagon. Later, he went to Spain to train Spanish air force pilots on the T-6.
He returned, only to find himself in the T-33/F-86F military assistance operational training course, training U.S. National Guard and foreign students. Eventually he would train personnel from 18 countries, including China, Turkey, Japan, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and Italy. He was also a flight safety officer at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona.
Richard was with the Navy on an exchange program for two years with the Fleet Air Gunnery unit and VA-126 Attack Squadron. In a “lapse of judgment,” he acquiesced to the “Navy way” and carrier qualified in the FJ-4B “Fury,” which was to catapult from and land on an aircraft carrier.
After a stay in Texas, during which he completed the U.S. Air Force Instrumental Pilot Instructor School, the mysterious Middle East beckoned, and again Richard spent a few months at the Pentagon for the Iran mission. A two-year tour as an advisor to the Imperial Iranian Air Force ensured, and he was found flying over fabled spots such as Persepolis, the Garden of Eden, and Baghdad. It was during one of those trips, in Naples, Italy, that Richard ran into a childhood neighbor, Charlie Ante, whom he hadn’t seen since before Pearl Harbor.
A brief assignment to the 12th Air Force headquarters in Texas led to a tour at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida, which was highlighted by a rotating tour of “alert duty” at Cigli Air Base, Turkey during the Cold War days, and tactical training and practice. Tactical training included day and night air-to-air refueling and day and night air-to-ground weapons delivery. This, of course, was a prelude to 13 months in Vietnam as an F-100 tactical fighter pilot, during which he celebrated his 43rd birthday. In Vietnam, he flew more than 400 hours in 274 combat missions.
Richard then proceeded to Japan, where the Pueblo Incident commanded everyone’s attention, and resulted in frequent temporary assignments to Korea.
England Air Force Base in Louisiana provided his U.S. Air Force “swan song.” Among the awards and decorations Richard earned are the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters (OLCs), 16 Air Medals, Air Force Commendation Medal with two OLCs, three Air Force Commendation Medals, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award with four OLCs, Armed Forces Medal, Small Arms Marksmanship Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class.
He flew many types of aircraft, including the Euro Coupe, Piper Cub, Super Club PA-18, Tri-Pacer, Taylorcraft, Cessna 150, Cessna 172, Cessna 185, L-4, L-20, PT-19, BT-13, T/AT-6, T-28, P-40, P-47, P-51, AD-4, AD-5, AD-6, SNB, C-47, T/RT-33, F86F, FJ-4B, F9F-8T, A4D, F-100, and F-5.
Richard retired from the United States Air Force in June 1973 and, after a rather short hiatus, resumed his formal education. He attended Santa Ana College and California State University, Fullerton, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors and a master’s degree in art. An adjunct to his Master of Arts exhibit in sculpture was a request to manage an art gallery and temporarily assist The Friendly Center, a community service organization in Orange, as executive officer.
Richard resided in Orange with his wife, Jocelyn. From there, they would periodically venture to enjoy the sights of the Golden Pagoda in Japan, the Alaska glaciers, and the Panama Canal, as well as the Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond, the Blarney Stone, and the Scandinavian capitals.
Richard was a very good child, youngster, and man. A quote from his wife, “Richard was decent and honorable and extremely intelligent.”
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Jocelyn C. Villa; two sons, Richard P. and Christopher; three grandchildren, Elena, Richard J. G., and John; two great-grandchildren, Chloe and Lili; two sisters, Alexandria and Laura; a sister-in-law, Holly; a brother-in-law, Joe; and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his parents; two brothers, Theadore, and Herman Frank; and two sisters, Eva and Micaela.
Interment of ashes was December 30 at Riverside National Cemetery.
Ruth Moore, 86, missionary to Chile and a member of Bible Fellowship Church in Ventura, died peacefully on Friday, Dec. 30, 2005, in Fremont, CA. She was 86 years old.
Ruth was born in Japan in 1919. She was the daughter of missionaries with TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission). She met her future husband, Clair, at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and in 1944 they married in Chile, where their four boys were born. They served in Chile, often in remote regions, for 35 years. Ruth taught underprivileged people to read and write and was also an English tutor for university students; she led retreats, was a conference speaker and was known for sharing her faith comfortably with those she encountered. Clair and Ruth retired from Gospel Mission of South America in 1978 and moved to Ventura. Clair died in 1991, and because of health reasons, she moved to Fremont in 2002.
Ruth loved Bible Fellowship Church and was very involved with the missions department. She enjoyed working with children during Summer Vacation Bible School, and especially enjoyed her ministry to college age women.
She is survived by her sons Ed Moore of Fremont, Jon Moore and Doug Moore of Los Angeles, and Steve Moore of Albuquerque, and their wives; by her brother Dr. Ernest Carlson of Santa Paula, and her sister Rosalie Dahl of Ventura; 9 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren; and a large family that loves her.
A celebration of Ruth’s life and ministry will be held at 2:00 p.m. January 14, 2006, at Bible Fellowship Church, 6950 Ralston Street, Ventura, CA., (805-656-7766).
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to First Evangelical Free Church, (Memo: Restore and Renew Fund), 1356 S. Albany Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015, (213-749-8668).
Wilma “Billie” Sabree-Grant
Wilma “Billie” Sabree-Grant passed away peacefully Sunday, January 8, 2006, with her family by her side. Wilma was born April 29, 1924 in Huntington, West Virginia. She married Ira “Tody” Grant on September 29, 1939 in Huntington. They moved to Santa Paula in 1958, then moved to Kingman, Arizona in 1972.
Wilma returned to Santa Paula in 1999, where she remained until her passing. Wilma was involved with Feed the Children National Association. She loved to cook and spend time with her family. She also loved going to casinos, and playing bingo on Thursday nights.
Wilma is preceded in death by her husband Tody, parents Charles and Nora Sabree, and brother Charles Sabree.
She is survived by her children, son Richard Allen Grant and wife Ellen of Kingman, Arizona, son William Marshall Grant and wife Janet of Santa Paula, son Charles “Eddie” Grant and wife Becky of Santa Paula, and daughter Shelley Sabree Edwards and husband Larry of Santa Paula; grandsons, Charlie Grant of California, Kevin Grant of Arizona, Wayne Edwards of California and Daren Grant of California; and granddaughters, Linda Mayberry of California, Tammy Berg of California, Heidi Daly of Arizona, Melissa Rogers of Utah, April Poole of California, and Shana (Grant) Kolek of California. She is also survived by 21 beautiful great-grandchildren.
Mom, Billy, Grandma Billy, Grandma Bully, Grandma Chico, we love and miss you.
Pending memorial services will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Ojai Road in Santa Paula.
Wilma’s remains will be taken to Kingman, Arizona to be laid to rest with her husband Tody.