Services held for former Sonoran Berger

Capt. John Timothy Berger USMC

Dec. 10, 1975 July 22, 2003

Former Sonora resident John Berger of Santee died July 22 in a training accident over Twenty-Nine Palms in his FA-18 jet. He was 27.

He was born in San Andreas and graduated from Sonora High School in 1994. He attended Embry Riddle, a flight school in Arizona, and went through officer candidate school the summer after his junior year. He graduated as a commissioned first lieutenant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

After he graduated from Embry Riddle, he went to Virginia to complete "the basic school." Because of how well he did at the basic school, he was granted his first choice of duty, which was to fly jets, his family said. He entered into and completed many levels of jet training in Oklahoma and Mississippi, and finished at the top of his class. Because he was No. 1 in his class, he was able to choose the type of airplane he wanted to fly F-18 Hornet and where he was to be based Miramar. He then traveled to Lemoore to start his F-18 training.

After he completed his training, he returned to Miramar and was assigned to the "Red Devils" squadron No. 232. He achieved "Top Gun" honors for the best in air-to-air combat, and "Top Drop" for the best in bombing. He married his longtime girlfriend, Jill Krawchuk, in January of 2003, just before his deployment to the war in Iraq. He returned from the war in May 2003, and was given a hero's welcome, his family said.

Capt. Berger is survived by his wife, Jill Krawchuk (Berger); his parents, Paul and Kathy Berger of Sonora; siblings, Kim Hocking, and Cynthia and Jillian Berger, all of Long Beach, and Jeff and David Berger, both of Sonora; his grandparents, Dean and Midge Berger of Corona; parents-in-law, Paul and Dolores Krawchuk of Twain Harte; and two nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held July 29 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

A trust fund in memory of Capt. John Berger has been set up at any US Bank. Donations can be made to local branches of US Bank at 22953 Twain Harte Drive, Twain Harte, CA 95383, or 580 S. Main, Angels Camp, CA 95222.

Greenwood Mortuary in San Diego handled arrangements.

Wesley Lawrence

March 30, 1958 July 30, 2003

Longtime resident of Sonora Wesley Lawrence died unexpectedly July 30 in Sonora. He was 45.

Mr. Lawrence was born in Jackson and lived in Sonora for 37 years. He graduated from Sonora High School and worked as a self-employed truck driver for 29 years.

He drove trucks for his family's trucking business, where he hauled logs and rock, and performed repairs and maintenance. He owned his own transfer-dump truck business.

His family said he was interested in trucks and machinery and enjoyed riding motorcycles, listening to music, aircraft, history, boating, fishing, playing pool and entertaining friends. He had high standards for every task he undertook, his family said, and was known for his honesty, generosity and fairness. He cherished freedom and believed in the rights of individuals, his family added.

Mr. Lawrence is survived by his brother, Barrett Arnold Lawrence; his son, Clinton Lawrence; a nephew, Marty Eugene Lawrence; a stepson, Glenn "J.R." Kolpack; a stepdaughter, Brianna Kavanaugh; a sister-in-law, Colleen Lawrence; longtime love, Merrie Whipple; and many close friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Billy June Lawrence, and his mother, Ilamae Alice Lawrence.

At his request, no services are planned.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Rebecca Lynn Lemson

Aug. 25, 1969 Aug. 20, 2003

Former Copperopolis resident Rebecca Lynn Lemson died Wednesday at her home in Tracy after a long illness. She was 33.

She was a homemaker.

She is survived by her daughters, Lacy Spruiell and Brooke Lemson, both of Tracy; a son, Zachary Gibson of Texas; her mother, Paula Lee Lucio of Tracy; her father, Michael W. Smith of Washington; a sister, Kim Gandy of Dallas; her grandparents, Maxine Plato of Livermore and Bud and Peggy Plato of Tracy; aunts, Patty Vent of Livermore, Linda McCloud of Castro Valley, Lori Brandes of Pleasanton and Lynn Andrus of Arizona; uncles, Hap Plato of Tracy and John Plato of Manteca; and numerous cousins.

She was preceded in death by her twin boys, Steven and Brett Lemson-Orvis, in April 2003, and by her stepfather, Frank Lucio, in 2000.

Services were held today. A burial is scheduled at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Livermore.

Callaghan Mortuary in Livermore is handling arrangements.


SPAULDING Virginia Spaulding, 81, of Sonora died yesterday at a Riverbank care home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

MITCHELL Clyde Mitchell, 92, of Twain Harte died this morning at a Sonora care home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.