Santa Paula Times


January 25, 2012

Regina Joyce King

Regina Joyce King (nee West) focused her life on faith, family, and friends. “Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle, help them,” became her mantra. This philosophy paid rich dividends to her church and to all who knew her. The esteem people felt for her is epitomized by a sign (a gift from one of her grandchildren) and posted in the entry way of the King home:

The best thing about grandpa’s house is grandma.

A victim of Alzheimer’s, Regina joined her parents on November 27, 2011, passing away quietly in her Santa Paula home, attended by hospice and her family.

Regina, God saw that you were exhausted and confused

And a cure was not to be,

So he put His arms around you

And whispered, “Come with me.”

With tearful eyes we watched you suffer

And saw you fade away

Although we loved you deeply

We couldn’t make you stay

A golden heart stopped beating,

Helping hands put to rest

God broke our hearts and confirmed,

He only takes the Best.

Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas on June 28, 1936 to Lonnie and Margie West, Regina’s first cries sounded like music to her parents.

And no wonder.

In later years, Margie, said, “She was our miracle baby.” Marge explained that in 1933, Regina’s brother died during a birthing process so painful and problematic that “we decided not to have children. But God had a better idea.” 

That He did.

In 1938, the West family moved West to the Limoneria Ranch where her parents worked until retirement, and Regina enjoyed an ideal childhood. “My girlfriends and I played dolls in the orchards, read books, and in the summer swam in the ranch pool. The ranch was a safe place, an extended family in which people looked out for each other. It was also a small town with a gas pump and a store where we bought almost everything we needed.”

At age ten, Regina became pianist at the Adobe Church on the Limoneria. At first she knew only one hymn “so they sang that one until I learned to play others. For obvious reasons they prayed hard that I’d learn fast. Apparently it worked because I could soon play almost any hymn.”

She attended Briggs Elementary School and Santa Paula High School where she played trombone in the band and participated in several school activities. She was graduated from Santa Paula High School in 1954.

In 1951, through a church friend, she had met Mal King (he was her first boyfriend and she his first girlfriend). From that first date they felt what they later described as an inner music.

During the Korean War, Mal was drafted in March of 1953 (ten years after his father was drafted during World II). Like pen pals in earlier wars, Mal and Regina wrote each other every day. Through their letters they learned even more about each other and also learned that absence did, indeed, make the heart grow fonder. A wedding day was set. Mal took leave and returned to Ventura County to marry Regina on April 6, 1954. Because she wouldn’t be eighteen until June, her father had to sign for her.

After graduation, in June of 1954, Regina travelled to Tacoma, Washington to join Mal who was stationed at Fort Lewis.

In January of 1955, he was discharged from the service two months early to attend college. Back in Santa Paula, the Kings rented an apartment in “the courts” on her beloved Limoneria.

Both worked full time while he also carried a full academic load at Ventura College and later at the University of Southern California.  During those years, she worked for Santa Paula Electric and later for the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce.

In October of 1955, Sherrie, their first child, was born. Although Regina was only nineteen people marveled at her maturity and the way she took to motherhood, handled work and church responsibilities: teaching children at and becoming pianist for the Santa Paula Freewill Baptist church. She served in that capacity for several decades, and also sang in a church trio. 

Two more daughters were born at two year intervals: Debbie, and Tammy. After Mal was appointed Chief Investigator by District Attorney Woodruff Deem, Regina was able to stay home with the children. Being a mother was a role in which she both excelled and delighted.  Mal’s mother said of Regina, “It’s almost as if she’s lived before and knows what to do in every situation.”

Regina loved ritual: grace before meals, church attendance three times a week, summer vacations at Yosemite, and Disneyland during the Christmas season.

Her children and grandchildren were asked what one word described her. Comfort, love, grace, fun, trustworthy, cool, gorgeous, modest, spirited were among those mentioned. She was definitely spirited. In 2009, although afflicted with Alzheimer’s, she climbed Diamond Head.

In addition to gospel music, she loved travel and the novelty of living other places. She thrived in Alexandria, Virginia and in Washington D.C. While Mal attended the FBI National Academy, Regina and their three daughters visited the Smithsonian, the monuments and memorials, and other historic sites: the White House (three times), Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Jamestown. She also loved Aspen in the summer when Mal taught at the Institute of Court Management.

