Helen Rae, the contemporary artist who broke down barriers in art, age and accessibility has died at 83. She grew up in Claremont, where her father was a professor at one of the Claremont Colleges. She was deaf and nonverbal, and learned sign language and other methods of communication, most importantly visual art.
Sadly, Roderick Mitchell, 70, affectionately known as “Rod,” died December 19, 2020. Rod was born and brought up in the south west of England. A few years after graduating from university as an electrical engineer, he came to America for a short adventure. However, he found he loved the Southern California lifestyle, and became an American citizen. He worked at a variety of aerospace companies, living in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Agoura Hills and lastly, Claremont.
ohn Ward Sr. was born on March 5, 1928 in Blakely, Georgia to the late Laura Jakes Ward and Clifford Ward. The family moved to New Jersey a year after his birth. John was the eldest of three children. His sister Carmella Hamilton, and his brother Charles, both Newark, New Jersey residents, are deceased. He was educated in the Newark public schools and earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.
On February 5th, at the age of 81, “Robert Speakman left this world for a joyous reunion with his wife,” his family shared. “He spent his life faithfully serving the Lord, his family, and the community.”
William (Knox) Mellon, Jr., a legend in the field of historic preservation, died January 10 at the age of 95.
He was born to William (Knox) Mellon, Sr. and Zelma Cochran Mellon in Houston, Texas on October 20, 1925. Knox was five years old when the family moved to San Marino, California, where his father built the first house on Oxford Street, across from the Huntington Library.
He attended the Stonewood and Huntington schools, and the Midland School in Los Olivos for high school, where he played soccer.
Arlene Chloe Warhurst died quietly in her sleep on January 26. She lived in Claremont for 63 of her 100 years.
Arlene was an artist and a free spirit. She threw her whole self into projects and never took no for an answer. She was a talented sketch artist, painter and photographer, but she always considered children to be the greatest artistic expression.
Longtime Harvey Mudd engineering professor, traveler, birder, volunteer, James Edward Monson, died quietly and peacefully at home in Point Reyes, California, surrounded by his three children and Julie, his wife of 65 years.
John Thomas McGwire died December 29, 2020 at the age of 83 at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. ohn McGwire was born on September 7, 1937 in Bronxville, New York. He was a man of faith who believed in service to others. He graduated from the University of Washington Dental School in 1962 and had practiced dentistry for 38 years in Pomona.
Longtime Claremont resident James Joseph Dorst (Jim) died December 22, 2020 at the age of 88. In 1956, he met Beverly Brodhagen, and they were married on September 7, 1957. They moved to Claremont in 1960, where he started his career in construction. He worked as a glazing estimator for Olson Glass and Granite Glass before starting his own glazing company (D and D Company) in 1984 with his partner Gary Dryden.
On Saturday, December 5, 2020, Edward Johnson died of natural causes at his home at the age of 82. His death was followed by that of his wife, Tsuyako Yamabe Johnson, on New Year’s Eve at Country Villa Claremont, where she had been residing for the past year. She was 88.
Elizabeth (Bette) Bass died at home on December 21, 2020 after bravely fighting cancer. She was surrounded by the love of her many friends near and far. She was 73 years old. She lived for a time with her grandparents in Steelville, Missouri, while her mother received treatment for cancer. She graduated from high school in San Mateo, California in 1965, chosen “most likely to succeed” in her class. She attended the University of Redlands, majoring in communicative disorders, graduating in 1969.
Leslie Arthur Brewer, 97, lived life with integrity, used words sparingly but effectively, and was well known for his dry, clever humor. In many ways, he lived a remarkable life, but did so unassumingly. Known by friends and family as Les, he was a lifelong resident of the Pomona Valley and died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, December 24, 2020. The cause of death was COVID-19.