Union Democrat staff

Lester Potthast

Oct. 12, 1921 - Oct. 24, 2011

Former Groveland resident Lester Potthast died Oct. 24 at Green Gables Care Home in Fresno. He was 90.

Born outside of St. Louis, Mo., to William and Mary Potthast, he served in the U.S. Army and went on to graduate from St. Louis University.

He worked in the insurance industry for 35 years, as a claims manager for Aetna Life and Casualty in Illinois and later in Fresno, then as a sales agent for Knights of Columbus in Fresno.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Serra Club.

He lived in Groveland for more than 20 years, where he enjoyed playing golf at Pine Mountain Lake. He recently moved to Fresno.

Mr. Potthast is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Patricia Potthast, of Fresno; children and their spouses, Matthew and Ellita Potthast, of Fresno, and Lucy and David Blalock, of Greenfield; grandchildren, Christopher and Jacob Blalock, and Joseph Potthast, all of Fresno, and Marie Valdez, of Santa Rosa; and two great-grandchildren.

A rosary at noon Saturday will be followed by a funeral Mass at St. Paul Newman Center Catholic Church, 1572 E. Barstow Ave., Fresno.

Donations can be made to the Serra Club of Fresno, c/o Sampson and Sampson, CPA, 3148 N. Willow Ave. No. 102, Clovis, CA 93612.

Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns and Blair Funeral Home in Fresno is handling arrangements.

Carl 'Steve'

Joseph Stevens Jr.

Sept. 9, 1945 - Nov. 1, 2011

Jamestown resident Carl "Steve" Joseph Stevens Jr. died Nov. 1 at Sonora Regional Medical Center. He was 66.

Born in Los Angeles to Carl Stevens and Esther M. Malacky, he, his mother and twin sister later moved to Jamestown, N.Y. His mother went on to marry Bert De Vlieger and the family moved to Sinclairville, N.Y., then to West Ellicott, N.Y., where he attended Southwestern High School.

In 1962, he dropped out of high school and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves, completing his corpsman training at the U.S. Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Ill., in 1964.

While in the service, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam, one aboard the U.S.S. Hancock and the other attached to the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines G Company. During his second tour in Vietnam, he was wounded five times, was awarded two Purple Hearts, and received the Navy Commendation Medal for heroic achievement.

He was discharged from active duty in San Diego in 1968 and went on to earn a high school diploma from San Diego Adult High School.

He married Mary Clark in San Diego in July 1970, and the couple moved to Jamestown, N.Y., where he worked as a surgical technician while he pursued his nursing degree at Jamestown Community College.

The couple built their own home in Niobe, N.Y. and went on to have two children.

In 1980, the family moved to Modesto, where he began working as a coronary care nurse at Doctors Medical Center. He was later transferred to the operating room where he was promoted to orthopedic team leader.

He later transferred from the U.S. Navy Reserves to the Army Reserves and reported to a MASH unit in Oakland.

In 1990, he, his wife and a friend purchased the Country Peddler Gift Store in Jamestown. The couple moved to Jamestown in 1991.

He was honorably discharged from both the U.S. Navy and Army Reserves. While living in Modesto he was also involved in a VA support group that held panel discussions at Modesto Community College to educate students on the Vietnam conflict.

He enjoyed researching new recipes, cooking, doing counted cross-stitch, and making gifts for his family. He especially enjoyed photography, having won four ribbons for his entries in the Stanislaus County Fair in 1988.

Mr. Stevens is survived by his wife, Mary Stevens, of Jamestown, Calif.; children and their spouses, Kellie and David Crow, of Jamestown, Calif., and James and Rosa Stevens, of San Diego; grandchildren, Sarah and Steven Crow, both of Jamestown, Calif., and Brian and Allen Joseph Stevens, of San Diego; stepfather, Bert De Vlieger, of Jamestown, N.Y.; and siblings, Carolyn Smith, and Pam, Charlotte, Robert and Bert De Vlieger, all of Jamestown, N.Y.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Esther De Vlieger.

Donations can be made to the Harvest Community Fellowship Church of God, 747 El Camino Real N., Salinas, CA 93907.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse Grounds in Jamestown. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Leland 'Lee' Charles Bayer

Dec. 30, 1929 - Nov. 5, 2011

Longtime Columbia resident Leland "Lee" Charles Bayer died Saturday at his home. He was 81.

