Archive for the ‘Obituary’ Category

A tribute to the Watchdog, Barbara Zivica

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
Barbara Zivica from her Facebook page.

Barbara Zivica from her Facebook page.

By Allen Payton

The self-named Watchdog of local politics, Barbara Zivica, passed away on Saturday, May 21 following a long battle with cancer. Born in Brooklyn, NY, she graduated from East Rockaway High School and earned a degree in Management from St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Before she was the columnist for the Antioch Herald, Barbara was a columnist for the Dawn newspaper chain in East Detroit, Michigan, the Valley Merchant in Concord, CA and the Ledger-Dispatch in Antioch. She also worked at the Antioch Police Department for many years.

Barbara served on the Antioch Waterfront Commission, was a Charter Member of the Delta Toastmasters, and Executive Director of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association.

She was especially proud of being in charge of a referendum to locate the Walnut Creek City Hall where it is, today. As a result, in 1980, the Mayor gave her a brick and certificate of commendation for her efforts, which she had on display in her home.

She is survived by her two daughters, Stephanie Simonson of Scottsdale, Arizona and Stacey Anderson of Benicia, and five grandchildren, Destiny, Todd, Skyanne, Jacey and Jenna, and Barbara’s long-time companion, Hank Bagwell.

Barbara wanted the following poem shared, which it’s believed she wrote:

Beneath the bridge and waves so blue

I commit my soul to life anew.

To those I love I leave this thought

Don’t let life be lived for naught.

Taped to her computer monitor she had the following quotes:

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.  – Benjamin Franklin

Then, of course, this quote:

Our liberty depends on freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost. – Thomas Jefferson

I enjoyed her writing and our discussions on local issues. Although we didn’t always agree, I respected her opinion and research skills. Barbara wouldn’t let me pay her, even with gift certificates from local businesses. She created the logo for her column, a photo of her dog Hooch, who she also left behind.

Her final column, about water issues, was posted on the Antioch Herald website on May 10, 2016 and will appear in the July issue of the paper.

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Memorial services for Antioch sixth grader who died Dec. 18th, to be held Monday, Jan. 4th

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Lorenzo Hall

Lorenzo Hall

The public is invited to attend and support the family of 11-year-old Lorenzo D. Hall, Jr., as they celebrate his short life and lay him to rest on Monday, January 4, 2016 with viewing at 10 a.m. and memorial service at 11 a.m. at Antioch Church Family, 55 E. 18th Street in Antioch. The burial will follow at Oak View Memorial Park in Antioch.

Lorenzo was a 6th grade student at Black Diamond Middle School in Antioch, who suddenly passed away early morning of December 18th due to complications with asthma. Lorenzo leaves behind his mom, Mechelle, dad, Lorenzo Sr., an older sister Ashaunti and a younger sister, Anayiah.

The family is  in need of financial assistance to cover funeral expenses. According to friends, they are short about $1,900. Please visit their Go Fund Me page at

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In Memoriam: Don Meagher, first principal of Sutter Elementary in Antioch, passes at 93

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

By Donna Swenson, daughter

In Dad’s dying days his appreciation for those around him was accentuated.  This very independent man needed now to depend more on the help of others, especially his wife Katy.  He became more deliberate in his “thank you” and “please.”  A sense of humor sprinkled their tasks of everyday life which had become more difficult with the challenges of disease and a tired body.  It was a privilege to witness this example of love aging well.

During his last week at home I came into the house one afternoon . I found them both asleep on opposite ends of the couch , arms reaching across, holding hands.  It is an image so sweet, speaking clearly of mutual love and respect.  It is an image  I carry in my heart.  Thank you Katy for  your ready laughter, generous spirit, your appreciation and love of dad.  We know this love was a gift for both of you to share “till death do you part.”

Mural of the old Antioch telephone office, depicting Don (in brown suit) and Helen (in blue and white) Meagher picking up their first phone.

Mural of the old Antioch telephone office, on the building at the corner of West 4th and G Streets, in downtown Antioch, depicting Don (in brown suit) and Helen (in blue and white) Meagher picking up their first phone.

Donald James Meager came into this world December 6 , 1921 at St. Luke’s hospital in San Francisco. He was the first child of Theresa Whitfield and James Meagher.  He was to become the older brother of Gerald, James and Mary.  Grandma Whitfield had a ranch in Mission San Jose.  This is where he and his brothers and sister spent many days exploring the orchards, sleeping on the porch of the big ranch house and playing in the barn with their cousins.  His dad and uncles owned a garage in the Mission District of the city. This business thrived and declined according to the economy of the times.  Growing up,  the family moved a lot living in the city, living in at least 10 homes  before dad was 18. His father died at 50, leaving Granny a widow at 46 with four children.   Dad, at 18, became the shoulder to lean on for his mother and 12 year old his sister, Mary. As they followed their father’s body down the aisle of St. James church Dad lovingly took his young sister’s hand assuring her ‘it would be all right.”

