Louis Joseph Chiappelli

Oct. 19, 1919 Sept. 13, 2003

Louis Joseph Chiappelli, a lifelong resident of Sonora, died Saturday at a Sonora hospital. He was 83.

He was born in Jamestown and lived in Tuolumne County his entire life. He was a truck driver for the Tuolumne County Road Department for 30 years. He was a member of the Sonora Elks Lodge No. 1587, St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sonora and Figli d'Italia.

His family said he liked gardening, fishing and traveling with an RV Club. He liked sports and played a lot of golf, his family said. He had been a sharpshooter for the U.S. Army and received the Purple Heart.

Mr. Chiappelli is survived by his wife of 57 years, Lois Chiappelli of Sonora; son and daughter-in-law, John "Jay" and Helen Chiappelli of Gilroy; daughter and son-in-law, Margaret and William Parkhurst of Modesto; four grandchildren, Mark Chiappelli of Laverne, Teresa Barbee of Hawaii, Debbie Gray of Riverbank and Greg Parkhurst of Lodi; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at Sonora Elks Lodge.

Donations can be made to a favorite charity.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Vera Lucille Pagel

Oct. 26, 1916 Sept. 14, 2003

Vera Lucille Pagel, a longtime teacher and 30-year resident of Jamestown, died at home Sunday with her family present. She was 86.

Mrs. Pagel was born in Cushing, Okla., to Minnie Mae Goldsby Daniels and Jim Daniels.

Her family said she made up her mind to be a school teacher when she was in the sixth grade. Determined, and with little support from home during tough financial times, she graduated from Cushing High School in 1934 and the University of Central Oklahoma in 1938.

Her teaching career began in Cushing, where she worked from 1938 to 1940 before moving to California. She taught in Elk Creek in 1940 and 1941, Salida from 1941 to 1943, Westport School near Modesto from 1956 to 1959 and Burbank School in Modesto from 1959 to 1970.

During World War II, she worked at McClellan Field Air Depot on Norden bombsights, navigation instruments and gun sight aiming point (G.S.A.P.) cameras for the P-15 Black Widow fighter planes.

She always had an interest in God's creation, her family said, and in astronomy.

She took a NASA astronomy class at the University of the Pacific and took a NASA tour of military bases for teachers.

She hosted star-watching parties for her students and took her family on trips to the Lick Observatory and the San Francisco Planetarium.

She and her husband, Clarence, were ice skaters, campers, travelers and explorers, family members said.

She also did needlework, crochet, knitting and needlepoint, and in later years was a quilter. Her closet bears the words, "She who dies with the most fabric wins," and a family member said she might have been the winner.

She attended the North Modesto Church of God of Anderson, Ind., and was active in Peaceful Valley Church in East Sonora.

She also attended family church camps in Nevada City for about 30 years. When she and her husband moved to Jamestown, Peaceful Valley Church didn't promote family camp, so the Pagels promoted it and got several other people involved, starting with friends Clarence and Mary Toney.

In addition to her husband, of Jamestown, Mrs. Pagel is survived by a daughter, Carol Pagel Mizera of Santa Barbara; and granddaughters, Laura Urquhart of Sacramento and Karen Perkins of Santa Barbara.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Modesto Church of God.

Donations may be sent to Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Sierra, P.O. Box 4805, Sonora, CA 95370.

Shawn 'Melodi' Varble

Sept. 20, 1968 Sept. 14, 2003

Shawn Melody "Melodi" Varble, a native of St. Johnsbury, Vt., died suddenly at her home in Copperopolis on Sunday. She was 34.

Her family said she will be remembered as a generous person with a heart of gold who would give a friend or family member the shirt off her back.

She lived most of her life in Modesto and held several jobs in the medical field.

She also volunteered countless hours at her son's elementary school and was most recently employed at Ideal Climate, a business in Modesto.

Her dream was to become a paramedic, veterinarian or school teacher, said family members, and children were especially fond of her because of her straight-forward humor and wit.

Family members said she will be dearly missed by family, her friends and all of those whose lives she touched with "Melodisms" and kindness.

She is survived by her husband and partner of 15 years, Kenith "Ken" David Varble of Copperopolis; her son, Dylan David Varble of Copperopolis; her daughter, Erika Michelle Abarca of Copperopolis; her stepson, James Edward Varble of Turlock; mother, Jeanette Loschke of Modesto; brother, Scott Black of Juneau, Alaska; nieces Lisa Chavez of New York and Madeline Black and Kennedy Black, both of Juneau; nephews Jory-David Chavez of Hayward and Tristin Black of Juneau; many aunts, uncles and cousins; two sisters-in-law; and two brothers-in-law.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Angels Memorial Chapel, 1071 S. Main St., Angels Camp. The family said donations can be made to a charity of choice.

Mike A. Nelson

Oct. 2, 1945 Sept. 13, 2003

Mike A. Nelson, owner of the Buena Vista Inn in Knights Ferry for six years, died Saturday of natural causes at a Modesto hospital. He was 57.

A native of Elko, Nev., he lived in Modesto. He graduated from Downey High School in Modesto in 1962 and was a member of the E. Clampus Vitus Chapter 58.

Mr. Nelson was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanne Nelson.

He is survived by his companion, Toni Trammell of Modesto; his son, Danny Nelson of Tuolumne County; daughters Rachel Nelson of Tuolumne, April Rodriguez of Modesto and Helen Nelson of Sonora; and 10 grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. tomorrow at Lakewood Funeral Home in Hughson. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lakewood Funeral Home, followed by burial at Lakewood Memorial Park.

Jack Truett Gainous

Jan. 29, 1924 Sept. 14, 2003

World War II veteran Jack Truett Gainous died at his San Andreas home Sunday. He was 79.

Mr. Gainous is a native of Byers, Texas, and had lived in San Andreas for two years.

He will be buried with military honors at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Gustine at 10 a.m. Monday.


HEIBERGER Former Sonoran Edward Melvin Heiberger, 56, of Whidbey Island, Wash., died Monday at a Seattle, Wash., hospital. Visser Funeral Home in Langley, Wash., is handling arrangements.

KELLY-TOTH Erin Kelly-Toth, 45, of Sonora died yesterday at her residence. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.