Born in San Francisco to Louis O. and Bernice J. Bayer, he attended San Mateo Junior College for two years before transferring to the University of California, Davis where he received a bachelor's degree in general agriculture in 1952.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954 in the combat infantry during the Korean War. In the service, he attained the rank of sergeant.

He went on to continue his education by taking classes at U.C. Davis

He was a beekeeper and organic farmer.

He was a member of the Kern County Beekeeper Association, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church of God.

He enjoyed back-country hiking, photography, nature studies, gardening, and studying the Bible.

He and his wife completed a seven-day High Sierra backpacking trip when he was 78.

Mr. Bayer is survived by his wife of 55 years, Gwendolyn Lee Bayer, of Columbia; sons and their spouses, Erik and Terry Bayer, of Oroville, Jeff and Barbara Bayer, of Elk Grove, and Hans and Deidre Bayer, and Fritz and Heidi Bayer, all of Sonora; daughter and her husband, Heidi and Markus Rodgers, of King City, Ore; grandchildren, Brandon, Becky, Gretchen, and Annabelle Bayer, all of Sonora, and Daniel and Joanna Rodgers, both of King City, Ore.; and siblings, Shirley Cameron, of Reno, Nev., and Anita Kirkling, of Mariposa.

A service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Partners In Ministry, Cuesta Court, off of Tuolumne Road.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Ralph Richard Batchelor

April 11, 1915 - Nov. 4, 2011

Sonora resident Ralph Richard Batchelor died Friday at Tuolumne General Hospital's long-term care unit. He was 96.

Born in Los Angeles to Edward and Myrtle Batchelor, he grew up there and joined the U.S. Navy in 1933, where he served for four years.

He worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Los Angeles for 14 years, before going on to sell car wash and coin-op laundry equipment in California.

He and his family moved to Sonora in 1973.

He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, nature, crossword puzzles, baseball games, reading, and drinking root beer floats.

Mr. Batchelor is survived by his wife of 41 years, Millie Batchelor, of Sonora; children, Marianne Gardner and Denise Payne, both of Lancaster, Diane Smith and companion Mark Lonien, and Steve and wife June Smith, all of Sonora, and Edward Batchelor, of Escondido; 18 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Gus, Fred, Don and Frances Batchelor; daughter, Sharron O'Kane; and grandchildren, Louise Jaskolka, Joey Batchelor, and Michael Mahenski.

No service is scheduled.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choice.

San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Jessie Mae Holmes

Aug. 9, 1928 - Nov. 1, 2011

San Andreas resident Jessie Mae Holmes died Nov. 1 at the Mark Twain Convalescent Home in San Andreas. She was 83.

Born in Marshall, Texas, she was a homemaker for many years.

She lived in San Andreas for 12 years.

Mrs. Holmes is survived by her five children; 12 great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, George Holmes; and grandson.

A private family service is scheduled.

Donations can be made to the Bird Atrium at Mark Twain Convalescent Home, 900 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas, CA 95249.

San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Roger L. Jacobs

May 9, 1926 - Oct. 29, 2011

Valley Springs resident Roger L. Jacobs died Oct. 29 at his home. He was 85.

Born in Willard, Ohio, to Florence and Arnold Jacobs, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific during World War II. He was later called back to service during the Korean War.

He worked as a train dispatcher for the Nickle Plate Railroad in Ohio, which later became the Norfolk and Western Railroad. He also served as the general chairman for the American Train Dispatcher Association in the Northeastern United States.

He married Mary Paul, and the couple had three children together. He later married Helen Roath, and the couple had a son together.

He helped coach Little League baseball and soccer, was an usher at the San Andreas Community Covenant Church, and supported the local bridge club.

He enjoyed playing golf, bowling and pool. He also enjoyed playing contract bridge.

Mr. Jacobs is survived by his wife, Helen Jacobs, of Valley Springs; children, Kenneth Jacobs, of Greensboro, N.C., Kevin Jacobs, of Valley Springs, Kathy Covington, of Carrollton, Texas, and Karen Jacobs, of Cottell, Texas; siblings, Carolyn Vanderpool, of Norwalk, Ohio, Joan Willington, of Willard, Ohio, Janet Simpson, of Crofton, Md., Arlene Dodd, of Pennsylvania, and Edward Jacobs, of Forest Hill; four grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at the San Andreas Community Covenant Church, to be followed by fellowship and meal.

San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.