He graduated from Polytechnic High School in 1940, not sure what he was going to do with his life.  He had a few odd jobs.  Then World War II  began. He enlisted in the United States Coast Guard serving in the South Pacific on LST 830, sending money home to help his mother.    Following the war he came home  went to college at San Francisco State on the GI Bill. He took  education classes, ran track and dated girls.  He met our mother,  Helen Buckley on campus and fell in love.  They were married in June of 1948 at St. James church on Guerrero Street. They lived on campus in married student housing where all the fun was happening with other Veterans and their young wives.  There they met life long friends in Henry and Mary Jean Watty.

They didn’t waste any time starting a family. Their first child Donna Theresa was born the following year in August 1949.  Mom and Dad decided to leave the foggy city taking a teaching job up in sunny Sonoma county where they lived in a little house on Harold Way in Healdsburg.  He taught at Windsor Elementary School earning $2,500 a year.  Fourteen months later along came Christopher James. The very persuasive Henry Watty was teaching in Antioch by then where they were paying teachers a bit more, ann extra $500 a year. So Mom and Dad packed up their two little ones and bought a house on Dennis Drive in Antioch.  In the next six years Patricia Helen and Susanna completed the Meagher family.

Dad began a very successful career in education in this small town. He earned his Masters Degree in Education in 1956 and held teaching credentials for Elementary and Secondary Education.

The professional accomplishment he was most proud of was principal of Sutter Elementary School for 20 years.  It was an innovative school for its time, the 1970’s.  Pod shaped buildings, hand picked teachers, following the principles the education gurus of the time, William Glasser and Thomas Harris, of “I’m Ok, You’re Ok” fame.  He enjoyed a good relationship with the parent/teacher community that worked together to raise funds for the school.

Dad’s acting debut during this time was as Linus, in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” in a parent, staff production.  He retired in 1983.  The library of the school is named in his honor and each year a new group of students learns how to pronounce Meagher correctly.

He and mom enjoyed those early years of retirement traveling and visiting grandchildren.  Dad eventually went back to continue his teaching career at the Independent High School in Brentwood for 14 years.  He reconnected with those LST 830 men , organizing a reunion in Branson, Missouri.   Then Mom died suddenly in 1997, leaving Dad to define his own, next chapter.  As our family left Dad, after a week together of shared shock and grief, he sat us down at the kitchen table.   He told us that life had been great with Mom but he was ready  and excited to see what the future would bring. He sold the family home and moved to Summerset, a setting not unlike that at San Francisco State married-student housing so many years before.  He began an active social life with new found friends, playing bocce, taking trips with Elder Hostel, and taking up golf.  The chapter began.

He found a loving companion and wife, to enjoy the last 14 years of his life.  He had met Kathleen Welch Smith at a reunion of his Coast Guard buddies when he was there with mom.  Mom came home from that first reunion with stories of meeting Katy and enjoying her company. The second reunion Dad went alone.  A friendship began with Katy and he fell in love again.  They enjoyed an active life together. He became a mentor to her six children and many grandchildren who live in the mid west.  During these years they traveled, enjoyed the activities and friendship in this community, played bocce and golf together with Dad making a hole in one at 90.

Dad encouraged our family legacy of educators.  His mother was a teacher along with his brother Jimmy and sister Mary.  Many of his cousins were teachers and nieces and nephews.  All of his children became teachers, Chris worked in Special Education, Sue is a speech therapist, while Donna and Patricia are elementary teachers.  Several grandchildren are continuing this important work.

He died peacefully on Sunday, October 25, completing an accomplished, rich, full life of 93 years.  His family kept vigil, reminding one another of the memories we shared, the stories we won’t forget, and the love we have for him.  We hold this treasure trove in our hearts and will pass these on to those who carry on our family story.

Donations in his name can be made to purchase books for the Donald J. Meagher Library at Sutter Elementary School, 3410 Longview Road, Antioch, California, 94509 .

