Obituaries for March 13, 2003

March 13, 2003 12:00 am

Former Hetch Hetchy general manager and community advocate Dean W. Coffey of Sonora died Tuesday at a Sonora hospital. He was 85.

Mr. Coffey was born in Elk City, Okla.

He moved to Tuolumne County in 1967, while working for H. Alvorson, a Spokane, Wash., firm, as project engineer on construction of the Moccasin Powerhouse. At the plant's completion, he began working for the City and County of San Francisco as assistant maintenance and repair superintendent of the Hetch Hetchy project.

Spending more than 20 years in management of the Hetch Hetchy Water and Power System, Mr. Coffey was general manager from 1979 to 1985, then took over as general manager and chief engineer of San Francisco Water Department and Public Utilities Commission for 18 months before returning to his Hetch Hetchy post.

The promotion to general manager required him to move to San Francisco, but he kept his Moccasin home, where he spent weekends. When he retired in July 1989, he made his home in Sonora.

After his retirement, Yosemite National Park dedicated a campground overlooking Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to Mr. Coffey, in recognition of his management of the Hetch Hetchy water system.

Sharon Marovich, who has served on Tuolumne County Land Trust Board of Directors and Tuolumne County Democratic Central Committee with Mr. Coffey, said "he just had a very gentle way about him that just inspired great respect. Nothing really ruffled his feathers. He was easy going, got things done and made friends, whatever he did."

Mr. Coffey was on the land trust board of directors at the time of his death.

Marovich recalled a luncheon 10 years ago, given for Dianne Feinstein by the Democratic Central Committee. Feinstein, who had worked with Mr. Coffey when she was mayor of San Francisco, spoke fondly of him, saying, "he was the finest public servant I ever had the pleasure of serving with," according to Marovich.

Sonora Mayor Marlee Powell said Mr. Coffey was always a gentleman and very knowledgeable on water resources in this area. "He cared a lot about the Sierra and particularly our region," said Powell, who also served on the Land Trust board.

Mr. Coffey served on the Sonora High School Board of Trustees from 1974 to 1979, and helped to create a high school for the south county. He also was chairman of a committee that combined the efforts of the Tuolumne County Trails Council and Tuolumne Park and Recreation District to help open the historic Sugar Pine Railroad grade as a public hiking and bicycling trail.

When the town of Moccasin was in danger of being torn down in 1997 because of budget cuts, he urged its citizens to save it. He was also a member of Sonora Police Associate Citizens team that was honored by Sonora City Council that same year.

He was on the steering committee for the state Senate campaign of Pat Johnston in 1990.

His memberships also included those in the American Legion Smyth-Bolter Post 58, Sonora, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3154, Sonora Elks Lodge and Tuolumne Chapter of the Western Mining Council. He was also a member and past president of Mother Lode Toastmasters.

He was an avid golfer and liked to study and explore Mother Lode history, especially Hetch Hetchy history.

During his early years, he attended high school in Torrington, Wyo., Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash., and University of California, Berkeley.

During World War II, he served in the Army in the 7th Infantry Division from 1940-45. Most of this time he was in the Asiatic-Pacific theater, stationed on the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

After the war, he began his engineering career, and worked as a construction engineer on various projects, including The Atomic Energy complex, Hanford, Wash; Corps of Engineers hydro-development of Columbia River in Washington and Snake River in Idaho; and Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco.

Mr. Coffey was preceded in death by his wife of more than 50 years, Bernice M. (Reynolds) Coffey, on Nov. 24, 2002.

He is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, John and Barbara Coffey of Sonora; three daughters, Sue Coffey of San Francisco, Ginger Coffey of California and Jean Miller of Sacramento; a niece, Joann Lawton of Arizona and her family; three grandchildren, Cassidy Coffey and John Biggins, both of Sonora, and Robert Biggins of Tuolumne; and close friend Audrey Murphys of Jamestown.

A joint memorial service for Mr. and Mrs. Coffey will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home.

Dwight Baker Fowler Jr.

Aug. 8, 1952 - March 6, 2003

Dwight Baker Fowler Jr. of Sonora died Thursday at his sister's home in Mill Valley, Marin County, after a long illness. He was 50.

