Thomas Clayton 'Clay' Collins

Feb. 4, 1919 March 8, 2003

Thomas Clayton "Clay" Collins, 84, of Sonora died Saturday at his home with his family at his side.

Mr. Collins was born in San Francisco and had lived in Tuolumne County for the past 15 years.

He began taking care of his mother and younger brother and sister when he was 14 by working as a caddy, maintaining a golf course and selling newspapers on the docks in San Francisco.

He served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, as a marine engineer on board tankers carrying gasoline for the war effort. He attended the Merchant Marine Academy, where he earned a chief officer's license for steam and diesel engines.

After the war, he served as a marine engineer for Standard Oil and later American President Lines and Matson Lines. The last 10 years of his career he worked for the San Francisco Fire Department as chief engineer on the department's fireboat Phoenix.

He loved the sea and the outdoors and especially liked fishing in Montana, but his family said his primary interest and love was for his wife and family.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years and mother of his children, Carmen Collins, in 1983.

Mr. Collins is survived by his wife, Dorothy Harlan-Collins of Sonora; a brother, Al Collins of Camarillo; a daughter, Maureen Collins of Redwood Shores; two sons and daughters-in-law, Barry and Kerry Collins of Nevada City and Kevin and Gaylene Collins of Rough and Ready; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

No service was held. Per his wishes, he was to be cremated and his ashes scattered under the Golden Gate Bridge by Nautilus of San Francisco.

Esther Lee Holt

March 7, 1936 March 7, 2003

Esther Lee Holt, 67, of Copperopolis died Friday at her home.

Mrs. Holt was born in Haverhill, Mass., to Richard and Madeline Smith. She moved to San Bernardino when she was 12 and attended Bartlett Elementary, Arrowview Junior High School and San Bernardino High School.

She had lived in Greeley Hill for many years before moving to Tollhouse, Fresno County. She had lived in Copperopolis for the past 20 years.

On Nov. 28, 1953, she married Paul Holt Sr.

She worked with physically and mentally handicapped people at Cedar Pine Home in Greeley Hill for many years, and worked as a nurse's aide in a care home in Tollhouse.

She also had worked in Mariposa County, driving a senior citizens van to Sonora for weekly shopping and doctor visits and to Modesto for shopping and lunches.

Her family said she enjoyed all the small things in life, and saw beauty in everything. She loved her pets. She and her husband enjoyed metal detecting together. She also enjoyed swimming, traveling, going to Disneyland and spending time with her children, grandchildren, siblings and her mother.

She was a member of Lake Tulloch Bible Church and had been a member of the Happy Hookers, a quilting and rug making group in Greeley Hill, for 30-plus years.

Mrs. Holt is survived by her husband of 49 years, Paul Holt Sr. of Copperopolis; her mother, Madeline Johnson of Groveland; two sons and daughters-in-law, Paul Holt Jr. and Vickie Holt and Steve and Barbara Holt, all of Groveland; two daughters and a son-in-law, Jenny and Phil Beckett of Groveland and Teresa Holt of Sonora; a former son-in-law, Doug Williams of Santa Barbara; 11 grandchildren, Trisha and Ross Perlee of Oakley, Clinton, Clayton and Allison Holt and Rae Anne Collins, all of Groveland, Jay Reppetto and Renee Beckett of Big Oak Flat, Kara Williams of Santa Barbara and Dylan and Amanda Starky of Fresno; four great-grandchildren, Bradley, Casey, Jamie and Sidney Perlee, all of Oakley; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Karlene and Charles Russell of Hesperia, San Bernardino County, and Gloria and Dave Rosse of Barstow; and a brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Chris Smith of West Virginia.

She was preceded in death by her father, Richard Smith, and stepfather, Harold Johnson.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Lake Tulloch Bible Church. Neptune Society of Stockton is handling arrangements.

Melvin Anton 'Mel' Hibbing

Nov. 21, 1919 March 8, 2003

Melvin Anton "Mel" Hibbing, 83, a native and lifelong resident of Sonora, died Saturday at a Sonora care home.

He was a descendant of the pioneer Hibbing family, who came to Sonora in 1852.

He served in the Army during World War II and was stationed on the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. He was a timber faller for 45 years and worked with Joe Martin Logging and Tom Howard Logging.

He enjoyed his grandchildren and gardening.

