BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Every year at this time, we reflect on the year about to pass into history and the new year about to begin. Part of that exercise is remembering, at least one more time as a community, a few of the people we lost.
Some are especially noteworthy. It might have been by virtue of unique contributions to society or culture. It may have been because they took on leadership roles in the community. Or it may just have been that they led exciting lives.
Our list starts with Pat Smith, the second woman ever to serve on the Bakersfield City Council. She died on Feb. 13.
Harold Hanson, a banker and four-term Bakersfield City Councilman. He died on June 12.
Steve Hall, who literally and figuratively helped build KGET headquarters on L Street. He died on Jan. 8.
Lorraine Unger, longtime executive board member of the Kern-Kaweah Chapter of the Sierra Club. She died on Jan. 9.
Dr. Mark Root, a veteran OBGYN and chief medical officer at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. He died on Sept. 28.
In recent days, we lost Garry Davis, the long-retired sergeant in charge of the Kern County Sheriff’s homicide division. He died on Dec. 20.
We should also note the passing of Hannes, a Kern County Sheriff’s K9, who died in the line of duty of heat stroke on Aug. 18.
We lost a handful of people who contributed to Kern County’s rich musical legacy: Dallas Frazier, the hall-of-fame country songwriter behind such hits as “Elvira,”who died on Jan. 14, and Howard Alexander Dumble, creator and builder of the world-renowned Dumble electric guitar amplifier, who died on January 15. His clients included rock royalty like Carlos Santana.
We lost adventurers: Roger Almklov, a Bakersfield physician, sportsman and outdoorsman, who died on April 15, and Sullivan Van Way, an outdoorsman and pilot, who died on June 18.
We lost giants of commerce, including Majid “Mo” Mojibi, owner of Kern Refining Company, who died on Sept. 16; David H. Urner, son of the founder of Urner’s Appliances, who died on Oct. 22; and Rob Baker, a well-loved manager for Paramount Farmings, who died on Nov. 25.
We lost great philanthropists: Beverly Camp, who was dedicated to helping the poor, the homeless and so many others, and died on Feb. 19; and Peggy Cole Darling, an advocate for education and the arts, especially the Fox Theater, who died on Oct. 9.
And we lost members of the Greatest Generation, including 98-year-old World War II veteran Augie Flores, who died on Oct. 6.
Their contributions were diverse and unique to their individual characters, and we salute every one of them.