Obituaries

Friday, December 19, 2014
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Ronald Siegel

Ronald Siegel 79, of Cudjoe Key, Fla. passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 at his residence. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday Dec. 20, 2014 at Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, 31140 Overseas Highway Big Pine Key, Fla. Burial will be in Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Visitation will be 12 p.m. until service time on Saturday. The Dean-Lopez Funeral Home Big Pine Key is entrusted with all funeral arrangements.

Friday, December 19, 2014
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Richard A. Crooks

Born Jan. 16, 1942, died and in heaven, on Dec. 16, 2014.

Richard's life will be remembered today at an open service, Friday, Dec. 19th, at 12 p.m. at the MCC (Metropolitan Community Church) located at 1215 Petronia Street off White Street.

A Celebration of Life as a tribute to Richard's wonderful life will be held at a later date.

Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Antonio Soldano

March 1, 1921-Nov. 2, 2014

Antonio Soldano passed away peacefully on Nov. 2, 2014 at his home, he was 93.

He was born in Key West on March 1, 1921 to Baldassare and Angela Soldano, who had moved to Key West from Licata Sicily in 1901. Antonio grew up in Key West and attended Key West High School. He loved playing basketball and was voted "Most Athletic Boy" when he graduated in 1941. Antonio and three of his four brothers enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After the war, Antonio remained in the Navy, traveling the world on U.S. aircraft carriers. In 1954 he married Carmelina De La Cuesta, with whom he had grown up with on Solares Hill. They later had two sons, Daniel Joseph Soldano and Louis Giovanni Soldano. Antonio was for many years stationed on many carriers that included the U.S.S. Enterprise CVN-65, U.S.S. Intrepid CVA-11, the U.S.S. Forrestal CV-59, U.S.S. Constellation CV-64, U.S.S.Shangri CV-38 and the U.S.S. Lake Champlain. He was awarded the WW2 Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Korean Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and eight good conduct awards. Antonio started his career as a propeller mechanic and retired as a Chief Petty Officer and an airframe and power plant jet engine mechanic. Retiring in 1973 with the VF-101 Fighter Squadron Grim Reapers at Boca Chica with 32 years of military service.

Antonio loved the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country. He also loved to attend Key West High Schools basketball and football games, he rarely missed a game and faithfully attended up until his mid-eighties. He was also an avid reader, and read daily. He was a good husband, father and frandfather. He also loved to help anyone in need, always contributing to countless charities.

Antonio is preceded in death by his wife, Carmelina Soldano, father, Baldassare Soldano, mother, Angela Soldano, brothers, Louis Soldano, Joseph Soldano, William Soldano, Henry Soldano, sisters, Louise Barroso, Mary Kemp, and Angela Domenech.

Antonio is survived by his sons, Louis Giovanni Soldano and Daniel Joseph Soldano. Granddaughter, Lauren Anastasia Soldano and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the organizations and individuals who helped take care of Antonio in many ways, hospice and the visiting nurses, island home care, Key West Health and Rehabilitation, Dr. Bruce Boros, Dr. Robert Loeffler, Dr. Mehmet Atilla, Dr. Leo Sullivan and Dr. Mark Morihige, Dr. Michael Klitenick, and Julie Floyd. Our family will never forget the doctors, nurses and nurses' aides that fought to help Antonio against all odds.

Services will take place Friday Dec. 19, 2014 at 1 p.m. at the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Burial to follow in the Key West City Cemetery. All arrangements entrusted to Castillo and Thurston's Key West Mortuary and Cremation Center.

Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Patricia Ann Knowles

Patricia Ann Knowles, 62, passed away Monday, Dec. 8, 2014 at Seasons Hospital and Palliative Care in Miami, Fla.

On Friday, Dec. 19th from 6 to 9 p.m. the pastor and members of Trinity Presbyterian Church will host a viewing service. Funeral services will take place Saturday, Dec. 20 at 11 a.m., The Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn D. Magby officiating. Burial to follow in the family plot in the Key West City Cemetery.

Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Felix Antonio Balbuena

In Loving Memory

On Dec. 7, 2014, heaven received a great soul and hero.

Born on Jan. 17, 1949, in Guantanamo, Cuba, to the late Felix and Amalia (Muniz) Balbuena, Felix resided in Key West, Fla., since the age of 12.

He graduated from Key West High School in 1969, was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in The Vietnam War. Among his commendations, Felix was a recipient of The Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/Device 1960, Combat Infantryman Badge, Marksman Rifle M-14, and Sharpshooter Rifle M-16. He served the U.S. Army from July 1969 to July 1970 before he was honorably discharged after being wounded in combat.

Upon his return, Felix enlisted at Florida Keys Community College and received an Associate's Degree in Business Administration. He went on and dedicated 26 years of service to the United States Postal Service and retired in 2003.

Survivors include sons Eric Antonio Balbuena and Michael/Brenna James Balbuena; brother, Frank/Sandy Demis Balbuena; and sister, Magda Balbuena/Lawanda Gibso; grandchildren Michael and Catelyn Balbuena, and Hudson Balbuena. Felix will be missed by many other relatives and friends. In his own words, "Hooah."

A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20, at The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea followed by a reception at the VFW Post No. 3911, 2200 North Roosevelt Boulevard, Key West.

The Dean-Lopez Funeral Home is entrusted with all funeral arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in honor of Felix Antonio Balbuena to the VFW Post No. 3911 of Key West, FL, 33040.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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Antonio Soldano

March 1, 1921-Nov. 2, 2014

Antonio Soldano passed away peacefully Nov. 2 2014 at his home. He was 93.

He was born in Key West on March 1, 1921 to Baldassare and Angela Soldano, who had moved to Key West from Licata, Sicily in 1901.

Antonio grew up in Key West and attended Key West High School. He loved playing basketball and was voted "most athletic boy" when he graduated in 1941.

Antonio and three of his four brothers enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After the war, Antonio remained in the Navy traveling the world on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. In 1954 he married Carmelina De La Cuesta, with whom he had grown up with on Solares Hill. They later had two sons, Daniel Joseph Soldano and Louis Giovanni Soldano.

Antonio was for many years stationed on many carriers that included the U.S.S. Enterprise CVN-65, U.S.S. Intrepid CVA-11, the U.S.S. Forrestal CV-59, U.S.S. Constellation CV-64, U.S.S. Shangri CV-38 and the U.S.S. Lake Champlain. He was awarded the WW2 Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the American Defense Service Medal and the Korean Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and eight good conduct awards. Antonio started his career as a propeller mechanic and retired as Chief Petty Officer and an airframe and power plant jet engine mechanic. Retiring in 1973 with the VF-101 Fighter Squadron Grim Reapers at Boca Chica with 32 years of military service.

Antonio loved the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country. He also loved to attend Key West High School's basketball and football games and he rarely missed a game and faithfully attended up until his mid-eighties. He was also an avid reader, and read daily. He was a good husband, father and grandfather. He also loved to help anyone in need, always contributing to countless charities.

Antonio is preceded in death by his wife, Carmelina Soldano, father, Baldassare Soldano, mother, Angela Soldano, brothers, Louis Soldano, Joseph Soldano, William Soldano, Henry Soldano, sisters Louise Barroso, Mary Kemp and Angela Domenech.

Antonio is survived by his sons Louis Giovanni Soldano and David Joseph Soldano, granddaughter Lauren Anastasia Soldano and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the organizations and individuals who helped take care of Antonio in many ways, hospice and the visiting nurses, Island Home Care, Key West Health and Rehabilitation, Dr. Bruce Boros, Dr. Robert Loeffler, Dr. Mehrnet Atilla, Dr. Leo Sullivan and Dr. Mark Morihige, Dr. Michael Klitenick and Julie Floyd. Our family will never forget the doctors, nurses and nurses aids that fought to help Antonio against all odds.

