Melvin James 'Jim' Carleton

Nov. 24, 1920 Feb. 6, 2003

Melvin James "Jim" Carleton, 82, a longtime Tuolumne County resident, businessman and community leader, died Thursday at a Sonora hospital.

Mr. Carleton was born in the Carleton family home in Bootjack, Mariposa County, to Davis Sylvester and Edith Mae (Boyer) Carleton. He was born of Irish ancestry, tracing his family to County Cork, Ireland.

In 1934, his family moved to Fresno, where he attended Fresno Technical High School and graduated in 1939. While in high school, he began to develop his mechanical knowledge and skills and his interest in airplanes and flying. After graduation, he joined a cadet corps but was unable to become a pilot at that time.

He reached the goal when he joined the Army Air Force during World War II. He served as a flight engineer on a B26 Marauder twin engine medium range bomber. He flew 22 missions over Germany, and his family said his plane took heavy anti-aircraft fire.

Mr. Carleton came to Tuolumne County soon after World War II ended, where he met Tillie O. Usrey, whom he married in 1950. He soon adopted Tillie's three young children, Carolyn, then 11, Patricia, then 9, and Paul, then 8.

He worked for Pickering Lumber Company as a timber faller at the time of his marriage and often helped his co-workers by repairing their chain saws and other mechanical equipment. He soon opened his own business in Sonora, where he repaired and sold McCulloch chain saws, Scott-Atwater outboard motors, boats, Tote Gotes and go carts.

During this period, Mr. Carleton also helped his wife and her mother, Irene Selby, open The Princess Shoppe in Sonora. It is now operated by Mr. Carleton's daughter, Patricia Eaton.

After 10 years, Mr. Carleton sold his chain-saw business to Earl Winn and returned to his true love, the lumber business, where he worked as a logging contractor until his retirement in 1983.

In 1968, he ran for Tuolumne County Supervisor, and in bold headlines on Nov. 6, The Union Democrat proclaimed the 47-year-old logging contractor Jamestown's new supervisor by a four-vote margin. However, a controversial "error" in the ballot count resulted in his losing the seat he held for 24 hours.

Mr. Carleton continued to challenge what he saw as government interference and inefficiency. On one occasion, he took the City of Sonora to court, challenging the city's right to place parking meters on Highway 49 (Washington Street). He won his case.

He belonged to the Sonora Masonic Lodge for 48 years and was also a member of the 397th Bomb Group Association, B26 Marauder Historical Society, Operating Engineers, and Tuolumne County Alliance for Resources and Environment.

His wife, Tillie Carleton, died on Jan. 21, 1971, in an automobile accident on a foggy night on Highway 108 about 16 miles west of Jamestown.

He later married a childhood classmate and friend, Twila Carrera, and again inherited a ready-made family. She had five grown children, Lonnie, Eugene, Dean, Duane and Edna and a 12-year-old son, Rod. Twila preceded him in death on Feb. 22, 2000. He also was preceded in death by a stepson, Dean Carrera, and three sisters, Belva, Miriam and June.

From his marriage to Tillie, he is survived by daughter Carolyn Williams of Vallejo and her five children and seven grandchildren; daughter Patricia Eaton of Sonora, her husband, Tom, two children and five grandchildren; and son Paul Carleton of Citrus Heights, his wife, Carole, their two children and two grandchildren.

From his marriage to Twila, he is survived by Lonnie Carrera of Tuolumne, his five children and eight grandchildren; Eugene Carrera and his wife, Janet, of Meeker, Okla., their two children and one grandchild; Duane Carrera and his wife, Cindy, of Tuolumne, Rod Carrera and his wife, Janet, of Soulsbyville and their three children; Edna Carrera of Jamestown, her child and four grandchildren.

He also is survived by a sister, Doris Perini, of Lake Almanor, Lassen County; a caregiver and helper, Laura Miles, of Jamestown; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

A service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Heuton Memorial Chapel. A graveside service will be at the Masonic Cemetery after the service, weather permitting.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to TuCARE, P.O. Box 1056, Twain Harte 95383, or a charity of the donor's choice.

Barbara Marie Peters

July 7, 1925 Feb. 9, 2003

Barbara Marie Peters, 77, a native of Sonora, died Sunday at a Sonora care home.

Miss Peters was a descendant of pioneer William Peters, who came to Sonora during the Gold Rush. She grew up in Sonora and graduated from Sonora Elementary and Sonora High schools.

She graduated from San Jose State University and was a supervisor for a blood bank at Santa Clara Hospital in San Jose for 35 years.

She returned to Sonora after her retirement and lived there for the past 35 years.

Miss Peters was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sonora. She loved gardening, watching football and was an avid San Francisco 49ers fan.

Miss Peters is survived by a brother and sister-in-law, Pat and Leona Peters of Sonora; two nieces, Yvonne Stegall and Denise Emerald, both of Sonora; two nephews, Michael Peters of Modesto and Dewey Peters of Providence, R.I.; four great-nephews, four great-nieces, three great-great-nieces and numerous cousins.

