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Peggy ChunHonolulu watercolorist

Peggy Chun, 62, a Honolulu artist known for her watercolor paintings of island life and Hawaiian-themed Christmas ornaments, died Wednesday at home in Honolulu after a six-year struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative ailment also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Chun, whose mother, grandfather and twin sister also died of the disease, had made plans to have her life support disconnected once she could no longer communicate.

Though the disease slowly disabled her hands and arms, Chun continued to paint, eventually holding brushes in her mouth.

Her vibrant watercolors of plantation cottages, tropical landscapes and whimsical animal scenes were popular with Hawaiians and tourists.

She also created portraits of religious leaders Mother Marianne Cope and Father Damien, who helped care for patients with Hansen's disease, or leprosy, on the island of Molokai.

Chun also co-wrote a children's book, "The Watercolor Cat," with Shelly Mecum.

Born in Lawton, Okla., in 1946, she moved to Hawaii in 1969 and taught high school speech and drama. She made handcrafted Christmas ornaments and began painting in 1987, after her artist sister died.

Roberta ZitoSinger, mother of pitcher for Giants

Roberta Zito, 65, a former backup singer with Nat King Cole's Merry Young Souls and the wife of Cole's orchestra conductor and arranger Joe Zito, died Nov. 13 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The cause of death was pneumonia and cardiopulmonary arrest. She had received a liver transplant nine years ago.

Zito was an ordained minister who led the Teaching of the Inner Christ, a metaphysical faith organization founded by her mother, Anne Makeever, and based in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon.

Born Roberta Rosser in Dayton, Ohio, on Oct. 8, 1943, she was a freshman at UCLA when she landed a spot in Cole's troupe in the 1960s.

She and Joe Zito had two daughters, Bonnie and Sally; and a son, Barry, who became a major league baseball pitcher, now playing for the San Francisco Giants. The couple lived in New York and Las Vegas before settling in San Diego.

-- Times staff and wire reports

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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