Fri, Aug. 07

Obituaries Dec. 24, 2006

James Balagna

Cottonwood resident James Balagna, 83, died in Flagstaff December 19. He was born on June 25, 1923, to Ernesto and Madalena (Biaggio) Balagna in Wilsonville, Ill.

He served his country during WWII in the U.S. Marine Corp as a private first class and paratrooper. He worked as a journeyman painter until his retirement.

He leaves behind two sons, Daniel J. Balagna with his wife Jean of Naples, Fla., and Kenneth D. Balagna of Sedona; his daughter, Linda Marie Balagna of Downey, Calif.; his brother, Donald Balagna of Detroit; four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

No local services are scheduled.

An online guestbook is available at

Armida E. Benites

Armida E. Benites, a four-year resident of Sierra Vista, died Dec. 20.

Armida was born June 3, 1929, in Jerome. She resided most of her life in Phoenix and Cottonwood.

She is survived by her husband, Ray C. Benites; son Ray C. Benites Jr. (Sally); daughters Gloria Bluto (Joe), and Annette Benites; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, five sisters and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Casa de La Paz Hospice, 300 El Camino Real, Sierra Vista, Az. 85635 or the Alzheimer's Foundation.

Services will be held on Dec. 28, 2006, at 11 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cottonwood.

An online guestbook is available at

Edith Wolfe

Edith Wolfe, 83, of Flagstaff, died Dec. 18, 2006. She was born in Palacios, Texas, and moved to Mesa at the age of 2 months. Edith graduated from Mesa High School in 1941 and later joined the Navy during World War II. In 1946, she married Frank Wolfe of Chandler.

The family moved to Williams in 1953. Edith worked as a deputy county assessor and homemaker. She volunteered for the Williams Hospital Auxiliary, for the schools and as a leader for Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls. She was a member of the United Methodist Church in both Williams and Cottonwood and loved singing in the choir. She was an avid golfer and bowler. In 1973, Frank and Edith moved to Cottonwood where she started a new career as a realtor. She jumped in with enthusiasm and enjoyed a 20-year career with the Mabery family.

Edith is survived by three daughters and their families: Janet and Fred Cothren of Williams, Susan and Fred Diumenti of Flagstaff, Mary Wolfe of Flagstaff. Grandchildren are John and Lyssa Diumenti and Katie Cothren. Several nieces and nephews also survive.

The family thanks Wendy Rhoton and the caregivers at Aspen Ridge and Northland Hospice for the loving care.

Services are pending. Norvel Owens Mortuary of Flagstaff handled arrangements.

Elmer Blake Messimer

Elmer Blake Messimer, 86, resident of Cottonwood, died Dec. 21, 2006 in the Village of Oak Creek.

He was born Sept. 3, 1920, to Floyd Oscar and Vera Ivan (Vogt) Messimer in Williams, where he grew up and attended the local schools until his high school graduation. Following which, he attended a drafting school in Kansas City.

Mr. Messimer worked for Kaiser Shipyards in Long Beach, Calif., building the "Victory" Ships for World War II. Then from 1948-1980 he worked for Santa Fe Am Trak covering Williams, Grand Canyon, Ash Fork, Flagstaff and Seligman.

It was in 1974 that he met and married the love of his life, Mildred.

Blake created many wonderful hand-crafted toys, gifts and furniture for his family members and friends.

Mr. Messimer served as a Deacon in the Cottonwood Four-Square Church, and was also a member of the Cottonwood Assembly of God.

Blake is preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Roy Craig Messimer; and his brother-in-law, Lyle Brunson. He leaves behind his adored wife of 31 years, Mildred Aileen Messimer of Cottonwood; and his sister, Ruth "Tot" Brunson of Long Beach, Calif.

A funeral service will be held at the Assembly of God Church in Cottonwood on Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 11 a.m.

Contributions can be made to: Shriners Children's Hospital, 1275 Fairfax Road, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84103.

An online guestbook is available at

Jack H. Paul

Jack Howard Paul, 78, of Cottonwood died Dec. 21, 2006. He was born Aug. 2, 1928, in Banning, Calif., the son of Lawrence and Inez Paul. His family was one of the founding families of Palm Springs, Calif.

He was a graduate of Whittier High School. Mr. Paul was a veteran of the Air Force, in which he served during the Korean War in Germany.

Mr. Paul was a district sales manager and regional training consultant for Prudential Insurance. He earned numerous multi-million dollar sales awards throughout most of his 29-year career.

A devoted member of Foursquare and Assembly of God Churches, he established the Desert Chapel Foursquare Church in Palm Springs along with Pastor Jack Morrow.

A private pilot, he also enjoyed model airplanes, motorcycle touring, singing and hunting. A former Palm Springs Mounted Policeman, Mr. Paul also flew many air search missions for the search and rescue team and also escorted two U.S. presidents.

He leaves his wife of 59 years, Alma Paul; a son John Howard Paul (Kathryn) of Los Angeles.

A funeral service will be Dec. 27 in the Cottonwood Assembly of God Church at 1 p.m.

An online guestbook is available at

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