Union Democrat staff

Gertrude Rush

May 9, 1927 - Nov. 19, 2011

Gertrude "Trudy" (Treadwell) Rush died Nov. 19 at Foothill Community Senior Center in Angels Camp. She was 84.

Mrs. Rush was born in Lufkin, Texas, the daughter of Barto and

Grace Treadwell. She grew up and graduated from high school in Leetonia, Ohio.

After graduating from Baylor University in Texas and a short career as an airline stewardess, she moved to San Francisco where she lived until moving to San Andreas in 1966.

She and her husband, John, taught at Mark Twain Elementary School until they both retired in 1976 after John suffered a disabling stroke. They spent some time living in Stockton and Concord before moving back to Calaveras County and splitting their time between San Andreas and Arnold.

Her hobbies included bridge, bingo and bowling. He died in 1999, and she moved into Foothill Village in 2009.

Mrs. Rush is survived by her two sons and daughters-in-law, John and Shari Rush, of Lithuania and New Zealand, and Bart and Tina Rush, of Angels Camp; grandchildren, Jennifer Alvarado, of Weed, and John Rush, of Honolulu, Angela Rush, of Seattle, Wash., and Lauren Rush, of Spokane.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at Mountain Christian Fellowship, three miles east of Murphys on Highway 4. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Easter Seals of Superior California at www.myeasterseals.org.

Angels Memorial Chapel handled arrangements.

Jerry Slakey

October 1935 - Dec. 19, 2011

Jerry Slakey, of Twain Harte, died Dec. 19 at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson with his family by his side. He was 76.

He was born in Fresno to Hazel and Ralph Slakey. He grew up in Sacramento, attended Christian Brothers High school, graduated from Hayward High, then attended San Jose State College.

He served in the U.S. Naval Reserves from 1953 to 1962. A portion of this service was active duty on Christmas Island.

He moved to Twain Harte in 1970, where he owned and operated Slakey Sheet Metal for 30 years.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Slakey is preceded in death by his wife of 35 years, Kathy Slakey.

He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Paul Madden, of Manitou Springs, Colo.; his close friend, Fran Lockwood, of Oakdale; four siblings and their spouses, Arline and Richard Souza, of Castro Valley, Alice Jo and Jim Yeager, of Davis, Marnie and Jim Slakey, of Tumwater, Wash., and Pam and David Slakey, of Sonora; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Lynn and Richard Nolte, of Tuolumne; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A service will be held at Jayhawk Cemetery (the family cemetery) at 11 a.m. in Rescue, El Dorado County, on Saturday, Dec. 31. A lunch gathering will follow at the Rescue Community Center, 4180 Green Valley Road.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Alexander Cohen Hospice House, 2201 Euclid Ave., Hughson, CA 95326, www.hospiceheart.org.

Eaton Family Funeral and Cremation in Modesto handled initial arrangements.

Thomas Alton

'Tom' Cox

June 19, 1933 - Dec. 16, 2011

Tom Cox, 78, died Dec. 16 at his home in Groveland.

Mr. Cox was born in his grandparents' home in Gustine, the son of Warren and Mary Ann (Dee Dee) Cox. He lived in several California towns as a child before his parents settled in San Lorenzo Village.

While attending Hayward Union High School, he was a member of the yearbook staff, participated in student government and played trumpet in the school rally band. He also played professionally in dance bands.

He joined the U.S. Navy the day before his 18th birthday and served for three years aboard the U.S.S. Saint Paul cruiser during the Korean War. While not on duty as a personnelman seaman, he nurtured his lifelong love of drawing, painting and music by contributing artwork to the cruise books for his two Korean tours and entertaining shipmates with his trumpet.

Between tours, while in port at Long Beach, he met and married Delores McGuire, his late wife of 56 years.

After the war, they moved to San Leandro to raise two children. They bought a small house, and he began a 42-year career in the stationery and engraving business as an apprentice pressman at Standard Processing and Engraving Company in Berkeley.

He earned extra money by painting signs and graphic designs on cars, trucks and boats.

He coached Little League baseball, added a family room to his home and built cabinetry and furniture. His interests included annual camping trips, playing the ukulele and singing by the campfire, hunting and fishing, reading and painting.

After many years as a journeyman pressman at Standard, he transitioned to management and became president of the business after it was moved to San Leandro and acquired by Crane & Company. During this time, he was an active member of San Leandro's Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club.

He and his wife retired to Pine Mountain Lake in 1996, where he continued to paint for pleasure and profit, winning several art show awards. He also read, fished, played golf, dice and cards, and entertained friends with his trumpet playing, singing, skit performances and jokes.

Mr. Cox is survived by his brother, and sister-in-law, Robert (Corky) and Karen Cox, of Wallace; a son and daughter-in-law, David and Katheren Cox, of Livemore; daughter, Kathryn Cox, of Livermore; and grandchildren Jennifer Cox, Kristina Cox, Kevin Rychel and Kerry Rychel, all of Livermore.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 14 at The Grill at Pine Mountain Lake. Donations in his memory may be made to a charity of choice. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Robert P. 'Bob' Vonich

May 20, 1957 - Dec. 15, 1911

Sonora native Robert P. "Bob" Vonich died at his Columbia home on Dec. 15. He was 54.

Mr. Vonich served in the U.S. Army's Berlin Brigade in Germany. He was a member of the Laborers Union Local No. 1130 in Modesto and worked at the Vonich family sawmill in Standard.

His interests included listening to Beatles' music and collecting their memorabilia, dancing, concerts, time with family and good friends, especially his five grandsons, working in his yard, reading the Bible, road trips with friends, watching vintage television programs and veterans' activities.

Mr. Vonich was preceded in death by his father, Loren Vonich; his mother, Mary Vonich Timm; and his grandparents, Pete and Violet Vonich and Lee and Ethel Price.

He is survived by his spouse of 34 years, Sharon Vonich, of Columbia; two children and their spouses, Phil and Jennifer Vonich, of Sonora, and Desire and Gary Elsholz, of California; five grandsons, Austin Vonich and Hayden Vonich, of Sonora, Levi Wheeler Jr. and Warren Wheeler, of California, and Robert Elscholz, of California; one brother, Nick Vonich, of Columbia; his stepfather, Jeff Timm, of Sonora; 17 nieces and nephews; 23 great-nephews and great-nieces; two great-great-nieces and nephews; and numerous other relatives including aunts, uncles and cousins.

A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at the Jamestown Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Donations may be made to the Veterans Services Department, 105 Hospital Road, Sonora, CA.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


DAVIS - A graveside service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery in Sonora for Hal Davis, 75, of Sonora, who died Dec. 19 at Avalon Care Center in Sonora. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.