Passing of George Williams

George Andrew Williams, 81, long-time resident of Fort Bragg, California, passed away on Sept. 9, 2019, at his home surrounded by family after an arduous battle with lung disease.
George was born in Williams, California, on Nov. 13, 1937, to Robert and Dorothy (Pearson) Williams. His family moved to Woodland, California, in 1945, where he attended Dingle Elementary School and Woodland High School. He graduated from Woodland High School in 1955.
He then worked a short time for his father prior to enlisting in the Navy. George served on the USS Lexington (CV-16) aircraft carrier until 1958. His favorite memory was of the time he and his brother, Robert (Bob), who was in the Army, were going to have leave around the same time (although George wasn’t sure what day Bobby would be in) in Okinawa, Japan. Dad was told to sit by a certain entrance and eventually the Army guys would walk through the gate. George sat there for a day and a half until his brother walked in. They were able to spend their time together in Japan touring.
After his service, George returned to Cohassett and worked for his father’s sheep business. In 1960, George began his life-long career with the California Division of Forestry. He started out as a firefighter in Oroville, California, and attended night school at Butte College, taking fire and police sciences. He then advanced to equipment operator, which was one of his favorite positions as he “loved the challenge and enjoyed working with big equipment.”
In May of 1962, he married the love of his life, best friend and life partner of 57 years, Margaret (Peggy) Waters. Together they raised two daughters, Marcie and Kathy.
In 1973, George and his family moved to Yreka, California, where he was promoted to the position of fire prevention officer (FPO-1) with Siskiyou Ranger Unit. He also began working towards his bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University via satellite classes at that time. As FPO-1, George was responsible for fire prevention education, law enforcement and investigation related to arson, and interacting with public and civic service organizations and local schools surrounding fire prevention education. He was known for his consistent work ethic and his unrelenting pursuit of arsonists. Dick Miralles was quoted to say, “George was one of the best fire prevention officers I’ve worked with.”
His legacy in Yreka, related to his work, is the CDF Gazebo in the center of the Siskiyou County Golden Fairgrounds. The gazebo provided live broadcasting by the local radio station during the fair and an educational platform for CDF and USFS, including Smokey Bear visits and children’s programs. The gazebo also provided a shaded sitting area for those warm fair days.
In 1978, George transferred to the Mendocino Ranger Unit in Fort Bragg, California, and was promoted to division chief at the end of his career, retiring in 1991.
George was a member of Lions Club International, ToastMasters International, Little River Golf Course Men’s Club and the CDF Wagon Train. He volunteered as the Yreka High School Ski Club bus driver, driving kids to and from Mt. Ashland on the weekends for four seasons.
George loved the outdoors and many of his memories were of hunting with his family and friends (so many stories): deep sea fishing in Crescent City; family ski trips to Tahoe and Bend; and golfing in Hawaii, Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Oregon and Pebble Beach, where he met Arnold Palmer and got his autograph.
George adored his grandchildren and great-grand-children and his playful personality always came out when they were with him. He was a mentor, a friend, and a supportive and encouraging husband, father and grandfather.
He will be deeply missed but will remain in our hearts until we meet again.
George is survived by his wife, Peggy; daughters, Marcie Frank, Kathy (Tom) Keehn; sister, Nancy; grandchildren, Justin and Jorden Miller, Kendle Frank, Candace Jones (Kurtis Ford), Kahla (Derick) Wallace; great-grandchildren, Avery Wallace, Khloe ,Jasper, James and Madeline Ford; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert; mother, Dorothy; and brother, Robert.
Heartfelt thanks go to the wonderful care given by Dr. Kreger and all his nurses who visited him and supported the family from Mendocino Coast District Hospital Hospice and Home Health, with a special thank you to Terri and Hannah.
Per George’s wishes, there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to hospice through Mendocino Coast Home Health at 700 River Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437.

Passing of Robert Thomas

Robert “Bob” F. Thomas, age 87, a resident of Siren passed away on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

Bob was born on May 19, 1932 in San Francisco, California to parents, Emanuel and Rose Thomas.

Bob was raised on a cattle ranch.  As a boy, he went to a one room school up until the eighth grade.  He then attended school in Mill Valley where he graduated.

He served in the United States Navy during the Korean War and was honorably discharged on October 7, 1954. 

Bob met the love of his life, June Yourchuck in 1951 and were later married after returning from the service in 1954.

After the service, he started his career at the Marin County Fire Department where he spent 10 years.  He then took a position at the California State Division of Forestry where he worked for 50 years before retiring in 1983. 

After retiring, he served as the Wisconsin American Legion Commander in 2001-2002.  He was a helpful man and was known to help Ronnie Proffit out at the lumber yard.

In his free time he enjoyed hunting and deep sea fishing.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Walter Thomas and Charlie Thomas.

