(Thies) Lamb

Nov. 6, 1909 March 8, 2004

Longtime Sonora resident Bertha (Thies) Lamb died Monday at her home. She was 94.

She was born in Berkeley and lived in Sonora for 60 years. She was a homemaker. She arrived in Sonora after World War II with her husband, Dr. Philip Lamb.

Her family said they built a lovely home and raised two children, Susan and Victor.

She was involved with Omega Nu, the Charter Pink Ladies, PTA, was past president of the Women's Republican Party and was a Girl Scout leader.

Her family said she enjoyed being a homemaker and was devoted to her children. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, her family added. She had a lovely voice and played the organ in high school, her family said, and was also a weaver. She made most of the curtains and rugs for the home she and her husband built, which they lived in for more than 50 years.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Victor and Britt-Marie Lamb of Sonora; a daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Steve Gitter of Stockton; grandchildren, Craig Smith and Inger, Philip, Steven and Ryan Lamb; great-grandchildren, Cole and Rafe Smith and Kyle, P.J. and Lillan Lamb.

She was preceded in death by her husband on March 15, 1993.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to any favorite charity.

No services are scheduled.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

John L.


Aug. 18, 1950 March 6, 2004

John L. Pennington of Sonora died Saturday at his home after a long illness. He was 53.

He was born in West Virginia and had lived in California since he was six months old. He lived in Sonora for 15 years. He owned and operated Mother Lode Sportscards in Jamestown for three years. He served in the U.S. Marines.

His family said he loved all sports.

Mr. Pennington is survived by his mother, Imogene Pennington of Sonora; and a brother, Steve Pennington of Long Beach.

He was preceded in death by his father, James Pennington.

No services are scheduled.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Gertha O.


March 4, 1920 March 7, 2004

Gertha O. Benson of Sonora died Sunday at her home. She was 84.

She was born in Kansas City, Mo., and lived in Sonora since December 1994. She previously lived in Long Beach for 53 years.

She came to California with her husband, Clifford W. Benson, after Pearl Harbor in December 1941 to work at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach. In the early 1950s, she worked as a secretary for attorney George E. Shibley for more than 40 years until his death in 1989. After her son, Jim, died in October 1994, her daughter, Carolyn, convinced her to move to Sonora to be close to her family, her family said.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Carolyn L. and Eden Smith of Sonora; grandchildren, Eden L. Smith III of Sydney, Australia, Dr. Melissa M. Smith of Laguna Beach, Melinda L. Smith of North Hollywood and Michelle C. Smith of Phoenix.

In addition to her son, she was preceded in death by her husband, Clifford W. Benson.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sonora.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


John Vilchinsky

April 17, 1935 March 2, 2004

Former Sonora resident Robert John "Foo" Vilchinsky died Tuesday, March 2, at a Fortuna hospital after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. He was 68. He was born in Johnstown, Pa., to Julius and Mary Vilchinsky. He lived in Sonora from 1992-99 and most recently lived in Fortuna. He graduated from McCort Catholic High School in 1953 and received an athletic scholarship to Gannon University in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Gannon in 1957.

In 1984, he was inducted into the Gannon University Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievements in basketball. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves. He retired as a supervising bank examiner after 26 years of service with the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.

He loved watching all kinds of sports and game shows on TV, his family said. He and Jacquelyn played Yahtzee and other dice games, but his favorite game was bingo, his family said. They also enjoyed dining out and occasional trips to the casinos. He was always cheerful, friendly and never complained, his family added, and even through his illness, he had a wonderful, "dry" sense of humor.

Mr. Vilchinsky is survived by his wife, Jacquelyn Vilchinsky of Fortuna; his sons and daughters-in-law, Steven and Kathy Vilchinsky, Michael and Keri Vilchinsky and Kevin and Ginger Vilchinsky; a sister and brother-in-law, Velma and John Senchishin; a brother and sister-in-law, Edward and Carol Vilchinsky; step-daughters and a spouse, Pamela J. Cooley and her husband, Alan, and Michelle R. Jewett; granddaughters, Allison and Lauren Vilchinsky; step-grandchildren and a spouse, Sienna Thaanum-Dean and her husband, Michael, Joseph P. and John L. Baratti and Roni Jean Jewett and Hannah Jewett; step great-grandson, Lennin Thaanum-Dean; and numerous nieces, nephews and many friends in the Johnstown, Pa., area. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Margaret Valicka; and his brother, Julius Vilchinsky. A service was held yesterday in Fortuna. Services will be held in Johnstown at a later date. Donations can be made in his name to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Northern California Chapter, 150 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94612.

Gobles Fortuna Mortuary in Fortuna is handling arrangements.


HANSHAW Phillip Hanshaw, 56, of Columbia died yesterday at a Sonora hospital. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.