Union Democrat staff

Robert Michael 'Mike' Heuton

Jan. 2, 1954 - Jan. 15, 2012

Former Sierra Village resident Robert Michael "Mike" Heuton died of cancer Jan. 15 at the Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center of Defuniak Springs, Fla. He was 58.

Mr. Heuton was born in Palo Alto to Robert and Florence Heuton.

Mr. Heuton later moved with his siblings, mother and stepfather Bill Griggs, to Briceburg, Mariposa County. He attended Mariposa Elementary School and in 1966, the family moved to Sierra Village, where he then attended Twain Harte Elementary School and Summerville High School.

During high school, Mr. Heuton learned the roofing trade from his stepfather and for many years he did occasional roofing work.

In 1975, he moved to Florida and worked for Teleprompter Cable TV, CSI Tree Service and then Quinco Electrical Inc. on the Panama City Airport Project.

Mr. Heuton enjoyed landscaping and making frames for old family photos.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Danny L. Heuton, of Casa Grande, Ariz.; and his grandparents, Leonard and Lucille Tiska, of Bradenton, Fla.

Mr. Heuton is survived by his mother and stepfather, Florence "Flo" and Bill Griggs, of Sierra Village; his father, Robert M. Heuton, of Palm Desert; his sister, Katherine Bergevin, of Sonora, his half-brother, Glen W. Briggs, of Sunnyvale; his stepbrother, John W. Griggs, of Twain Harte; his stepsister, Valerie J. Griggs, of Red Bluff; his aunt, Connie Morris Johnson, of Jamestown; and his fiancee of 11 years, Dawn Stuart and her son, Sky Stuart; and numerous extended family members and friends in Florida.

A celebration of his life was held Jan. 22 at his home in Defuniak, Fla.

Two gatherings of family and friends will be held in Sonora and Mariposa County at a later date.

Davis-Watkins Funeral Home and Crematory in Florida handled arrangements.

Betty Jane

'Freddi' Mathias

Oct. 22, 1923 - Dec. 27, 2011

Sonora resident Betty Jane "Freddi" Mathias died Dec. 27 at a care facility in Alameda. She was 88.

Ms. Mathias was born in Ely, Nev., and raised in Oakland. She graduated from Fremont High School in Oakland in 1941.

She attended Merritt Business School and San Francisco State University.

Ms. Mathias headed her own public relations agency and was the publicity director for many community causes, events and programs including the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in Berkeley, the Oakland Area War Chest and Community Chest, the American Legion, East Bay Chapter National Safety Council, and the Salk polio vaccine field trials in Alameda.

Ms. Mathias also worked as a reporter and teen news editor of the Daily Review in Hayward, and was editor of the East Bay Magazine and past president of East Bay Women's Press Club.

She was later director of corporate communications for Systech Financial Corp. and vice president of corporate communications, community affairs and special projects for Consolidated Capital Realty Service.

Ms. Mathias volunteered and served on the boards of many organizations including the Family Center at Children's Hospital Medical Center Northern California, Oakland YWCA, American Red Cross and March of Dimes.

She was a member of the USO-Travelers Aid Society and Women's Ambulance Transport Corps and also was active in the United Service Organizations and Shrine Hospitality Centers, Oakland.

She was a publicist for the Oakland Area War Bond Committee and chair of the communication arts advisory committee at Ohlone College. She was also president and founder of the SF Bay Area chapter of the National Reyes Syndrome Foundation.

Ms. Mathias moved to Sonora in 1986 and was active with Columbia Actors' Repertory and volunteered at the Tuolumne County Library, Community Christmas Eve Dinner, Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce, "Back to the Future III" movie set tour, and the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau and Film Commission.

Ms. Mathias was also a lifetime member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Royal Franklin and Dollie Bowman Bell; her sister, Emily Mathias; and her brother and sister-in-law, William and Jean Mathias.

She is survived by her daughter, Dena Royale Mathias, of Sonora; one nephew; one grandniece; and cousin.

A wake and celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. Feb. 19 at the St. Charles Saloon in Columbia.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in her name may be made to Family House, Children's Hospital, 5222 Dover St., Oakland, CA 94609, or the United State's Figure Skating Memorial Fund, www.1961memorialfund.com.

Internment will be at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette.

The Nautilus Society Cremation Services of Oakland handled arrangements.


Charles Wood

Dec. 26, 1920 - Jan. 30, 2012

Sonora resident Ralph Charles Wood died Jan. 30 at his home. He was 91.

Mr. Wood was born in Millville, Ind., the second child of Versal D. Wood and Delores (Allen) Wood.

Mr. Wood served during WWII in the Eighth Air Force over Europe. He served as a left waist gunner in a B-17 and was shot down on his first mission on June 26, 1943.

He was then captured and interned at Stalag 17 for 22 months as a prisoner of war. He and other POWs were rescued by Gen. George Patton's Third Army in May 1945.

Six weeks after being repatriated Mr. Wood married his waiting sweetheart, Mildred Goode, on June 24, 1945, in Bloomington, Ind.

Mr. Wood held a variety of jobs through the years and retired from Ford-Aerospace in Palo Alto.

During his retirement, Mr. Wood and his wife did volunteer work in Hawaii for two years. They also traveled to Chad, Africa, and the Dominican Republic, where their oldest son and family were serving as missionaries.

They also lived for several years in New Hampshire near their son Rodger Wood. Mr. Wood particularly enjoyed going to their son Stephen's ranch in Texas for the opening of deer hunting season.

Mr. Wood was preceded in death by his parents; his older brother, Fred Wood; his younger brother, Clarence Wood; and his younger sister, Ruth Morrison.

Mr. Wood is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mildred Wood, of Sonora; children Ralph Wood Jr., of Berrien Springs, Mich., Stephen Wood, of Arlington, Texas, Rodger Wood, of Berlin, N.H., and Rebecca Wood, of Sonora; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Mr. Wood will be buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


TIPPETT - Steven Bruce Tippett, 55, of Tuolumne, died Monday at his home. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Heuton Memorial Chapel, which is handling arrangements.