Union Democrat staff

Arthur 'Art'

James Royce

May 13, 1920 - Nov. 29, 2012

Arthur "Art" James Royce, 92, of Sonora, died Nov. 29 at Sonora Regional Medical Center.

Mr. Royce was born in Longwood, Wis., to Alex and Florence Royeski.

He moved to Tuolumne County with his parents in 1933 during the Great Depression. The family lived in San Jose, but his father found employment as a timber faller for West Side Lumber Co. in Tuolumne.

Mr. Royce graduated from high school in 1936 and joined his father and older brother working in the woods for West Side. He worked as a fireman on a steam donkey, and on the railroad and timber stand survey crew.

At age 18, he briefly returned to Wisconsin to learn the trade of a butcher from his uncle.

During the second draft of World War II, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army. He was in field artillery at Camp Roberts, where he was promoted to sergeant. He then volunteered for Tank Destroyers at Camp Hood, Texas, and went to Officers Candidate School.

He was commissioned to second lieutenant and remained there instructing troops in mines and demolition. He transferred from the tank destroyer to armored division at Fort Knox, where he schooled troops.

He was called back to serve in the Korean War in 1951, during which time he went from Fort Lewis, Wash., to the 78th Tank Division at Isleton Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska.

During his time in Alaska, he led an overland expedition of eight other volunteers across the state. The purpose of the top-secret trip ws to determine if the Russian Army could invade the United States by land. The trip took two and a half months.

After his service, he worked for Armor Meat company in the Bay Area. In 1955, Mr. Royce and his family returned to Tuolumne County.

He and his wife, Rebekah (Carter) Royce, owned and operated Mountain Market (now the site of Mother Lode Motors) for 20 years. He also raised cattle during this time.

Mr. Royce was a member of the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse and served as captain in 1971. After selling the market in the mid-1970s, he worked in security for Fibreboard Lumber Co. and as a groundskeeper and handyman at Curtis Creek Elementary School.

After his retirement, he and his wife enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. He also enjoyed the outdoors and fishing, and took many friends and family members packing into the Emigrant Wilderness with his horses and "Spooky," the family mule.

In later years, he enjoyed working in his yard.

Mr. Royce was preceded in death by his sister, Lee Worrell; a brother, Clem Royeski; and a granddaughter, Erin McElligott Young.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Rebekah Royce, of Sonora; two sons and daughters-in-law, Allan and Diane Royce, of Jamestown, and Paul and Bridget Royce, of Sonora; eight grandchildren, Tonya Royce Midget, Shana Royce Garris, Evan Royce, Ryan Royce, Michael Royce, Eric Royce, Brant McElligott and Michael McElligott; and six great-grandchildren.

A service was held last year with family when everyone was healthy and happy, according to family. In lieu of memorial donations, the family requests that people spend time with their family.

Heuton Memorial Chapel handled arrangements.


FRAGUERO - Joseph Fraguero, 82, of Angels Camp, died Friday at Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital in San Andreas. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

LYNCH - Helen Lynch, 91, of Sonora, died Friday at Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital in San Andreas. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

McGREEVY - Diane McGreevy, 62, of Sonora, died Dec. 2 at University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.