Mr. Hibbing is survived by his wife of many years, Nan Hibbing of Sonora; two daughters and a son-in-law, Debra and Chuck Belemecich of Sonora and Denise Minner of Mi-Wuk Village; eight grandchildren, Carly and Gunner Belemecich of Sonora, Jacob Fear and his wife, Jenean, of Modesto, Josh Minner of Twain Harte, Hannah Minner of Mi-Wuk Village, Heather Steely of Sonora, Catheryn Ramsey and her husband, Mitchell, of Tuolumne, and Megan Aymond and her husband, Justin, of Glendale, Ariz.; two great-granddaughters, Alison and Rachael Ramsey of Tuolumne; and many nieces and nephews.

At his request, no service will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Aid Society, 105 S. Washington St., Lodi 95240.

Marlene Rae (Strong) Kawcak

Aug. 27, 1933 March 28, 2003

Marlene Rae (Strong) Kawcak, 69, Altaville died Saturday at her home after a battle with cancer.

Ms. Kawcak was born in Canyon City, Colo., and grew up in San Jose, where she lived until 1973. She then moved to Minden, Nev., where she lived until 1997, when she moved to Altaville.

She was an office manager for various construction companies for many years and organized junior miss rodeo pageants throughout Nevada for 20 years. She also was a judge and consultant for the pageants.

She had been a bowler and a member of the South Lake Tahoe Bowling League.

Ms. Kawcak is survived by two sons and a daughter-in-law, Dan and Shannon Kawcak of Altaville and Tim Kawcak of Reno; one daughter, Colleen Kawcak of Minden, Nev.; and three grandchildren, Tisha Kawcak of Oceanside, T'Nay Kawcak of Saratoga and Teonna Kawcak of Altaville.

Visitation was to be from 1-6 p.m. today, and a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Angels Memorial Chapel. Burial will be at Altaville Catholic Cemetery.

Donations can be made to the Marlene Kawcak Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 864, Altaville.

Helen Drummond

July 27, 1913 March 6, 2003

Helen Drummond, 89, of Groveland died Thursday at a Modesto hospital.

Born in Tacoma, Wash., Mrs. Drummond had lived in Merced from 1957 to 1992 and in Groveland for the last seven years.

She had been a waitress at Vernon's Drive-in in Merced and enjoyed gardening.

Mrs. Drummond is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, James "Tuck" and Marie Deshaies of Groveland; three nephews, Herb Davis of Sonora, Ed Davis of Reno and Bill Nolan of Fort Bragg, Mendocino County; five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

No service will be held at her request. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Donations can be made to Visiting Nurse Association-Hospice of the Sierra, P.O. Box 4805, Sonora 95370-1805.

Ray Batt

May 25, 1921 March 3, 2003

Ray Batt, 81, of Wilseyville died March 3 at a San Andreas hospital.

Mr. Batt was born in Red Stone, Colo., and had lived in Calaveras County for the past 36 years.

He was a supervisor for a PG&E hydroelectric plant.

He was a life member of the Angels Gun Club and a member of Free and Accepted Masons Bear Mountain Lodge. He also loved to fly airplanes.

Mr. Batt is survived by his companion, Joyce Farrell of Glencoe; two children, Shirley Batt of Angels Camp and Janet Harrison of Pennsylvania; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

No service will be held at his request. Inurnment will be private. San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


Wilford Fish

Sept. 6, 1955 March 7, 2003

Anthony Wilford Fish, 47, son of Franklin and Corinne Fish of Jamestown, died Friday at a Modesto hospital.

Mr. Fish was born in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England, and had lived in Modesto since 1978.

He served in the Air Force from 1974 to 1978, and then moved to Modesto where he was a truck driver for for Cal-Western Trucking until his death.

He enjoyed photography, working on cars and computers.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Fish is survived by his wife, Helen Earlynn Fish of Modesto; three brothers, Franklin Ray Fish of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Kenneth Allen Fish and Kevin Dean Fish, both of Modesto; and one sister, Diane G. Hislop of Newman, Stanislaus County.

Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. tomorrow at Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel in Modesto. A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Santa Nella.


NIGHSWONGER Jane (Tremewan) Nighswonger, 64, a native of Sonora, died Friday at her home in Cameron Park. Green Valley Mortuary in Cameron Park handled arrangements.

DONOHUE Mildred C. Donohue, 75, who died Thursday, was preceded in death by her son, John Lee Donohue, who died in a plane crash in the China Sea in 1964, while serving in the Navy.

BUCKINGHAM Carl Buckingham, 85, of Twain Harte died yesterday at a Sonora hospital. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.