In Passing

Cari (Carolee) June Block

Cari June Block went to join Jesus on Aug. 20, 2022. She is survived by her second husband Bruce, four of her five children, 11 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Her first marriage was in 1956 to Dick Rondeau for 23 years. Cari brought four boys: Gregory, Bradley, Geoffrey, and Richard, and one girl, Michelle, into the world.

Carolee June Hurley was born on June 29, 1938, in Portland, Ore., to Oscar and Elizabeth Hurley. She grew up in Pasadena, lived in Palm Desert, and raised her family in the mountain town of Idyllwild, Calif. She played guitar and led worship music for many different groups. This is a gift that has been carried on by several of her children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. After launching her children, Cari enrolled in University of California at Riverside and graduated Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and took a Masters of Art Therapy and Marriage Family Child Counseling at College of Notre Dame in Belmont, Calif. She became a licensed MFT and had private counseling practices in San Mateo, Rancho Palos Verdes, Cambria, and Escondido, all in California. She practiced for over 30 years, specializing in Christian Family Counseling, touching thousands of lives. She was always active in her churches with teaching classes, leading support groups, and being part of couples bible studies. Most recently, she was the leader of a GriefShare support group at Community Church of SaddleBrooke, once again touching many lives with her caring and comforting.

Cari and Bruce met on a Caribbean cruise and were married 51 weeks later in 1989. Bruce went from a bachelor to a grandfather. They had 33 years of a wonderful marriage. They shared a love of Christ, church and bible groups, and travel. They traveled to see family first and then the USA and the world.

While Christ was her focus, her heart was always with her family. Phone calls, emails, greeting cards, and travel to family was the priority of her daily life. She will be missed by family and community alike. There will be a Celebration of Life for Cari at the Vistoso Funeral Home on Friday, Oct. 21. If you are so inclined, donations to Samaritan’s Purse would honor her memory.

Sonya (Sonnie) Davis

Sonya (Sonnie) Davis, 83, of SaddleBrooke, Tucson, Ariz., passed away peacefully on July 4, 2022.

Sonnie was born on Dec. 17, 1938, to Alexander and Alice Cohn in Syracuse, N.Y. After Sonnie graduated from Lemoyne College, she went on to work in social services in Washington, D.C.

In 1966 Sonnie married Byron in Syracuse and moved to Maryland. Sonnie and Byron had one child, Pete Davis.

In 1991 Byron and Sonnie retired and moved to Tucson, Ariz., building a home in SaddleBrooke One. Sonnie enjoyed her time playing bridge, golf, and tennis activities, volunteering, cooking, and making unique jams and jellies, and entertaining and laughing at happy hour. Sonnie enjoyed reading, Wildcats softball, and going to the opera. She was a patriot, politically active, and known for supporting causes she believed in.

Sonnie is survived by her son Pete and his wife Pam, grandsons Evan and Caden, her sister Eunice Balanoff, and her loving dogs Posh and Muffin who have been placed in a good home.

Services will be held on Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. in SaddleBrooke. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Vietnam Veterans of America, 5421 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85712, phone 520-881-8387; or Humane Society of Southern Arizona, 635 W. Rogers Road, Tucson, AZ 85705, phone 520-327-6088.

Ellen Mandes

Ellen Alberding Mandes, 86, formerly of Wallingford, Conn., departed this life on Aug. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Ellen was born in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 1936. She grew up in the Washington area where she married her husband James Mandes and had a son, George.

Ellen was always quite entrepreneurial, no matter where she was working, but her business career flourished after she moved to Connecticut in the late ‘60s. In 1973 she formed Homecare, Inc., which would grow into a successful home healthcare organization, serving much of Connecticut by 1997. At the same time, Ellen started Telecare, which was a two-way communication system for homebound people. That concept became Communicall, which was later acquired by Lifeline, Inc.

Not content to just retire, Ellen later started Creations at Work, an event planning company specializing in planning meetings, conferences, and special events for corporations. Creations at Work also offered fine floral arrangements.

At the same time Ellen was growing her businesses, she threw herself into numerous civic activities. Ellen loved Rotary International and became a member, then president, of the Wallingford Rotary Club. Over the years, she was a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotarian of the Year, and served in the Rotary District where she held a number of leadership positions, including Assistant District Governor, and Connecticut District Governor from 1998-1999.

She was recognized with many honors from other organizations she participated in. To name just a few, she was named Woman of the Year by the Meriden YMCA and the Wallingford Business and Professional Women’s Club and received the Quinnipiac Council of Boy Scouts Life award.

Ellen loved traveling and visited all seven continents on her many trips over the years. She loved her friends and developed many lasting relationships through her business and civic endeavors over the years.

Ellen began splitting her time between Connecticut and Arizona, where she lived in SaddleBrooke. In her later years, when travel became difficult, she stayed in Arizona. She continued her friendships from Connecticut and made many new friendships in Arizona. In her last year of life, she was helped by Assisting Angels AZ, and their caregivers became so important to her.

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