He will be sadly missed by his wife of 65 years, June; brother, Edward Thomas; along with other relatives and many good friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 10:30 AM (visitation 9:30-10:30 AM) at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Webster with Father Randall Knauf as Celebrant.  Pallbearers were Joseph Yourchuck, Ron Proffit, Don Anderson, Jim Chapin, Marvin Merle and Ernie Lyga.  Military honors will be rendered following Mass. Bob will later be interred at Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner.

Passing of Aiano Avila

On October the 27th, 2019 Retired Fire Captain B – Aciano “Acie” Avila passed away in Orange County, CA. Captain Avila began his career with the Department of Forestry, and then transitioned to the newly formed Orange County Fire Department; then returned to CDF in Riverside County and completed a 30 year fire service career. Captain Avila retired as a well tenured FC-B from the Bautista Conservation Camp in 1999. Fire service family members of Captain Avila include; retired Fire Captain Tony Alarcon Sr., current FS 61 Fire Captain Tony Alarcon Jr, current Riverside FC/HFEO Mike Alarcon, Camp Pendleton Fire Division Chief Carlos Camarena and retired Orange County Fire Authority Fire Captain Gilbert Camarena.

The family has not requested anything from our Fire Department and no service information is currently available. Cards and condolences may be passed along to: Fire Captain Tony Alarcon Jr. at FS61 32637 Gruwell St, Wildomar, CA 92595

Passing of Bruce Cowie

It is with sadness that I advise you that Retired RRU Division Chief, Bruce Cowie, passed away yesterday, October 31, 2019. I talked with his wife on the phone this morning and she advised that family is arriving in town today, and she will be meeting with us sometime in the future to discuss services.

Passing of Paul Rotondaro

Fire Captain, Paul Vincent Rotondaro, from the CAL FIRE Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU), was killed on duty early Wednesday, October 2nd, in a head-on collision while driving from Gustine Fire Station to Usona Fire Station.
Paul began his career as a Firefighter 1 with CAL FIRE at Ahwahnee Firestation in MMU in 2006. He promoted to a Firefighter II in Merced Division in MMU in 2011. In 2012 he promoted to LT Fire Apparatus Engineer (FAE) in MMU then transferred to the Riverside Unit as a permanent FAE in 2015. Paul promoted to an LT Fire Captain in MMU in 2016 and shortly after became a permanent Fire Captain where he was currently assigned.
Paul is survived by the love of his life, Jennifer, his daugher, Kiersten (13 years old) and his son Wyatt Dune (16 months old), his father, Vincent Rotondaro, his parents, Michael and Toni McMillin, his brothers, Kirk (Megan), Kyle (Garyn), and Chase (Kiah), his sister, Shannon Dunch (Jeffrey), his grandparents Tom and Catherine Shippey, his adorable goddaughter Emma Wortman, numerous loving uncles, aunts, cousins, and his family of firefighters.
Paul was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed camping, off-road everything, boating, sand, sand, and more sand, and many more outdoor activies. He loved to read and shared books with his Granddaddy.
He grew up in Merced, CA and is an alumni of Our Lady of Mercy School and Golden Valley High School. He served and trained his siblings as altar servers for St. Patrick’s parish.
In High School he was active in FFA. For small engines he placed 1st in the state on his judging team and played high school football as an offensive lineman for the G. V. Cougars. He then graduated from Merced JC with an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science. He was currently working on his bachelors degree. He was always motivated to improve his knowledge for himself and for his family.
Working for the fire department, Paul involved himself in many things. Paul actively was a part of the Type 1 Hazardous Materials team in Merced several years. He was on Cal Fire Incident Management Team 3 in the Finance Section. He was a member of the Merced County Type 2 Rescue team. He oversaw radio tech issues for all of Merced County Fire Department and he had worked as part of the Aircraft Fire Rescue team at Castle Airport.
A viewing for Captain Paul will be held at Ivers and Alcorn Funeral home on Wednesday, October 9th from 6:00- 9:00 PM.
The Mass for Paul will be held on Thursday, October 10 at 10:00 am. at St. Patrick’s Church, 671 E Yosemite Ave. Merced. Reception to follow

Passing of Wayne Parks

Wayne Parks, 74, Altus, passed away at his home. Cremation services have been provided by Kincannon Funeral Home and Cremation Service. The Parks family will host a memorial service at a later date.

Lloyd Wayne Parks was born February 13, 1945 in Lindsay, California, to Vernon and Amy (Loyd) Parks. He graduated from Exeter High School with the Class of 1963 and married Linda Mayfield on August 13th of the same year in Farmersville, California. Wayne attended the College of Sequoias for his forestry training. Lloyd served his country in the United States Navy. After his time in the military he was a firefighter for the Tulare County Fire, Exeter Fire and the California Division of Forestry from 1971 to 2006. Lloyd enjoyed camping, fishing, watching baseball, and beach clamming. Actually, Wayne just slept in the trailer while the rest of the family and friends went clamming on the beach – but he sure did like the fresh clam chowder! He loved his family and most especially his grandchildren.

