In Memoriam

In Memoriam
Posted on 04/21/2023

Obituary notices and memorial service announcements for current or past San Diego Unified employees can be included in the In Memoriam section of Newsline by e-mailing [email protected]. Out of respect for the individual, please include a link to a formal obituary or provide as much detail as possible about the individual's life and involvement at San Diego Unified.

Items will be removed after 60 days.


Patricia Keller

Patricia Keller, a retired teacher, world traveler and hiker, and lover of life, passed peacefully on January 15th. Patricia was born in San Diego to parents Alice and Evart Potter, from South Dakota. Patricia attended Our Lady of Peace Elementary School, Hoover High School, and San Diego State University, receiving her master's degree at age 50.

Patricia taught for 25 years at Rolando Park, William Penn, Hancock, and Marvin Elementary Schools. Ahead of her time, in 1972 and 1975 she organized reciprocal 5th/6th grade student exchanges with Hopi and Navajo students in Tuba City, AZ, for 2 weeks, and Bicentennial field trip to Washington DC.
Patricia was a world traveler and actively involved in San Diego Walkabout leadership, and supporter of San Diego Zoo and AAUW club.
Patricia will be remembered by her family and friends as a vibrant, energetic woman who enjoyed life and the world she lived in. Pat is survived by her 4 children, Teri, Cliff, Mark, and Carol; her 3 grandchildren Bryan, Kevin, and Aidan; and great-grandson Mason. Information about Pat, her 2/24 memorial service, and photos can be found at www.patricia-keller.forevermmissed.com. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to www.my.aauw.org/donation.

View Patricia's Obituary.

Joan F. Yost

Joan was born in Mississippi in 1941 to Eldred and Lillian Foster but grew up in Marble Falls, Texas. Her skills as a pianist were employed at First Baptist Church, where her father, a school principal, was the adult Sunday School teacher for many decades. Her mother owned the only florist shop in town and prepared arrangements for every holiday, wedding, funeral and event in the area, including those at LBJ's nearby ranch. Joan used the skills she learned from her mom to beautify every space she occupied throughout her life. A brilliant student, Joan graduated from Mary Hardin-Baylor College. In later years, she earned a Masters' degree at SDSU. Her first assignments as an English teacher were in Dickinson, TX, then in Tempe, AZ, but her marriage to a merchant marine brought her to San Diego. The marriage didn't last, but Joan's career as a teacher at Pacific Beach Junior High and then Mission Bay High School lasted over forty years. This bright, beautiful, always-fashionably-attired blond kept her students engaged and conforming to her very high standards. She loved her students and made every effort to prepare them to succeed, even calling one student every morning at 5:00am to make sure she would be on the bus on time. In 1986, Joan was selected as High School Teacher of the Year in the San Diego Unified School District.

When she first came to Pacific Beach in the 1960's, Joan rented a small house not far from the beach. Some years later, she met the artist who lived across the street after he heroically pulled a neighbor out of a burning garage. They bonded and during Christmas break in 1974, she married Dennis Yost. By then she had bought the house, which became filled with his large, colorful impressionistic paintings and her artful flower arrangements. Joan was a voracious reader. She doted on her beloved dachsunds Gus and Brunhilde, then Holle and finally Sofie. Joan and friends were season ticket holders at The Old Globe, rarely missing any theatrical performances in San Diego. She introduced her students to cultural experiences of many kinds. Joan initiated annual block parties and frequent dinners out to keep her beloved neighbors connected. She unwound each day walking with neighbors to the beach-or to Baskin and Robbins for pralines and cream ice cream! In later years, she attended weekly TOPS or Weight Watchers meetings. At Christ Lutheran Church she participated in the Book Group, prepared meals for homeless programs, knitted prayer shawls, and volunteered generously. Throughout the years Joan called her mother every day, arranged travel with relatives and friends, sent cards to everyone celebrating any occasion, and maintained countless friendships. She lived life exuberantly!

