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In Memoriam: February 2012

Published: February 15, 2012

Don DePree, a physical education instructor at CSULB from 1968 to 92, died on Jan. 22 from brain cancer at the age of 69.

The popular DePree, a resident of Fountain Valley, was best known for his expertise of and love for the sport of Shotokan Karate. The sport was introduced to the CSULB campus in 1961 and DePree headed the club from 1968 until he left to become the executive director of Shotokan America. Upon his departure, he handed the reins off to Sam Abboud who had led the club since 1969.

“Everyone was amazed by his spirit, he was one of the toughest fighters that we had,” said Abboud. “There was nobody like him. He changed my life. He made me a better person.”

DePree started his first martial arts training in 1965 while attending Long Beach Community College and learned karate under Bob Lopez. In 1968, DePree, along with Caylor Adkins, re-established the Shotokan Karate Club at CSULB with Caylor as the club leader and DePree as his assistant instructor.

Through DePree’s strong leadership and commitment the club flourished and in 1972, DePree was hired as a faculty member to teach self-defense and karate classes through the physical education department. DePree would go on to build and strengthen the club producing many new black belts and for more than 20 years he continued to take the club to new heights by making it a respected dojo.

In 1992, DePree passed the leadership of the CSULB Shotokan Karate Club to Sam Abboud in order to head the Shotokan Ohshima Dojo building project for Shotokan Karate of America (SKA). Since then, DePree had served as the executive vice president for SKA and became the central pillar to the Shotokan Ohshima Dojo and the organization. He continued to teach karate on a national level spreading his wisdom and knowledge to all martial artists.

DePree is survived by his wife, Gwynne; daughter, Darcy; and son Dusty.

A memorial service will be held for DePree on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Chapel Japanese Catholic Center (formerly Maryknoll Japanese Catholic Center), 222 S. Hewitt Street, Los Angeles. Two blocks east of Alameda Street in Little Tokyo.

Eldon J. Dvorak, professor emeritus of economics, died Sept. 22, at the age of 80. Dvorak, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, came to CSULB in 1961 and worked in the Economics Department for 30 years before retiring in 1991.

During his tenure as chair, Dvorak helped to expand the department, doubling the number of tenure-track faculty. He also was instrumental in the creation of the M.A. degree program. Along with an extensive list of professional accomplishments, Dvorak was known for his tireless work with the Western Economic Association International, which he helped transform into a major scholarly organization with two high-quality journals: Economic Inquiry and Contemporary Economic Policy, a periodical created to provide contemporary economic analysis to a broader professional audience and for which Dvorak was the founding editor.

Even upon retirement, he remained a strong supporter and great friend to the department. Dvorak enjoyed life and was an avid dancer and traveler. He is survived by his former wife, Veronica Gage Dvorak; son, James Dvorak; daughter, Kathleen Dvorak Ashelford; and longtime companion, Cathy Wernke.

Sue T. Elliott, staff emerita, died Oct. 7. She was 96. Elliott was born to Fred M. and Icy (Lee) Curtis on May 27, 1915 in Dunlap, Kan. She married Paul E. Elliott on Aug. 9, 1939. An early staff member, she was an assistant to the dean of fine arts at Long Beach State University from 1956-82. Prior to her employment on campus, she worked to promote funding for cerebral palsy.

Following retirement, she attended several staff emeriti luncheons. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul, in 1956; daughter, Paula Sue Elliott, in 2009; and a sister, Vivian May Deaver. She is survived by her niece, Regina “Jeanne” Jones, of Frankfort, Kan.

Annette Lujan, an employee in the Office of University Research and External Support at CSULB, passed away on Dec. 7 as the result of a workplace accident involving an elevator in the CSULB Foundation building.

Born July 9, 1963 in Bakersfield to Manuel and Norma Lujan, she attended CSU Bakersfield and graduated in 1988 with a B.S. degree in finance with a minor in accounting.

Lujan joined the CSULB campus community in August 2002 as a grant proposal writer for the Center for Career Studies. In addition to her bachelor’s degree, she had a certificate in grant writing to complement her eight years of professional experience which included four as an administrative research assistant at CSU Bakersfield and one as a grant writer at the Orange County Probation Department.

Although Lujan left the university in August 2004 and was no longer a staff member, she remained a part of the campus community as a student pursuing and eventually obtaining her master’s degree in public policy and administration in 2005.

She returned to campus in August 2006 as the assistant director for proposal development in the Office of University Research and External Support, where she would be a key resource for obtaining grant funding for the university. She became the pre-award specialist in March 2010 and in that role was responsible for assisting the campus with all pre-award activities related to grant proposals.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Lujan served as a mentor to groups like the Latina Connection and Junior University, where she utilized her skills to help future graduates and young professionals.

Lujan, who lived in Huntington Beach, was an avid traveler and scuba diver. Recently, she had traveled to Europe with her daughter upon her graduation from high school.

Lujan is survived by her son, Phillip Hildalgo, and his fiancé, Olga Lazo, of Westminster; grandson, Anthony Joseph Hildago; daughter, Michelle le Clair; sister, Yvonne Garcia, and her husband, Joe; sister, Valerie McGregor, and husband, Stan; brother Daniel and several nieces and nephews.

Earl Melvin Smith, faculty emeritus of technology education, died Jan. 14, at age 75 in Clinton, N.C. Born in Johnstown, Penn., on June 2, 1936, Smith and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated high school. He served as a hospital corpsman in the Fleet Marine Forces of the U.S. Navy and went to college on the GI Bill.

Smith received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial arts at CSULB, followed by his Ed.D. from UCLA. In 1968, he joined the faculty at CSULB and retired in 1991. During his career, he served as an officer in the California Industrial & Technology Education Association. After he retired, Smith was active in the United Way.

An avid golfer, he and his wife, Dorothea (Thea), moved to North Carolina “for the golf and the nice people.” He is survived by his wife of 54 years and their two children, Trent Earl Smith and Trina Elizabeth Scharf.