Obituary Notice

Today’s obituary notices:

  • Betty M. Johnson
  • Albert A. Nejmeh
  • Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) William C. Snyder
  • Alan David Kivela, Sr.
  • William (Bill) W. McDonald
  • Sandra Lee Ogden (Hobbs)
  • Sonja Olotoa
  • Shirley Eileen Larsen

Betty M. Johnson (August 26,1928 – May 5, 2013). Mom went home to be with the Lord on May 5, 2013 at the age of 84.

Betty JohnsonBetty was born in Sacramento, CA and lived in Tacoma, Vashon, Nisqually and Lakewood, WA. She graduated from Stadium High School and retired as a secretary for Boeing Computer Services. She also worked for St. Mary’s Church, Catholic Community Services, Paulson’s, H&R Block and the Flitter Inn Family Restaurant when it was owned by her mother Mary Ethel Flitter. She also provided child care and aging parent care for a number of families.

Mom loved children and volunteered at Tyee Park Elementary School.

Mom loved walking and went on many outings with the Volkssport Assn. She enjoyed gardening and was very proud of her yard. She loved playing Somba, a canasta card game with Grandpa and Grandma Flitter. She also enjoyed playing Hand and Foot, a canasta card game every Friday night with David, Gayle and Papa Ed West.

Betty is survived by her children Gayle (David) West, Greg Hall and Brian Hall; grandchildren Jaime West Elias, Cody West, Shelly Westlin, Kelsie Hall and Marissa Hall; great grandchildren Mary, Ike and Lucy Elias, Kaleb and Cassidy Kassik and Lilly White; brother Howard Boyer and sisters Pauline Nelson, Lois Freeman, Avonne (Dean) Howard and Karen (Troy) Crouch.

Donations may be made in Betty’s name to Caring for Kids Checks can be made out to Caring for Kids and mailed to the Soundview Office at: 6132 Motor Ave SW Suite W-1 Lakewood, WA 98499 or The Humane Society Tacoma & Pierce County: 2608 Center Street Tacoma, WA 98409.

Our family would like to thank Dr. Donald D. Lee M.D., the staff at The Village, and Hospice for their compassionate care. The funeral service will be at Mountain View in the Garden Chapel on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:00 PM, followed by a reception at the Celebration of Life Center, Oak Room.

Albert A. Nejmeh Passed away on May 14, 2013, in Tacoma, WA. Al passed while in the line of duty, serving in his capacity as a Tacoma firefighter. Al hailed from Hawthorne, NJ, and had been a resident of Marrowstone Island, WA for 20 years. He was a 1971 graduate of Hawthorne High School and a 1975 graduate of Montclair State University. One of Al’s close friends said of Al, “He’s a brother You don’t meet people like that, maybe once in your life.” To those who knew and loved Al, he was often described as among the most interesting people they’d ever met; indeed, one of Al’s friends posted that he was the “most interesting man in the world” – a characterization that only seemed fitting to those who had the pleasure of Al’s company, companionship, and unpretentious yet contagious spirit, fun-loving nature, and thirst for life. Al was so many things to so many people – a son to Albert (deceased) and Mary; a brother to Gail, Greg and Brian; a brother-in-law to Brian, Michele and Laurie; an uncle to Leia, Lauren, Greg, Kate, Mary, Emily and Albert; a godfather; a nephew; a cousin; a friend to all he met along his fascinating journeys throughout the world; a best friend to more still; a proud Tacoma firefighter. Al possessed a quiet confidence and was gifted as a natural leader, and people loved his sense of humor, his stories, and his unbridled enthusiasm for life. Al was an accomplished athlete – a wrestler and football player while at Hawthorne High School, and one distinguished as a Bergen Record “All Century Football Player” in 2000 for his role on Hawthorne’s undefeated 1970 gridiron team. He was a staunch environmentalist, a principled conservationist, a philanthropist, a community volunteer, a gifted singer/songwriter, a poet and author, a sailor, a cyclist, a teacher, a builder (his hand-built home on Marrowstone Island is a thing of true beauty), a lifelong New York Jets fan, a mountain climber, a world traveler, and a consummate adventurer. He traveled to places far and wide, and the beauty for Al was in the journey. Al visited five of the world’s seven continents and would have experienced the other two had God not called him away too soon. Al had his maritime captain’s license, a requirement in his role as the captain of the Hudson River sloop “Clearwater”; he served many years on “Pride of Baltimore” and “Adventuress”, the position that led Al to the Pacific Northwest. At the age of 47, Al became among the oldest firefighters ever to join the highly regarded Tacoma Fire Department, where he served on Ladder 2, Station 8. His mountain climbing skills and nautical expertise, together with his strong intellect and good judgment, qualified Al as a member of the Department’s Technical Rescue Team. Al had an unwavering spirit and loving soul, a compassion for his fellow man, and was tireless in his effort to lend a hand to his friends, his family and those less fortunate. Indeed, he died as he lived, a hero trying to rescue another who was in need. Al was a man among men. The Nejmeh family would like to publicly thank the members of the Tacoma Fire Department, Ladder Company 2, Station 8 for their kindness and thoughtfulness during this most difficult time. Al loved his work, loved his fellow firefighters, and we appreciate why by your actions in the wake of Al’s untimely passing. We also want to thank all those at St. Joseph Medical Center who worked so valiantly to save Al in his time of need, and to the greater Tacoma/ Seattle community for your outpouring of love and support. Visiting hours will take place Sunday, May 19th from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Browning-Forshay Funeral Home, 557 Lafayette Avenue, Hawthorne, NJ 07506. A mass will follow Monday morning, May 20th, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ann’s Melkite Catholic Church, 802 Rifle Camp Road, Woodland Park, NJ 07424. A memorial service is planned in Tacoma at a later date (for more information, please contact the Nejmeh family). In lieu of flowers, the family would ask friends to consider donations to the American Heart Association or The Albert Nejmeh Benevolent Fund c/o Tacoma Firefighters, 1109 South 50th Street, Tacoma WA 98408. (

Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) William C. Snyder beloved husband, father and grandpa went to be with the Lord on 5/16/13 after a long illness, surrounded by his loving family.  Born in Los Angeles, CA on 5/14/1929, Bill served his country in the Army Combat Engineers for 23 years active duty and 7 years inactive reserve duty retiring from Joint Base Lewis McCord.

Bill is preceded in death by his granddaughter, Katie Snyder; and leaves behind his loving wife of 62 years, Noriko (Nora) Snyder; his son, Roy (Donna) Snyder; grandchildren, Heather Snyder, Devin (Daron) Snyder, and Matthew Snyder; great grandson, Corbin Redmond Snyder.

Bill was an amazing lifelong learner who became a Land Surveyor after retiring from the military and the technology expert to those around him. He also enjoyed photography and loved being with his family he will be sorely missed! Rest in peace Bill we love you!

Graveside services will be held at New Tacoma Cemetery at 3:00 pm on Thursday, May 23, 2013.

Alan David Kivela, Sr. was born on September 9, 1940 on Bumbletown Hill in Allouez, Michigan. He was the youngest child born to John E. Kivela, Sr. and Helen (Laity) Kivela. Alan passed away in Tacoma, Washington in the early morning hours of May 17, 2013. Alan was known as Dave or Davey by his family and boyhood friends, and was “Pappy” to his grandchildren.

When he was 18 years old he joined the US Navy and served in the South Pacific. Upon his discharge from the Navy, he enlisted in the US Coast Guard. During this time he was stationed in different parts of the United States, among them Cape May, New Jersey, Eureka, California, Astoria, Oregon, Tokeland Lifeboat Station in Tokeland, Washington, Cape Blanco Lighthouse in Oregon, Cape Sarichef on Unimak Island, Alaska, and the USCG Academy in New London, Connecticut where he retired.

Upon his retirement from the US Coast Guard, Alan went to work at Pier 36 in Seattle, WA and then with US Postal Service. Alan lived with his family in Des Moines, WA until 2001 when he and his wife, Janice, moved to Tacoma, WA.

Alan is survived by his wife, Janice L. (Krook) Kivela; daughter, Kristi L. Kivela-Williams; son, Alan D. Kivela, Jr., both of Tacoma, WA; granddaughter, Erica K. Crittendon;  grandson, Joshua N. Williams; sister, Shirley A. Gleason of Bakersfield, CA; brother, John E. Kivela, Jr. of Blue Ridge Summit, PA; and nieces and nephews.

Private graveside inurnment services with military honors will be held at New Tacoma Cemetery in University Place, WA. Please visit for guestbook.

William (Bill) W. McDonald peacefully passed away May 12th at the Washington Veterans Home, Retsil, WA at the ripe old age of 97.

William McDonaldBill was born in Laramie, Wyoming on St Patrick’s Day, 1916. He graduated from Lincoln High School, Tacoma in 1937 and attended the UW for two years. He worked at the Bremerton Naval Ships Yards and joined the Army September 16, 1942. He trained as a B-17 gunner, flew seven B-17 combat missions in Europe and was discharged November 1st, 1945.

April 26th, 1941 Bill married Bernice Morse of Tacoma. They were together 60 years until Bernice passed away in 2001. They had one son.

Bill was an architectural draftsman and very active in the community. He served as one of the early “Sir Bosses” for the Tacoma Daffodil Festival and was a member of the Afifi Shrine.