Publisher’s Note: A service was held for Don Meagher on October 30 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Brentwood. Don and his first wife, Helen will be forever enshrined as part of the mural on the side of the building at the corner of West 4th and G Streets in downtown Antioch, depicting the old telephone office, including Don and Helen picking up their first phone. According to former Antioch Councilwoman Elizabeth Rimbault, Don served on the Board of Directors of the Antioch Historical Society. Together they contributed funds, time and effort to create the first “Brides Room” in the museum in memory of Helen and Rimbault’s mother, Velma Jennings (First Madd Hatter’s Hat Shop), including painting, hanging curtains and creating displays.

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In Memoriam: Pittsburg native, former Antioch resident Peter Parla

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Peter Parla

Peter Parla

January 20, 1959 – October 7, 2015

Peter Parla age 56, passed away suddenly in a car accident, Wednesday, October 7, 2015.

He was born on January 20, 1959 in Pittsburg, CA. to Frank and Petrina (Alaimo) Parla. He was a longtime resident of Pioneer, CA.

Pete married Dawn Oliver in Lake Tahoe, NV on December 28, 1989.

Pete graduated from Antioch High School. He was the produce manager at Pokerville Market in Plymouth, CA. He had a very kind heart, a friend to everyone and will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

He is survived by his wife, Dawn Parla; children, Jeremiah Parla and fiancé Alicia Hammett, Nicole Parla-Penge and Fiancé Michael Colenzo, Peter Parla II and Petrina Parla; grandchildren, Hailee Hammett, Hunter Hammett, Bella Parla and Cienna Parla; sister, Roseanne (Danny) Carroll; brothers, Sam (Lynette) Parla, Frank Parla. Pete was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Peggy Parla.

A Celebration of Life will be held October 24, 2015 at the Mt. Zion Church, 13891 Cedar Pine Lane, Pine Grove, CA. 95665, 1:00 P.M. If you would like to help support the Parla Family, please do so using the following two methods. Thank you for any help you can provide.

1. Make all checks payable to “Memorial Fund for Pete Parla” and mail them to: Bank of Stockton Memorial Fund for Pete Parla, P.O. Box 100, Pine Grove, CA 95665

2. You can also give using Mt. Zion Church’s online portal here. Select the fund “Memorial Fund for Pete Parla”. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting and signing the guest book.

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In memoriam: long time Antioch resident and veterinarian Donald Blomberg, DVM

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Don BlombergDonald Blomberg, DVM

May 9, 1924 – August 6, 2015

Don Blomberg, long time Antioch resident, passed away August 6, 2015, in his cottage at Upper Post Lake, Wisconsin. Although a California native, he cherished his summer visits to Wisconsin. Most important to him were the relationships and sense of community that developed during the years.

Don, affectionately known as Doc by many, was born in Berkeley, CA on May 9, 1924. His family moved around to various cities in California but finally settled for good in Sacramento. Don attended McClatchy High School, graduated from University of Southern California and University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis, class 1958.

He practiced veterinary medicine with William Stansbury and eventually purchased the Antioch Veterinary Hospital & Clinic. During his 50 year residency in Antioch, Don participated in Kiwanis, Storyland Theatre, AFS, President of Contra Costa Veterinary Association, Board Member & President of Contra Costa Veterinary Emergency Clinic.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marleen who always called him “the world’s greatest father”. When his own kids weren’t around, Don would read to or spend time with neighboring children. Other surviving family include sons Craig (Darien), Lars (Deb), Sven (Laura), grandchildren Daniel, Jeremy, Jed, John, Stella, Elsa, and Annalise, and three brothers.

A celebration of life will be held October 18, 2015 from 11 am to 3 pm at Lone Tree Golf Course in Antioch.

Donations can be sent to School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis in honor of Don Blomberg, Class of 1958, P O Box 1167, Davis, CA 95617 or any charity of your choice.

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Antioch High’s winningest coach, Joe Gambetta passes at 95

Sunday, August 9th, 2015
Joe Gambetta

Joe Gambetta

By Luke Johnson

One of Antioch High School’s greatest and most accomplished legends died from natural causes on June 8. Joe Gambetta coached the golf team to 22 League Championships, a school record, and on top of that won the biggest prize of them all, a State Championship, in 1987.

Born on Nov. 28, 1920, Gambetta grew up on his grandfather’s farm with three siblings in Novatto during the Great Depression. He served in World War II as an Air Force pilot who transported supplies to France and brought wounded soldiers back to England. After the war, he retired with the rank of Major.

Gambetta came to Antioch in 1957 and taught U.S. History and Driver’s Education for 34 years. He coached numerous sports, but focused on golf and football. In 1970, he led the football team to its first victory against arch-rival Pittsburg in 20 years. When he retired from teaching and coaching in 1991, his successor Ron Remington named an annual golf tournament after him, The Joe Gambetta Invitational, which is still played today.

