October 04, 2006
Clarence N. Freeman Clarence N. Freeman, who worked worldwide as a professional engineer for close to 70 years, passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 21 at his Fillmore home, at the age of 90.Born in 1916 and raised in New York City, Clarence earned a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the College of the City of New York in 1938, and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.He married Alice Thelma Hecht in 1941, and they were together 52 years until her death in 1993. The couple had two children, Robert Lawrence and Lois Ellen.Clarence was licensed in 12 states and worked on major tunnel, dam and hydroelectric projects all over the world. Early in his career he worked for the Bureau of Agriculture and the Army Corps of Engineers as a hydraulic engineer in dam design.During World War II, Clarence served as an officer in the Naval Civil Engineer Corps (Seabees) working on the design and construction of overseas airfields. On the staff of Admiral Nimitz (CINCPAC), Clarence led an intelligence team specializing in the preparation of maps from aerial reconnaissance photos and advance base planning.After the war, he worked for the Bureau of Reclamation on dam and water resources projects including helping solve problems with the outlet works of Hoover Dam. He later moved into the private sector and worked for EBASCO Services and Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton on hydroelectric projects in Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, Taiwan and Greece.In 1968 Clarence became a private consultant, and continued working worldwide on hydroelectric and tunnel projects including the Tarbela Dam in Pakistan.Clarence moved to Fillmore, California in 1994, where he continued engineering work to the present day on behalf of environmental groups and private citizens; something he liked to refer to as “Robin Hood engineering.” One of his greatest triumphs in Fillmore was working with SMIRF (Stop Mining In Rural Fillmore), where his extensive engineering background proved crucial during a six-year battle that successfully stopped the proposed strip mining of Boulder Creek.Clarence was a Renaissance man. An accomplished woodcarver, he was also a published poet who specialized in limericks. With the help of family and friends he restored a 1921 Model T Roadster, which he rode in local parades.He enjoyed sailing, ice-skating and rollerblading. He was an avid swimmer, and won many medals in Senior Olympic competitions. At the time of his passing, he was swimming 400 yards a day in training for an upcoming meet.Clarence is survived by his son Robert and daughter Lois, daughter-in-law Linda, son-in-law Stuart Fox, grandson Michael, his wife Erica, and great grandson, Michael Jr. His love of life and concern for people were an inspiration to his many friends and admirers.Clarence was a member of the Universalist Unitarian Church in Santa Paula. A Memorial service will be held there Saturday, October 7 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his name to Friends of the Santa Clara River, 660 Randy Drive, Newbury Park, CA 91320, 498-4323.Forrest Lee Staires
Forrest Lee Staires, 72, of Santa Paula, passed away on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at Santa Paula Hospital.Forrest was born in Santa Paula and spent most of his life here. His parents had a farm in Arkansas and they would be there periodically, but they always maintained a home in Santa Paula.At age 16, Forrest contracted polio and was confined to a wheelchair. He was told that his life expectancy would be about 10 years, but he told them, “Oh no, I will live to be 72 years!”He attended Ventura College after graduating from Santa Paula High School. He lived in Arkansas for two years after Ventura College.Forrest returned to Santa Paula and opened a lawn mower shop on Main Street, and did not let his wheelchair slow him down. He operated his shop from 1957 until he retired and closed the shop around 1994.His passion was model airplanes. He loved to build them and to go fly them at Taft or Lost Hills. He belonged to several model clubs.He also loved roadsters, he built two, but his health was deteriorating from post polio, so he sold them because he could no longer drive. The last 12 years of his life he was unable to go flying also because of his deteriorating health. His passion then became reading model airplane plans and collecting engines.He was a good father and grandfather. He had hoped to take the grandkids flying, but his health prevented it.Mr. Staires was preceded in death by his grandparents, Ed and Clara Coggeshall of Santa Paula, and his parents, Mark and Elizabeth Staires.Forrest is survived by his wife of 42 years, Eilene Staires; his daughter Janis (husband James) Hidley and their daughters, Emily and Molly, all of Michigan; his daughter Melinda (husband Gary) Hobson and their sons, Ben and Ethan, of Fillmore; his brother, Jim (wife Sue) Staires of Arkansas; his foster son Richard Fox, foster daughter Claudia Haro, and nieces, Suzette Peddler of Oxnard and Shirley Smith of Arkansas; as well as seven other nieces and two nephews.Memorial services will be held on Saturday, October 7 at 2 p.m. at the Ventura Seventh Day Adventist Church, with Pastor James Ayars officiating.Arrangements are under the direction of Skillin-Carroll Mortuary, 738 E. Santa Paula St., Santa Paula, phone 525-3391.

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