Bill is survived by his son, Jerry; daughter-in-law, Mary; four granddaughters; and 9 great-grandchildren. Service to celebrate Bill’s life will be May 25th at 1 PM at the Washington Veterans Home Chapel, 1141 East Beach Drive, Retsil, WA, 98379.

Memorial donations can be made to the Portland Shriners Hospitals for Children, 3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd, Portland Oregon 97239-3095.

Sandra Lee Ogden (Hobbs) was born January 21, 1947 in Pasadena, CA to Johnnie and Inez Hobbs. She entered into eternal peace on May 15, 2013 at the age of 66, due to complications from heart surgery.

Sandra OgdenSandie graduated from high school in Edmonds, WA. She met the love of her life, James V. Ogden Jr. at Paine Field AFB in Everett, WA. They married on December 3, 1966. In December, Sandie and Jim would have been married 47 years. Jim was in the Air Force and the Air Force sent them to bases around the world, including Misawa, Japan where their first daughter, Sonya Marie was born in 1969. By 1976, they had been relocated to Incirlik CDI/AFB Turkey where their second daughter, Priscilla Claire was born.

Sandie started working for the Department of Defense as a Civilian Service Administrative Assistant. She loved her job and worked for the DOD for 27 years before retiring from the 446th Reserve Wing at McChord AFB in 2007. She received many commendations and recognitions from the Air Force during her career. What she loved more than her job was her family, though. She fiercely and unconditionally loved her two daughters and her husband. She was also a cat lover and had 6 cats at home that she adored. Sandie was an avid reader and kept her bookshelves filled with many volumes, often collecting everything written by her favorite authors.

Sandie is preceded in death by her mother, Inez Priscilla (Tucker) Hobbs. Sandie is survived by her husband, James V. Ogden Jr; two daughters, Sonya Marie Ogden of Tacoma, WA and Priscilla Claire Ogden of Mannaponi, VA; her father and stepmother, Johnnie Lee Hobbs and Eileen (Bullen) Hobbs of Tacoma, WA; two brothers, Greg (Trish) Hobbs of Sacramento, CA and Doug (Diann) Hobbs of Fresno, CA.

Services will be held at New Tacoma Cemetery, 9221 Chambers Creek RD West, University Place, WA on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 1:00pm in the Chambers Chapel with graveside and reception following. Guestbook at

Sonja Olotoa (Jan. 3, 1933 – May 14, 2013)  was born in Heilbronn, West Germany, Sonja was the 2nd oldest of 8 children born to Mina and Karl Arlt.

Sonja OlotoaShe is survived by her husband, Frank G. Olotoa, whom she was married to for over 60 years; and their 3 children, Mala Williams, Frank G. Olotoa Jr. (Kim), and Henry Olotoa (Bonnie). She is also survived by 6 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, as well as her 4 brothers and 3 sisters.

She lived all around the world with her husband, who was in the military, as she helped to raise their 3 children. She was a loving wife and mother. She loved to bowl, play Yahtzee, watch the Wheel of Fortune, and she loved being with family. We will miss her greatly.

A Celebration of Life for Sonja will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 at New Tacoma Cemetery’s Chambers Creek Chapel in University Place.  A viewing for family and friends will be available beginning at 1:30 p.m. prior to the service. Donations may be made in Sonja’s name to the American Diabetes Association and the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation.

Shirley Eileen Larsen was born March 16, 1923 in Everett, Washington to Elmer and Dorothy (Gillespie) Dudder and she passed away peacefully at home on May 15, 2013.

ShirleyLarsenShirley graduated from Everett High School and then went on to earn an associate degree in the medical secretarial/doctor’s assistant field. With this degree she worked in civil service for the majority of her career. For a short time, she actually helped build B-17’s and B-25 bombers at the Boeing Plant in Everett. She also worked at Madigan in the mental health clinic and at McChord as secretary to the 25th Air Division surgeon. On November 17, 1962, Shirley married the love of her life, Roger Larsen, in Lakewood, Washington.

Her love for dogs got her involved in showing Dachshunds and raising Yorkies, her first Yorkie coming from Germany. Shirley’s last pet was a beloved Shih Tzu named Missy.

Shirley is survived by her husband, US Army (Ret.) Col. Roger G. Larsen; daughter, Sharon Dallas; son, Warren C. Yost II; stepson Larry R. Larsen; stepdaughters, Karen Woldarczyk, Laura Andrade, and Kathryn Lawson; 23 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was dearly loved and will be missed greatly.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in New Tacoma Cemetery’s Chambers Creek Chapel, University Place, WA.

Remembrances in Shirley’s name may be made to Post 10018 VFW Ladies Auxiliary, 4741 N Baltimore St, Tacoma, WA 98407 or call (253) 759-0817. Please visit our guestbook at