Visitation will be 4-6 p.m., and a Rosary will be said at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home. Burial will follow the service at St. Patrick's Cemetery, Sonora.

Donations may be made to Hospice of the Sierra-Visiting Nurse Association, P.O. Box 4085, Sonora 95370 or Meals on Wheels, 540 Greenley Road, Sonora 95370.

Grace Darling (Howe) Vince

Aug. 20, 1901 Feb. 8, 2003

Centenarian Grace Darling (Howe) Vince of Pine Mountain Lake died Saturday at a Sonora care home. She was 101.

Mrs. Vince was a native of San Francisco, born to Kate and Frederick Howe. Her father worked in canneries, and her mother owned boarding houses. The youngest of seven children, she began to help her mother in the boarding houses when she was a teen-ager.

Although the Mother Lode became home to her in 1990, her grandparents had settled in Murphys in 1870. Mark and Elizabeth Miller settled in Murphys after moving from Ohio in a covered wagon. The Miller family farmed in Murphys for 10 years before moving to San Francisco after Elizabeth Miller died.

Mrs. Vince grew up in San Francisco and Los Gatos. At age 5, she saw streets piled high with rubble from debris during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

She attended school through the sixth grade and later met her husband, Arthur Vince, while working at a chemical company in San Francisco. They were married in 1920 and lived in the city in a home on the beach near 34th Street in 1930. Mrs. Vince said during a 2001 interview with The Union Democrat the house was then in a country-like setting.

After 13 years on the beach, the Vinces moved to Los Gatos, where they lived until 1958, when they moved to San Jose, where they lived for many years.

After moving to Pine Mountain Lake, she joined the Mom's Club of Pine Mountain Lake, a group of women who met regularly to visit.

She loved crocheting afghans and made more than 100 of them during her life. She also enjoyed playing the harmonica and learned to play as a child. She played until her 95th birthday.

Her family said she loved to entertain children and grandchildren. She had also learned to use a word processor after moving to Pine Mountain Lake.

Mrs. Vince is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Vera and Fred Grass of Groveland; four grandchildren, Linda Balogh and husband Steven of Portola Valley, Kenneth Grass and wife Christy of Reno, Lori Mercer and husband Chip Mercer of LaPorte, Plumas County, and David Grass and wife Christine of Woodstock, Ga.; 12 great-grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Arthur Vince, in 1990.

A private inurnment will be in Oak Grove Cemetery, Groveland. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Richard Eugene 'Dick' Westergren

March 21, 1933 Feb. 6, 2003

Richard Eugene "Dick" Westergren, 69, of Sonora died Thursday at his home.

Mr. Westergren was born in Compton, Los Angeles County, and had lived in San Francisco and Pacifica for many years, before moving to Sonora, where he lived for the past 10 years.

He worked for Safeway Stores as a grocery clerk in San Francisco and Pacifica for a total of 40 years.

He was very fond of his dog, Daisy Mae. His family said they were "great pals."

Mr. Westergren is survived by his wife of 30 years, Carol Westergren, of Sonora; a son and a daughter-in-law, Donald and Christine Brooke of Stockton; two daughters and sons-in-law, Colleen and Frank Anderson of San Jose and Catherine and Don Thompson of Sparks, Nev.; and eight grandchildren, Melinda Jorgenson, Jamie Williamson, Marie Williamson and J.P. Gelber, all of Nevada, David and Sarah Anderson of San Jose and Christian and Malaina Brooke of Stockton.

He was preceded in death by a son, Michael Westergren.

No service is planned. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Donations may be made to American Heart Association, memorial processing department, 1710 Gilbreth Road, Burlingame 94010 or American Lung Association of Valley and Lode Counties, 1231 W. Robinhood Dr., Suite A1, Stockton 95207.

Orval 'Toby' Tobeck

Jan. 30, 1943 Feb. 6, 2003

Orval "Toby" Tobeck, 60, of Twain Harte died Thursday at a Sonora hospital after a long illness.

Mr. Tobeck was born in Santa Monica and had lived in Sonora for the past 20 years.

He served in the Army during the Vietnam War and had been an assembler for Mac Truck Company in Hayward for two years, about 30 years ago. He was a disabled blind veteran and was a member of the Blind Veterans Association.

He enjoyed music and loved playing the piano. He also liked sending audio tapes to friends and family. His family said he was known for his enjoyment of food in particular, ice cream.

Mr. Tobeck is survived by his wife of 30 years, Pamela Tobeck, of Twain Harte; a son, Todd Tobeck, of Palo Alto; his father, Orval Tobeck, of Escalon; and a brother, Roger Tobeck, of Fremont.

No service will be held at this time. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


DEAN Ida May Dean, 87, a former resident of Sonora, died yesterday at a Victorville care home. Arrangements are being handled in Victorville.

MCANDREWS Larry McAndrews, 73, of Jamestown died yesterday at a Sonora hospital. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

RASMUSSEN Blanche Bertha Rasmussen, 80, a former Sonora resident, died yesterday in a Poway hospital. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.