Union Democrat staff

Lowell Rayburn

'Les' Lester

May 31, 1931 - Aug. 10, 2012

Sonora resident Lowell Rayburn "Les" Lester died Friday at Sonora Regional Medical Center. He was 81.

Mr. Lester was born in South Point, Ohio, and graduated from South Point High School in May 1949.

He graduated with an associate's degree from Hartnell College in Salinas in 1955.

He served in the U.S. Navy from July 1949 to April 1953. He graduated from Great Lakes Naval Training Center and was transferred to several locations. He worked on U2 reconnaissance planes at Sanford Naval Air Station in Florida where he was attached to Photographic Squadron VJ-62, which was top secret at the time.

He married June Ione Dani on July 23, 1952.

Mr. Lester worked at an auto body and fender repair shop in Salinas and Monterey. He also owned his own auto body business for several years.

He became a vocational auto body and fender instructor for the California Department of Corrections in 1964. He worked at Sierra Conservation Center until retirement in 1987.

He sponsored an Alcohol Anonymous Group while at Sierra Conservation Center.

In 1979 he began volunteering with the Greater Yosemite Council Boy Scouts of America Cub Scout Pack 563 and eventually became Cubmaster. He also worked with Boy Scout Troop 563 as their assistant Scoutmaster.

Mr. Lester helped take a group of boys to the World Jamboree in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in July 1983. He transported equipment to the Boy Scouts National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. in 1993 and 1997.

He received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award in January 1988 and received the Catholic Church Bronze Pelican Award for Scouting.

Mr. Lester was preceded in death by his parents, Olive and King Lester; and his brother, James Lester.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, June Lester, of Sonora; his siblings and their spouses, Gilbert and Sally Lester, of Ohio, Ruth and Tom Clark, of Tennessee, Cecil and Janet Lester, and Sue Lester, all of Ohio.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Greater Yosemite Council, Boy Scouts of America, 4031 Technology Drive, Modesto, 95356.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, with a funeral at 11 a.m. Friday at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home with a burial immediately following at Dambacher Mountain Memorial.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Rita (DeGiobbi) Muzzi

April 12, 1915 - July 25, 2012

Tuolumne native Rita (DeGiobbi) Muzzi died July 25 at the Sonora Regional Medical Center long term care unit. She was 97.

Mrs. Muzzi was born in Tuolumne to Joseph and Mary DeGiobbi and lived in Tuolumne County all her life.

She married Pete Muzzi in September 1930. In 1945 they purchased the Sonora Liquor Store, which they ran for more than 30 years. It was next to a gas station owned by her brother, Ed DeGiobbi.

She and her husband raised their nephews, Don and Elmer DeGiobbi.

Mrs. Muzzi began volunteering at Sierra Hospital in 1950, where she was a charter member, and later at Tuolumne General Hospital. She worked as a floor keeper to make patients comfortable by delivering meals and freshening flowers.

She was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Sierra Rebekah Lodge 245, and Native Daughters of the Golden West.

She enjoyed camping, fishing, cooking and growing vegetables and flowers in her garden.

Mrs. Muzzi was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Pete Muzzi, in 1988; and four brothers, Roy, Ed, Joe and Nate DeGiobbi.

She is survived by her sister, Olympia Greene, of Tracy, the two nephews she raised, Don DeGiobbi, of Pleasant Hill, and Elmer and his wife, Janette DeGiobbi, of Sonora; three nieces and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.

Donations can be made to Native Daughters of the Golden West, Golden Era Chapter, P.O. Box 2076, Columbia, 95351.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday at Heuton Memorial Chapel, with a burial following at St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Heather Lee Thomason

Jan. 9, 1987 - Aug. 5, 2012

Sonora resident Heather Thomason died Aug. 5 at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento due to a sudden illness. She was 25.

Ms. Thomason lived in the Sonora area her entire life.

She graduated from Summerville High School in 2005 and was a waitress at Black Oak Casino for five years.

She enjoyed river rafting, camping, boating and fitness.

Ms. Thomason was preceded in death by her uncles, Steve Flud and Jeff Black; and her great-uncle, Don O'Connelly.

She is survived by her mother, Ann Wever, of Sonora; her father; Ted Thomason, of Groveland; her sister, Michelle Thomason, of Long Beach; her grandmother, Juanita Thomason; her great-grandfather, Jim Cope, of San Jose; her cousins, with whom she was raised, Desiree, Shelby, Alex and Kathryn Flud, and K.C. Owens, all of Sonora; her boyfriend, Taylor Smith, of Sonora; an uncle, three aunts and several second and third cousins.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Sierra Bible Church with a reception immediately following at the Sonora Moose Lodge.

American River Cremation and Funeral Service is handling the arrangements.