Obituaries for March 14, 2014

By Union Democrat staff March 14, 2014 11:24 am

Obituary policy

 Obituaries, including photos, are published at a pre-paid fee based on size. The deadline is 5 p.m. two business days prior to publication. Call 532-7151, fax 532-5139 or send to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 Memorial ads are published at a pre-paid fee based on size. The deadline is noon two business days prior to publication. Please call 588-4555 for complete information.

Hattie Belle Coffee

Nov. 5, 1932 — March 3, 2014

Hattie Belle Coffee passed away March 3, 2014 in Moab, Utah, at the age of 81. She had previously resided in Sonora for 30 years. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter Douglas Coffee; sister, Maxine Gillespie and her brother, James Sykes. 

She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Edna and James Orsi; her children and their spouses, Marilynn Coffee, Nemo and Judy Spinks, Doug Coffee, Barry Coffee, Cindy and Roy Zimmerman; grandchildren, Brandon Coffee, Corey and Bret Spinks, Sara and Natalie Coffee, Amber and Laura Zimmerman and Travis Jahncke; and numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

She not only left behind her long list of loved ones, but also a long list of people who would call themselves family. Hattie ran a daycare in the Columbia/Sonora area for 25 years. In those years, she welcomed lots of children into her home. She touched a lot of people’s hearts as she always treated her daycare children as her own family. Over the years she has gained more extended family than can be mentioned, but you all know who you are! She will be missed dearly!

A memorial service was held at the Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward. 

Chapel of the Chimes handled the arrangements. 

William (Bill) Crouch

Sept. 5, 1929 — Feb. 25, 2014

Longtime Groveland resident Bill Crouch, 84, passed away on Feb. 25, at Sonora Regional Medical Center.

He was born Sept. 5, 1929 in Baltimore, Md.

Bill served in the U.S. Navy on aircraft carriers during World War II and then worked as an air traffic controller out of Edwards Air Force Base until his retirement as flow controller. He moved from Lancaster upon his retirement to Pine Mountain Lake where he pursued his two loves, flying his plane and golfing. Bill loved his mountain home and the community life it afforded. 

He is survived by his sister, Carolyn Stieler, of Sonora; two nieces, Marjorie Stieler-Curtis, of Kelsey, and Rhonda Salangsang, of Boulder Creek; and many great-nieces and nephews. 

No services will be held. 

The Neptune Society is handling the arrangements. 

Donations, if desired, may be made to a charity of choice.

Marjorie Ruby
 (Sage) Ruoff

Feb. 4, 1920 — Feb. 27, 2014

Marjorie Ruby (Sage) Ruoff was born in Roseville on Feb. 4, 1920, the daughter of Ruby Welch Sage and Harry W. (Sagerer) Sage and sister to Virginia Sage Bennett. 

Marjorie attended Roseville schools, earned her teaching credential in music from College of the Pacific (now UOP in Stockton), and later a master’s degree in psychology from CSU Hayward.

In 1939, Leonard Ruoff and Marge met on a blind date at a UOP football game. They dated until World War II began. Both went their separate ways. 

In 1970, their relationship rekindled at a UOP homecoming, romance grew and they married in 1974. Marge agreed to give Sonora a one-year trial. She stayed and eventually sold her home in El Sobrante.

She loved to garden and their home on Fir Drive was once featured in the spring garden tour. Retirement from 34 years of teaching allowed her to take trips to Hawaii, Europe, North and South America.

In school she was given a foreign pen pal from the Netherlands. They lost contact during the war, but in 1945 a letter addressed only to “Marjorie Sage; Roseville, CA” arrived at her family home. The two ladies renewed correspondence that lead to many vacations between Holland and Sonora.

Marge raised two daughters on her own, bought a house, putting them through Cal, UCD, and taught for Contra Costa School District.

In 1968, a friend convinced her to house a Belgian Fulbright scholar. The lifelong friends visited yearly between La Jolla and Sonora.

Her interests were book clubs, bridge, golfing, hiking, learning about Apple computers from her grandsons, attending Giants, A’s and 49er games. Her love of cooking showed when she would patiently teach her grandchildren how to make pasta from scratch or prepare a complicated recipe from her Julia Child cookbook.

Activities include past president of American Association of University Women, 1979 founder of Gourmet 1, member and pianist of the Sonora Methodist Church, P.E.O. sisterhood, past president of the Central Democratic Committee, member of GROW Women Investment group, Twain Harte Golf Club, Tuolumne Wine Association and CalRTA. 

She is survived by her husband of 40 years, C. Leonard Ruoff; daughters and son-in-law, Sheratan and David Downie, of St. Helena, and Jeannie Meagher, of Sacramento; stepdaughter, Sandy and Robert Fisher, of Sonora; three granddaughters, Katie and J.P. Mark, of Carmichael, Anna Meagher, of Sacramento, Martha Fisher, of Sonora; four grandsons, Keir and Jennifer Huie Downie, of Concord, Bryan and Christine Downie, of Germany; Reid and Mercedes Downie, of Denver, Brad Fisher, of Sonora; and eight great-grandchildren.

Burial will be at East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home handled the arrangements. 

John Jay Winkler Jr. 

May 7, 1961 — February 26, 2014

John Jay Winkler Jr., 52, of Groveland, passed away on Feb. 26 in Modesto.

Born on May 7, 1961 in Fontana, John was a masonry artisan and the owner of Winkler Masonry. He served in the U.S. Army from 1979 to 1983, and won awards for the “MacGyver-like” skills that he was well known for. John’s great sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him.

John had many interests, among those, hunting, fishing, NASCAR racing, tinkering with all things mechanical, his weekly Bible study, and most of all being surrounded by family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his first wife his parents and his brother. 

He is survived by his wife, Regina M. Winkler; and his seven children and stepchildren, John J. Winkler III, Clint Christensen, Sheena A. Winkler, Christen A. Sanchez, Melissa S. Mecredy, Michelle T. Mecredy, Sara J. Mecredy; his 13 beloved grandchildren; his brother, David W. Winkler; cousin, Samuel J. Winkler; his uncle, Jay Gaskill and family; and all his good friends and their loving families.

A celebration of life and potluck will be held noon Saturday at The First Baptist Church on Wards Ferry Road, in Big Oak Flat.

Eaton Family Funeral Home handled the arrangements. 

Death notices

 Death Notices in The Union Democrat are published free of charge. They include the name, age and town of residence of the deceased, the date of death; service information; and memorial contribution information. The deadline is noon the day before publication.

BARNES-MODRELL — Charlotte Esther Barnes-Modrell, 52, of Arnold, died Saturday at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. Services will be held at a later date. Park View Funeral Home in Manteca is handling arrangements. 

HEDGER — Ronald Hedger, 70, of Sonora, died Thursday at his home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

HILGER — James Arthur Hilger, 77, of Jackson, died March 9 at Kit Carson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. A private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, 1604 Ford Ave., Suite 8, Modesto, CA 95350. San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements. 

ZIEHLKE — Brenda Lee Ziehlke, 55, of Angels Camp, died March 8 at a Modesto hospital. A celebration of life will be held at noon Saturday at the multipurpose room at Bret Harte High School. A reception will follow at the Angels Gun Club, 2403 Gun Club Road. Angels Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.