Union Democrat staff

William 'Dave'

Benson Jr.

Jan. 20, 1958 - March 28, 2012

William "Dave" Benson Jr., 54, of Twain Harte, died March 28 at a hospice facility in Hughson after a long illness.

Mr. Benson was born in Michigan and lived for many years in Oregon, where he worked in the construction trade.

He was a fan of the University of Oregon Ducks, and did work on the university's stadium. He also helped his father build a house in Twain Harte. He moved to Twain Harte in 2007.

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, David and Sasha Benson, of Colburg, Ore.; a brother and sister-in-law, Dan and Lori Benson, and their three sons, all of Sterling, Alaska; his stepmother, Donna Benson, of Twain Harte; and a stepsister, Christine Simelius, of Oceanside.

He was preceded in death by his father, William David Benson Sr.; his mother Carol Nealy; a sister, Deborah Eaton; and his daughter, Mariah Benson.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Discovery House at Twain Harte Bible Church, 23191 Mark Twain Drive, in Twain Harte.

Eaton Funeral Home in Turlock handled arrangements.

H.C. Cotner

Aug. 1, 1938 - May 15, 2012

H.C. Cotner died unexpectedly in his sleep May 15 at his ranch near Jamestown. He was 73.

He was born in Vian, Okla., and moved with his family to California when he was 8 years old. He graduated from San Lorenzo High School in 1956.

He and his wife, Diane, raised three daughters during his career with the telephone company.

He began working for Pacific Bell as a lineman and later joined the Communications Workers of America, where he served as chief steward, executive board member and union vice president. He was president of Hayward Local 9412 in the 1970s and again in the mid-1980s. He spent 40 years with the company and was passionate about workers' rights.

He bought property in Crystal Falls in 1976 and spent his spare time over the next several years building a vacation home. He and his family spent many summers and holidays in their half-completed home away from home.

He moved to the area permanently when he retired and was able to accomplish a lifelong dream of owning horses.

He was an active member of Sonora Elks Lodge 1587 and a trustee on the Twain Harte Horsemen Board of Directors. As a new member of the Tuolumne County Horseshoe Club, he won first place May 8 in the C division at his first out-of-town tournament in Turlock.

He was also a singer and guitar player, performing with his band, Country Flavor, in the Bay Area for many years. The band also became well known in the Sonora area.

Mr. Cotner is survived by his life partner, Jan Moore, of Jamestown; daughters, Renee Romero and her husband, Perry Romero, of Fremont, Denise Rouan and her husband, Michael, of San Francisco, and Janette Patterson of Half Moon Bay; stepson, Martin Johanneck, of Woodland; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild; a sister, Wanda Marion, of Woodland; and three nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Houston Cotner; his mother, Lucille Cotner McConnel; and his stepfather, Sam McConnel.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 3, at Sonora Elks Lodge, 100 Elk Drive. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Heart Association via the H.C. Cotner website. The website and message board at www.hccotner.com is available for those who wish to express their feelings and to reminisce about their relationship with him.

Terzich & Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Mary Marie Pryor

May 30, 1924 - May 18, 2012

Mary Marie Pryor, of Murphys, died Friday, May 18, at her daughter, Sue Arvin's, home in Sun Valley, Nevada. She was 87.

She was born in Coweta, Okla., the oldest of 10 children, to Ray and Beatrice Parsons.

She married her husband, J.B. Pryor, on May 16, 1945.

She was preceded in death by her husband and youngest son, Thomas.

Among her survivors are two children, Sue Arvin, of Sun Valley, Nev., and Jim Pryor, of Rocklin; six grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

Her grandson, Ryan Pryor, will conduct services at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Buena Vista Cemetery in Murphys. A gathering of family and friends to celebrate her life will follow at Murphys Park. Community friends are invited.

Angels Memorial Chapel handled initial arrangements.

Randall Bruce

'Randy' Hobbs

Oct. 6, 1953 - May 15, 2012

Sonora resident Randall Bruce "Randy" Hobbs died May 15 at Sonora Regional Medical Center. He was 58.

Mr. Hobbs attended Belleview Elementary School and Sonora High School. He was a member of the National Rifle Association and the Moose Lodge.

Mr. Hobbs enjoyed hunting, fishing, country western music, John Wayne movies, books on the old west and writing. He was also interested in gold, gold mining and studying minerals.

Mr. Hobbs enjoyed eating out, singing Karaoke and cooking. He also enjoyed traveling and visited the Philippines, Canada, Palm Springs, Montana, Mexico, Death Valley and Yellowstone National Park.

Mr. Hobbs enjoyed storytelling and helping people.

He is survived by his mother, Beatrice Stokes, of Sonora; his father, Bobby Hobbs, of Okla.; brothers Bryce and Bryan Hobbs, of Okla.; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives.

Services have been held.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Alton 'Jack' Bryant

Nov. 15, 1933 - May 11, 2012

Alton "Jack" Bryant, of Sonora, died May 11 at Sonora Regional Medical Center. He was 78.

Born in Sutter Creek to Charles and Rosa Bryant, he graduated from Mt. Diablo High School in Concord. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1956, assigned to an air rescue squadron.

After moving to Tuolumne County, he worked for West Side Lumber Company and Hill and Hill Manufacturing before going to work for Safeway in Sonora, where he was employed for 30 years before retiring in 1990.

His interests included reading, flower gardening, antiques, the Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders and being with family.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Charles "Beetle" Bryant, and grandson, Zackary Bryant.

Survivors include his wife, Susan, of Sonora; children and their spouses, Dawn Bryant, of Sonora, Kelly and Larry Harlan, of Soulsbyville, Misty and John Balestrieri, of Sonora, Starr Almendarez, of Sonora, and Britt and Nicole Bryant, of Sonora; grandchildren, Ryan Harlan, Breanna Lewis, Casey and Colten Fisher, Gino Balestrieri, Roberto and Cruz Almendarez, Nickolas, Megan, Conner and Addie Bryant, Tyler Lewis and McKenzie Nicolini, all born and raised in Sonora; a sister, Deloris Garrison, of Pine Grove; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Lou and Doris Lillis, of Brookings, Ore.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

No services are planned. The family suggests reading a good book or spending time with family.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home handled arrangements.


ATKINS - Tuolumne County resident Wilson "Tom" Atkins, 93, died Wednesday at his second home in Kauai, Hawaii.

KRUSE - William Kruse, 96, of Sonora, died Wednesday at a Sonora longterm care center. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

MEIN - A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 2, at River Oak Grace Community Church, 7712 Rodden Road (corner of Rodden and Highway 120), Oakdale CA 95361, for Albert Leong Mein, 62, of Twain Harte.Flowers may be sent or donations may be made to the church. Mein and six of his friends are presumed dead after a shipwreck in Baja off the coast of the Sea of Cortez on July 3, 2011.

THURMAN - Jimmy Leon Thurman, 69, of Groveland, died May 11 at his home. Neptune Society of Central California handled arrangements.