James Kevin Skane

Former Tonto Hills resident James Kevin Skane died on June 24, 2009 at the VA Hospital in Phoenix. He was 57.

Jim was born in Rockville Center, N.Y.

He returned to the United States to attend Notre Dame University after spending much of his early years living abroad in South America, Africa and Ireland.

During his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Jim was injured in a 1974 Marine Corps accident after which he was a quadriplegic.

Jim moved to Arizona in 1976 and completed his bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance at Arizona State University.

He was a tremendous sports fan who was particularly devoted to the Arizona Cardinals. The website Arizona Sports Fan Network (ASFN) where Jim enjoyed interacting with other sports fans, was his creation.

Jim was loved for his honest, forthright character and his quiet generosity, admired for his keen intellect and will be greatly missed as someone who never felt sorry for himself though he was faced with adversity, which would make cowards of most people.

He is survived by his wife, Melanie; mother, Laura; brothers, Patrick, Michael, Daniel; sisters, Kathleen (Digney), Laura (Stell), Margaret (Woodmansee) and Elizabeth.
He was preceded in death by his father, James F. and a brother, Dennis.

Memorial services, and a mass, were held on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at Our Lady of Joy Catholic Church. Burial was in the National Memorial Cemetery in north Phoenix.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Freedom Service Dogs, ( 2000 W. Union Ave., Englewood, CO., 80110.


W. Vincent Thelander, Jr.

Bill ThelanderBill Thelander, known to many as ‘Wild Bill,’ a resident of Cave Creek since 1959, passed away on June 29, 2009. He was 67 years old.

The Thelander family moved to Cave Creek in 1959. Bill and his brother Bob became ‘instant cowboys’ riding over almost all the mountains around. They would ride into Cave Creek with their guns strapped on to the delight of tourists who took pictures of ‘real cowboys.’ Bill became an expert at Team Roping and Bareback Riding and won several buckles. He attended the National Finals Rodeo for over 30 years. As a charter member of the original Saddle Club in Cave Creek, he served as president.

Bill was graduated with honors from the Black Horse Troop at Culver Military Academy summer program in 1959. The Black Horse Troop is known for riding in the last 15 inaugural parades.

Bill graduated from Camelback High School and the University of Arizona, with a degree in Agriculture. He and his brother Bob had a jojoba business for several years in Tacna, Ariz.

For thirteen years he was an Arizona Highway patrolman. He also served as the Range Officer for the department’s annual shooting re-qualifications, an honor earned because of 100 percent accuracy in his re-qualifications. Bill was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association since 1958.

Bill helped put out luminarias for the Christmas pageant for many years. He and Bob were two of the Wise Men in several of the Christmas pageants held on Black Mountain.

In addition, the Thelander family was instrumental in starting and participating in the planting of the Desert Foothills Scenic Drive.

Many of the long timers in Cave Creek will remember Bill for his love of life, his love of the area’s mountains and beauty and the fact that he always had a positive attitude even in the face of challenges. He was always willing to nurse anyone’s injured animals, especially birds which were his specialty. It seemed his ‘free spirit’ soared with the birds!

Services will be held Saturday, July 11 at 10 a.m. at Black Mountain Community Church, 30600 N. Scottsdale Rd. Phone: 480-575-1801.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Liberty Wildlife (, 480-998-5550), an endangered bird rescue group, which Bill helped with for many years.

To honor Bill, they are providing a bird that will be released back to the wild at the end of the memorial service.