Union Democrat staff

James Isler

April 29, 1924 - Jan. 19, 2012

Tuolumne County resident James Isler died Jan. 19 at his winter home in Yuma, Ariz. He was 87.

He was born Samuel Walter Gray Jr., in Chalfant, Pa., to Caroline E. Long and Samuel Walter Gray Sr. His parents later divorced.

His mom remarried, and he was adopted by his stepfather, Robert Isler, at which time he changed his name to James Isler.

In 1941, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he earned the rank of Aviation Machinist Mate Flight Engineer First Class. He also received three U.S. Navy Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross, as a PBM Mariner Crewman on Bomber Squadrons 21 and 22 during the World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign.

After being honorably discharged in 1948, he began working as a grocer in Southern California.

He later moved to Tuolumne County, where he worked at Safeway from 1971 until his retirement in 1984.

Mr. Isler and his wife enjoyed traveling, especially in their RV between their homes in Columbia and Arizona. The couple referred to themselves as RV "snowbirds."

They later settled into their permanent residences in Yuma, Ariz., and east Sonora.

Mr. Isler is survived by his wife of 48 years, Patricia I. Isler, of Sonora; children and their spouses, James R. and Janice Isler, of Garden Grove; Paul Cox and Kary Jones-Cox, of Captain Cook, Hawaii, Debbie and Jim Nelson, of Bellingham, Wash., and Diane Banks and Skip Butler, of Mountain Ranch; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Ronnie Isler.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at the Sierra Bible Church's Promised Land building, in Sonora.

The Yuma Mortuary and Crematorium in Yuma, Ariz. is handling arrangements.

C. Brent Wallace

Oct. 18, 1946 - Jan. 17, 2012

Former Sonora resident C. Brent Wallace died Jan. 17 at a hospital in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. He was 65.

Born in Atascadero to James and Joyce Wallace, he grew up in the Central Valley and graduated in 1964 from Franklin High School in Stockton.

He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years during the Vietnam War, after he which earned his bachelor's degree in recreation administration from California State University, Sacramento, in 1972. He earned his master's degree in public administration from California State University, Long Beach, in 1984.

He married Marilyn Poelstra in 1968.

In 1972, he began his career in public service with the South East Park District in Tempe, Ariz. Later that same year, he returned to California to work for the City of Santa Fe Springs as a recreation supervisor, later becoming the director of personnel.

In 1986, he became the county administrative officer of Inyo County, and moved his family to Bishop. He served there for 10 years before taking the CAO position in Siskiyou County, where he served for two years.

In 1998, he became the CAO of Tuolumne County, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. He then became the executive director of the County Administrators Association and worked as a consultant for Vanir Construction.

In his 35 years of public service, he received many awards recognizing his excellence in leadership.

In 2010, he and his wife moved to Hayden, Idaho, to be near their family.

He enjoyed working with young people, from leading church youth groups to coaching youth soccer, and volunteering his time as a basketball coach for Columbia College.

He also enjoyed fishing, reading, traveling, music, movies, sports, especially basketball, and spending time with his family.

He was active in church leadership, and was in the process of restoring a 1957 Chevy pickup truck.

Mr. Wallace is survived by his wife, Marilyn Wallace, of Hayden; children, David Wallace and Stephanie Hotine, and her husband, John, all of Hayden, and Christine Wallace, of San Luis Obispo; mother, Joyce Wallace, of Portland, Ore.; siblings, Sandra Kersh, and her husband, Ron, of Portland, and Bob Wallace and Bruce Wallace, both of Stockton; mother and father-in-law, Ruth and John Poelstra, of Stockton; grandchildren, Adam, Avonlea, Kyler, John and Chris Hotine, all of Hayden; and numerous extended family members.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Coeur d'Alene Bible Church in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.

Donations can be made to Hume Lake Ministries, 5545 E. Hedges Ave., Fresno, CA 93727.

Yates Funeral Home and Cremation in Coeur d'Alene is handling arrangements.