He coached PGA competitor Larry Silveira and Antioch Sports Legend Hall of Famer Scott Olds, who defeated future superstar Phil Mickelson in the 1987 State Tournament. One of the most impressive footnotes of Gambetta’s career is that he took a school from a blue collar town, and beat schools from upper scale cities such as San Ramon, Pleasanton and Danville in a country club sport.

Statistical information provided by Tom Lamothe via the Antioch Sports Legends Historical Museum.

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In Memoriam: Joni Luanne Spiegel

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Joni Spiegel

Joni Luanne Spiegel

Resident of Antioch

April 27, 1965 – July 14, 2015

Joni Luanne Spiegel was born on April 27, 1965 in Whittier, California. She is the daughter of Sondra Thomson and the late Rev. Jacob Spiegel. Joni has two brothers Paul and Steve Spiegel. Joni received Christ in April of 1972 and was baptized at Fair Oaks Baptist Church at the age of 15.

Joni attended Ygnacio Valley Christian School and Northgate High School. After high school she attended Beauty College where she received her license and worked as a manicurist. Later in life, Joni attended Los Medanos College where she received her certificate in Child Development. Joni loved children so much as evidenced in her life long career path in childcare from the early age of 17 until her passing.

On February 1, 1986 Joni married Eric Johnson. Of this union three beautiful daughters Alysha Marie, Kayla Rose, and Erica Rachel were born. Together they lived in Concord, California for 11 years. During Joni’s second marriage she lived in Antioch, California where she also worked in retail. Her daughter Kayla gave birth to Jaxon Allen on June 4, 2014. She loved her grandson with all her heart. She was his “Bubby”.

Joni was a fun loving person. She had the biggest heart and accepted everyone she met. She loved arts and crafts, going to the beach, and listening to country music. Joni was so proud of daughter Alysha and her career as a professional make-up artist working for Sephora. Joni enjoyed watching her brothers play football and baseball in high school. She was an avid fan of her daughter Erica playing softball and winning regional state champs. She loved to cheer on her nephews Joseph and Jacob at their baseball games.

Joni passed away at her home in Oakley, California and entered heaven on July 14, 2015 at the age of 50 years old. She is survived by her children Alysha, Kayla, Erica, and her greatly loved grandson Jaxon, Her mother Sondra and step-father Alan Thomson, brother Paul Spiegel, nephew Trenton, her brother Steve Spiegel, sister-in-law Jeni Spiegel, nephews Joseph and Jacob, niece JayLynn, aunts, uncles, and many cousins.

A private family burial was held in July. A celebration of life for Joni was held on Saturday, August 1.

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In Memoriam: Jeremy David “Lumpy” Sturgill

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Jeremy David 'Lumpy' SturgillJeremy David Sturgill

The One, The Only Lumpy”

December 5, 1979 – June 16, 2015

Jeremy “Lumpy” Sturgill, 35, of Brentwood, CA passed away unexpectedly on June 16, 2015. He was born in Concord, CA to parents Dave and Kathy Sturgill and a 1998 graduate of Clayton Valley High School. Lumpy owned and operated Lumpy’s Diner and Elle Dee’s Catering in Antioch, CA for the past seven years. This was his lifelong dream. Lumpy was a friend to everyone who walked through his doors and was an extremely generous man with a heart of gold.

Lumpy continuously gave back to his community by supporting events such as East County Little League, Tuberous Sclerosis Walks, Toys for Tots, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, several diner hosted car shows in conjunction with the Midnighter’s Car Club and his annual Burger Eating Contest that particularly benefited the Special Kids Foundation.

Lumpy was an avid Oakland A’s and San Francisco 49ers fan. While he favored sports he also enjoyed hunting, fishing, boating, camping, playing softball, pranking diner patrons, whipped cream fights and most of all loving his wife and two sons.

Lumpy is survived by his wife Marci, sons Jaxx David Lumpy and Maverick Anthony Van; mother Kathy Spangler Sturgill (Brentwood), father Dave “Digger” Sturgill and his wife Kim (Concord); grandparents Joe and Waneta Spangler (Pittsburg); numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and close friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Orville and Eula Sturgill; and his cousin Joel Knight.

A viewing will be held on June 23rd from 6pm-8pm at Moore’s Mission Funeral Home, 1390 Monument Blvd, Concord, CA and services will be held on June 24th at 11:00am at Calvary Temple Church, 4725 Evora Rd., Concord CA.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank to The Jeremy “Lumpy” Sturgill Memorial Fund.

In life, Lumpy was surrounded by his angels and he will now forever be ours.

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