In 2017, Denny and Joan both experienced health issues and moved to assisted living in Marble Falls near family. She played bridge weekly with her mother at the local senior center until Lillian died at the age of 101. Joan died peacefully at home at the age of 82 with Denny and her sister-in-law Carmen at her side. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother, Ellie Foster. She is survived by her husband Denny Yost, brother Billy Foster and his wife Carmen and their sons Shane and Sean, sister-in-law Nancy Foster, niece Kristin, nephew Chad, and many cousins. A service was held in Marble Falls, Texas on January 27, 2024.

View Joan's Obituary


Bloneva L. Head

In Memoriam: A Tribute to a Beloved Educator and Community Pillar

With heavy hearts and deep sorrow, we announce the passing of Bloneva Head, a remarkable woman affectionately known to her family and friends as "Sister." On the morning of December 16th, 2023, she peacefully bid farewell to this world, leaving a legacy of love, education, and kindness forever etched in our hearts.

Sister, a San Diego State University graduate with a Master's Degree in Teaching, dedicated her life to the noble pursuit of shaping young minds. Her impactful career as an educator flourished at Bird Rock Elementary in La Jolla, where her passion for teaching left an indelible mark on generations of students. Even in her well-deserved retirement, she continued to be a guiding force for her grandchildren, imparting the invaluable lesson of the importance of education.

Her influence extended far beyond the classroom, as she seamlessly wore the hats of a loving mother, a cherished family member, and a pillar in our community. Sister's commitment to her family was unparalleled, and her unwavering love created a tapestry of beautiful memories that will forever bind them together.

As we reflect on Sister's life, let us celebrate her numerous accomplishments, her profound impact on education, and the countless lives she touched. Her family members, inspired by her dedication, have achieved academic success, a testament to the enduring legacy she leaves behind.

Sister's light will continue to shine in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing her. She was not only a mother and a sister but a beacon of wisdom, kindness, and compassion in our community. Her memory will serve as a reminder of the profound difference one person can make in the lives of many.

In gratitude for the immeasurable contributions of Sister, we say thank you for your love, your dedication, and the lasting impact you've had on all who were fortunate enough to know you. You will be dearly missed, but your spirit will live on in the lessons you shared and the lives you enriched.

Bloneva "Sister" was preceded in death by her father, Pasquia Valdez, and mother, Anna Roberts; X Husband, Eddie Head Sr., and her son, Solomon Sr. Sister is survived by her son, Eddie Head II; her grandchildren, Eddie III, Michael, Tiffany, and Solomon II; seven great-grandchildren Solomon III, Asa; Eddie IV, Mia, Jordan, Christopher. and Alianna.   

May you rest in eternal peace, dear Bloneva "Sister."

Funeral Service is scheduled for Saturday January 27th @ 10 am

Holy Spirit Catholic Church

2725 55th Street   San Diego, CA 92105


Janet D. Delaney

Janet Delaney passed away on January 4, 2024, to be with the Lord. For 69 years she lived her life as a loving wife and daughter. Both of her parents, Kathryn Drain (1992) and George Drain (2020) predeceased Janet. She is survived by her husband, Michael, married for 45 years.

Janet was born in Bethesda, MD, at the Naval Medical Center. Her parents, George and Katherine Drain met in Hawaii during World War II. In 1957, when Janet was three years old, she and her family moved to Cairo, Egypt. George, being in the Navy, was assigned for three years to a Naval Medical Research unit. The family had a cook, a housekeeper, and a gardener.
Janet attended an American School operated by the US Embassy and was transported there daily on the back carrier of their gardener Ashur's bike. Janet delighted in being pampered by the help and enjoyed the local cuisine. She was fond of her foreign "home" and was greatly disappointed when her dad's assignment was completed. They left in 1960 and toured the Holy Land, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, England, and Wales, before returning to State side. The family settled in San Diego, where her dad started his second career as a teacher at San Diego Unified School District.
Janet attended Juarez Elementary School, Taft Junior High, and Kearny High School. She would ride her bike to high school while singing Joni Mitchell songs. At an early age, she enjoyed composing poems and songs. Her dad being an English teacher was a big influence in her budding writing interest, and Janet's years of classical piano training influenced her to write songs. At one point in her career, Janet's English classroom at Kearny High School was located across the hall from her dad's classroom. All the kids thought that was cool and asked when her mother would be coming.

