Obituaries for January 3, 2013

Union Democrat staff

Mary Louise Raney

Feb. 6. 1922 - Dec. 30, 2012

Lifelong Columbia resident Mary Louise (Ghiorso) Raney died Sunday at Avalon Care Center of Sonora. She was 90.

Mrs. Raney was born on Feb. 6, 1922, in a house on Yankee Hill Road in Columbia. Her family emigrated to the area from Holland in the 1860s.

Mrs. Raney was baptized into the First Presbyterian Church of the 49ers in 1928, making her the congregation's longest standing member at the time of her death.

She attended Columbia Elementary at the old schoolhouse and graduated from Sonora High School in 1939. She played saxophone for the school band.

As young a child, she enjoyed visiting her grandmother's ranch on Italian Bar Road.

She lived in the Columbia area nearly all her life and owned Columbia Mercantile with her husband, Roy Raney, for nearly 18 years until their retirement in 1975.

During that time, she also worked in the cafeteria at Sonora High School.

Mrs. Raney was involved in many activities while raising her children. She supported the Sonora High School band while her daughters were members and was also involved with their Girl Scout troop. She was a member of the Parent Teacher Association at Columbia Elementary and Sonora High schools.

She was a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West Parlor 99 for 73 years. She was also a member of the sewing group Thread Ups for more than 40 years. She enjoyed making Afghan blankets for friends and family.

Mrs. Raney was very artistic, her family said. She enjoyed oil painting for many years. She also enjoyed taking daily walks.

She would often visit the ill at their homes and in hospitals and help their grieving families, her family said.

Mrs. Raney was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Roy Raney, in 2000; her daughter, Bernece Raney, in 2007; her sister, Byrnece Curnow; her brothers, Francis, Leo and Lloyd Ghiorso; and her son-in-law, Jerry Scheller, in 1992.

She is survived by her daughter, Marilyn Scheller, of Sonora; her siblings and their spouses, Ina and Ted Kassahn, of Sonora, Ronald Ghiorso, of Sonora, and Raymond and Darlene Ghiorso, of Modesto; her grandchildren and their spouses, David Scheller, of Sonora, Kara and Robert Lunde, of Sonora, and Ryan and Melissa Scheller, of Sonora; three great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Donations in her memory can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of the 49ers, in care of the Debt Reduction Fund, 11155 Jackson St., Columbia, CA 95310.

A memorial service was planned for 11 a.m. today at First Presbyterian Church of the 49ers in Columbia.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Clarence Richard Simmons

June 1, 1925 - Dec. 18, 2012

Clarence Richard Simmons, an engineer on the Don Pedro Dam, died Dec. 18 at his home in Akron, Colo. He was 87.

Mr. Simmons was born in Kersey, Colo., on June 1, 1925, to Clarence McKinley and Joy Isabella (Goings) Simmons.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army on Aug. 14, 1943. He was a skilled crypto-technician and a carbine sharpshooter. He was honorably discharged on April 30, 1946, with a Medal of Victory.

He later worked as a civil engineer with Bechtel Corporation. He helped build the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and worked on the Don Pedro Dam in the late 1960s. During that time, he and his family lived in Tuolumne County.

He also worked on the Rapid Transit system in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Simmons retired to Akron, where he enjoyed hunting with his nephews. He also enjoyed his many antiques, cars and collectibles.

Mr. Simmons was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Joy Simmons; and sister, Mable Walton.

He is survived by five daughters, Dixie Simmons, of Ione, Debra Hogarth, and her husband, Arlyn, of Yerington, Nev., Dee Helzer, and her husband, Marvin, of Sonora, Dina Savage, and husband, Frank, of Brush, Colo., and Dawn Keyes, of Elko, Nev.; his grandchildren, Jennifer, Kimberly, Lori, Matthew, Marie, Brandi, Tiffany, Jason, Tony and Crystal; 20 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held in Akron. Burial was at Akron Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Akron Volunteer Fire Department, 201 E. First St., Akron, CO 80720.

Bowin Funeral Home in Akron handled arrangements.


HAWKS - Roberts Hawks, 86, of Arnold, died Tuesday at Skyline Place in Sonora. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

KITCHEL - Harold Kitchel, 82, of Groveland, died Tuesday at his home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

PFEIFFER - Joyce Pfeiffer, 64, of Sonora, died Tuesday at her home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

RODARTE - Nancy Rodarte, 72, of Tuolumne, died Tuesday at her home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

SANTOS - Juan Santos, 91, of Sonora, died Tuesday at his home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

TAYLOR -Barbara Taylor, 85, of Sonora, died Tuesday at Sonora Regional Medical Center Long Term Care Unit. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

THOMASON - Rae Thomason, 69, of Sonora, died Tuesday at her home. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

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