Obituaries

Vernardo S. Watts Sr.

Vernardo Steven Watts Sr. was born in Chicago, IL on May 25, 1953; he was the fifth child of seven, born to Eugene Robert Watts Sr. and Agnes Ann Kelly Watts.  Chicago would be his home through most of his 20’s and this is where he would graduate from Carver High School as well as Chicago State and DeVry, eventually obtaining a degree in audio engineering. He obtained what was at the time cutting-edge video training in the late 1970’s at Bell & Howell.It was his uniquely combined audio and video training that would allow him to leave his mark in the television and radio broadcast industry no matter where he went. In 1980, Vernardo left the Chicago area in order to make a new life and provide better opportunities for himself and his television career and he would go on to build, innovate and operate television and radio stations all over the country.

Vernardo worked in Bloomington, IL, Cincinatti, OH, Nashville TN and the country of Mexico.  His footprint in the West extended to KOLO-TV in Reno, NV, then to KCRA-TV in Sacramento, CA and then to KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, CA.  At all these stations, he learned the basics of operating a television station, including maintenance of all equipment needed to keep a station on the air and what each on-air position needed to have a successful broadcast.  His career advanced when he undertook Director of Engineering and Chief Engineer positions at various private companies and radio stations throughout Los Angeles and Burbank.  He did everything at the station from maintaining all the equipment that kept the station on the air to running the satellite truck and being a cameraman.  He had the opportunity to build a few radio and television stations from the ground up by building their gigantic broadcast antenna, maintaining it, and installing every piece of equipment to make the station operable and FCC-compliant.  His audio, video, and engineering talents were tapped by the U.S. Dept. of Defense where he worked on the development and perfection of some of America’s most secret weapons, for which he had Top Secret Clearance.  He was a Master Engineer that could fix anything that requires electricity to operate.

Vernardo was a multiple Emmy Award-winning Production Engineer and he worked for 45 years in the television and broadcast industry; he also received California’s prestigious Aurora Award among others.He worked on iconic shows like Joker’s Wild, Solid Gold, Romper Room, The BET Awards, The Oscars and so many more. He made many friends in the industry including Mr. T. and Comedian George Wallace.

Vernardo had a few hobbies and interests, mostly centered around electronics, video and audio productions, music, and cars.  He also was an avid pool player, especially in his younger days and wherever he lived he always had a pool table as a permanent fixture in the house.  He liked to watch true crime television and he loved to watch boxing as well as The L.A. Clippers. His favorite music artist was Stevie Wonder but he also loved The Isley Brothers and Jimmy Hendrix.  Vernardo enjoyed the company of good friends and family members, especially the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He liked to engage the kids in trivia, help build things, show them his new toys and tell them jokes (although several of thegreat-grandkids are still very young, and as we all know most of his jokes are not suitable for little ears!).  He was always happy to share knowledge, information, and wisdom and many of his family and friends valued his guidance and insight and often sought his counsel.

Vernardo left behind dozens of family and friends who will remember him fondly in various ways:

  • He was the father of four children: Vernardo S. Watts Jr. (Jennifer), Nichon Watts Shannon, Randall D. Watts (JeanAnn), and Skyneska P.V. Watts

  • He was the coolest grandfather to six children: Vernardo S. Watts III, Bria N. Shannon, Meko L. Watts, Madison V. Palmer Watts, Christopher M. Shannon II, Ezekial A.P. Watts and Rose D. Watts

  • He was the most fun great-grandfather to six children: Kason C. Shannon, Kynnedy K. Shannon, Grayson Young, Karter M. Walls, Stephon Watts and Christopher M. Shannon III

  • He was a devoted and loving brother to two remaining siblings: Donotta Hill and Darlene Watts

  • He was the favorite and most fun uncle to more than a dozen nieces and nephews

  • He was the caring and ever-watchful Godfather to Phoenix Dymally

  • He was predeceased by his father, Eugene Robert Watts Sr., his mother Agnes Ann Kelly Watts, one sister Bonnie Whitsell and two brothers, Eugene Robert Watts Jr. and LaPepea Watts Sr.

  • He was a trusted and loyal friend to many, including Michael Jones, Gary Brainard, Stuart Dotson and Carolyn Balthazar. The family sincerely thanks you for your friendship with our father and the many years of laughter.

  • The children are eternally grateful and thankful to Sharon Hill for the years of loyal companionship and especially for all of the assistance she provided in the weeks and days leading up to our Dad transitioning.

  • The children would like to thank Daddy’s neighbors, The Campbells’, who were true neighbors and provided assistance (emergency and otherwise) and always provided support for our Dad whenever we called them.

A memorial video will be made and sent to everyone as a keepsake.  We thank you so much for all of the messages and prayers for comfort and strength.  This has not been easy but we are thankful for each of you.

Captain Thomas J. Bernsen, Jr. USN (ret)

It is with great sadness that the family of CAPT Thomas J. Bernsen, Jr., USN (ret.), announcesthe passing of their beloved husband, father, grandfather, and combatveteran, on January 3rd, 2023.

Born December 13, 1948, in St. Louis, MO, he grew up in a sailing family in Long Beach, CA.  After graduating from CSU Long Beach with a BA in Mathematics,Thom dedicated his life to serving his country as a Navy helicopter pilot and test pilot.

