CHRISTIANA JOEL UDORO

CHRISTIANA JOEL UDORO

1968 – 2021

A modern-day Mother Teresa

Christiana Joel Udoro—a beloved wife, mother, and LPN whose life and service to God and family reflected many of the same qualities as those of Saint Teresa of Calcutta—passed away from COVID-19, on September 5, 2021, at Piedmont’s Eastside Medical Center, in Snellville, GA. During the three weeks she fought for her life in the ICU, Christiana was joined by her daughter Edidiong “Dee” Udoro, sons Akemini “Dr. AK” Udoro, and Essang “EJ” Udoro.

Krissy, as some called her, battled COVID as a front-line healthcare worker as well as a patient. As her son AK said, “She never ran away from a fight.” She was only 52.

Christiana’s kids describe their mother as their “everything”— their “motivation to get up every day and do better.” She was also the “cool” parent, extremely stylish, and a heavenly cook. At 5-foot-5, dainty and petite, “Darling Baby”, as they called her, was tinier but spunkier than any of her adult children. They considered her their “most prized possession,” their “jewel.” Only problem? She loved to sing and was dreadful at it.

An old soul

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DR. FRANK LENORD CLAYMAN-COOK

DR. FRANK LENORD CLAYMAN-COOK

1942 to 2021

A Rock Star and Three Ph.D.’s

Frank Lenord Clayman-Cook, Ph.D., aka Frank Cook, jazz, blues, and rock-and-roll drummer, manager, record producer, psychoanalyst/psychologist, and professor, passed away peacefully at home in Marina del Rey, CA, on July 9, 2021, close to his beloved wife, Dorothy Clayman-Cook. He was 79.

Having trained with Murray Spivack, Frank became a professional drummer in his mid-teens. He played drums with Canned Heat, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sam Cooke, and Les Brown, the latter touring Vietnam during the war. He also performed with Chet Baker, Charlie Haden, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, and many more great artists. A producer at Columbia Records before going out on his own, he collaborated in that capacity with many greats, including Sly Stone, Percy Heath, and Solomon Burke. He also produced in England for several years. Then, at age 37, he left the music business to become a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. His passion for music, however, never waned.

Los Angeles Character

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ARTHUR “ART” FORTIS

ARTHUR “ART” FORTIS

1945-2021

Athlete, US Army veteran, storyteller, coach, and maniac on the dance floor, Arthur “Art” Fortis—who cherished his family above all—passed away peacefully at his home in Dixon, CA, on Saturday, August 21, 2021, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 76.

Anyone who knew Art was aware of his crazy, uninhibited dance style. A combination of funk-legend James Brown and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris shaking a linebacker in the hole, he would shake and twist on the dance floor with sweat dripping off his forehead and big grin plastered on his face. If the song Rockin Robin was played, nothing could hold him back. Not only was Art the life of the party, but he was also bigger than life.

Born August 20, 1945, in Woodland, CA, Arthur was raised a Catholic. Like all kids, he had a mischievous streak. When his mom, Hope Fortis, would go to scold him, he would race away. Although she was fast, he was faster. The speed he used to evade his mom evolved at Woodland High School, where he excelled in sports. He was a star football player in the tailback position, despite getting knocked out cold and losing his front teeth in a game. He remembered waking up and wondering why his parents and coach were standing over him.

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JAMES ALONZO SWICK

JAMES ALONZO SWICK

1936 to 2020

Built his own insurance agency

Jim and Karen

James Alonzo Swick—an ardent athlete who built his own successful health insurance agency—passed away from complications of pneumonia and cardiac arrest, on April 16, 2020, at West Hills Hospital, in West Hills, CA. He was 83.

In the early 1980’s, Jim made a major bet on himself and ventured out on his own to start California Health Insurance. It continued to prosper and grow for 25 years. All that paled alongside his love for his wife of 47 years, Karen, whom he called his best friend.

The first of four children, James Alonzo was born September 10, 1936, to Ronald Swick and Jennifer (Donop) Swick, in Wilson, NY. Growing up, young Jim kept busy on his grandfather Alonzo Swick’s orchard that bordered Lake Ontario. They grew apples, cherries and peaches and sold them at the Buffalo Market.

Excelled at academics and sports

President of his 1954 graduating class at Wilson Central High School, Jim excelled at academics and sports, including football, basketball, baseball, tennis and track. He attended Niagara University before joining the Air Force. Stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, TX, he became a middle-weight boxer and served honorably for four years. Continue reading “JAMES ALONZO SWICK”

ROBERT JOHN KAMINSKY

ROBERT JOHN KAMINSKY

1937 to 2021

Upbeat and bigger than life

Robert John Kaminsky—a man whose passionate drive to succeed in the auto industry was driven as much by early sibling rivalry as it was to provide the finest money could buy for his wife and children—passed away at Scripps Memorial Hospital, in La Jolla, CA, on July 11, 2021, his family at his side. He was 83.

In his younger days, Robert, or Bob as he was called, drew people like a magnet. His upbeat, bigger-than-life personality proved an invaluable trait for a man who began as a car salesman and progressed to managing multiple dealerships, eventually purchasing one of his own: Toyota of El Cajon. Under Bob’s stewardship, Kaminsky Toyota of El Cajon went on to accumulate numerous accolades and awards.

One of five children, Bob was born September 26, 1937, in Bridgeport, CT, to Stella Rose Kaminsky and Watson Walter Kaminsky, a Regional Sales Manager for Dupont. Raised a devout Roman Catholic, he attended St Peter’s Grade School, Kirkwood, MO, and St. Monica’s Catholic High School in Santa Monica, CA.

Left to his own resources

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