A memorial service to celebrate the life of Tony Della Penna will take place in Ashland on Sunday.
Della Penna, whose legal name is Frank Damiano, was murdered Oct. 10 by alleged burglars who broke into his home on the outskirts of Ashland.
The celebration will take place at 4 p.m. Nov. 24 inside the Havurah Shir Hadash, 185 N. Mountain Ave., and will be led by Ashland Rev. Ruth Kirby.
Della Penna, 62, lived at 1 Corral Lane just outside Ashland. The residence sits in Bear Creek Mobile Home park, between Interstate 5 and South Pacific Highway. Officials said whoever killed Della Penna used a sharp-edged weapon.
Investigators believe Othon Robert Campos Jr., 41, and Merlin Elmo Bound III, 34, entered Damiano's trailer on Oct. 10 with the intention of robbing him. For reasons unknown, the robbery turned into a homicide. Both men have been jailed and are awaiting trial.
"I am still in some level of shock," said Kirby, 52, who was a close friend of Della Penna's for over 10 years. "It's been just kind of unbelievable that it would happen to someone like him. €¦ There is just a huge group of people that are affected by this in a pretty deep way."
In order to pay for some of the costs of the service and other expenses incurred by Della Penna's family, a memorial fund titled "Bear Man Memorial Fund," was established to accept donations at Wells Fargo Bank. Any leftover money in that fund will be donated to the Camelot Theatre in Talent, Kirby said.
"He was really into theater, had season tickets in a few of the local theaters in the area and he went regularly," Kirby said. "The goal is to be able to create a space to really celebrate his life €¦ and how courageous and fearless he lived."
For additional information about the service or memorial fund, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Sam Wheeler