Janet received her B.A. Major in English and Teaching Credential at U.S.I.U., and her M.A. in Education, and Administrative Credentials at San Diego State University. She was a member of numerous professional affiliations and enjoyed interacting with the business community. Her entire educational career of nearly 33 years was at San Diego Unified School District, and included English teacher at Morse High School, Kearny High School (her alma mater) and Patrick Henry High School, and ESL Curriculum Writer, Lincoln Magnet Resource Teacher, and Director of Community Relations. Janet's final assignment as Director of Community Relations included Partnerships In Education (PIE). Janet had the best job in the School District.
PIE's mission was to engage the business community's expertise with all the schools within the School District. This enrichment by the business community and Navy was in the form of mentoring, internships, scholarships, tutoring, and other forms of active involvement with the schools and students.

Janet would set up formal Partnership Agreements between a school and a Partner. She would meet with individual businesses and match their talents with the needs of the individual schools. When Janet retired in 2009, the School District had over 1,500 active Partnerships.

PIE was so successful that it was recognized as a model for the State, and PIE was awarded the highly coveted Golden Bell award by the State. Janet and the Superintendent also met with Governor Schwarzenegger. Janet indicated that the "Guvernator" was a real charmer.

The Navy Mayor of San Diego invited Janet for a week out at sea onboard the aircraft carrier Constellation, to see what Navy life was about. She stayed in a female officer's cabin. Janet was catapulted off the ship in an aircraft when she departed, along with her breakfast.

Another one of Janet's assignments was being in charge of the School District's new school Naming Committee. A student from Mira Mesa wanted a new school to be named Jonas Salk Elementary. Dr. Salk's family had his name copywritten, and Janet had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Peter Salk of La Jolla to facilitate the granting of the School District's request to name a school after his father.

Janet's dream of writing a book featuring all her poems and songs was fulfilled by her husband. The book, titled "My Life In Poems & Songs" includes a Tribute To My Wife, About The Author, a collage of personal photos, and a collection of 48 poems and songs. The book is the culmination of her works, and it gives one a glimpse of her creativity.
Janet's writings include the following six topics: Religion, Love, Identity, People, Imagery-places, and Songs. The poem entitled, "Winnie Mae," was a tribute to Janet's grandmother, whom she visited often in Colorado. Her love of the ocean and surfing at Law Street in Pacific Beach inspired her to write "Ocean" and "The Blue Window" both located in the Love section. "Waterfront," located in the Imagery-places section, identifies Delaney's Grill---"Home of the Happy Dog" was written before meeting her future husband.

Janet's Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Inquiries for more information regarding her Memorial Service can be forwarded to [email protected].

View Janet's Obituary


Dr. Kirk Steven Ankeney

Dr. Kirk Steven Ankeney age 65 of Seal Beach and Indio died on Saturday November 17, 2023. He was a graduate of Kearny High School and a lifetime educator.

Friends and former colleagues remember Kirk as an influential colleague who influenced the careers of many who crossed his path. After graduating from UC San Diego with a degree in history he began a long career with San Diego City Schools. His history students enjoyed his deft ability at capturing the essence of an event through a single anecdote and his limitless enthusiasm for the subject at hand. Kirk was active in numerous professional organizations, as well as local and state committees, promoting history and social science standards and improved methods of teaching about the past.

Dr. Ankeney was a teachers’ teacher.  He was dedicated to students, he was dedicated to the academic discipline of teaching history, he was dedicated to teachers he worked with.  He always loved working with students.  He wanted to share his love of history, he wanted to help students succeed and become their best selves.  He was thoughtful.  He worked outside the traditional box and tried to be smart about the problems that needed to be solved and he figured things out.  He was a selfless educator who dedicated his life to the subject of history.  

