Longtime Tuolume county educator Lolita Griffin dies

Oct. 18, 1938 - July 5, 2004

Longtime Tuolumne County resident and educator Lolita (Bianchi) Griffin died yesterday at a Sonora hospital of cancer. She was 65.

She was born in San Francisco. She moved to Tuolumne County in 1968 and moved to Phoenix Lake on Feb. 9, 1971.

She and her future husband, Chuck Griffin, met when both were in kindergarten. Both graduated from Cappuccino High School in San Bruno in 1956.

While Mr. Griffin was attending San Francisco State University, she taught home economics at Engvall Middle School in San Bruno for six years. They dated for five years before marrying on Aug. 6, 1966.

After teaching for about 15 years, Mrs. Griffin started the Pregnant Minors Program at Sonora High School in 1970 and was a teacher there for several years.

She was part of the Regional Occupational Program tutorial program for about five years.

She worked as program coordinator for the Senior-Youth Partnership since the partnership began 22 years ago. Mrs. Griffin was also considered "the heart and soul of the program," said Sam Taylor of Sonora, executive director of the Senior-Youth Partnership. "She worked with school administrators, classroom teachers and was skilled at keeping ev-eryone aligned."

In 1984, the partnership won the Public Private Partnership Award from the County Supervisors Association of California under her vision, Taylor added.

She was a life member of Omega Nu and a charter member of Children's Home Society.

She was diagnosed with cancer on Nov. 2, 2003. Her daughter-in-law, Karen, took on much of her responsibility at the partnership while Mrs. Griffin worked from home and was still making program decisions as recently as last week, her husband added.

"She was a very strong, spirited, inspiring person," Taylor said, and called Mrs. Griffin's death "an enormous loss to the program."

Her family said she enjoyed good Italian cooking, her rose garden, golf and traveling throughout Europe, especially Italy her favorite place outside the United States.

Her family said she was a strong, bright and articulate woman who loved her family and where she lived. "She is our glue," her husband said. She had strength, balance and was a good listener, her family added.

She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Chuck Griffin of Sonora; a son and daughter-in-law, John Charles and Karen B. Griffin of Sonora; her mother, Julia Lembi Bianchi of Sebastopol; a brother and sister-in-law, John Michael and Judy Bianchi of Sebastopol; nieces, Francesca Bianchi of San Francisco and Melissa Bianchi of Sebastopol; and a golden retriever, Bonnie Lass.

She was preceded in death by her father, John Bianchi.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sonora. A reception will follow.

As requested by the family, donations can be made to The Sarcoma Alliance, 775 E. Blithedale #334, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Oretha Patric Henderson

Nov. 10, 1922 - July 2, 2004

Longtime Sonora resident Oretha Patric Henderson died Friday at a Sonora hospital. She was 81.

She was born in Arkansas and had mo-ved to California as a teenager. She worked as a model in San Francisco before moving to Sonora, where she lived for 40 years.

She and her husband owned and operated the Camp Connell Cafe. They were also caretakers at Mi-Wuk Village Golf Course and they ran the community service, Dorcas Society.

She was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sonora.

Her family said she liked fishing, camping and picnicking with family.

She is survived by her granddaughters and their spouses, Barbara and Mike Vellutini of Fresno and Dawn and Glen Barrette of Delhi, Merced County; great-grandchildren, Tiffany Barrette of the U.S. Navy currently stationed in Washington, Jason, Dylan and Erin Barrette of Delhi and Brittany, Dominick and Julianna Vellutini of Fresno; and a daughter-in-law, Ramona Henderson of Jamestown.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William Henderson, in December of 2001; and a son, Robert Henderson, in 1988.

Visitation is scheduled from 10-11 a.m. tomorrow at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow at the funeral home.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Dempsey Edward Raby Jr.

May 16, 1926 - June 4, 2004

Longtime Twain Harte resident Dempsey Edward Raby Jr. died June 4 at a Modesto hospital. He was 78.

He was born and raised in San Jose and had lived in Twain Harte for 29 years. He married his wife, Nadine, on Dec. 22, 1945.

His family later moved to San Martin, Santa Clara County, where he raised his children.

He had a 38-year career with PG&E and worked as a lineman, office staff and on the tram at Spring Gap, below Strawberry.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the USS Roosevelt as a gunnerman.

His family said he was a loving husband and father.

He enjoyed Nascar, radio control cars and airplanes, they added.

Mr. Raby is survived by his wife, Nadine Raby of Twain Harte; a son, Shannon Raby of Coulterville; grandchildren, Dempsey Shea Raby and Samantha Raby both of Sacramento; a sister, Diane Trump of Morgan Hill, Santa Clara County; a brother, Leroy Raby of San Jose; and many nieces, nephews and good friends.

He was preceded in death by a son, Allan Raby; and a daughter, Lourie Denise Raby.

A private family service is scheduled.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


AIROLA John William "Bill" Airola, 81, is survived by a great-grandchild, Dustin Brennan of Sonora. Incorrect information was provided by the family in the obituary that ran in Thursday's edition. Airola died June 27 at his Carson Hill ranch. Angels Memorial Chapel handled arrangements.

BIERMAN James Bierman, 57, of Soulsbyville died yesterday at his home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

BIGGINS Helen Biggins, 74, of Jamestown died this morning at a Sonora hospital. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

LANG Samantha Lang, 90, of Soulsbyville died yesterday at a Sonora care home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

SEPULVEDA A memorial Mass for George Patrick Sepulveda will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sonora. Mr. Sepulveda, 45, died unexpectedly June 22 at his Sonora home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

WHITE Bonnie White, 68, of Sonora died yesterday at a Sonora care home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.