Union Democrat staff

Otis John Rosasco

Sept. 14, 1921 - April 6, 2012

Tuolumne County native Otis John Rosasco died April 6 at his home in Jamestown. He was 90.

Mr. Rosasco was born at the Bromley Sanitarium in Sonora to Edmund A. and Vandalia L. (Schumaker) Rosasco.

He grew up on the family ranch at Turner Flat west of Jamestown and attended the one-room Montezuma Elementary School. He graduated from Sonora High in 1939 and attended Modesto Junior College and graduated from University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in business administration.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was sent to Columbia University in New York for officer training. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1943 and commanded submarine chaser USS SC 642 and destroyer escort USS Waterman.

Mr. Rosasco returned to Tuolumne County in 1946 and began his 60-year career as the fourth generation of a prominent Tuolumne County ranching family.

In 1949 he married Dorothy "Jean" Auser and built an adobe home on the old Russell Ranch, a mile from where he grew up, and where they lived for over 61 years.

Mr. Rosasco was a member of the California Farm Bureau Federation, Tuolumne County Farm Bureau, California Cattlemen's Association, Tuolumne County Cattlemen's Association and served in officer positions in each organization.

He was appointed by the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors to a number of agricultural related advisory committees. He served on the Tuolumne County Board of Education and the Jamestown School board.

He served on the Beef Cattle Research Advisory Committee to the University of California, Davis, and in 1997 received the Distinguished Service Award to California Agriculture from the California Farm Bureau Federation. He was the last living original member of the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse, a member of the Knights of Columbus and past president of Figli d'Italia.

Mr. Rosasco was preceded in death by his parents Edmund and Vandalia Rosasco; and his sister, Jean Ford.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jean Rosasco, of Jamestown; sons and daughters-in-law Clayton and Karen Rosasco, of Jamestown, Edmund and Ann Rosasco, of Modesto, and Nathan and Doni Rosasco, of Jamestown; granddaughters Erica Rosasco Burriss and her husband Ray Burriss, Lindsay, Shelby, Rachel and Sarah Rosasco; one great-granddaughter; his step-grandson, Gary Tuttle; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in his name may be made to Tuolumne County Agriculture in the classroom, c/o Tuolumne County Farm Bureau, P.O. Box 675, Jamestown, CA 95327; or Hospice of the Sierra, 20100 Cedar Road North, Sonora, CA 95370.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home.

Terzich and Wilson is handling arrangements.

Gilbert 'Smitty' Smith

June 7, 1929 - April 5, 2012

Former Tuolumne County resident Gilbert "Smitty" Smith died April 5 at Alexander Cohen Hospice House in in Hughson. He was 82.

Mr. Smith was born in Tahlequah, Okla., and served in the U.S. Army in the 101st Airborne paratrooper division. He lived in Tuolumne County from 1960 to 2011 and moved to Stanislaus County in 2011.

Mr. Smith was preceded in death by his wife, Berniece Smith, in 2011.

He is survived by daughters and sons-in-law, June and Sam Kuntz, of Vallecito, and Mary and Mike Garello, of Riverbank; sons James Arthur Smith and his wife Barbara, of Carson City, Nev., and Timothy Robin Smith and his wife Barbara, of Knoxville, Ark.; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

A funeral was scheduled at 11 a.m. today at Heuton Memorial Chapel.

A donation in his name may be made to Alexander Cohen Hospice House, 2201 Euclid Ave., Hughson, CA 95326.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Grace 'Louise' Ruiz

Sept. 18, 1920 - April 6, 2012

Longtime Columbia resident Grace Louise Ruiz died April 6, surrounded by family at Avalon Care Center. She was 91.

She was born in Riverside County to Carl and Rosamond Young. At age 14, she moved with her father and two sisters to Columbia, where she lived for 78 years.

She graduated from Sonora High School in 1938. In 1939, she married Thomas Ruiz and raised four children in the Shaws Flat area. She was the first of five generations of her family to live in Tuolumne County.

She was active in the community. She was president of the Columbia Elementary PTA and was a Girl Scout leader. She was a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, the Aronos Club, a garden club and Friends of the Library.

She kept current politically and at one point was president of the Tuolumne County Democratic Central Committee.

She was a member of the Columbia Presbyterian Church of the 49ers for 70 years. Other activities included taking pottery classes at Columbia College and being a TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) member for 40 years. She recently reaching her goal of becoming a KOPS (Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly).

For many years, she owned and operated a beauty salon on Washington Street in Sonora.

Mrs. Ruiz was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Thomas Ruiz, and her sister, Carol Lafaille.

She is survived by her sister, Mildred Seifert, of Wheatland; her children, Carole Westmoreland of Chester, Thomas Ruiz and his wife, Norma, of Sonora, Crystal Ruiz, of Sonora and Constance Ruiz, of Sonora; six grandchildren, William Westmoreland III and his wife, Linda, of Lincoln, Robert Westmoreland, of Chico, Deborah Brown and her husband, Scott, of Sonora, Curtis Sutton and his wife, Kim, of Sonora, and Carl Sutton and his wife, Brandy, of Sonora; 12 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Columbia Presbyterian Church of the 49ers.

Donations may be made in her memory to Friends of the Library, 480 Greenley Road, Sonora, 95370 or the Shaws Flat School Scholarship Fund in care of Sonora Area Foundation, P.O. Box 577, Sonora.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.