Deaths: January 31, 2002

January 31, 2002


Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in Grace Lutheran Church in El Centro for Sandi Preece-Smith, 58, of El Centro, who died of cancer Monday in her home. The Rev. Lewis Busch will officiate.

Her body will be cremated.

Mrs. Preece-Smith was born Aug. 14, 1943 in Hollister. She grew up in the Imperial Valley and attended local schools, including Central Union High School in El Centro.

Mrs. Preece-Smith married Arvel Smith on Sept. 10, 1994 in Yuma.

Mrs. Preece-Smith was a beautician for more than 30 years. She worked at places including Ted's Hair Benders, Louis' Beauty Salon and The Elite. For the past few years she owned and operated her own beauty salon.


She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother, according to family. She loved animals and donated her free time to the Imperial Valley Humane Society.

She was preceded in death by sisters Alta Preece-Phillips in April 1993 and Bobbi Preece on Jan. 18.

Survivors include her husband, Arvel Smith of El Centro; parents, Lois and Al Fricke of El Centro; mother-in-law, Agnes Smith of Vista; daughters and sons-in-law, Tammy and Bob Minton of Las Vegas, Cindy and Jeff Morgan of Tucson.; stepdaughter and son-in-law, Tracey and Jesse Riddle of Imperial; stepsons and daughters-in-law, Damon and DeDe Smith of Imperial and Darren and Shelly Smith of San Diego; sister and brother-in-law, Robin and Tom McMillan of El Centro; brother, Alton Fricke of Ventura; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Nancy and Rex Russell of Vista; stepsister, Patty Miller of Loomis; stepbrother, Bob Fricke of Salton City; three grandsons, six granddaughters, six nieces, two nephews and numerous cousins and friends in the Imperial Valley.

The family requests donations be sent to the I.V. Humane Society.


Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Brawley Senior Center for Ida "Penny" Louise Hunter, 78, of Brawley, who died Jan. 15 in Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley. The Rev. Allen Hunter and Mr. James Hunter will officiate.

Burial will be private.

Born May 23, 1923, in Wichita, Kan., Mrs. Hunter married Daniel Ross Hunter on July 31, 1942, in Pasadena and became a homemaker, raising five children. She moved to the Imperial Valley 15 years ago to be near her daughter. She enjoyed crocheting, making crafts and visiting the Brawley Senior Center, according to family.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel Ross Hunter, in 1987; son-in-law, Carl Ward; daughter-in-law, Judy Hunter; and grandson, Matthew Brooks.

Survivors include her son, James Hunter of Penn Valley; daughters and sons-in-law, Evelyn "Evie" and Tim Sutton of Brawley and Cheryl and Fred Brooks of Phoenix; son and daughter-in-law, Allen and Gloria Hunter of Belen, N.M.; stepchildren, Barbara Hunter-Sais of Casa Colorada, N.M., and Robert Hunter of Kulpmont, Pa.; sister, Joan "Joann" Cronk of Granada Hills; brothers, Mahlon Watson of Sun City and Tom Watson of Mesa, Ariz.; 18 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.


Visitation will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday in Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Chula Vista for Benjamin Eliazar Noriega, 2 months, of Chula Vista, who died Tuesday in Scripps Hospital in Chula Vista.

Services will be Monday in Little Chapel of the Roses, 3838 Bonita Road in Chula Vista. Rev. Ernest Nuñez and Rev. Albert Alvarado will officiate. Hugo Robles also will officiate. Burial will be at noon Monday in Glen Abbey Memorial Park.

Benjamin was born Nov. 9 in Chula Vista.

Survivors include parents, Angel Jr. and Delia Noriega of Chula Vista; paternal grandparents, Angel and Sofia Noriega of Brawley; maternal grandmother, Consuelo Pozos of Calexico; aunts, Lori Noriega of Chula Vista, Susan and Arlene Rivas, both of Chula Vista; uncles, Anthony Noriega of San Ysidro, Angel Rivas of Chula Vista; and three cousins in Chula Vista.


Military services were in Church of the Willows in Alpine for Choice Dee Wood, 80, of Alpine, who died Dec. 19 of a heart attack in Kaiser Hospital in San Diego.

Mr. Wood was born in Oklahoma, the oldest of 12 children. He started working at age 9.

He served in the U.S. Army from August 1942 to March 1945. His last job was working for cotton gins in San Joaquin Valley. He retired to do what he enjoyed, camping and fishing.

Mr. Wood lived in the Imperial Valley for more than 20 years. He married Betty Fitzgerald in March 1972.

Survivors include wife, Betty; children, Ron, Dan, Bill, Tim, Jim, Linda, Annie, Joanne and Tammy; stepchildren, Eddie, Marilee and Marla; brother, Carrol Dee; sisters, Laverne, Mary, Belinda, Carolyn and Dorothy.


Memorial services will be at 9 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Calexico for Raul Gonzalez Martinez, 63, of Calexico, who died Jan. 26 in El Centro Regional Medical Center. The Rev. Barry Vinyard will officiate.

Burial will be private.

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