Published: February 04, 2000
Robert I. Rushing
Robert I. “Bob” Rushing died Monday, January 31, 2000. He succumbed from injuries sustained some years ago while directing fire fighting and rescue operations in a multiple apartment complex in Loma Linda, California, where Bob was serving as the city’s first professional Fire Chief and director of Public Safety.
Bob was born November 23, 1926 in El Paso, Texas, where he attended school until 1943 when his family moved to Downey, California. He graduated from Downey High School in 1944, and went directly into the U.S. Navy. During World War II Bob, as a Motor Machinists Mate in the amphibious forces, served in both the European and Pacific theaters of operation.
After receiving his discharge from the Navy Bob returned to Downey, where he married his high school sweetheart Yolanda “Landa” Mattei in 1947. Bob and Landa’s 52 year marriage produced two sons, Mel Robert Rushing and Scott Karl Rushing.
Chief Rushing’s career in the fire service began in the mid-50s when he qualified as a fireman in the Montebello Fire Department. He transferred to Ventura County Fire Department in 1961, and was stationed in Santa Paula. In 1964 Santa Paula selected Bob to be the city’s first full time professional fire captain and fire inspector.
Dedicated to youth development, Bob focused significant energy to establishing a Boys’ Club in Santa Paula, where he is recognized as the founder of what is now the Santa Paula Boys’ & Girls’ Club. He served as the Boys’ Club’s first Board secretary. The city recognized his significant contribution by naming Bob the Citizen of the Year in 1969. He also received the President’s Award for outstanding service from the Boys’ Clubs of America.
Bob’s civic involvement included: American Legion Post 480, Santa Paula (past commander); American Legion Post 339, Ventura; American Veterans Post 80, Costa Mesa; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2043, Santa Paula (life member); Santa Paula Union High School Boosters Club (past president); Boy Scout Troop 302, Santa Paula (committee chairman); Kiwanis Club, Santa Paula (chairman of Boys and Girls Committee); and Lodge 291 Free and Accepted Masons, Fillmore and Santa Paula.
Chief Rushing’s professional associations included: California Fire Chiefs Association (life member), International Association of Fire Chiefs (life member), California Arson Investigators, California Fireman’s Association (life member), United States Landing Ship-Tank (LST) Association, and California Landing Ship-Tank (LST) Association.
In addition to Landa, Bob is survived by his mother, Annie Rushing of Santa Barbara; his sons and their families - Mel, wife Cynthia and children, Todd (18), Blake (15), Caroline (10) and Brent (2) of Clifton, Virginia, and Scott, wife Paula and children, Tyler (17) and Hillary (13) of Santa Paula; brother Charles (wife, Terry) of Santa Barbara; and in-laws Yvonne Toney and Norma and Jim Fergus of Downey, and Lois and Jon Fults of Huntington Harbor; and many nieces and nephews.
Bob and Landa recently returned to their beloved Santa Paula. Their home is in Hillview Estates. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to: Santa Paula Boys & Girls Club, 1400 E. Harvard Blvd., Santa Paula, CA 93060; or Boy Scouts of America, Ventura County Council, 509 Daily Dr., Camarillo, CA 93010.
Bob was a very loving and giving man. He will be missed by many. He has been entrusted into the care of the Neptune Society of Santa Barbara. A memorial reception for Bob is being planned to be held at Hillview Estates Clubhouse in Santa Paula.
Wesley G. Snell
Wesley G. Snell passed away January 21, 2000 in Cathedral City. He was born December 9, 1922 in Lamour, North Dakota.
He was a pioneer in the Pacific Telephone Company, and retired as an engineer after 27 years of service.
He served in World War II as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne, and was awarded a Silver Star for bravery in Sicily.
After the war, he played rugby at St. Mary’s College in 1948, when they won the championship. After leaving St. Mary’s he played semi-pro football with the Petaluma Leghorns.
He is survived by his wife, Tillie of Santa Paula; son Darrell of Benicia; daughter Tina of Petaluma; stepdaughter Nancy Stelling of Cathedral City; brother Roy and sister Betty Morehouse of Walla Walla, Washington; sister Donna Shelden of Chehaws, Washington; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great grandchildren.
Burial was private. A memorial will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Heart Foundation would be appreciated.
Lester E. Allen
A memorial service for Lester E. Allen, who passed away January 24, will be held on February 10 at 2 p.m. at the Skillin-Carroll Chapel, 600 Central Ave., Fillmore.
Celia Ballestero, age 86, of Santa Paula, passed away on January 31, 2000 to be with her Lord. She was born on March 31, 1913 in Mexico, and was a Ventura County resident for over 20 years.
When living in the San Fernando Valley Celia was very active in her church, always teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and singing in the choir. She witnessed to all who met her. She was a very faithful member of Ventura Baptist Church.
Celia was a very loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. She was loved by all.
She is survived by her loving husband of 66 years, Abel; her daughters, Anna Mae (husband, Oliver) Gallegos of Las Vegas, NV, Jeannette (husband Don) Richards of Santa Rosa Valley, Alice Heath of Santa Paula and Yvonne (husband, Philip) Knepper of Ventura; 10 grandchildren, who will miss her dearly; nine great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter; sisters, Stella Espinoza, Elizabeth Villanueva and Emma Ochoa of Pacoima; and brothers Ben Garcia and David Garcia of San Fernando. She was preceded in death by sister Delia Salas and brother Joseph Garcia.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, February 5 at 11 a.m. at Ventura Baptist Church, located at 5415 Ralston, Ventura. There will be a reception to follow immediately after services at the same location.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Celia’s name to Valley Baptist Church, 10705 Telfair Ave., Pacoima, CA 91331.
Celia has been entrusted into the loving care of Charles Carroll Funeral Home, Ventura.
Paul Lake, age 77, of Santa Paula, passed away February 1, 2000 following a lengthy illness.
He was born May 1, 1922 in Spiro, Oklahoma, and had worked for Max Rudolph Company of Santa Paula in oil field construction.
He is survived by his sons, Jim Lake of Santa Paula, Ron (wife, Mary) Lake of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tom (wife, Joann) Lake of Yuba City; daughters, Evelyn Lake of Santa Paula and Sharon (husband, Bill) Crabtree of Visalia; 14 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; sister Neoma Ervin of Olivehurst; and brothers, Homer Lake of Oklahoma, John Lake of Ventura, Leo, Venoy and Dearyl Lake, all of Oxnard, and Lee Lake of Grass Valley.
Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, February 7 at Santa Paula Cemetery, Rev. Sean Lake officiating.
Arrangements are under the direction of Skillin-Carroll Mortuary, Santa Paula.