Over the Labor Day weekend, the Big Bear Valley lost two special, longtime residents and, in coming days, each will be remembered with a memorial service at Snow Summit. This Saturday, October 10, friends and family of Chautauqua High School teacher and ski coach Mike Kompaniez will celebrate his 56 years of life. Attendees are asked to, like Mike, wear their favorite sweatshirt or Hawaiian shirt (though no black) to the celebration at Snow Summit, which will take place from 1 to 4pm at Bear Bottom Lodge. Donations on behalf of Kompaniez and his family, which includes wife Nikki and 23-year-old twins Kari and Elysse, can also be made to the Steven G. Mihaylo Foundation, which has established a scholarship fund for Chautauqua High School students. (Donations can be directed to SGM Education Foundation, P.O. Box 1529, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315; please note “Mike Kompaniez” in the memo line.) Saturday afternoon’s celebration of Kompaniez will include food and a no-host bar. For more on Kompaniez’s life, see our September 8 story.
Next Sunday, October 18, friends of Fred Ransom, a legendary community member for much of his 78 years, will honor his memory with a Valley-wide drive and a memorial at Snow Summit. Referred to as “the longest Big Bear pioneer,” Ransom was also a regular fixture at the Teddy Bear Café, and the restaurant’s manager Shirley Martin is inviting those who wish to honor Ransom to meet at Snow Summit parking lot at 11:30am on the 18th, for a ride around Big Bear starting at noon. Following the caravan, open to “all street-legal vehicles,” Ransom will be celebrated with a memorial back at Snow Summit, scheduled to begin between 1 and 1:30pm. Local businesses, including Big Bear Disposal, NAPA Auto Parts, Direct Signs and Big Bear Mountain Resorts, have made contributions to this special event to honor Ransom, a much-storied and iconic member of our community. For more information, please contact Shirley Martin at 744-4020. And, for what it’s worth, the Teddy Bear Café plans to bequeath his favorite coffee mug to the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum and, we’re told, a friend will be bringing Ransom’s special barstool from Chad’s to the memorial. For more on Ransom, including some special tales, see our September 9 story; you can also visit his memorial website, created by son Ray.