Union Democrat staff

Leo Muth

Sept. 23, 1919 - Oct. 8, 2011

Sonora resident Leo Muth died Oct. 8 at Doctors Hospital in Modesto. He was 92.

Born in Louden, Wash., to Albert and Eunice Muth, he was the second of five children. The family moved to Modesto in 1936, where they farmed and owned a fruit business.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a corpsman in the Philippines and held a certificate in psychiatric nursing.

After the war, he returned to Modesto where he began his own trucking business and married Susette Yandell in 1948.

He went on to become a building contractor with his father's company, A.R. Muth Building and Construction in Modesto, and worked on jobs in Reno, Nev., Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Orange County, Calif., and Oakland.

In 1965, he served as a building inspector and plan review engineer in Modesto. He retired in 1978.

In 1981, he and his wife spent a year in the Marshall Islands performing missionary work. They also spent time in the Philippine Islands and China.

He and his wife moved to Twain Harte in 1992, and to Sonora in 2001.

He was a member of the Tuolumne County Grand Jury in 2000, a life-member of the American Legion, and a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

He enjoyed touring Europe and England with his wife and friends, skiing and snowmobiling each winter, and spending time at his cabin in Pinecrest during the summer. He was also a pilot.

Mr. Muth is survived by his wife of 63 years, Susette Muth, of Sonora; children, Rebecca Mae Jones, of Ceres, and Brian Muth, of Mountain Ranch; grandson, James Jones, of Ceres; seven nieces and nephews; 18 great-nieces and -nephews; and numerous friends and extended family members.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Pamela Jane Muth.

A service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Forest Road in Sonora. It will be followed by a reception in the church's social hall.

Donations can be made to Kenneth Cox Ministries, P.O. Box 1027, Loma Linda, CA 92354.

Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel in Modesto is handling arrangements.


Joyce Evans

Dec. 12, 1935 - Oct. 13, 2011

Columbia resident Gracelyn Joyce Evans died Thursday at her home. She was 75.

Born in Lemoore to Lawrence and Ina Mae Breitigam, she and her family moved to Mexico when her father was sent there to assume the position of educational superintendent and youth director for the Mexico Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

After her father died, she and her older brother returned to Lemoore to live with their grandparents. She attended the Armona Union Academy. She later graduated from Thunderbird Academy in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In May 1953, she married Robert Evans, prior to his deployment with the U.S. Army to Korea.

She was a stay-at-home mom, and also worked as a dental assistant and secretary.

She later earned a bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco extension program, and her master's degree in social work from Fresno State University. She subsequently began working as a social worker.

She and her husband retired in 1996 and moved to South Korea where they worked as volunteer English language teachers for nearly three years.

Upon returning from Korea, she began working as a social worker for the Tuolumne County Behavioral Health Department and for Catholic Charities.

She enjoyed spending time with her family and friends in her church and community.

Mrs. Evans is survived by her husband of 58 years, Robert Evans, of Columbia; daughter and son-in-law, Teri and Gary Deacon, of Sonora; grandchildren, Alison Deacon, of Loma Linda, and Mitchell Deacon, of Davis; brother, Jack Breitigam, of Canyonville, Ore.; and brother-in-law, Jim Evans, of LaJara, Colo.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her son, Dan Evans.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sonora.

Interment will be at the Exeter District Cemetery in Exeter. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Dorothy M.


April 27, 1916 - Oct. 15, 2011

Murphys resident Dorothy M. Rathbone died Saturday at her home. She was 95.

Born in Illinois, she grew up there and went on to work for Martin Aircraft during World War II, where she worked on the assembly line and eventually became a trainer in the department.

She married Joe Clingan, who eventually died of cancer.

She later married Robert "Bob" Rathbone. After he died of cancer in 2009, she moved to Murphys.

She was a longtime member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and served as a grand officer in Arkansas.

She enjoyed traveling and was proud to have traveled to every state in the United States. She lived in 10 of them.

She is survived by her stepdaughter, Linda Carol, of Portland, Ore.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 25 at the Masonic Hall in Murphys, 384 Church St., to be followed by refreshments in the dining room.

Angels Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

James Jackson Jr.

Nov. 30, 1921 - Oct. 14, 2011

Sonora resident James Jackson Jr. died Friday at Sonora Regional Medical Center. He was 89.

Born in Blue, Okla., he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He worked as an electrician for 20 years and lived in Sonora for 34 years. He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

He enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping and playing cards.

Mr. Jackson is survived by his wife, Bette Jackson, of Sonora; son-in-law and his wife, Jose and Laurie Martinez, of Norwalk; grandchildren, Tina McKamey, of Oklahoma, and James Rhodes and Jill Martinez, both of Sonora; three great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Robertine Anne Martinez.

No service is scheduled.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Willis 'Bonnie'

Robert Hatler

Feb. 11, 1924 - Oct. 14, 2011

Lifelong Sonora resident Willis "Bonnie" Robert Hatler died Friday at his home. He was 87.

Born in Sonora to Vernon and Beatrice Hatler, he grew up on Big Hill Road.

He graduated from Sonora High School and he and his brother, Philip, moved to Richmond to work as welders on warships. He continued to work as a welder in the Stockton shipyard through World War II.

He was ineligible for military service due to workplace injuries, family members said.

Following the war, he worked as a mechanic at Moore Equipment in Stockton for five years before moving back to Sonora and opening a truck shop on Stockton Road.

He closed his business to help his family build and operate a sawmill on Five Mile Creek Road.

He is survived by his two brothers; one sister; 11 children; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A service is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the Hatler Family Cemetery.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


ERWIN - Carl Lawrence Erwin, 71, of Tuolumne, died Saturday at his home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

GRIEWING - Genevieve Griewing, 89, of Tuolumne, died Monday at Sonora Regional Medical Center. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.