Union Democrat staff

Otto Bertel

Feb. 10, 1918 - June 18, 2013

Willow Springs resident Otto Bertel died June 18 at his home. He was 95.

Mr. Bertel was born in Oakland.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

He worked as a warehouseman for Safeway in Richmond for 30 years.

Mr. Bertel retired to Tuolumne County 25 years ago. He lived in Columbia, Twain Harte and finally Willow Springs.

He was a member of All Saints Catholic Church in Twain Harte.

He was a charter member and served for 20 years as bulletin chairman of Sons in Retirement Sonora Branch 136.

He enjoyed traveling, reading and photography and was a fan of the San Francisco 49ers.

Mr. Bertel was preceded in death by his wife of nine years, Francis Bertel; and his siblings, Frank Bertel, George Bertel, Annie Bertel, Walt Bertel and Fritz Bertel.

He is survived by his companion, Jeannie Sawtelle, of Willow Springs; son and daughter-in-law, Steve and Marion Bertel, of Idaho; and Jeannie's son and his wife, John and Sandra Gift, of Avondale, Ariz.

A service has been held.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

Patricia Camille (Nicholson) Grenke

July 5, 1922 - June 4, 2013

Former Columbia resident Patricia Camille (Nicholson) Grenke died June 4 at the Chateau of Pleasant Hill. She was 90.

Mrs. Grenke was born and raised in Richmond to Elvin and Ruth (Wolcott) Nicholson.

She graduated from Richmond High School in 1939.

She met Glade Grenke at a dance in Bucks Lake in Plumas County and they wed in 1941.

She worked in a law office, taught piano and created landscape paintings in addition to raising her family.

She and her husband retired to Calaveras County in 1980. They settled in Columbia in 1985 and lived there until Mr. Grenke's death in 2011.

Mrs. Grenke volunteered with Guide Dogs for the Blind.

She was a fan of the San Francisco Giants baseball and 49ers football teams.

She enjoyed taking cruises and traveling, especially to national parks in red rock country.

Mrs. Grenke was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Glade Grenke, in 2011.

She is survived by her children and their spouses, Glade and Teresa Grenke, of Concord, Bruce and Jan Grenke, of Martinez, and Robert and Claudia Grenke, of El Dorado Hills; grandchildren, David Grenke, of Pleasanton, Tami Hunt, of Carmel, Ind., Gayle and April Grenke, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Alice, Laura and Holly Grenke, all of El Dorado Hills; and four great-grandchildren.

Donations in her memory can be made to Guide Dogs for the Blind, P.O. Box 151200

San Rafael, CA 94912-3950.

Private family services were held.

The Neptune Society of Northern California handled arrangements.

Frank Straws

Feb. 3, 1950 - June 25, 2013

Lifelong Sonora resident Frank Straws died June 25 at River Valley Care Center in Live Oak, Sutter County. He was 63.

Mr. Straws was born in Sonora to Seth and Eva Straws.

He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

Mr. Straws worked as a concrete pumper for 26 years until retiring in 2003.

He enjoyed woodworking, fishing, traveling, camping and hunting.

Mr. Straws was preceded in death by his mother, Eva Straws, in 1982; and his father, Seth Straws, in 2012.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Nancy Straws, of Sonora; his stepmother, Mary Straws, of Columbia; his children, Jacob Straws, of Like Oak, Emily Willms, of Oakdale, Amy Osborn, of Austin, Texas, Lance Crauthers, of Sonora, and Chad Crauthers, of Sparks, Nev.; his siblings and their spouses, Mike and Cindy Straws, of Murphys, Kenneth and Kelly Straws, of Redding, Linda and Lewis Van Vleck, of Plymouth, and Rebecca and Dave Moore, of Pacifica; and 11 grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Columbia City Cemetery.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


ADRIAN - Christine Adrian, 66, of Sonora, died Monday while camping in Kennedy Meadows. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

BEZAITAS - Former Sonora resident Beatrice Bezaitas, 83, died Tuesday at El Camino Gardens in Carmichael. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

EMANUEL - Phil Emanuel, 98, of Groveland, died Friday at Avalon Care Center of Sonora. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

EBERLY - Twila Jean (Thornton) Eberly, 87, of Sonora, died June 27 at her home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

McKINNEY - Dennis McKinney, 65, of Sonora, died Monday after a motorcycle accident on Tuolumne Road. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

MILLER - Terry Miller, 65, of Escalon, died Saturday at his home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.