F. Jean Benkula

Sept. 23, 1922 - March 24, 2006

Longtime Twain Harte resident F. Jean Benkula died March 24 at her home. She was 83.

She was born in Visalia. Her widowed mother moved the family from the San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area in 1936. She graduated from Hayward High School in 1940 and from Berkeley Business College before she worked for United Airlines.

She married M.E. (Benk) Benkula in 1943, and they lived in Hayward and Castro Valley and raised four children.

She was active in Girl Scouts and tutored at the local school and the Job Corps. She moved to Twain Harte in 1970 with her husband and son, who was entering eighth grade.

She was a charter member of the Sonora Lioness Club and was a member of the 50 Plus Club of Twain Harte, Brentwood Lake Club and Saint Matthew Lutheran Church.

She was a volunteer at Tuolumne General Hospital, and her hobbies included crossword puzzles, gardening and reading.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Marlana Benkula; daughters, Jan Benkula and Karen St. Denis; grandchildren, Aimee, Paul and Brett Benkula and Katherine Price, of Wisconsin; and five great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband in 1991; and by a daughter, Elaine, in 1965.

Services were held on Wednesday in Hayward.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Aid Society, 2501 McHenry Ave., Modesto, CA 95350.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


Robert Cole

Aug. 30, 1968 - March 11, 2006

Tuolumne County resident Christian Robert Cole died unexpectedly March 11 at a Sonora hospital. He was 37.

He was born in Merced and had lived in Kealakekua, Hawaii, Sonora and La Grange. He most recently lived in Twain Harte.

He was a member of the Twain Harte Masonic Lodge, where he also was an officer and junior deacon. He worked as a carpenter and artist, doing painting and sketching, for 20 years.

He enjoyed woodworking and music, especially rock 'n' roll. He also enjoyed bass fishing, especially at Grover's Pond in the La Grange area, the mountains, and collecting rocks and minerals.

Mr. Cole is survived by his daughters, Alexandria T.C. Cole, of Santa Clara, and Lillianna Rose Cole, of Twain Harte; parents, Cyndra Williams, and her husband, Cliff, of Twain Harte, and "Cactus Bob" Robert Cole, and his wife, "Prairie Flower" Chris Stevenson, of La Grange; brothers, Corey Malloy, of San Francisco, and serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, and Duffy Malloy, of Twain Harte; a sister, Kim Barnhill, of Sacramento; grandparents, Robert and Georganne Short, of Merced; his fiancee, Sigi Ramsay, of Twain Harte; and his wife, Kelly Renee Collier-Cole, of Delhi.

A wake in celebration of his life is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at the Old La Grange Bridge. Family and friends are welcome.

For more information, e-mail

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Paul 'Bud'

R. Gravelle

June 6, 1920 - March 28, 2006

Longtime Jamestown resident Paul "Bud" R. Gravelle died Tuesday at a Stockton hospital. He was 85.

He was born in East Grand Forks, Minn., to Herbert and Pearl Gravelle. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was a Pearl Harbor survivor and served his country for 20 years.

He worked at the Tracy Defense Depot for 15 years as a medical supply packer during the Vietnam War. He also volunteered at the Tuolumne County Senior Center and was a member of Sonora Baptist Church for 25 years and Harmony Baptist Church.

He was an active member of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Mother Lode Chapter No. 26, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He lived in Jamestown for 25 years, and most recently lived in Stockton for five years, though he still owned property in Tuolumne County.

Mr. Gravelle is survived by his daughters and son-in-law, Faithe Gravelle, of Albany, Ore., Yvonne and Eddie Privett, of Stockton, and Toni Smith, of Modesto; a daughter-in-law, Barbara Gravelle Micheli, of Sonora; grandchildren, David Merritt, Annett Alonzo, Eddie Jr., Matthew and Michael Privett, Cassy and Paul T. Gravelle, and Aimee Smith; 17 great-grandchildren; a brother, Ron Loper; and a sister, Karen Stark.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Joyce Gravelle; and a son, Paul G. Gravelle.

Visitation is scheduled from noon to 7 tonight and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, all at DeYoung Memorial Chapel, 601 N. California St., in Stockton. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Evergreen Chapel at Cherokee Memorial Park in Lodi.

Donations can be made to Alzheimer's Aid Society, 105 S. Washington St., Lodi, CA 95240.

DeYoung Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


Arthur Pender

April 26, 1920 - March 25, 2006

Tuolumne County resident Robert Arthur Pender died Saturday at a Modesto hospital. He was 85.

He was born in Detroit and had lived in Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County, for five years. He lived in Tuolumne County for two years, most recently in Soulsbyville.

He was a tractor and farm equipment sales executive for Ford Motor Co. for 30 years. He enjoyed golfing, playing bridge and traveling.

Mr. Pender is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Mary Pender, of Soulsbyville; daughters, Nancy Cruz, of Fremont, and Mary Lynn Sniffen, of Groveland; a son, Ronald Pender, of Groveland; a brother, Ray Pender, of Detroit; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A remembrance is planned for April 22.

The Neptune Society of Central California in Modesto is handling arrangements.

Bonita Ann Wilkinson

Jan. 21, 1924 - March 21, 2006

Sonora resident Bonita Ann Wilkinson died March 21 at her daughter's home in Sonora. She was 82.

She was born on the family farm in Belgrade, Minn., as one of four children of Christ and Nettie Christopherson, who had immigrated to the United States from Norway in 1864. She met her husband, Gerald Wilkinson, at a young age and had their daughter in 1940.

In 1956, she and her family moved to Santa Clara, where she operated her own interior decorating business for many years.

She stayed active until shortly before her death and spent much of her time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She most recently lived in Sonora.

She is survived by her daughter, Diann Kaiser, of Sonora; grandsons, Jeff and Madeline, of Santa Clara, Kevin and Jessica, of Livermore, and Loren and Lorie, of Sonora; great-grandchildren, Danyelle, Kyle and Caden; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Dell and Mickey Wilkinson, of Saratoga; sisters-in-law, Catherine Stanton, of Albany, Ore., and Marydelle Broyles and Lois Pederson, both of Lewiston, Idaho; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald Wilkinson; a sister, Mae; and brothers, Alan and Raymond.

A memorial service and dinner in her honor is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 12770 Saratoga Ave., in Saratoga.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 2065 W. El Camino Real, Suite C, Mountain View, CA 94040.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


Laurel Cross

Feb. 3, 1931 - March 28, 2006

Arnold resident Audrey Laurel Cross died Tuesday at a San Andreas hospital. She was 75.

She was born in Long Island, N.Y. She had lived there until 1954, then moved to Los Angeles. She moved to Arnold in 1991.

She graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York City with an interior design degree, then attended California State University, Fullerton, where she received a teaching credential.

She worked as a high school art teacher specializing in jewelry and ceramics in Torrance and as a massage therapist for 27 years. She became a massage therapist before she moved to Arnold and also taught infant massage.

She was a member of the Arnold Lions Club.

Her hobbies included belly dancing, making belly dancing costumes, teaching art therapy, painting, sewing and making jewelry.

She is survived by her son, Gregory Wendell Beck, of Yorba Linda; a daughter, Cynthia Beck, of Los Angeles; and two grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Haywood Cross, in 2005.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the First Congregational Church in Murphys.

Angels Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


CEDARWALL Melvin Cedarwall, 86, of Twain Harte, died yesterday at his home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

GEORGE A funeral service for Maybelle George, 80, of Soulsbyville, is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow at Heuton Memorial Chapel. She died yesterday at a Sonora hospital. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.