A lifelong Sonora resident, Modrell has become a well-known figure in the area’s logging industry, served on the front lines of several major fires, including last year’s historic Rim Fire, and even created his own church. And he plays a mean guitar, too.
“We’ve talked about moving in the past, but we just love it here too much,” said Modrell, 65, a logger for nearly 50 years who raised a family in his hometown with wife and fellow Sonora native Donna Modrell.
“It’s our roots.”
A lot of Modrell’s roots are intertwined with local logging history.
Both his father and grandfather were loggers. His grandfather, George Modrell, ran a Columbia-based business that did logging work for Pickering Lumber.
Tom went to work for his grandfather at the age of 17, after dropping out of Bret Harte High School.
“I’ve since went back and got a GED, but school just wasn’t the thing to do back then,” he said. “In the early 60’s, the thing to do was to be a logger.”
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