But she preferred Santa Paula’s small town comforts and connections. In her words, “Where the librarian (Dan Robles) knows your reading preferences and lets you know when a new book by one of your favorite authors arrives.”

Her family often kidded her about being royalty, twice over. “Last name King, first name meaning queen in Latin.” Royalty she was, not through genes, but by her life and her grace.

Although married for almost 58 years, the Kings celebrated 695 anniversaries. Mal clarified, “The sixth of each month I would buy her flowers, Sees candy, and take her out to eat. That way I didn’t get in trouble by forgetting the big annual anniversary.” 

Imagine a home filled with the aroma of great cooking, the scent of flowers, the sweet sound of her voice singing hymns or romantic ballads. No wonder her grandchildren considered her house, not Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. Now, as one of her grandsons once said when the Kings were on vacation, “the house is full of empty.”

That it is. 

Regina is survived by her husband, Mal; three daughters: Sherrie Foley, Debbie Morgan, Tammy Ferguson; three sons-in-law: Dennis Foley, Louie Morgan, Joe Ferguson; eight grandchildren: Cindy Morgan, Regina Marie Morgan, Louie Morgan Jr., Melissa Patterson, Chris Foley, Michael Ferguson, Keegan Ferguson, MacKenzie Ferguson; two granddaughters-in-law: Martha Ferguson, and Maria Foley; one grandson-in-law: Robert Borrego; nine great grandchildren: Dylan, Connor, Citlalli, Deanna, Jamie, Richard, Chrystina, Maddisyn, Bobbie.

There’s a tendency to deify the dead, to pass over their faults. Living life as she did, deification is easy, finding fault difficult. To those who knew Regina best she achieved her life goal of helping, not hurting, others.

Celebration/Memorial services will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at West Coast Fellowship 406 Acacia Road in Santa Paula. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations (in memory of Regina King) be made to Assisted Home Hospice Foundation, 4450 Westinghouse Street, Suite 103, Ventura, CA. 93003.

Melissa Eileen Ortiz


Melissa Eileen Ortiz, 36, of Santa Paula, passed away on January 18, 2012. She was born in Santa Paula, Ca. on August 4, 1975.

Melissa graduated from Santa Paula High School and received her Associate’s degree from Sawyer Business College.

She worked in Accounts Payable for Harbor Freight Tools. Melissa’s passion was her five children. She was also a devoted daughter, wife, sister and aunt.

Melissa is preceded in death by her grandparents John & Gloria Pacheco and her Nina Juanita Olvera. She is survived by her children Manuel A. Ortiz III., Martin A. Ortiz, Miranda E. Ortiz, Mario A. Pacheco, and Marleen E. Gonzalez, mother Victoria Pacheco and by her brother, James G. Gutierrez along with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and 3 godchildren. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her. 

Funeral Services Honoring the Life of Melissa Eileen Ortiz will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 427 North Oak Street, Santa Paula beginning with the recitation of the rosary at 7pm, Thursday, January 26. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, January 27 at 10am with Father Charles Lueras officiating. Committal & Interment will follow at Santa Paula Cemetery.

For map and directions to ceremony locations and to sign the family’s online guestbook, share stories and post pictures please visit our website: and click on Melissa’s name located below “Recent obituaries”.

Funeral Services are under the direction of the Family Owned and Operated Robert Rey Garcia Jr. Funeral Svcs., Santa Paula. 805.229.7054. 

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Family Owned & Operated Robert Rey Garcia Jr. Funeral Svcs., Santa Paula, CA  805.229.7054.

Margaret La Verne Buckner 

July 16, 1920 - December 29, 2011

Graveside services were held on January 5, 2012 at Santa Paula Pierce Brothers Cemetery for Margaret La Verne Buckner,  who passed away December 29, 2011 in Norwalk, California.  She was born in Ventura County on July 17, 1920, the youngest of nine children of John Morris and Rosa Etha Buckner.  Margaret attended Briggs School and Santa Paula High School.  When  a child, Margaret lived on the Limoniera Ranch with her family.   She worked for many years in the laundry at Mastercraft in Santa Paula.  After Margaret’s retirement, she moved to Porterville, California, where she lived for many years.  Margaret is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.