Alums In Memoriam
1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
ILA RHODES TURNER (BA, English and Credential, ’35) died Dec. 12, 2010, at age 96. Turner taught for 34 years, retiring from the Millbrae School District in 1975. She then moved to Red Bluff and became the education chairman of the Kelly-Griggs House Museum, arranging tours and exhibits for children. She is survived by her husband of 74 years, Leslie; son Larry; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
KATHERINE BRUGGER (BA, Education and Credential, ’43) died Dec. 9, 2010, at age 89. She taught second grade at Quincy Elementary before her marriage in 1945 to Joseph Brugger. She loved reading and quilting. Brugger is predeceased by husband Joseph and survived by daughters Louise, Margaret, and Myra; son Joseph; and eight grandchildren.
GUST ZAGORITES (BA, Industrial Arts, ‘52; Credential, ’53) died Jan. 25, 2011, at age 82. He held various teaching positions, his longest being a third-grade teacher in the Cloverdale Unified School District. The son of Greek immigrants, Zagorites liked to quote his father on education, saying, “Education is the stepping stone across the sea of life.” He is survived by wife Marion and daughters Deana, Elene, Kia, and Katerena.
GEORGE RICCOMINI (BA, Business Administration, ’64) died Nov. 25, 2010, at age 70. He owned and operated Bruno’s Garage Dodge and Chrysler Automotive Dealership in Mount Shasta until his retirement in 2004. He is survived by wife CARROL (BA, Elementary Education, ’63); sons KALE (BA, Physical Education, ’91; MA, Physical Education, ’00) and STEVE (BS, Recreation Administration, ’95; MA, Recreation Administration, ’00), who works in the Department of Recreational Sports at CSU, Chico; and five grandchildren.
ROBERT W. ANDERSON (BA, Physical Education, ’65) died Nov. 21, 2010, at age 72. After graduating from CSU, Chico, he held various teaching jobs throughout his career, and retired as supervisor of parole for Douglas County Department of Corrections. He is survived by wife Addie, daughters Cindy and Garnet, and 11 grandchildren.
JOHN PETER SPANGER (BA, English, ’65; MA, English, ’67) died Nov. 18, 2010, at age 74. He served in the U.S. Air Force and taught English for more than 40 years at Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo. He was a literary scholar and inspired his students with his passion for the written word. He is survived by wife Mildred, daughters Andrea and Catherine, son Christopher, and four grandchildren.
DENNY A. BRUCE (BA, Psychology, ’68) died July 13, 2010, at age 73. Throughout his career, he served the citizens of Butte County in many ways, including as a psychiatric social worker, a clinical and forensics consultant, and a licensed clinical social worker. During his retirement, he volunteered as an ambassador at Bidwell Golf Course. He is survived by wife Sue, two daughters, and two granddaughters.
KENNETH REIMERS (BS, Agriculture, ’68) died Sept. 17, 2010, at age 65. He worked for the Butte County Assessor’s Office for 37 years before retirement in 2009. He was known for his random gifts of kindness—including delivering hundreds of bags of mandarins each year to friends, co-workers, and family. He is survived by wife Bonnie, daughter Jennifer, and son Kevin.
TIM NOBRIGA (BA, Physical Education, ’74) died Feb. 14, 2011, at age 60. A former standout diver on CSU, Chico’s national championship team, he was a diving coach and swim instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College for more than 35 years. He is survived by wife Sue, whom he met in a CSU, Chico kinesiology lab on Valentine’s Day in 1972.
LANCE W. HANSON (BA, Liberal Studies, ’77) died Nov. 26, 2010. He worked as a teacher in Twenty-nine Palms, then taught second grade in Grass Valley for more than 18 years before becoming a middle school principal in Napa. Hanson’s family and friends will remember trips to Lake Tahoe, backyard Wiffle Ball, and poolside chats with him. He is survived by wife Debbie; children Chris, Leah, Brent, and Derek; stepchildren Nicolas, Carlie, and Tony; and seven grandchildren.
RANDALL HARRIS (BA, Recreation Administration, ’80) died Nov. 2, 2010, at age 56 in a motorcycle accident. He was the owner of Mel Harris Jewelry Manufacturing Co. Harris’s wife, Josie, is from the Philippines, and together they visited her family there every year. He loved the outdoors and established small tracts of timberland on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. His longtime friend and CSU, Chico roommate, GARY LISS (BS, Recreation Administration, ’79), says, “Randy and I often talked about how much we loved our time as students at Chico State, and I know he would want me to thank the University for a great education and a wonderful student experience.” Harris is survived by wife Josie, mother Patricia, and stepfather Jack.
