Notable passings of 2010

December 29, 2010|By Michael Miller and Britney Barnes, ;

The following notable people from the Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley community passed away this year.

Juergen W. Bless

Bishop Juergen W. Bless did the first blessing at St. Thaddeus Jude Old Catholic Church in Old World Village and served there for more than 30 years. He died April 5 at 68.

The German native was brought to religion through war, ending up in a Franciscan Monastery in Munich during World War II, where he first felt the calling of the church.


From that day, he studied to become a pastor in 1969 and was ordained a bishop in the late 1980s. He oversaw three congregations, led Lutheran and Old Catholic services and ordained church members.

Andy Irons

Andy Irons wasn't a Huntington Beach resident, but judging from the tributes in the surfing community after his death Nov. 2, it felt as though he was.

The world-famous surfer, who often competed in Huntington, died at 32 in Dallas during a flight stopover. The cause of his death has not been determined, according to news reports.

In the wake of his death, hundreds of people joined for a paddle-out in his memory by the Huntington Beach Pier, while flowers and memorial tributes lined the intersection of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

Kelly Moran

Kelly Moran was a two-time U.S. motorcycle racing national champion who took the title in 1983 and 1984. He died April 4 of complications from emphysema at 49.

The Huntington Beach native was nicknamed "Jelly Man" and "The Wizard of Balance" for his riding technique of hanging off his motorcycle while cornering.

He also finished fourth at the world championships in 1970 and 1982.

Eric 'Octopus' Norris

Eric "Octopus" Norris, a mixed martial artist and Fountain Valley fitness trainer, died in a boating accident July 3 in Lake Havasu, Ariz., at 30.

Norris, who worked at Anytime Fitness, had fallen off an inner tube and was waiting to be picked up when another boat struck him in an apparent hit-and-run. In his memory, friends and family members hosted a garage sale to raise money for martial arts programs for underprivileged children.

Norris, who left a 7-year-old son, earned the nickname "Octopus" because of his ability to trap opponents with his limbs.

Jim Purcey

Jim Purcey, an author and activist, died in a parking garage fire at his Huntington Beach apartment complex May 31. He was 59.

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