Jorge Agnesi Daesslé
Jorge Agnesi Daesslé, a prominent Guadalajara businessman and steadfast supporter of Cruz Roja Chapala, died Wednesday, August 19 at age 95.
Born June 11, 1920, the native Tapatio was raised and educated in the state capital. In 1937 he was packed off to Italy, his father’s homeland, to study business, Italian and French, returning to Mexico two years later at the outbreak of World War II. He later spent a year in Panama City, Florida where he polished his English while teaching Spanish at a local high school.
Agnesi initiated a highly successful career in the textile industry working for El Mayoreo de Guadalajara, a prosperous clothing outlet founded by his father, Tomás Agnesi Zerbone. He rose up to become a guiding light in the state’s business sector, taking on leadership posts such as the presidencies of the Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce and the Chivas Sports Club.
He also held important political and diplomatic posts, including terms as honorary Italian Consul and vice-mayor of Guadalajara. In the latter position, he acted as host to Walt Disney and his wife Lillian during the couple’s October 1964 visit to Guadalajara to foster a Sister City linkage with Downey, California.
With a keen interest in sensible urban planning, in that same era Agnesi also spearheaded projects to upgrade and beautify Guadalajara’s streets and parks, resulting in its descriptive moniker as “The City of Roses.”
Agnesi maintained a second residence at lakeside, where he frequently took refuge on weekends and holidays to relax with family and friends. He was a staunch supporter of Cruz Roja Chapala, serving several terms as its board president and constant moral leader from 1992 to 2008, until age and infirmity forced him to take a back seat. He is recognized for tireless efforts to rescue the institution from the brink of extinction as it muddled through a dire financial crisis that prevailed throughout those years.
Long time lakeside resident and martial arts master Lonny Riddle died Tuesday, August 18 at age 74 from complications of chronic lung disease.
Born in Long Beach, California June 18, 1941, Riddle was raised in Oklahoma where his parents settled to work as professional jazz musicians. With a double BA in industrial arts and physical education, he worked for 15 years as a high school teacher and football coach. He dedicated the rest of his life to the study and instruction of diverse martial arts.
He achieved 10th degree black belt status in the Japanese schools of Ju Jitsu and Kobu-Jitsu, earning the honored titles of Shihan (Master Instructor) and Hanshi (Grand Master). He was also a distinguished Sifu (teacher) in the Chinese disciplines of Wing Chun Kung Fu, Pa Qua Chuan and Tai Chi Chuan.
Riddle owned and operated the Imperial Martial Arts Academy in Longmont, Colorado from 1973 to 1978. He and life partner Cindy Paul moved to Mexico in 1979 to found the Don No Kai Martial Arts Temple, located at an isolated spot in the hills just north of Chapala Haciendas.
Over the years he built up the place to become one of the few authentic martial arts academies in the world, introducing hundreds of local residents and visiting students from abroad to the path of the warrior in a traditional environment.
His unique approach to teaching, combining strict discipline with compassion and humor, gained the admiration of the generations of disciples who studied at the dojo and expats who attended his outside Tai Chi classes. Students fondly remember his incomparable guidance in becoming stronger, happier and spiritually centered human beings.
He was blessed with deft hand skills which he applied with equal prowess to the crafting of hand-made martial arts weapons and the practice of healing arts to correct back pain and other physical infirmities.
Riddle also had a passion for the performing arts. In the early 1980’s he masterminded the indie production of El Halcón de Oro, one of the first martial arts movies filmed in Mexico, featuring local talent and scenery. He appeared in several Lakeside Little Theatre shows, including the starring role in “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail” (1983) and a leading part in its first production of “The Lion in Winter” a few years later. In addition, he and Paul staged and acted in various independent shows, with the side-slapping comedy “Greater Tuna” among the most memorable.
Devoted disciples gathered to accompany Riddle in his life transition during an all-night vigil held at the Do No Kai temple. They later set up a memorial shrine filled with floral tributes in the Japanese tea house situated alongside the Sibumi garden their master created as his final accomplishment.
Riddle leaves behind Paul, his devoted companion of 37 years, along with his many grateful students, colleagues and dear friends. He is also survived by first wife Dana Lachenmeyer and their two daughters, Stephanie Greeson and Samantha Statton Harris, all living in Oklahoma.
Jim Watkins, a longtime member of the American Society of Jalisco (Amsoc), died aged 75 in McAllen, Texas, where he had moved nearly a year ago for medical reasons.
A single child, Watkins was raised and educated in Southern California. After a career in sales, he moved to Mexico 20 years ago, and spent his final years in Guadalajara, where he was a well-respected participant in AA and Amsoc activities. In his early seventies, he married for the first time after meeting Conzuelo in Guadalajara. They were together for two years before she preceded him in death in 2013.
Watkins had battled prostate cancer and diabetes for the past two years. Cremation and a private funeral service will take place in McAllen.