Alma Pearson dies at 96; major donor to California Lutheran University projects

Alma Pearson

Major donor to university

Alma Pearson, 96, a major donor to California Lutheran University projects including the library that bears her name at the Thousand Oaks campus, died Nov. 21 in Santa Barbara, the university announced.

Pearson and her husband, Clifford, made their first gift to the university in support of the new library in 1983. They continued to give to the university over the years, supporting the Alma and Clifford Pearson Endowed Scholarship, as well as the School of Education Leadership Program, Center for Leadership and Values, Early Childhood Development Center, Alumni Board Study Abroad Program and the development of athletic venues.


She was born in Chehalis, Wash., on April 12, 1912. Her father died when she was age 2, and as a result the family moved around a lot, living in Washington, Montana, California, Idaho and Utah. Her mother eventually owned a boarding house. Alma showed an early knack for business and negotiated property purchases for her mother.

She married Clifford Pearson in 1942 and the couple remained together until his death in 1999. Pearson said that because she and her husband did not have children of their own, they chose to adopt an entire university family.

Alan Gordon

Co-wrote Turtles’ ‘Happy Together’

Alan Gordon, 64, a songwriter who with his writing partner Garry Bonner penned the Turtles’ No. 1 hit “Happy Together” and other catchy pop songs in the 1960s, died of cancer Nov. 22 at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Besides “Happy Together,” which topped the charts in March 1967, the songwriting duo also wrote “She’d Rather Be With Me,” “You Know What I Mean” and “She’s My Girl” for the Turtles, as well as “Celebrate” for Three Dog Night.

On his own, Gordon wrote “My Heart Belongs to Me” for Barbra Streisand, who recorded it for her 1977 album “Streisand Superman.”

Born April 22, 1944, in Natick, Mass., Gordon was a member of a New York band called the Magicians in the mid-1960s. He and fellow bandmate Bonner began writing songs together.

“Happy Together” was the high point for Gordon.

“It’s been such a gift from God. It’s hard to put into words what that song means to me,” he told the Washington Post in 2004. “I know I wrote it, but it’s taken on . . . it’s hard to explain. You’re driving down the highway and you hear your song coming out of someone’s car. The angels heard me praying the day I wrote ‘Happy Together.’ ”

Tom Burgess

Baseball coach played for Angels

Tom Burgess, 81, a first baseman and outfielder who played for the Los Angeles Angels in the early 1960s and later coached in baseball’s minor and major leagues, died Monday at his home in London, Canada, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

He played mainly in the minor leagues from 1946 to 1962. In 1954, he joined the St. Louis Cardinals for a season and spent a season with the Angels in 1962.

While he was with the Cardinals, he played sporadically behind baseball great Stan Musial, who later gave him a note that said: “Tommy Burgess. A real fine hitter. Never got the opportunity,” Burgess said in 2000 in the Edmonton Journal. “That was the greatest compliment.”

Born in 1927 in London, Canada, Burgess entered the Cardinals’ farm system as a teenager.

He retired as a player in 1962 and served as a hitting instructor or manager for several minor league organization from 1968 to 1995.

In 1977 and 1978, he was a third-base coach for the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves.

Ray Routledge

Bodybuilder won 2 major titles

Ray Routledge, 77, a bodybuilder who held the titles of Mr. America and Mr. Universe in 1961, was found dead Nov. 12 in his San Bernardino apartment. He died of complications related to cancer, said Pete Walker of McKay’s Family Community Mortuary in San Bernardino.

Routledge appeared on the cover of several muscle magazines in the 1960s and competed as a bodybuilder into the 1970s.

From 1958 to 1962, he won several muscleman competitions, including amateur Mr. Universe, which was organized by the National Amateur Bodybuilders Assn., and Mr. America, then sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union.

“He was world-famous in some ways,” Tim Fogarty, a Los Angeles-based archivist for the sport told the Riverside Press-Enterprise earlier this month. “Those were the two biggest competitions, and everyone in America would have known the current Mr. America.”

Raymond Zachary Routledge was born Oct. 9, 1931, in Elizabeth, N.J.

While serving in the Air Force, he taught physical education and later operated a gym in San Bernardino.

Armand Guidolin

Youngest player to skate in NHL

Armand “Bep” Guidolin, 82, who was the youngest player to skate in a National Hockey League game, died Monday in a Barrie, Canada, hospital. The cause of death was not announced.

A native of Thorold, Ontario, Guidolin was 16 years and 11 months old when he made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins on Nov. 12, 1942. The Bruins needed help because of the number of players serving in the military during World War II.

Guidolin, a left-shooting left-winger, went on to play nine seasons in the NHL, recording 107 goals and 171 assists in 519 games with Boston, Detroit and Chicago.

After his playing career ended in 1961, Guidolin turned to coaching and was behind the Oshawa Generals’ bench when future NHL Hall of Famer Bobby Orr starred for the junior club.

He then had NHL coaching stops in Boston, where he coached Orr again, and Kansas City.

Guidolin also was the coach and general manager of the Edmonton Oilers in the 1970s when they were still in the World Hockey Assn.

-- Times staff and wire reports