After becoming a school administrator, Kirk went on to earn his Doctorate in Education Leadership from San Diego State University. Among his many leadership roles in San Diego Kirk was a founder of the UCSD History Project, a Vice Principal at Muirlands Middle School and Mira Mesa High School, the Program Manager for History and Social Science, the Interim Director of Curriculum and Instruction, the Principal at the School of International Studies at San Diego High School and the Co-Director of the USS Midway Institute for Teachers.

Kirk is survived by his wife Glinda Davis of Indio: two sons with his first wife Christina Hanson Ankeney: Max Hanson Ankeney of Chico and Christopher James Ankeney of Los Angeles, his granddaughter Ava Maye Ankeney, three siblings Keith Ankeney, Kevin Ankeney and Kim Pierce, and seven nieces and nephews.

After retiring in 2017, Kirk enjoyed many world travels, including international cruises, as well as following his beloved Padres.

A memorial service will be held at Kate Sessions Park, San Diego on December 16th at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Barrio Logan College Institute, an organization Kirk felt strongly about.


Erlinda M. Martinez

Erlinda M. Martinez, “Linda” passed away on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at the age of 54. She began working as a teacher’s assistant with the San Diego Unified School District in 1987. She remained with the district until March 2022. Throughout her 35 years of service, she held various job titles. She worked at San Diego High, Point Loma High, Early Childhood Education, Education Center, and most recently, Mira Mesa High. Linda has always been independent and very social. She made friends easily as she was a good conversationalist. Her personality was like a magnet. She was friendly, caring and genuine. She was born in San Diego, California on Friday, November 15, 1968.

Family, friends and coworkers are invited to attend a Celebration of Life Service on November 4, 2023, at The Rock Church El Cajon, 808 Jackman St. 92020 at 9:00 a.m.

A viewing will also be held on Friday, November 3, 2023, at Glenn Abbey Mortuary Magnolia Room, 3838 Bonita Rd. 91902 from 5:00-9:00 p.m.


Mary Holmes

Mrs. Mary Holmes, a beloved school counselor of San Diego Unified School District, passed away last Wednesday, July 26, 2023. Since 1978, Mrs. Holmes dedicated many years of service. She worked at Lewis Jr. High School and retired from Patrick Henry High School in 2003. She is survived by her husband, Mr. Robert Holmes. Mr. Holmes is a San Diego Unified School District retired principal. He was the principal at Pacific View Leadership Elementary (formerly known as Lee Elementary) from 1983 to 1995 and Encanto Elementary from 1995-2000.

The funeral services for Mrs. Mary Holmes will be Thursday, August 3rd at 11am. The location is at Foothills United Methodist Church, 4031 Avocado Blvd, La Mesa, Ca.

View Mary’s Full Obituary


Elmer William Runge

Elmer William Runge of San Diego, CA, passed away on Sunday, July 09, 2023, at the age of 90.

Elmer was a well-loved coach at Mission Bay and Patrick Henry High Schools in San Diego. Elmer coached gymnastics, cross-country, wrestling, and track and field from 1959 until his retirement in 1995. In 1999, he was a charter member of the 1999 SDHS Coaching Legends for Track and Field. His many accomplishments include 15 league championships, the 1961 SD-CIF wrestling, and the 1975 SD-CIF Track and Field Titles. He also received four coaching awards and a 1978 Service Honor Award for physical fitness for older adults. Family and friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service and celebration of life at St. Andrews Lutheran Church, San Diego, on August 19, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. In place of flowers, please consider donating in his honor to Elmer William Runge Scholarship Fund. Details are to be posted when final.

He was born on February 21, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he grew up. He graduated from Custer High School in 1951. Elmer served in the Army from 1954-1956 and returned to marry his high school sweetheart, Ruth Erickson, on August 11, 1956. He was actively involved in their Church, St. Andrews Lutheran in San Diego. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer William Runge Sr. and Leona Stahl, and his sister Jean Redzinski. He is survived by his wife of almost 67 years, Ruth, and their three sons Dr. Kurt Runge (Dr. Kathy Berkner). Grandchildren Kai Berkner and Kaden Runge; Todd Runge (Ann Runge). Grandchildren William Thomas Runge (Dr. Gabriela Padilla Runge), Dr. Elizabeth Ann Runge, Paul Runge (Kaoru Runge), grandchildren Steven, Justin, and Nolan Runge.

