Ronald Edward Cooper

May 28, 1924 Feb. 1, 2004

Former Sonora resident Ronald Edward Cooper died Feb. 1 at his Brookings, Ore., home. He was 79.

He was born in Coventry, England, to Ernest Albert Cooper and Rose Hodierne Cooper.

As young men in Coventry, the most bombed area of England during World War II, he and his brother would, during a blitz, enter houses that had been hit and throw out the incendiary bombs before they ignited, his family said.

He served in the British Army from 1945-48, and received marks of approval from all of his superiors in the armed forces, who noted that he was conscientious to the highest degree.

He married Jean Irene Muttitt on Oct. 31, 1961, in England. Lockheed Engineering brought Mr. Cooper and his family to the United States in 1967, and they settled in San Jose. He won numerous engineering and tool-making awards throughout his life, and he was known as the best tool maker in Silicon Valley, his family said. He worked on prototypes of the Lockheed missiles, space shuttle, nuclear submarines and one of the first Braille machines.

After retiring as president and owner of Hectron-Amtol Engineering in the 1980s, he and his wife went back to England and returned after two years, settling in Sonora.

They moved to Brookings in 2003. He loved the sun, the theater and reading, his family said.

His family was more important to him than anything else, his family added.

Mr. Cooper is survived by his wife, Jean, of Brookings; daughters and sons-in-law, Lesley and John Morgan of England and Lorraine and Larry Gutierrez of Brookings; a son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Margie Cooper of Sonora; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Ernest and Gordon Cooper.

Donations can be made in Mr. Cooper's memory to the American Parkinson Disease Association Inc., 1250 Hylan Blvd., Suite 4B, Staten Island, N.Y., 10305-1946.

Services were held in Brookings, Ore.

Redwood Memorial Chapel in Brookings, Ore., handled arrangements.

Michael J.


Feb. 12, 1946 Feb. 5, 2004

Michael J. Mendoza of Sugar Pine died unexpectedly Thursday at a Sonora hospital. He was 57.

He was born in Brisbane, Australia. He had lived in Sugar Pine for 15 years. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War in the 502nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. He received the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Bronze Star for valor.

Mr. Mendoza is survived by his brothers, Mark Mendoza of Sugar Pine and Max Mendoza of Sydney, Australia; and a sister, Monique Hickey of Long Island City, N.Y.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow at All Saints Catholic Church in Twain Harte.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

John R. Howard

June 24, 1937 Feb. 7, 2004

John R. Howard of Sonora died Saturday at a Modesto medical center. He was 66.

He was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and lived in Sonora for four years. He worked as a self-employed electrician for 30 years.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1957-60. He was a member of St. Leanders Catholic Church in San Leandro.

His family said he was a devoted husband and father. He enjoyed country Western and bluegrass music, his family said, and had a great sense of humor and always had a joke. He loved to work around his home, his family added.

Mr. Howard is survived by his wife, Charlotte Howard of Sonora; children and their spouses, Tihanai and Benedict Bernardo of San Leandro, Joseph and Cindy Howard of Webster City, Neb., Lauri Ann Hayes of Blair, Neb., and Lisa Karstens of Hickman, Neb.; a brother, Thomas Howard of Sioux City, Iowa; a sister, Mary Lee Collens of Napa; a brother-in-law, David Gomes, and his wife, Reiko of Fairfield; sisters-in-law, Lorraine Cook of Claremont, Los Angeles County, Lillian Sosa of South Gate, Los Angeles County, and Betty Gomes of San Leandro; four grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends.

No services are scheduled.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Ruby 'Maxine' Ward

Nov. 20, 1925 Feb. 7, 2004

Former Groveland resident Ruby "Maxine" Ward died Saturday at her Fremont home. She was 78.

She was born in Lindsay, Tulare County. She had lived in Groveland for 17 years and moved to Fremont in December. She was a homemaker.

Her family said she was an avid reader and read as many as 300 books a year. She enjoyed playing cards, hunting and fishing, her family added, and she was known for being a wonderful, loving mother who loved babies.

She is survived by her daughters, Shirley Gardner of San Jose and Vicki Smith of Fremont; a son, Stephen Ward of Fremont; a sister, Nancy Clarke of Lodi; eight grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 64 years, Robert E. Ward, on Sept. 29, 2003.

A private family service is scheduled.

Donations can be made in her memory to Pathways Hospice, 201 San Antonio Circle, Suite 135, Mountain View, CA 94040.

Berge-Pappas-Smith Chapel of the Angels in Fremont is handling arrangements.

Ursula Keuning Austin

Sept. 16, 1926 Feb. 8, 2004

Ursula Keuning Austin of Columbia died Sunday at a Sonora care home. She was 77.

She was born in Berlin, Germany, and had lived in Columbia for 18 years. She was a homemaker for 57 years.

She is survived by her sons, David Keuning of Columbia, Leroy Keuning of Dilliner, Pa., and Pete Keuning Jr. of Baltimore, Md.; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Annette Keuning, in 1967.

No services are scheduled.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


BURGESS In addition to survivors listed in an obituary for Elmer Edward Burgess, which ran in yesterday's edition, he is survived by a great-granddaughter, Matteson L. Burgess of Sonora. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

KIRKBRIDE A memorial service for Almira J. Kirkbride, 84, of Jamestown is scheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow at Heuton Memorial Chapel. She died Sunday at her home.

LANE A graveside service for Mary Robin Lane, 93, of Sonora is scheduled for noon tomorrow at Mountain Shadow Cemetery. She died Sunday at a Sonora care home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.