Obituary # 1James “Jimmy” Ortega was a very quiet man who lived in a cabin in the woods. He lived alone and caressed his one cat, “Kitten Verde,” “Da caat wit one green …
Obituary # 1
James “Jimmy” Ortega was a very quiet man who lived in a cabin in the woods. He lived alone and caressed his one cat, “Kitten Verde,” “Da caat wit one green ojo,” he would say, while cuddled up next to the fire in his single large room off the entrance foyer, lined with taxidermy buck heads. A lifelong resident of Lava, NY, Jimmy worked around the yard, picking up sticks for kindling, living an independently wealthy life, having inherited what was, at the time, considered to be a substantial sum of money: 50,000 dollores.
Son of the late Pasquel and Silvi Ortega, Jimmy enjoyed the simple things in life, never marrying. Years passed, and it was found that James had a relationship with a woman from Venezuela, Rene Marie Burgerluf. They had an illegitimate son, who grew up separate and apart from his father as the mother kept him hidden and felt it best not to divulge the identity of James “Jimmy” Ortega. That illegitimate son is me, and I feel it’s time my father was honored with an obituary he’d be proud to read in his one-room cabin in the woods. There will be no funeral, no visitation, no viewing. James “Jimmy” Ortega, born in Puerto Rico on December 6th, 1939, died on October 3rd, 1977. I found out only this year and, even though I never knew him, he will be greatly missed.
K. Byron Campbell, a writer of many children’s self-help cartoons, unpublished from the 1960s to the present, died, unknown to all in the field of illustration and cartooning, on October 1st, 2008, in peaceful repose, surrounded only by a close relative, Timothy Henny Berle. Mr. Berle, highly successful in the field of marine biology, studied the plankton migration and red-tide infestation of Asian coral reefs, receiving the prestigious Jacques Cousteau bronze medal award for valiant effort in a technical area. Born in 1953, Mr. Berle has remained dedicated to solving the problems of oceanic disintegration, prevention of over-fishing in mid-Atlantic waters, protection of the Alaskan deep ocean Salmon community, and numerous other environmental concerns. He claims his love affair with the world’s water creatures started when his parents bought for him a simple fish bowl and a goldfish named Swooshy, who he kept alive far beyond the normal lifespan of a goldfish, feeding it a self-formulated organic fish food created in his childhood bedroom laboratory. He is truly a maverick. His work will continue to affect the views of all scientists and laypersons long after he is gone. He will be sorely missed, but for now the work continues and we must honor him while he lives. He is the only remaining relative of the deceased.
It’s a sad story, but one that must be told in this brief obituary. Donald D. Montrose died in his home on Saturday, October 11th, 2008. He was accidentally overdosed on heart medication by his wife of 48 years, Selma Harriet Montrose. Donald had been suffering from dizzy spells after a tennis tournament with the neighbors many years back. He built a court on his front lawn, and even though the surface was uneven, he enjoyed any type of play. It was discovered that Donald had heart trouble. Years of dizziness ensued. He spent most of his time in the home, watching TV and playing with his digital camera and computer, forwarding dirty jokes to family and friends. Selma was responsible for administering the meds. No one realized she was suffering with Alzheimer’s, and as she slowly disintegrated, mentally, her ability to give proper doses of meds also disintegrated. Donald’s health continued to deteriorate and eventually all he could do was yell out the window at Selma with instructions on how to mow the lawn and shovel snow. He got monthly check-ups at the veteran’s hospital, and eventually they decided to do quadruple by-pass surgery.
Three weeks after the successful procedure, Donald was dead. Selma said “It’s better this way,” with no sign of tears. She will be living with her sister down the street, and the house will be put up for sale. A memorial mass will be held on Monday, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Zion, MN, for close friends and relatives. Donald leaves behind two daughters and a son, three cats, two dogs, and a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, his closest companion in the final days. May he rest in peace, and may we find a cure for either Alzheimer’s or heart disease or both.