SunBird Personalities

Bob Neuman

“SunBird Personalities” began in 2005, nearly 150 articles showcasing our residents. Here are some of the early ones. Shall we challenge our fickle memories?

John and Aileen Johnston: Had a movie actor son, instrumental in forming the first SunBird Homeowners Council; chairman; in Navy. Aileen organized first SunBird Singers; three terms on Homeowners Board

Butch and Nancy Paolella: Cut our hair, 47-year bowling average 195, Chicago Cubs fan, once a butcher. Nancy represented Mary Kay, secretary at Highland Junior High and member of Kare Bears

George Holliday: Weighed 145, played softball into his 70s; golf, horseshoes, tennis at 91; bowled (average 156); rode his bike 7,000 miles in 13 years. “I don’t like cold.”

Ken and Betty Wilson: Owned a hockey arena and team in Ohio. When team played away, booked entertainers like Nat King Cole, Gene Autry, Patti Page, Frankie Lane, Victor Borge, Liberace, Wayne King, Spike Jones, dancer Ann Miller, Roy, Dale and Trigger

Harry and Gloria Smelser: He had four heart bypasses; excellent horseshoe player; robbed once at gunpoint while in his underwear (thief took only a broken TV); RV washed away by a flood

Ron Hawely: Son of actress Andrea Leeds, lived in Hollywood; best friend John Wayne; sold yachts to movie stars; Ronald Reagan’s state chairman in California; married the Sunbeam Bread girl; invented the canopy beach chair; Korean War pilot; SunBird patrol

Elmer and Ethel Crohn: He is quiet and droll; US Navy; cabinetmaker, carpenter, builder appraiser for VA; owned a real estate business; played trumpet, guitar; SunBird musicals and sang karaoke. She has infectious laugh and sense of humor; Elmer’s singing partner; homemaker and secretary to Minnesota Correction Department

Bob Nagel: Always began his day with chocolate malt; high school gymnast; USAF; heart attack and two strokes; mathematician and industrial design engineer; was a US delegate to International Lighthouse Conference DC; designed and built the first reflex reflector to evaluate performance; spoke and wrote technical books; has over 60 patents

Bob Gambold: Played football and basketball at Washington State; in their Hall of Fame; drafted by Chicago Cardinals; played for Philadelphia Eagles; coached at Oregon State, Stanford, Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos and University of Illinois; SunBird golf ranger and golfer

Marie Wilson: A spry, humorous, pixie-like lady; declined to be photographed in her pool cover-up with the bikini printed on it pool aerobics; registered nurse; motor-home travel with husband; lived on Hopi reservation in northern Arizona

Jerry and Sue Miser: Residents for 38 years in California; a pilot in Korean War; flew P2V Lockheed for naval surveillance; BS in electronics; Sue University of Michigan; US Navy nine years, rank lieutenant; navy recruiter

Bob and Joyce Gerber: “The good Lord brought us together through a mutual friend.” She had driven a school bus; was active in volleyball, softball, racquetball; helped farm 800 acres; both are serious golfers; a full-length mural of a golf course and the Superstition Mountains painted on the back wall