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Ronald McDonald Family Room and Memorials

  • April 03 , 2018

It is with great pride we announce the commitment to establish a Ronald McDonald Family Room concept to be located at Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC). This will be the 3rd Family Room developed in the State of California and the first Family Room concept in a public hospital in the nation. Recognizing that VCMC is the only licensed pediatric care facility in West Ventura County, the nations #1 Family Medicine Residency Program, the exclusive west county’s trauma center, the only clinic in Ventura County treating children with cancer and blood diseases, it was therefore appropriate Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California and Ronald McDonald Global unanimously voted to choose VCMC as their next Family Room in California.

With the opening of North Tower, existing hospital space is now available for repurposing and within that space VCMC has identified an appropriate area for the Ronald McDonald Family Room. Ventura County has always had a commitment of caring for the whole person; physical, emotional and psychological.

Currently, we are raising money for the construction and establishment of the Ronald McDonald Family Room. The goal is to raise $1 Million. We are approximately half way there. Join us today in helping the children and families of Ventura County who are fighting life threatening illnesses and diseases.




John Chapman Morris Jr.

(1961 – 2018) Ventura / Fillmore, CA from VC Star

It is with an impossible sadness that we announce the loss of Chap “Chappy” Morris Jr., who passed away suddenly on March 16, 2018, leaving behind the family he coveted and the thousands of friends he made during his remarkable life journey. It would take volumes to explain the meaning Chap held for so many-for his was a life of generosity, devotion, infectious laughter, and true interest and friendship in the countless people fortunate enough to cross his path. No one knows this better than the centerpieces of his life: his loving wife, Lori, and his adored daughters, Sydney and Maggie.Chap was born August 5, 1961, at St. John’s Memorial hospital in Oxnard, the second of the four children of John Chapman Morris and Geraldine Doud Morris. He came into the world boasting a head of red hair that exclaimed Here I Am!-and it was that red hair that would make him instantly recognizable to so many, no matter the size of the crowd.

Chap grew up in Fillmore with his siblings-elder sister Laurie, younger sister Tina, and younger brother Bill-and was surrounded by the many members of his generational Ventura county families. He was imbued with the traditions held by these families-most importantly, an adherence to the Catholic faith-and of treating all human beings with dignity and respect. He learned his family’s primary business, a multi-line auto dealership in Fillmore, at a young age- first from his grandfather, William L. Morris, and then his father, Chappy Sr.-as well as horsemanship, the tenets of farming, and a love and respect of the outdoors.

Chap attended St. Bonaventure high school, where he excelled in athletics and lettered in a variety of sports, before playing football for Ventura College and then moving onto the University of Southern California. It was there that he completed a Business degree within the Entrepreneurship program, created endless pranks and laughter within the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and was in the right place at the right time, meeting his love, Lori. He proposed to her, in grand Chappy style, at the Rose Bowl game-of course utilizing the stadium scoreboard screen in the process-and they married on June 30, 1990.

Chap was probably best known in the community as the president of the William L. Morris Chevrolet dealership in Fillmore-his “Get Happy with Chappy” radio and television ads could not be missed-but his passions were extensive. He was a third-generation member of both the Rancheros Visitadores and Rancheros Adolfo riding groups, serving on the board of the latter, and was a skilled horseman, winning a wall full of ribbons in the various riding events through the decades. He was a major donor to USC, volunteered and donated to more charitable events and boards than can be listed here, and was a standard go-to for anyone organizing a fundraiser in Ventura county.

But for all these pursuits, Chap’s greatest passion and joy was for his daughters, Sydney and Maggie. No conversation was complete without a recounting of their latest feats, with Chap’s face lifted to its widest charismatic smile in love and admiration. They each carry individual and distinct traits of their father, and there is no mistaking Chap in their voices-joking, cajoling, touching, and understanding.