GEORGE FLATH JR. (BA, Liberal Studies, ’91; Credential, ’92) died Jan. 30, 2011, at age 43. He taught fifth grade at Hoover Elementary in Palo Alto and was well known and loved by his students. “Everyone just loved that guy,” says his father, George. “Everywhere he went he was like a shining star.” He is survived by partner Randy Preece and parents George and Jeanette.
TERESA MARY WALSH (BA, Liberal Studies, ’10) died Nov. 23, 2010, at age 24. She graduated from Concord High School and attended Diablo Valley College before transferring to CSU, Chico. She was enrolled in the credential program and worked with an Easter Seals program as an associate teacher at the time of her death. She is survived by mother Laurie, father Don, and sisters Robyn and Erin.
JESSE KOHEN (attended fall ’08–fall ’10) died
Oct. 19, 2010, at the age of 26. After graduating from Pleasant Valley High School in 2003, he worked as an instructional aide at Loma Vista School and PV High, and coached football at PV High. Kohen was a kinesiology student who planned to major in Adapted Physical Education. He was involved in programs for physical education teacher preparation, adapted physical education, outdoor education, and special education, and he worked with children in the department’s autism clinic. He is survived by parents Bob and Kay, brother Casey, and grandmother Polly.
BRADLEY JAY NALBONE (attended spring ’08–fall ’10) died Oct. 9, 2010, at age 25. He transferred to CSU, Chico from Butte College in 2008 to major in psychology and music. He was a guitarist and active community volunteer who was very interested in music therapy. He is survived by parents Ken and Lisa, and grandmothers Jane and Dot.
JODIE EMIKO YAMAGUCHI (attended summer ’08–fall ’10) died Nov. 17, 2010, at age 29. She graduated from Lincoln High School in Stockton in 1999 and entered the credential program at CSU, Chico with a degree in history from Humboldt State. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor during that time but continued to pursue her teaching credential for as long as her health permitted. Her goal was to inspire and teach history to high school students. She is survived by parents Norma and Robert, and brothers Jeffrey and Scott.
—Anna Harris and Cassandra Jones, Public Affairs and Publications
[ top ]
A North State Hero
Longtime farmer and conservationist Bernard (Barney) Flynn Jr. (MA, English, ’69) died Oct. 10, 2010, in Sacramento from heart failure. He was 75.
Flynn was the third of 14 children, born in Downey in 1935 to Bernard and Miriam Flynn. His Northern California roots date back to age 10, when his father bought the Stanford Ranch in Vina. Flynn and his siblings spent summers there until 1956, when the ranch was sold to an order of monks, becoming the Abbey of New Clairvaux.
After his graduation from Harvard University, Flynn began work managing his family’s large farm properties in Northern California with his brother Vincent. He had two children with wife Ramona Rodriguez (Credential, ’56; MA, History, ’84).
Flynn eventually moved to Chico and refurbished the Little Chapman Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the second oldest home in Chico, with wife Michele Shover, professor emerita, Political Science. He also started Media Access Project, specializing in promotional materials for nonprofit and other organizations.
When his brother died in a plane accident in 1986, Flynn returned to managing his family’s Sierra View Farms. The intersection of ranching with his interests in social and environmental issues inspired Flynn to found the nonprofit Sacramento River Partners with John Carlon (BS, Agriculture, ’80) in 1988.
Now called River Partners, the organization’s mission is “to create wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment.” It combines techniques used in farming with restoration ecology to restore large swaths of riparian areas along Central Valley streams and rivers. These areas serve as buffer zones that protect farmland from flooding. To date, River Partners has invested more than $45 million in restoration and conservation, restoring more than 6,000 acres and planting more than a million trees and shrubs with partners including CSU, Chico; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the California Department of Fish and Game; and many others.
Flynn served as vice president of River Partners for eight years and remained on the board of directors throughout his retirement. “We took restoration projects to a new level of scale,” he said of his work with River Partners. “We were unique in that we owned tractors, we hired farmers, and we knew how to regenerate large tracts of fallow land into viable habitat. We resolved the tension between biology and farming by making them work together.”
At the age of 71, Flynn was a finalist for the Purpose Prize, which honors people over 60 who are “combining their passion and experience for social good.” River Partners has remembered Flynn with the Bernard F. Flynn Jr. Wildland Preserve, a 259-acre area along the Sacramento River formerly called the Del Rio Preserve.
Flynn is survived by partner Nancy Plesha, daughter Elena, son Bernard III, and two grandchildren.
Memorial gifts can be sent to the family’s Miriam R. and Bernard F. Flynn Scholarship Fund for Tehama County farmworkers and their children. For more information, contact Daria Booth, 530-898-4796, email@example.com.
—Anna Harris, Public Affairs and Publications