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In Memoriam: August 2013

Published: August 15, 2013

M. Joan Lyon, an instructor at CSULB for 34 years, passed away on May 10 at the age of 84.

Born in Hollywood to William and Sally Lyon, she graduated from Hollywood High School as valedictorian in 1947, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford and her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

After teaching for five years at Whittier High School and one at UCLA, she came to CSULB where, over the following three-plus decades, she taught kinesiology, exercise physiology and sports biomechanics, as well as serving as a coach for tennis and swimming. In addition, she co-authored the book The Female Athlete.

Lyon, who was a Seal Beach resident for more than 40 years, was an accomplished sailor, skier, motorcyclist and bicyclist. She served as Commodore of the Marina Yacht Club of Long Beach in 2005 and was a member of The American Legion Yacht Club, Women’s Sailing Association of LB/LA and Horizon Yacht Club. On her sailboat named “Sunshine,” she sailed the California coast from San Diego to Santa Barbara in the summers and skied Mammoth and other locations during the winter months.

“Jo was very versatile, both as a faculty member as well as in her personal life,” said former colleague Dixie Grimmett. “She taught a number of activity type classes and coached in her early years at Long Beach and then proceeded to prepare to teach in the science classes in her later years. She was well-liked by her students and was always very pleasant and understanding with their needs. She was a good person, who loved life and lived it to the fullest.”

In lieu of flower or cards, those wishing to do so can make donations to the Sierra Club in honor of Lyon.

Robert A. Rodgers, known to his friends and colleagues as Bob, passed away on June 11. As a career audio-visual specialist, Rodgers began working full-time at CSULB in November 1981. His expertise as a media production technician had him working at most of the campus events throughout the year. His specialties were digital and analog audio, digital video, instructional design and media production and information retrieval. He held certificates in Instructional Media Production, Video Production and Digital Multimedia.

Rodgers’ educational background was diverse, with an A.A. degree in foreign linguistics from Long Beach City College, along with a B.A. degree in geography (1981) and a M.A. in education-instructional media (1987), both from CSULB. Then, there was the clown school, Santa University and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He was also certificated on the Emergency Response Team, USAR Light Specialty as well as the CSULB Search and Rescue Team.

Known for being the campus’ “sound guy,” Rodgers worked for presidents Stephen Horn, June Cooper, Curtis McCray, John Beljian, Karl Anatol, Robert Maxson and F. King Alexander. For the 50th anniversary celebration, he provided support to former Govs. George Deukmejian and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Long Beach mayors Beverly O’Neill and Bob Foster, and entertainer Steve Martin.

During his career, Rodgers recorded and mixed audio soundtracks, QuickTime movies, videotaped lectures and academic events. This past spring was his 32nd commencement running the sound board and he did the same for the annual American Indian Pow Wow for more than 20 years.

Rodgers and Denise Davis began the annual Cherishing Children’s toy drive and party for the local area foster children and their families in 1997, with he and Davis playing the parts of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Toys not used at the party held on campus were given to the Long Beach Fire Station 22 for the Long Beach Fire Department Spark of Love and the American Red Cross. Rodgers also played Santa for many campus functions and public venues over the years.

A member of Staff Council for more than 10 years, Rodgers served as chair and vice chair in 2002-03. He chaired and was an active member of the campus special events committee for more than 15 years, overseeing such events as Staff Day, President’s Breakfast, Kaleidoscope, Spooktacular, Staff Summer Picnic and the Ice Cream Social. He was one of the few to be selected as both Outstanding Staff Member (2000) and Community Service Award (2001). In addition, he had been on the Special Olympics Organizing committee since 2000, helping with sound and recruiting volunteers. He also supported the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Globe for a Better Environment.

Rodgers was predeceased by his parents, Robert Albert Rodgers and Mildred Graves (Harrison) Rodgers, and his half-brother, Jerry Szmanski. He is survived by his niece, Maryanne Funk, and his half-brother’s widow, Susan Szmanski, long time family friends Denise Davis, Dana Hooten, and Solomon and Rebecca Martin. He leaves behind his two prized friends—Mackie and Mojo—a rat terrier and Chihuahua mix (both of whom are looking to be re-homed, preferably together).

Rodgers was a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe and will be laid to rest in the state of Washington with family members on an American Indian reservation.

Robert “Bob” Wuesthoff passed away on July 12 at the age of 87. Born on May 25, 1926, in Alameda to Charles and Sigrid Wuesthoff, he married Gerry Lehnert on June 18, 1955, and just celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary.

Wuesthoff was in athletics and education for 56 years. He began teaching and coaching baseball at Madera High School and later did the same at Menlo Junior College and San Jose State University before settling at CSULB, where he was the head baseball coach for six seasons. He also served as an associate athletics director for the Forty-Niners and was the interim athletics director during the 1969 football season.

Along with former Forty-Niner Athletics Director Fred Miller, Wuesthoff co-founded the immensely successful and popular 49er Camp, a youth summer sports camp for which he served as director for more than four decades. The camp will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014.

Wuesthoff is survived by his wife, Gerry; his three children, Rob Wuesthoff, Suzie Torrey and Tammie Smith; his sons-in-law, Jeff Torrey, and Peter Smith; and his three grandsons, Tanner, Riley and Colter Smith.

A celebration of Wuesthoff’s life was held on Tuesday, July 23, at Blair Field, where more than 300 family and friends gathered to remember him as a family man, a great teacher and someone who always believed in doing the right thing.

The family requests that any donations be made to the Bob Wuesthoff Baseball Endowed Scholarship, c/o CSULB 49er Foundation, 6300 State University Drive suite 332 Long Beach, CA 90815.