Sea assignments included HS-2 in Imperial Beach, CA, involving service aboard USS Enterprise,in HS-2 Det One, Vietnam. Highlights include numerous rescues during Operation Linebacker II and later being a primary pilot for the initial flights into North Viet Namduring Operation End Sweep to negotiatede-mining Haiphong Harbor.Captain Bernsen served as a department head with HS-8, on staff with CVW-15, and commanded HS-4 aboard USS Carl Vinson in WestPac.  Ashore, Captain Bernsen attended the US Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, MD, and later became Director of the Test Pilot School and Commanding Officer of the Systems Engineering TestDirectorate there.  Notable projects included primary Test Pilot for the initial test article of the SH-60B Seahawk.Captain Bernsen retired from FASOTRAGRUPAC, at NAS North Island in June 1994, after 26 years in uniform.

Captain Bernsen’s Post Navy positions included being a Director for Horizons Technology Inc., Senior Director SAIC Corporation, COO for National Dispatch Center,Inc. in San Diego, and owner/operator of DryerVent Wizard, all while cultivating his love for German sports cars.

Thom was a devoted husband and a proud father and grandfather.  Thom and Linda made their home in Point Loma, CA, where they enjoyed many happy years together.  He was known for his sharp mind, quick wit, keen sense of humor, and ability to find the silver lining in any situation.  He was an avid sailor and loved nothing more than being out on the water, a calling he passed on to his two children, Eric and Lauren.  Thom was a master of the deadpan and could keep a straight face even when delivering the corniest of dad-jokes. He was as sharp as a naval officer’s sword and could express an entire conversation through a single look.

Thom will be deeply missed by all who knew him, but his memory will live on in the hearts of his family and friends.  Thom is survived by his wife, Linda, children, Eric and Lauren, and four grandchildren, Charlie, Havana, Jack, and Zoe.

A celebration of Thom’s life, complete with humorous anecdotes and tall tales of heroism, will be heldat a later date, when known. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Thom’s memory to the Semper Fi Fund or Disabled American Veterans.

Fair winds and following seas, Pappy.

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

We think about you always, we talk about you still, you have never been forgotten, and you never will.
We hold you close within our hearts and there you will always remain.
To walk and guide us through our lives, until we meet again.
Jessica Carmen B. Castorena
June 16, 1979 – September 22, 2021
Services: All Saints Catholic Church
3431 Portola Ave, Los Angeles ca 90032
10 AM
Reception: To be announced

Robert Norman Bernier

Robert Norman Bernier was born on December 2, 1938. He was a hard working, kind, loving, and easy going man. After retirement, he considered himself blessed to find a second chance for love and married Perlita Hess. He loved his life living on the hood canal in Washington state for many years and recently moved to Palm Springs during his battle with cancer. He was at peace knowing Jesus Christ as his savior and was mercifully taken home in his loving arms on November 3, 2021. Bob will be forever remembered and missed by all who knew him.

HECTOR MANUEL ULLOA

Hector Manuel Ulloa was welcomed into the gates of Heaven on Friday, February 4th, 2022. He may have lost his battle with cancer, but his Christian faith was steadfast. He leaves a huge hole in the hearts of his family and friends who were always entertained by his stories, his good sense of humor, and an even better laugh. He knew how to bring life to the party. Hector loved music, dancing, pretty girls, and driving in his truck to the beach and mountains. He was a loyal brother and humble father. Hector will never be forgotten and missed by all who opened their
heart to him.

Hector is survived by his loving mom, brothers, nieces, nephews, too many
cousins to count, and a large extended family.

*December 21, 1967 – February 4, 2022*
Services: Saturday March 26th 5:00pm

Mt. View Mortuary & Cemetery
570 East Highland Ave
San Bernardino, Ca 92404

Family, children, friends welcome
Attire: Casual

Shuzhen Xin

Shuzhen Xin, 83, passed away on July 31, 2022.

Born in China, Shuzhen spent most of her life there. After immigrating to the U.S. in 2015, she established many hobbies and enjoyed traveling with her family, going to the farmers’ market, dining out, attending her grandsons’ school concerts, chatting with friends, singing Chinese songs, watching TV shows, and listening to her hometown radio.

Shuzhen is survived by her children, children-in-law, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces. She is dearly loved, warmly remembered, and sadly missed by her family and friends.

Andrew John (Jack) Kopko

12/20/1939 – 8/12/22

Andrew John (Jack) Kopko was born in Gary, Indiana on December 20, 1939, and died peacefully on August 12, 2022, with his wife and daughter at his side. His parents were Anna Kopko (Stropki) and Stephan Kopko. He is survived by his wife Adele Kopko, daughter Kari Kopko Bancroft (George Reid), their children Sophie Ann and George Andrew, stepdaughter Vickie Craig (Christopher), their children Christine, Kelly, and Katherine, Stepson Jeffrey Meister (Kimberly), and their son Noah. Jack’s brothers, Stephen Kopko and Thomas A. Kopko, and sister, Paula Jean Novak preceded him in death. Education included Portage High School 1957 Salutatorian, University of Notre Dame 1961, University of Notre Dame Law School (JD) 1964. Indiana and Illinois State Bar Admission 1964. Portage Park Dept.

Attorney for 18 years. Practiced law in Northwest Indiana for 55 years primarily in the field of creditor and debtor rights and bankruptcy. Lived in Ogden Dunes, IN for 37 years before retiring and moving to Palm Desert, CA in 2018 to be with his daughter.

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