Union Democrat staff

Dario Cassina

March 28, 1921 - Jan. 11, 2012

Longtime Sonora resident Dario Cassina died Wednesday at his home. He was 90.

Born in San Francisco to Louise and Guido Cassina, he graduated from Galileo High School and later went on to attend San Francisco State College, where he earned a bachelor's degree and two teaching credentials.

He later earned additional credentials and degrees by attending college during the summer sessions. He went on to receive his master's degree in elementary school education.

During World War II, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant. After receiving additional training at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton, he was sent overseas and spent 22 months in the Pacific Theater. He remained in the U.S. Marines as an inactive reserve with the rank of captain.

In 1946, he moved to Sonora and began teaching general music, chorus, orchestra, band and physical education at Sonora Elementary School.

In 1952, he joined the Tuolumne County Schools Office and was later elected Superintendent of Schools in 1962.

In 1966, he was asked to organize the first continuation high school in Tuolumne County, preparing courses of study, selecting text and workbooks, and developing tests. He taught there for 14 years until his retirement in 1980, that same year the school was renamed Dario Cassina High School.

In 1967, he was asked by Columbia College to develop a community symphony orchestra, now known as Symphony of the Sierra. He conducted for a year before choosing to play his violin in the orchestra. He played for 34 years, until his retirement in 2001.

In 1999, he was placed in the Columbia College Hall of Fame.

He was a life member of the Marines Memorial Club of San Francisco, the Disabled American Veterans and the Sonora Elks Lodge.

Mr. Cassina is survived by his daughter and her husband, Vivian Adele and Allen Cogdell, of Modesto; grandson, Bryan Cogdell, of Soquel; sister-in-law, Mildred Cassina, of Grass Valley; and three nieces and their families.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Lorraine Alice Cassina, in October.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 28 at St. James Anglican Church, Sonora.

Donations can be made to the Marines Memorial in San Francisco, www.marineclub.com.


Florence Murphy

Aug. 6, 1914 - Dec. 27, 2011

Columbia resident Dorothy Florence Murphy died Dec. 27 at her home. She was 97.

Born in Sloughhouse to Ralph Ira and Myrtle Florence Murphy, she grew up on the family's ranch with seven brothers and sisters.

She attended Elk Grove High School, where she won many local and regional typing contests.

In 1936, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor's degree in music. She went on to work as a secretary for numerous employers throughout her life.

In 1940, she married Carleton E. Penwell in San Jose. He died in 1955. She later married Dr. William R. Murphy in Sacramento in 1967. He died in 1984.

She moved to Columbia in 2000. She was a member and officer in the Amigos De Solala (Guatemalan Assistance Organization), and a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Sacramento Opera Association, and the American Association of University Women.

She enjoyed opera, traveling, reading, live theater in the Mother Lode, and watching sports, especially golf and tennis.

Mrs. Murphy is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Carleton and Patty Penwell, of Columbia; stepchildren and their spouses, Loreine and Dr. Nicholas Simopoulos, of Sacramento, Catherine and Buzz Hanson, of Martinez, and Steven Murphy, of Montana; sister, Isabel Berry, of Rohnert Park; 14 step-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents and first and second husbands, she was preceded in death by six siblings.

A private family gathering will be held Saturday.

Donations can be made to Sierra Repertory Theatre, P.O. Box 3030, Sonora, CA 95370, Stage 3 Theatre Company, 208 S. Green St., Sonora, CA 95370, or Hospice of the Sierra, 20100 Cedar Road North, Sonora, CA 95370.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Stephen A. 'Sandy' Nies

Nov. 24, 1952 - Jan. 11, 2012

Longtime Sonora resident Stephen A. "Sandy" Nies died Jan. 11 at his home. He was 59.

Born in Pleasanton to Alice and Arthur R. Nies, he worked for the California Department of Forestry for many years, retiring in the late 2000s.

He was a member of the Elks and served on the grand jury.

He lived in Sonora for 52 years and enjoyed traveling with his family in their RV.

Mr. Nies is survived by his wife of two years, Debbie Nies, of Sonora; father, Arthur R. Nies, of Surprise, Ariz.; daughter, Jennifer Nies, of Sonora; grandson, Brodie Nies, of Sonora; and sister, Valerie Frank, of Waterford.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Alice Nies.

No service is scheduled.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


DAHL - Frances Dahl, 93, of Tuolumne, died Tuesday at Sonora Regional Medical Center. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

LORD - John Anthony Lord, 80, of Sonora, died Dec. 16 at Sonora Regional Medical Center. A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

TAYLOR - Marvin E. Taylor Jr., 75, formerly of Tuolumne County, died Jan. 12 at Memorial Hospital in Modesto. A visitation and rosary recital will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Lakewood Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Hughson. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Lakewood Memorial Park and Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements.

THOMPSON - Rodger Thompson, 75, of Sonora, died Monday at his home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.