Union Democrat staff

Neil Joseph

Case Jr.

Jan. 29, 1947 - Aug. 12, 2011

La Grange resident Neil Joseph Case Jr. died Aug. 12 at his home from pancreatic cancer. He was 64.

Born in Berkeley, he grew up in the Bay Area and later joined the U.S. Marines and served in the Vietnam War.

In 1980, he moved to La Grange where he opened Country Auto Parts and Repair and later started his own towing service, both of which he ran for 27 years.

He was a member of the Lightning Rods Car Club and was a NASCAR fan.

He enjoyed building classic cars, boating, scuba diving, traveling, and going sightseeing in his motorhome or on his motorcycle.

Mr. Case is survived by his wife, Carolyn Case, of La Grange; children, Steven Case, of Sonora, Lisa Cruise, of Manteca, Tina Hoffman, of La Grange, and David Owensby, of Florida; siblings, Steve Case, of Modesto, Donna Case, of Sonora, and Robert Case, of Marysville; and seven grandchildren.

A celebration of life has already been held.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Ann Mertz

May 29, 1943 - Sept. 24, 2011

Coulterville resident Ann Mertz died Saturday at her home. She was 68.

Born in San Mateo to Lorraine and James Pierce, she moved to Coulterville as a child.

She worked as a waitress and bartender at Yosemite Sam's in Coulterville for many years. She also worked as a sales associate at Walgreens in Phoenix, Ariz., when she began living there in 2006.

She moved back to Coulterville in 2009, where she had lived for almost 35 years.

She enjoyed going to the ocean, playing pinocle, going to the casinos in Reno and listening to Elvis Presley music.

She was a member of the Coulterville Pinocle Club.

Mrs. Mertz is survived by her husband of 33 years, Carl Mertz, of Coulterville; children, Gregg Hutto, of San Bruno, Linda Osuna, of Clearwater, Fla., Edward Hutto, of Clark Fork, Idaho, Adam Hutto, of Oklahoma, Angie Robinson, of Livermore, and Carl Mertz Jr., of Tucson, Ariz.; siblings, Dorothy McClary, Lewis Homan, and Evelyn Flores, all of Coulterville; 18 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A private family service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at her home in Coulterville.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

William Yates

July 5, 1935 - Sept. 18, 2011

Sonora resident William Yates died Sept. 18 at his home. He was 76.

Born in Black Oak, Ark., to Azilee Durham and Fred Cook, he served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

He lived in Sonora for 34 years and was the chief of plant operations at the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown for many years.

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He enjoyed working on cars and working on anything mechanical.

Mr. Yates is survived by his wife, Nona Yates, of Sonora; children, Brian Yates, of Twain Harte, and Karen DeVoll, of Jamestown; siblings, Charlie Durham, of Tennessee, Allen and Carol Durham and Frances Yates, all of Mississippi, Leon Cook, of Missouri, and Sandra Knight, of Arkansas; grandchildren, Bonnie Yates, of Modesto, Nicholas Yates, of Soulsbyville, Corey, Erica and K.C. Yates, all of Twain Harte, and Mike DeVoll, of Sonora; and four great-grandchildren.

A graveside service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 5 and the San Joaquin National Valley Cemetery in Gustine.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Harriet Sperzel

Jan. 17, 1916 - Sept. 21, 2011

Former Angels Camp resident Harriet Sperzel died Sept. 21 at Avalon Care Center in Sonora. She was 95.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., to Joseph David Killough and Maude Palmer Killough, she worked as an institutional dietitian at a college in North Carolina and for the Red Cross during World War II before becoming a homemaker.

She moved from Memphis, Tenn., to Angels Camp in 2002, where she lived for eight years before moving to Sonora in January 2011.

While living in Memphis, she was a member of the home economics club and sang in the Second Presbyterian Church Choir.

While living in Sonora, she attended the Columbia Presbyterian Church.

She enjoyed cooking, reading and music.

Mrs. Sperzel is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, David and Darcy Sperzel, of Hathaway Pines; grandson, Kevin Sperzel, of Hathaway Pines; and sister, Carolyn Sylvester, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, William Sperzel; and two brothers, Joseph and Jack Killough.

No service is scheduled.

She will be buried in Memphis, Tenn.

Donations can be made to the American Lung Association, 1231 Robinhood Drive, Suite A1, Stockton, CA 95207.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


MARTINEZ - Robert Martinez, 71, of Sonora, died Friday at Sonora Regional Care Center's long-term care facility. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

PICARD - Daniel H. Picard, 56, of Tuolumne, died Friday at his home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

RATLIFF - Clayton Ratliff, 76, formerly of Sonora, died Saturday at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.