Wayne is preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Vernon Kenneth Parks. He is survived by his four children, Ken Parks and his wife, Dawn; Debbie Tyner and husband, Albert; Cindy Boyd and her husband Robbie; and Amy Parks; eight grandchildren, Brendon Tyner and wife, Sidney; Andrew Tyner; Reagan Tyner; Alyssa Lester and husband, Tristan; Cara Boyd; Jaxon Boyd; Austin Jurecka; and Benjamin Parks; and great grandson, Chisum Tyner.

Passing of John Ritchey

John Ritchey, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 13th at his home. His family surrounded him at the time of his passing. John was 90 years old.
John was born in Riverside CA. In 1944, at the age of 15, John went to work for CDF (now Cal Fire) as a Seasonal Firefighter at the San Jacinto Station. All of the young men were at war at that time so they were forced to hire older youth. John grew up in Riverside, attended High School and graduated in 1947. In 1950 John promoted to Fire Truck Driver in Monterey County. At the end of that summer he was drafted into the Army. He did his basic training at Fort Ord. He was sent to Korea in 1951. John saw active duty and was promoted to the rank of Sargent First Class. While waiting to be discharged from the Army, his friend Orville asked him if he wanted to go to Salinas to visit his relatives. He did, and that is where he met Orville’s cousin Dorothy. The beautiful brunet from Salinas caught his eye and Dorothy was smitten on the handsome GI in uniform. They hit it off immediately, and that began the courtship that led to marriage in 1953. John returned to school to get a degree in Forest Management from Susanville. After working as a trainee in Monterey, he was promoted to Forestry Technician at the Davis Nursery. After 2 years he was promoted to a Forester II and took over the Ben Lomond Nursery in 1963. He retired in 1984.
The State Nursery was the second love of his life. Dorothy being his first. He loved what he did even though he often worked 16hr days, 7 days a week to keep it all going. It is estimated that during his time at the nursery, he produced over 40 million seedlings for reforestation, Christmas Trees, and other land improvements. John and Dorothy were married for 65 years!
John is preceded in death by his father EB Ritchey, mother Marie Ritchey, sister Billy Ann Conde, and brother Ray Ritchey. He leaves behind his wife of 65 years Dorothy Ritchey of Santa Cruz, daughter and life partner Cathy White and Joseph Guido of Ben Lomond, Son and daughter-in-law John and Cathy Ritchey of Aptos, daughter and son-in-law Janice and Leroy Capote of Arboga California. Also 5 grandsons, Martin Capote, Chris White, Allan White (wife Candace), Robert Ritchey and Kyle Ritchey (wife Katie).
A Celebration of John’s Life will take place at the Mid-County Senior Center at 829 Bay Ave, Capitola at 1pm September 29th. John will be interned in a private service at California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at a later date.
Many special thanks to the angels that work at Hospice of Santa Cruz. Their support made it possible for John to stay at home until the end. This was always his wishes.
Please do not send flowers. Make contributions to Hospice of Santa Cruz at 940 Disc Dr. Scotts Valley, CA 95066.

Passing of Brock Whaley

Brock Jay Whaley, 26, Redding, passed away Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident in Redding, CA.

Brock was born Dec. 11, 1992, in Redding and was a lifelong area resident. Brock attended Boulder Creek Elementary School, played varsity basketball at Foothill High School, and studied at Sacramento State, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. In 2018, Brock graduated from the Shasta College Fire Academy and started his firefighting career at CAL FIRE in the Shasta Trinity Unit, assigned to Fawn Lodge Forest Fire Station #61.

With a smile as wide as he was tall, Brock was a man you were guaranteed to notice. He was an avid outdoorsman, an athlete, a public servant and a friend to nearly everyone who met him. He was most at home helping others; a principle that he lived daily in his work and his play.

He is survived by his father and sister, Brent and Shelby Whaley, and countless family, friends and members of the Redding community.

He is preceded in death by his mother Sheree Whaley.

Brockster – The world is not as bright now that you are gone, but we are all better for the time we had with you. We know you will continue to watch over us as fiercely as you did while you were here. We will keep you in our hearts and smile through our tears, because we know of no better way to honor your impact on our lives. From all your loving family, friends and members of the “kids” table: we thank you, we love you, we miss you, and we will never forget you.

A public Celebration of Life will be held at noon Sunday, Sept 29, 2019 at the David Marr Theatre, 2200 Eureka Way, Redding, CA 96001.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Shasta Firefighters Burn and Benevolent Fund, PO Box 994027, Redding, CA 96099.

Passing of Casey Craig

Casey Craig, MMU
Fire Captain
August 29, 2019

We are deeply saddened to report that overnight Fire Captain Casey Craig, from the CAL FIRE Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit, passed away while off duty. Casey started with CAL FIRE in 1994 as a Fire Fighter I in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit. He worked his way through the ranks and spent most of his career in Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit. Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Please join us in keeping Casey and his loved ones in your thoughts.