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Home arrow News arrow Obituaries arrow Obituaries for February 27, 2003

Obituaries for February 27, 2003

Charles Robert Watts Jr.

Sept. 23, 1929 — Feb. 25, 2003

Retired Navy Cmdr. Charles Robert Watts Jr., 73, of Sonora died Tuesday at a Sonora hospital.

Born in Norfolk, Va., Mr. Watts had lived in Sonora for the past seven years. He graduated from St. Albans, the National Cathedral school for boys, in Washington, D.C., then won a presidential appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Beginning in the summer as a member of the freshman class, family members said, he soon realized that at 17, he was one of the youngest members of the class of 1951. Mr. Watts was a third-generation graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

After graduation, he reported to the USS New Jersey in Korea. Nearly two years later, after a second tour in Korea, he attended mine warfare school and was stationed in Sasebo, Japan, and took command of the USS Curlew. One year later, he commanded the USS Lapwing in Panama City, Fla., and Charleston S.C.

From 1956 to 1959 he attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where he majored in guided missile engineering. In 1957, he met Marcia Riedel, and six months later, they were married.

In June 1959 he, his wife and 5-month-old daughter, Jennifer, moved to Mayport, Fla., where he was operations officer of the USS Jonas Ingram. More than a year later, he reported to the USS Leary as executive officer.

In February 1962, he and his family left Norfolk for duty in Washington, D.C. During this tour, he served two years as technical director of the Standard Missile I development program. He then served two years as weapons system officer at the Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego.

In 1967, he and his family returned to Washington, where he was weapons systems manager for the Navy's newest post-World War II destroyer acquisition program, the DD963 Spruance class destroyers.

He retired from the Navy in 1971, and spent the next 10 years in California, where he worked on Navy weapons system projects. In 1981, he moved to Virginia and spent the following 10 years involved in fleet introduction of the Tomahawk weapons system to the Iowa class battleships and Spruance class destroyer.

He retired from the industry in 1990, and he and his wife moved to Mathews, Va., — Chesapeake Bay country — where he lived for six years before moving to Tuolumne County in 1996. Here, he could be within a two-hour drive of the homes of all of his children and grandchildren.

He was a member of the Retired Officers Association, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and the U.S. Naval Academy Athletic Association. His Naval honors and decorations include the Commendation Medal with Combat V, the Achievement Medal, the Expeditionary Medal, the China Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with three stars, the United Nations Service Medal and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.

Mr. Watts is survived by his wife of 45 years, Marcia Watts of Sonora; two sons, Charles Robert Watts III and Richard Ware Watts, both of Oakland; two daughters and one son-in-law, Jennifer Lyn Watts of Davis and Mary Ann and Patrick Piette of Oakland; four grandchildren, Nataan Sanchez of Davis and Marlee, Lindsay and Grace Piette of Oakland; and one brother and sister-in-law, Bruce R. and Susan Watts of New York.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Sonora. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family requests that any donations be made to the Navy Relief Services, 801 N. Randolph St., Arlington, VA 22203.

Vesta I. Parrish

Nov. 16, 1917 — Feb. 24, 2003

Vesta I. Parrish, 85, of Sonora died Monday at a San Andreas hospital.

Mrs. Parrish was born in Parker, S.D., and lived in Sonora for the past 43 years.

She worked as a draftswoman for the U.S. Forest Service in the Sonora office for 25 years. A member of the East Sonora Business Association, she was an antique dealer and owned Antique Junction in East Sonora in the 1970s and 1980s. Family members said she had a passion for antiques and also loved flowers. She was also a member of the Tuolumne County Genealogical Society.

Mrs. Parrish is survived by two sons, Desmond Parrish Jr., of Sonora and Stanley Parish of Fair Oaks; one daughter, Susan Schweickert of Reno, Nev.; one sister, Helen Charleton of Sonora; and eight grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Desmond Parrish Sr., in 1994 and a daughter, Joann Parrish, in 1987.

A memorial service will be held at the family ranch at a later date. Burial will be at Mountain Shadow Cemetery, Sonora. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Notices

RATHBUN — Orville Rathbun, 78, of Twain Harte died yesterday at his home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

MILBURN — John Vernon Milburn, 55, of Jamestown died yesterday at his home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


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