Details on the Elmer William Runge Memorial Facebook page

View Elmer's Official Obituary


Maria Rose Serritella Streib

Maria was a School Counselor for San Diego Unified School District, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, as well as a Yoga instructor at Soul of Yoga Studio in Encinitas, CA. Maria was a compassionate and positive person who was dedicated to a life of service to others. She was spiritual and her faith was important to her. In her free time, Maria loved practicing yoga, going to the beach, gardening, creating art, all things music, playing cards, helping her family and friends and caring for her pets. She was an exceptional Italian cook and loved to entertain her loved ones in her beautiful home in Carlsbad.

View Maria's Full Obituary


Shannon Dearborn

Shannon Dearborn of San Diego passed away on April 16, 2023. She leaves behind two loving parents, and her beloved dog Bailey.

Shannon Dearborn worked for San Diego Unified School district for over 20 years in special education. She taught at San Diego High, Dana Middle, University High, Clairemont High and most recently as the Area 2 Elementary Program Manager for Special Education. She touched the lives of hundreds of students and was well-loved and respected by all who knew her. In her personal life, Shannon loved her local running group, Orange Theory, and especially running Disney marathons. Since she was such an avid Disney fan, we are honoring her life with a Disney themed brunch. Please wear Disney apparel if you wish.

A Celebration of Life for Shannon will be held at
Admiral Baker Park –Gazebo #4
3604 Admiral Baker Rd. San Diego, CA 92120
Saturday, May 20, 2023, 11:00-2:00
Celebration of Life for Shannon Dearborn

Posted 5/11/2023


Jeff MacCuish

Jeff MacCuish passed away on July 3, 2022. He was a Senior Speech Language Pathologist for many years, and worked closely with related service providers, as well as at Kennedy Elementary, during his career with the district. His celebration of life was attended by close friends and colleagues in the summer of 2022.

He was loved by all, and is remembered for his sense of humor, his tie dye shoes, and his dedication to all the children and colleagues he supported.

Posted 5/11/2023


Jose Delao

Jose Delao of San Diego passed away on April 28, 2023, at the age of 59. He leaves behind two loving parents, and brother Richard.

Jose served the District for over 40 years, first at Kearny and San Diego High Schools, then for different District Central Offices. In his last role, he served in the Human Resources Department for the past 23 years. He was beloved by many and his absence will be felt, for he was always willing to help those who asked for assistance and guidance with a smile.

Services for Jose will be held at
The Immaculata Catholic Church on University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park Way, San Diego, CA 92110

Rosary
Friday, May 5, 2023, at 6:30pm

Funeral Mass
Saturday, May 6, 2023, at 10:00am

View or download services details.

Posted 5/03/2023


Gilbert Gutierrez

Gilbert Gutierrez of Chula Vista passed away on April 8, 2023, at the age of 76. He leaves behind his devoted wife of 53 years, Frances (nee Olivares), his sons Gilbert of Chula Vista, Steven (Caren) of San Rafael, Anthony (Jeanette) of Chula Vista, and daughter Analicia La Salle (Justin) of Los Alamitos.

Gilbert taught in El Paso before being recruited by San Diego Unified School District in 1974 to fulfill a need for more bilingual teachers. He moved his family to San Diego, where he taught elementary school. He later moved into administration, serving as a principal in the San Diego Unified School District for over 20 years.

Full Obituary

Posted 4/21/2023


Robert Herndon

Robert "Chip" Herndon passed on November 8, 2022. He worked at Marston and Taft Middle School during his teaching career.

His celebration of life will occur on April 15, 2023 in Bakersfield, CA at the Elks Lodge 1616 30th Street Bakersfield, CA 93301 at 1:00pm.

Posted 4/06/2023