Chap’s greatest talent was quite simple: he loved people, he lived for people, and he just couldn’t get enough of them. In his mind, people were not good-they were great. His capacity and empathy for his fellow man was endless, and as his daily encounters accumulated throughout his life, the rollcall of his friends stretched beyond any normal person’s line of sight. Early in their marriage, Lori gave Chap a leather-bound address book for Christmas, and watched as he transcribed contact information, adding two names in every space for one, nearly filling the book. At the end of that year, she gave Chap another with more pages, and watched as he transcribed each name from the first book-now completely full and without a space in the margins. And so it went, year after year, as the book got larger and the list grew to many thousands.

Chap was a human connector-what sociologists have referred to as a hub person-that created layers of familiarity and friendship among those that would otherwise be unknown to one another, leading to exponential connections between so many. He possessed unusual language skills, including fluency in Spanish extending to regional colloquialisms, as well as the ability to collect phrases from anyone speaking a foreign language, and this allowed connection into any culture introduced to him. His interest in everyone he met was genuine and intense, and manifested itself in a generosity that humbled even his closest friends.

That is the essence of the precious humanity he possessed. So many know and love each other because of Chap Morris. He was our gift, and his legacies are the friendships and love we now carry simply because he was being himself.

Chap was preceded in passing by his parents, John Chapman Morris and Geraldine Doud Morris, and is survived by his beloved wife, Lori Farrell Morris, and daughters Sydney Anne and Margaret Rose Morris, his sisters Laurie Smith and Tina Thomson, and his brother, Bill Morris.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County, Inc., for the benefit of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Ventura County Medical Center, in memory of Chap Morris, 300 Hillmont Ave., Ventura, CA 93003. One hundred percent of all donations will go directly towards the establishment of the Ronald McDonald Family Room, with no administration fee taken.

Published in Ventura County Star from Mar. 24 to Apr. 1, 2018

 

Sam Bamieh

(1938 – 2018)  from Spangler Mortuaries

Sam Bamieh, husband to Nida Bamieh, father to Reezanne Elpel and Ron Bamieh, Grandfather to Ryanne Bamieh, Cole Elpel, Kyle Elpel, Remy Bamieh, Sam Bamieh, and Henry Bamieh, and good friend and confidante to many, left quietly in his sleep on March 27th.

In 1955 Sam came to America all of 17 years old.  He came to his new country with not much more than a desire to be an American and to get an education.  Friends of his family finagled a basketball scholarship for him to attend Sacramento State.  The goal was to get Sam to America and away from a war-torn Middle East.  Sam was not a basketball player –  the famous story of him wearing black dress socks with tennis shoes attests to that – but his enthusiasm to learn and benefit from his new country was unmatched.  While working multiple jobs, from dishwasher to driver, to pay his expenses, he finished at the top of his class and received a B.S. in business finance.  His work ethic continued through graduate school, where he worked two full-time jobs while earning his MBA.   To no one’s surprise, he once again graduated with honors.

He married his high school sweetheart, Nida, flying to Rumalla, Palestine to request her hand in marriage in 1962, hoping Nida would not follow the advice of her family, that she would accept his proposal and move back to California with him. She did, and they married in Sacramento, California, on November 8, 1963.  Sam and Nida moved to the Bay Area in 1968, where they raised their family in San Mateo and Belmont, California.  They were part of a community of Arab immigrants who came to America to make better lives for themselves and their children.  Even though these immigrants were not family by blood, they became one because of their shared experience and culture. The children of all those families will tell you of their love for Ammo (uncle) Sam.

Sam was known for his boundless ambition.  It was visible throughout his career.  His first job of consequence was at Varian Corp., an engineering firm, where he worked his way to become one of their chief controllers.  One job was never enough for Sam. While working at Varian, he taught night courses in business economics at local universities and community colleges, and even organized a seminar tour throughout the west coast on weekends to earn extra income.

