PASSINGS

Jean Dieterich, the first Miss Glendale, died May 5 at her San Luis Obispo residence because of complications from lung cancer. She was 77.

Dieterich was selected Miss Glendale in 1950, which provided her the opportunity to ride on the city’s float in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

As Miss Glendale, she did many advertisements and photo shoots for local businesses and organizations.

Dieterich attended Glendale and Hoover high schools and was a cheerleader and student body president. She enjoyed acting and singing in community theater.

Roosevelt Middle School counselor Ron Grace was killed in a Sept. 12 train collision in Chatsworth. He was 55.

Grace and 24 others were killed when a Metrolink commuter train collided with a Union Pacific freighter.

He worked for 23 years at the school, where students, staff and teachers mourned his loss.

He grew up in Glendale and attended Glendale Community College.

Grace, of Simi Valley, became history teacher and later a counselor at the middle school.

He often counseled students out of trouble or helped them enroll in the school’s Advancement Via Individual Determination program, which prepares students for college.

Yvette Hakopian of Glendale was found May 30 strangled to death inside her Stocker Street home. She was 35.

Prosecutors charged her ex-boyfriend, Grigor Grigoryan, 39, of Glendale, in her death, following his arrest in which he led police on a pursuit through Los Angeles and Hollywood on the same day she was discovered dead.

After meeting at a club, Hakopian and Grigoryan began their three-month long relationship, which relatives described as tumultuous.

Relatives described Hakopian as family-oriented and friendly.

Dios Marrero, who as Bob Hope Airport’s executive director oversaw some of the airport’s biggest projects, died Feb. 13 at the age of 57, following complications from surgery he underwent to remove a brain tumor.

Remembered as a peacemaker and innovator, Marrero led the airport through its tumultuous expansion agreement with Burbank in 2003 and the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when Bob Hope was beset by stringent security concerns.

Marrero was born in 1951 and attended City University of New York, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971.

He went on to receive a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia University in 1973 and a Master of Arts degree from Occidental College in 1975.

But in the spring of 2007, Marrero was forced to suspend his duties when he had surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Though he returned to work later that year, he left the airport for what proved to be the last time in January.

“We lost a friend,” Burbank Commissioner Charles Lombardo said at the time. “We lost someone who loved the airport.”

Mary Miller, who oversaw the growth of the Glendale Library’s literacy programs for adult language learners, died Aug. 31 of breast cancer in her Victorville home. She was 54.

Miller, who lived in Glendale for 12 years, was the library’s literacy coordinator and started the Family Reading Program, which was aimed at helping parents of young children improve their reading ability.

She worked with local public schools and businesses to create partnerships for improving literacy and was also a representative of the Glendale City Employees Assn. and a participant in the Relay for Life and Community Alliance Committee.

City employees remembered her as an energetic and dedicated worker who was passionate about improving community literacy.

Meri Nalbandyan, a sixth-grader at Toll Middle School, was killed by a distracted driver when she was walking to school in a marked crosswalk Oct. 29. She was 11.

Meri had just been dropped off by her mother and was crossing Glenwood Road after driver Yurie Park had dropped off her daughter at Keppel Elementary School, but turned her eyes from the road at the wrong moment before hitting the 11-year-old, police said.

Park has since pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges.

Meri had attended Columbus Elementary School before moving to Toll to begin middle school in the sixth grade.

Teachers and students remembered her as a source of joy inside and outside class.

Her death prompted a series of traffic safety changes that will continue taking effect into 2009.

Irvine “Irv” Robbins, the co-founder of Baskin-Robbins who opened the franchise’s first ice cream store in Glendale in 1948, died May 5 in his Rancho Mirage home. He was 90.

The ice cream pioneer opened his first Glendale shop with 21 flavors, though the next five years would herald a precipitous change for the national chain.

In 1953, Robbins joined forces with his brother-in-law, Burton Baskin, and renamed the chain Baskin-Robbins. The store at 804 N. Glendale Ave. had 31 flavors, because, Baskin said this year, the two wanted to offer a new ice cream flavor for every day of the month.

By the 1950s, Baskin-Robbins expanded throughout California, growing to about 400 stores throughout the nation by the mid-1960s. Today, Baskin-Robbins is the world’s largest ice cream franchise with more than 5,800 retail shops in 34 countries.

Delmar Watson, a childhood actor turned news photographer, died Oct. 28 at his Glendale home. He was 82.

Watson appeared in more than 1,000 early Hollywood films as a child before embarking on a decade-long career in 1948 as a news photographer for the Los Angeles Mirror, a sister publication of the Los Angeles Times.

He went on to start a Six Watson Bros. Studio in Hollywood, a commercial photography business, before opening his own studio in 1967.

Known for his sense of humor, Watson also maintained an extensive archive of thousands of historical news photographs, along with vintage cameras, old newspapers, press credentials and maps.

The collection, known as the Watson Family Photographic Archive, as originally maintained at a two-story house in Hollywood, but was moved to Glendale last year.

Delmar Watson was survived by his wife, Antoinette; and four siblings. Glendale News-Press photographer Dan Watson is his nephew.

Train Engineer Robert Sanchez of La Crescenta was killed Sept. 12 when the commuter train he was steering crashed with another train. He was 46.

He was the engineer at the controls of Metrolink 111 when it collided with a Union Pacific freighter in Chatsworth, killing 24 others and injuring 135.

Sanchez had a passion for Italian greyhounds and trains.

Neighbors described him as a quiet and private.

Sanchez moved into his Hermosa Avenue home about four years ago to be closer to work.

Lucy Taliaferro Yarick, best remembered for her years as an ambassador for the Walt Disney Company, died June 19 at her Glendale home from natural causes. She was 95.

Yarick was hired by Burbank’s Walt Disney Studios in 1935 as an artist and worked on animation classics such as “Pinocchio” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

She lived in Glendale for 75 years, volunteering with community organizations such as Oakmont League, Glendale Beautification, Disney Retirees and Glendale Presbyterian Church through years of service.

But one of her lasting legacies was cemented through her marriage to Donald Duck comic strip artist Al Taliaferro, who died in 1969.

Yarick accepted numerous awards on her husband’s behalf and carried on the Disney legacy through public speaking engagements and radio shows.


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