Services will be held Friday, December 19, 2014 at 1 p.m. at Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea. Burial to follow in the Key West City Cemetery. Arrangements are entrusted to Castillo and Thurston's Key West Mortuary.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
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CHARLIE (CARLOS) DIONISO DIAZ

Charlie Diaz, 79, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on December 13, 2014 at Lakeland Regional Hospital. Charlie was born November 9, 1935, in Key West, Florida. Charlie graduated from Key West High School in 1955. He served in the US Air Force and worked as a Firefighter for the Key West Fire Department for twenty years. He also worked for the Monroe County School Board and for Public Works at the Key West Naval Base until his retirement. In 2001, Charlie moved to Lakeland, Florida.

Charlie is survived by his wife of 52 years, Wilma Fuller Diaz and four daughters and their spouses: Denise (Everett) Atwell, Janet (Alfredo) Vazquez, Sharon (Luis) Rives and Pam (Michael) Rivenbark, Jr. Charlie also leaves behind ten grandchildren: Billy (Megan) Vazquez, Charlie and Demi Vazquez, Alexa, Brooklynne and Corey Atwell, Lauren and Andre Rives, Michael Rivenbark III and Caitlyn (Dakota) Chandler. His great granddaughter, Hayleigh Chandler, was the joy of his life. Sisters Nellie Ehlers and Hilda Finigan, and brother Jose (Sylvia) Diaz. He is also survived by numerous nephews and nieces who he thought the world of.

He was predeceased in death by his parents, Estella and Dionisio Diaz, brother Nilo Diaz and sister Stella Trujillo.

Charlie enjoyed spending time with his family. He loved to travel with his wife at his side. His hobbies included fishing, golfing, and restoring old cars. He was an avid Rays fan. He loved watching the University of Miami Hurricanes play football and even had his golf cart painted with the UM insignia.

Charlie attended Victory Church and his family appreciates the love and support shown to them during this difficult time. There are no services planned at this time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014
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Robert J. Wetzler

Robert J. Wetzler, 88, Port Richey Fla., passed peacefully on Nov. 12.

He was preceded in death by his wife Carole and survived by children Barbara VanEycken (Harald), Robert (Connie), Jack; Cuban Son Blas Mesa; Daughter-in-law Eileen Wetzler and Myke McCoy; three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

He is also survived by his companion Carol Ouellette.

Bob was a loyal Yankees fan, past Chief of the Franklin Square & Munson Fire Dept, N.Y., past President of the Long Island Club (Pasco County) and past Director of the Timber Oaks Home Owners Association (Port Richey). He was a Navy radioman serving on the U.S. Danielle in WWII.

A Mass will be held at the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea, Key West on Monday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. followed by an interment for both Carole and Robert Wetzler in the Key West Cemetery.

Sunday, December 14, 2014
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Barbara Ann Purtell (Nee Ibsen-Rilling)

April 30, 1926 - Dec. 8, 2014.

At the age of 88, she passed away peacefully surrounded by her dear friends, Jan Nosse and Pat Jipson along with her therapy dog, Elliot, who comforted her on 'the journey' before passing. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Robert A. Rogge and adoptive parents, Edna and Werner Rilling. She leaves behind her second husband, Michael Purtell, her four children, Cynthia Thompson (Steve), Christine Gorham (Wayne Kruer), Dennis Rogge, JoAnn Rogge, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

She lived a full life raising four children in Glendale, Wis. and moved to Hartford, Wis. when all but the youngest, JoAnn, left home. Her love for playing golf and music with her "spark-for-life" smile brought light and love to everyone she knew.

Our family is grateful for Hospice nurse, Linda Hill's compassion and all therapists for their loving care. Special gratitude to Linda Stone of Matthew's Senior Living whose unconditional love gave her a sense of belonging that provided so much happiness in her last days.

Safe journey, Mom! You are a true star amongst the angels. We love you forever! I can hear you saying as you watch over us from above, "Just like downtown, only not so crowded!"

In lieu of flowers please send donations to Season's Hospice and Palliative Care, 6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2150, West Allis, Wis. 53214. Feerick Funeral Home, Shorewood, Wis., serving the family. 414-962-8383.