Working for others was against Sam’s basic belief, as he believed wealth can only be created through self-ownership.  So Sam left Varian in 1973 to start his own business, Bamieh and Associates. When it opened the business was short on Associates and long on Bamieh.   B/A was the symbol Sam put on his letterhead, and it was that symbol which led Bank of America to sue Sam claiming he was infringing on their trademark.  Sam, stubborn as always, did not understand how a company, no matter how big, could make him change the name of his business!  What he did understand was that someone could pay you to change your name, and Bamieh and Associates became Industrial Development Group, Inc. after Sam settled with the other B of A.

Sam built a business in a small office in Palo Alto and turned it into an international trade firm specializing in selling American goods in the Middle East.  Sam used hustle, guile, and his knowledge of business in the Middle East to sell concrete to build roads in Kuwait, American beef in Saudi Arabia, American Jeeps in Egypt, airport equipment to the King of Jordan, and any American product except arms or tools of war to any country who had a need.  Sam has seen first-hand the evils of war, losing a brother in the Palestine/Israel war of 1948.  He swore never to sell any item that could be used in war.  By the mid-80’s he was employing over 50 people and had offices in Palo Alto, Washington DC, London, and Saudi Arabia.

Sam met Kings, heads of states, diplomats, and met personally with every US President from Nixon to Bush.  He traveled the world many times over, and his knowledge of countries and cultures was unmatched at any dinner party where Sam was known to tell tales of his journeys and the wonderful people he met.  Legend has it that parts of these stories were often true.

In 1986, a minister in the Saudi government used Sam’s ties to US Presidents to convince the Saudi King that Sam was a foreign agent.  Sam was held captive in Saudi Arabia for sixty days.  While his family and friends tried any method possible to free him, it took the intervention of a local congressman to negotiate Sam’s release from Saudi Arabia.  During that time the Saudi government nationalized Sam’s assets in Saudi and the Middle East, and forced the closure of Sam’s business.  Sam returned home upon his release, never really spoke of what happened to him in Saudi, and formed a new business, American Intertrade Group.  His comeback was not complete, and he then went after the Saudi government.  Sam sued the entire government of Saudi Arabia from King to prince to lowest minister for what they had done to him and his business, and moved to freeze that country’s assets in the United States.  That lawsuit lead to international media coverage, Sam testifying before Congress, and eventually the government of Saudi Arabia sending a representative to a London restaurant to find Sam and reach a settlement.  At that restaurant Sam agreed to settlement over drinks and dinner in 1989.  When Sam told that story he liked to say not only did they settle, but they paid the dinner bill.

Sam rebuilt his business, but in the late 90’s he started having some health issues.  For a period of time he lost the ability to walk, but an innovative surgeon in Los Angeles performed a procedure that got him out of a wheelchair.  We almost lost him in 2006 when he suffered a heart attack which required quadruple bypass, but as always he fought, survived, moved on.

The last few years of Sam’s life have been good ones.  Living in Los Altos with his wife, he enjoyed the company of his children and grandchildren and took great pride in their accomplishments.  He enjoyed spending time with his many friends, and Sam’s friends were friends for life.  All knew of his love for the Thursday lunch group, “the Golden Boys”,  and how he enjoyed going out to dinners, brunches, and BBQs.   Sam left us suddenly but his memory will last and those who called him husband, father, Sido, or friend, are grateful to have been a part of his life and him part of ours.

Services will be held at Spangler Mortuaries, 399 S. San Antonio Rd, Los Altos at 1pm on Monday April 2nd, with a reception to follow at Pullman Hotel in Redwood Shores.  In lieu of flowers, it would have meant a great deal to Sam, and now his family, if a donation was made in his name in honor of his granddaughter, Remy, who we lost to cancer in 2005.  Donations in Sam Bamieh’s memory should be made to Health Care Foundation for Ventura County, Inc (HCFVC).  Those checks will go directly for the benefit of establishing a Ronald McDonald Family Room at Ventura Medical Center and benefits the Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Clinic.  Those who wish to make a contribution in Sam’s name please mail your check to: HCFVC, 300 Hillmont Avenue, Ventura CA 93003.   Please clearly note it’s in memory of Sam Bamieh.

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