A Few Miscellaneous Biographies

TAKALA, William "Bill"

William "Bill" Takala, 86, of Peoria, a retired industral engineer, died May 2, 1998. He was born in Orr, Minn. Survivors include his daughters, Jean Hall and Stephany; and one grandchild. Services: 3 p.m. Wednesday, Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church, 11025 N. 111th Ave., Sun City, AZ 85351, with visitation an hour before services. Contributions: Desert Lutheran Church, or Good Shepherd Care Center, 10323 W. Olive Ave., Peoria, AZ 85345. Sunland Mortuary. The Arizona Republic Wednesday, May 6, 1998

TAPPEN, Daniel L.

Daniel L. Tappen, 76, of Scottsdale, a physician, died June 13, 1993. He was born in Herrington, Kansas, and was a World War II Army Air Forces veteran. He was a member of the American Medical Association and a deacon of Valley Presbyterian Church. Services Valley Presbyterian Church, 6947 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley, AZ 85253. Contributions to the church. Messinger Mortuary. The Arizona Republic Tuesday, June 15, 1993 CL 11

TEGELER, Bessie E.

Bessie E. Tegeler, 90, of Phoenix, a retired retail clerk, died April 17, 1998. she was born in Lucerne, Iowa. Survivors include her sisters, Josephine CLEAR and Lydia HASTINGS; brother, James LEBEDA. Services are private. A. L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries. The Arizona Republic Monday, April 20, 1998

TERRY, Mildred Charlotte

Mildred Charlotte Terry, 66, of Gila River Indian Community, a homemaker, died Nov. 4, 1990. She was born in Arizona. Survivors include her husband, Harry; two daughters, one son; three foster daughters; and three grandchildren. Wake and services St. Peter's Catholic Church, Bapchule. Bunker's Garden Chapel. The Arizona Republic Wednesday, November 7, 1990


"Wallace" on KPHO-TV
He was born in New York City on Dec 18, 1931, the son of William and Marie THOMPSON and the eldest of three brothers. His father worked as an investment manager on the second floor of the Empire State Building. "I was embarrassed to tell my friends about this," Thompson remembered. "I mean, if you're going to have an office in the Empire State Building, you should at least have an office on the 70th or 80th floor!"
In 1934, the Thompsons moved to Bronxville, 20 miles north of New York City in Westchester County, where the three brothers -- Bill, Boyce and Tony -- attended school. In first grade, Bill was a gingerbread man in the school's production of "Hansel and Gretel." His mother told him he was the best gingerbread man in the show. He believed her. As a result, many elementary, high school and college plays followed over the years. "I never knew my lines and never hit my spot on stage, but I always managed to get a laugh and easily won the title of class clown from sixth grade on. Being the class clown meant going to the principal's office a lot." In seventh grade, Bill wrote a six-page vocational report in a green folder. The first sentence was, "I want to make people laugh." The report went on to explain that he wasn't sure if he would be a cartoonist, comedy writer or funny guy on the radio, little knowing he'd end up doing all three. He got a C-minus on the report and his teacher, Miss WETZEL, told him, "It's time to get serious with your life." "If I had taken Miss Wetzel's advice," Thompson said, "I'd probably be selling vacuum cleaners at Sears." Through high school and later at DePauw University, he took all the courses he could on art, writing and performing -- "any class I thought would help me later in a comedy career." During the late '40s, Thompson started writing kids' stories featuring a character named Wallace Snead. Bill graduated from Bronxville High in 1950. The yearbook stated, "the class clown will be missed by his classmates, but not his teachers." The next year at DePauw, he had a part in a Noel Coward play. "I was still missing my marks and forgetting my lines. By then I had perfected the art of wandering around stage and ad-libbing. Later on Lad, Pat and I were to elevate this style of performing to a science." In 1952, THOMPSON married Donna COPE, headed west to Arizona and had three kids: Carrie, Annie and Tony. His first job in Phoenix was in the circulation department of The Phoenix Gazette, but every couple of months he would stop by KPHO-TV in the hopes of landing a job. In January, 1954, KPHO hired him for two jobs. He began creating a character called Wallace Snead and appeared on "The Goldust Charlie Show." In January, 1955, a kid's cartoon show, "It's Wallace?" premiered. After a few months of going solo, Bill decided he needed a partner. In January, 1956, Lad (Kwiatkowski) joined him. On June 15, 1970, the program officially became "The Wallace and Ladmo Show." On April 3, 1974, the show celebrated it's 20th anniversary. Through the 1970's, Bill and the cast won Emmy's for their productions. On Dec. 29, 1989, the show went off the air. Bill now spends his time going to the movies and entertaining his grandchildren.


Gerry Thomas, 83, inventor of the TV dinner, died July 2005, in Phoenix, Arizona. He came up with the idea as a marketer for poultry company C.A. Swanson & Sons, after seeing that Pan American Airways was developing a flat aluminum tray for hot in-flight meals. Since Swanson had a post-holiday turkey surplus, he devised a multicompartment tray for the bird and accompanying side dishes. Introduced in 1954 with a package resembling a TV set, the dinners took off, selling 10 million that year and earning Thomas a raise, a spot on Hollywood's Walk of Fame and hate letters from husbands who wrote, he said, that "I was ruining their lives."


Killed by Apaches six miles west of Pima May 23, 1886, while starting a lime kiln. He was surprised by eight Apaches and killed.


Nick Tibshraeny, 60, of Mesa, a real estate broker, died May 5, 1998. He was born in Mesa and was a member of the Arizona National Guard. Survivors include his wife, Susan; daughters, Deena, Nicole, and Alexa; parents, Hazel and Iser, sisters, Florence HANNA and Carole FISCHER; and brother, Gary. Visitation and services St. Marks Episcopal Church, 322 N. Horne, Mesa. Contributions: American Cancer Society, P. O. Box 5377, Phoenix, AZ 85010-5377. Meldrum Mortuary. The Arizona Republic May 8, 1998


CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INITIATED. Into the death of PAT TILLMAN, Arizona Cardinals defensive back who quit football to join the Army after 9/11 and was killed in Afghanistan in April 2004, after fellow Rangers mistook him for a Taliban fighter; by the Defense Department's inspector general; in Washington. The Army originally blamed enemy fire for Tillman's death. Tillman's family has criticized three previous Army investigations as incomplete. The Army acknowledged it is launching a criminal investigation into the death of Pat Tillman, 27, the former Arizona Cardinals defensive back who was killed in April 2004 after leaving the NFL to fight in Afghanistan. Military reports initially said he was killed by enemy fire, but weeks later the Army revealed he was felled by "friendly fire." Later investigations determined that "botched communications" contributed to his death; seven U.S. Rangers were disciplined as a result. The latest inquiry--the first criminal probe--was opened on the recommendation of the Defense Department's Office of the Inspector General after a review of the case and will determine whether formal charges are warranted.