Corey Brian Balston

Corey Balston of Santa Barbara died at home Sunday, March 21st. He was born July 29, 1978 in Newport Beach, CA, to Curtis and Robin(MacDonald) Balston. Formerly of Solvang, Corey graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in 1996. He was currently working in computer graphic arts and design in Santa Barbara.

Survivors include his Mother Robin Balston of Plymouth, CA, his Father Curtis Balston of Solvang, and his Sister Heather Balston of Sonoma, CA.

A Celebration of Corey’s life will take place Saturday, April 3rd at 1:00 pm at Loper Funeral Chapel in Ballard. Loper Funeral Chapel, Directors


Fr. Evangelist Kelly

Fr. Evangelist Kelly, a Capuchin Franciscan Friar who served many years in the Santa Ynez Valley, died March 26, 2010, at San Lorenzo Friary in Santa Ynez. Born John Francis Kelly on September 15, 1921 in Clara, Count Offaly, Ireland, the son of William Kelly and Elizabeth Deegan, he received the name Evangelist when he joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order. After his ordination on June 16, 1949, Fr. Evangelist came to the United States as a teacher at St. Francis High School in La Cañada, California.   

In 1962, after serving in various places, Fr. Evangelist was appointed Pastor of Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang. There he continued the work of restoration, promoting tours of the Mission, expanding the parish organizations and working on a strong spiritual program for the parishioners. He was popular with both Catholics and non Catholics. After his time at the Mission, Fr. Evangelist was the leader of the Capuchins in the west, then moved on to serve at parishes in Burlingame, California, and Roseburg and Bend, Oregon. In each place he served, his compassion and pastoral good sense were always appreciated. In 1999, Fr. Evangelist returned to the Santa Ynez Valley, to San Lorenzo Prayer and Retreat Center, serving as spiritual director, bible study leader, and visiting priest in many of the local parishes. He was known as the “voice of San Lorenzo,” cheerfully answering the phones at the retreat center, as well as carrying on a voluminous correspondence. Fr. Evangelist was known as a quiet man of firm convictions and deep compassion. He was also a man of deep prayer and wisdom. He will be missed by all the Capuchin friars and the many people who got to know him over the years.

The rosary and funeral mass were held at Mission Santa Inés, with burial at San Lorenzo Seminary. In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to please consider making a donation to the Capuchin Franciscan Foundation for Retired Friars, 1345 Cortez Avenue, Burlingame, CA 94010, in memory of Fr. Evangelist.

Loper Funeral Chapel, Directors


Norma Cantella

Norma Cantella our “Little Honey”, loving mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt was born in Los Angeles on February 28, 1925 and went to be with the Lord on March 27th, 2010.

Norma passed away peacefully at home in the Santa Ynez Valley, surrounded by all of her loving family. She had a fun sense of humor even during her courageous battle with cancer. Norma’s greatest passion in life was her family. Norma enjoyed reading, gardening and was an extraordinary Scrabble player. Left to cherish her memory are her children; son Tom Cantella and his wife Caryn, who she considered a daughter, daughters; Norene Cantella and her husband Curt Roberts, Carole Motz and her husband Doug, Jeanne Stange, Diane Townsend and her husband Blake, Lorri Wheeler and her husband Donny, and Christina Jones with her husband Rob; her sister Anita Stafford and her husband Louis, sister-in-law Grace Newman, 24 grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews; and dear friends Dolly Payne and Rita Jenkins.

Norma will be greatly missed by her family and all who knew her. In remembrance of Norma Cantella, Catholic Mass will be held at Old Mission Santa Ines, Solvang, California on Monday, April 5th, 2010 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Marian Hospice, Santa Maria, CA, Phone (805)739-3830.

“Mom, we will miss you!”

Loper Funeral Chapel, Directors


Steven Lee Bender

Steven Lee Bender, 59, of Solvang, California, unexpectantly died of pneumonia on Friday, March 5, 2010. Born in Russell, Kansas, and survived by his mom, Nettie Bender, his loving wife Lou Ann Fox Bender and his step-son Graham Fox.

Steven held an MBA magna cum laude from USC’s Marshall School of Business and a BS cum laude from Cal Poly Pomona. An expert in technology and co-developer of Trustable Passwords™ for iMagic Software, Steven had 30+ years experience including CEO, COO, CTO, and senior marketing, sales, and technology management responsibilities within industry leading software firms. Distinguished by a brilliant track-record in all aspects of the software business, he received multiple awards for leadership, innovation and product excellence.

Prior to co-founding iMagic Software, Steven was a senior manager and subject-matter-expert for PricewaterhouseCoopers with key roles in Barnes & Noble’s ePublishing giant, iUniverse.com, and Sony’s American launch of Playstation 2. A major highlight for Steven was his work with Genuine Fractals, a professional digital image scaling product, which quickly became the industry leader and is still the world-wide gold-standard. Steven led the initial product development team and received two MACWORLD awards 1997-8.

An extremely active man with tons of interests and talents—golfer, open-water diver, cook, wine enthusiast, as well as an accomplished ukelele and guitar player, his talents never ceased to amaze us as he entertained so many of his friends and family on so many levels.

Steven contributed to his community with his skills and was honored by the LAPD for his development, configuration and installation of the Juvenile’s Division Child Abuse Tracking System (CATS). A dedicated veteran, Steven, proudly served on the ground with the Navy in Vietnam.

A Celebration of Life is being planned for Steven on April 25th — family and friends will look forward to celebrating life his way! Donations can be made in his name to People Helping People.