‘No way’ he’d leave her: 100-year-old and wife of 75 years among wildfire victims

first_img Related Courtesy of Mike Rippey (SANTA ROSA, Calif.) — At least 41 people have died from the devastating wildfires that have been burning in California for more than a week.Over 213,000 acres have burned in the state. Sonoma County was hit especially hard, where many perished and homes were demolished.Those killed from the fires include a 100-year-old man and his wife of 75 years, as well as a 72-year-old woman who had reportedly been recovering from cancer.Charles and Sara RippeyCharles and Sara Rippey of Napa County, California, who were married for 75 years, both died in the fires.Charles Rippey, who turned 100 in July, met Sara Rippey when they were children in Wisconsin, one of their sons, Mike Rippey, told ABC News.Mike Rippey, the oldest of five siblings, said his mother “was paralyzed, she had a stroke about five years ago, and there was no way she was getting out of this fire.”“And my father was sleeping in a different room, and we found him halfway to her room. And so he never made it to her room,” Mike Rippey said. “But even if he had made it, there was no way he was gonna leave her. So neither one of them was getting out.”His brother Chuck Rippey said he got a call about the house being engulfed in flames, so he drove over, reaching the house a few hours after the blaze.“If they had gotten out, in their elderly state, somehow, they would have gotten grilled out here,” Chuck Rippey said. “That’s how bad it was.”Mike Rippey said of his parents, “They lived a long life. It was a great life and they were happy right up until the last minute.“And you just have to look at that and just, you know, be happy that that’s what happened and they died together and they never wanted to leave each other,” he added. “So it was almost impossible for any of us to visualize one of them dying first.”Carol Collins-SwaseyVictim Carol Collins-Swasey, 76, was a retired real estate broker and active Red Cross volunteer who lived in Santa Rosa, California, for over 30 years, family member Roxanne Swasey told ABC News.“She was successful, career-focused and very hardworking. She was quick-witted with a great sense humor and an animal lover,” Roxanne Swasey told ABC News via email. “Married for 27 years to her husband, Jim Swasey, she was a positive influence on a lot of people’s lives in helping them buy homes and felt a lot of gratitude in being able to do so.”Arthur and Suiko GrantArthur Grant, 95, and Suiko Grant, 75, of Santa Rosa, died at their home of 45 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.Grant was flying for Pan American World Airways when he met his wife, who was born in Japan, the newspaper reported.They are survived by two daughters and a granddaughter, the newspaper said.Lynne PowellLynne Anderson Powell, 72, who had been recovering from mouth cancer, died trying to flee the fire, her husband, George Powell, told the San Francisco Chronicle.When the fire neared their Santa Rosa home, she left the house before he did, he said, telling the newspaper, “I thought my wife was out. I thought she was going to be safe.”But in the midst of the fire and smoke, she allegedly drove off the side of the road, the newspaper said.“What I didn’t know is I had passed her,” George Powell told the newspaper. “She was down in a ravine. And I had no idea she was down there. If I had known that, I would’ve gone down with her. I would’ve gone to try and find her.”“She always had my back,” he said of his wife, the newspaper reported. “She tried to make life OK for me, regardless of what she was going through.”Valerie EvansValerie Lynn Evans, 75, a mother and wife, died at her home in Santa Rosa while trying to save her dogs, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.She was known as an animal lover and had horses, goats, dogs, a mule and a steer at her home, the newspaper said.Carmen BerrizCarmen Caldentey Berriz, 75, died in the arms of her husband of 55 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.When fire surrounded the home they were vacationing in, the couple jumped in the backyard pool, the newspaper said. Berriz died, but her husband, Armando Berriz, survived.The two had met in Cuba when Carmen Berriz was 12 years old, the newspaper said.“They were inseparable. They were just amazing,” son-in-law Luis Ocon said, according to the newspaper. “They were the type of couple that you want to emulate, that you strive to be.”Donna and Leroy HalburVictims Donna and Leroy Halbur had just celebrated their 80th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversary, according to The Mercury News.They had lived in their Santa Rosa home for 36 years, their son, Tim Halbur, said, according to the newspaper.Tim Halbur described his mother, a former nun, as “a great mom” who was “very creative” and “loved little kids,” the newspaper said. He called his father, who worked as an accountant for a decade, “a pillar of the community,” who was “very selfless.”Veronica McCombsVeronica McCombs, 67, died in her Santa Rosa home.In a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, her family said she devoted her life to her family and community.“She was our foundation,” her son, Branden McCombs, said in the statement. “As a family, we are grieving deeply and she will be missed forever.”Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

High-flying Falcons soar past Utes

first_img Utah game day AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Air Force came into Wednesday night’s game against Utah holding the nation’s longest home winning streak at 28.The last team to beat the Falcons at Clune Arena was Utah in 2005. Before that, the last time the Falcons had lost at home was in 2003, when — guess who — the Utes beat them.However, the Utes, odd-year magic didn’t work Wednesday night at Clune Arena as the Falcons absolutely crushed the Utes 69-43 before 5,858 fans. The loss was the worst ever for the Utes against the Falcons, eclipsing last year’s 22-point defeat here.Two long scoring droughts, one in each half, kept the Utes from challenging the 14th-ranked Falcons, who improved to 22-4 overall and 9-3 in Mountain West Conference play, and matching last month’s upset victory in Salt Lake.Nick Welch, who scored just two points in the 85-79 loss in Salt Lake, led all scorers with 20 points, while Dan Nwaelele added 19.The Utes, who fell to 9-15 and 4-7 in MWC play, had just one player in double figures as Luke Nevill scored 16 points on 8 of 13 shooting.”We just couldn’t sustain getting stops,” said Ute coach Ray Giacoletti. “We had a lot of breakdowns all the way through with foul trouble and turnovers. And you’ve got to have somebody knock down a shot.”When Utah handed the Falcons one of their four losses last month at the Huntsman Center it was due in large part to 70 percent field-goal shooting.This time, after hitting two 3-pointers in the first two minutes, they went cold and made just 2 of 12 the rest of the way. For the night, the Utes shot just 43.9 percent from the field.Both Shaun Green and Johnnie Bryant, had off-nights. The Utes’ two top 3-point shooters, shot long air-balls on their first tries, which caused the Falcon students to chant “air-ball” at both players during the rest of the game.Green finished with two points and four turnovers, while Bryant went scoreless before hitting a couple of late 3-pointers for six points.That was the Falcons’ strategy to not let Green and Bryant go off.”Our game plan was not to double Luke Nevill, but just make it difficult for him to earn his points,” said AFA coach Jeff Bzdelik. “We certainly didn’t want their other players scoring. We knew Nevill would get his, but we didn’t want all-star games from anybody else.”The Utes actually started the game strong, racing to an 8-2 lead in the first two minutes after Ricky Johns and Luka Drca each sank 3-pointers. The Utes still led 14-12 with 13 minutes left when they went on one of their famous cold streaks, going nine possessions without a score. Meanwhile the Falcons ran off 16 straight points to pretty much put the game away. E-mail: [email protected]center_img Relatedlast_img read more