Mr. Fowler grew up in Los Altos and lived many years in Port Angeles, Wash. He had lived in Sonora for the past two years.

He served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

He was a carpenter and a member of the carpenters' union.

He loved fishing, hiking and flying kites.

Mr. Fowler is survived by two daughters, Crystal Council of Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, and Sheralyn McCormick of Port Angeles; the mother of his daughters, Karen McCormick of Port Angeles; a brother, Dale Fowler of Longview, Wash.; three sisters, Dede Sabbag of Mill Valley, Donde Robb of Walnut Creek and Diann Fowler of Sonora; and his father, Dwight Fowler Sr.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Donna Tally, in 2002.

A memorial has been held. Disposition was by cremation.

Remembrances can be made to a hospice organization of the donor's choice.

Daphne Fernwood Mortuary in Mill Valley handled arrangements.

Frederick Michael ‘Mike' Stone

Sept. 26, 1936 — Feb. 23, 2003

Frederick Michael "Mike" Stone, 66, son of Winifred Stone of Jamestown, died Feb. 23 while vacationing in France.

Mr. Stone was born Greeley, Colo., and had lived in Oakdale since 1974, except for a year in Minnesota. When he was born, his father was a lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The family moved to Fallbrook, San Diego County, during World War II, while his father was stationed in the South Pacific.

Mr. Stone had a career in marketing, working for Proctor and Gamble and later as the director of international marketing for Foremost McKesson. He had also worked for companies such as Damson Oil, August Financial Planning and Anvil Securities before opening Shamrock Nursery in Oakdale in 1995. Much of his time since then was spent in Oakdale, where he focused on the nursery, assorted companies and community events.

A college football player, he was announcer for the Oakdale Mustang football games and started each game with the line, "It's football time in Oakdale." He was an active member of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, which supports high school sports.

Mr. Stone also served as master of ceremonies for the Oakdale Junior Miss pageants and was a member of the Oakdale Economic Development Council and the Homeowner Water Advisory Committee for the Oakdale Irrigation District.

His interests also included the San Francisco '49ers, poetry, jazz and dogs, and he had a lifelong love of trains. He began collecting model trains as a child and loved traveling by rail.

He was preceded in death by his father, Fredrick Mortimer Stone, a high school football coach, and his first wife, Maureen Maxwell Stone.

In addition to his mother, Mr. Stone is survived by his wife, Sheila Martin-Stone of Novato and Oakdale; children, Sharon Stone-Stover of Chico, Terrice Stone Bundy, Michael Stone, Dennice Stone and Christian Stone, all of McKinleyville, Humboldt County, Jennifer M. Stone of San Diego and Matthew Stone of Fresno and Oakdale; a brother, Patrick Stone of Jamestown; a sister, Emmalou Stone Paul of Oakdale; an aunt, Emmalou Olson; eight grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

A celebration of life will be held at noon Sunday at the Almond Pavilion, 151 S. Sierra Ave., Oakdale.

Donations can be made to the Friends of the Oakdale Shelter, in care of Julie Nelson, 8035 Holanda Lane, Dublin 94568.

Carl G.

Buckingham

March 22, 1917 — March 10, 2003

Carl G. Buckingham, 85, of Twain Harte died Monday at a Sonora hospital.

Mr. Buckingham was born in Alameda and had lived in Twain Harte for the past 26 years.

He served in the Marine Corps during World War II and was a supervisor at the Naval Air Rework Facility, Naval Air Station Alameda, where he was employed for 35 years. When he retired, he moved to Twain Harte.

He loved baseball and coached in the Hayward West National Little League, Diamond League and Babe Ruth for many years. His family said for many of the the youth who were on his teams, he was a father figure they did not have. Often he would buy them equipment that they needed and could not afford.

He enjoyed playing golf, living in the mountains and his dogs, and he especially enjoyed his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He was a member of All Saints Catholic Church, Twain Harte. His family said they and his friends will miss his Irish wit, his perseverance, quiet courage and his love.

A Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at All Saints Catholic Church. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Donations can be made to a favorite charity or the Humane Society of Tuolumne County, P.O. Box 830, Jamestown 95327.

Charles F. ‘Chuck' Hemrich

Oct. 26, 1949 — March 10 2003

Charles F. "Chuck" Hemrich, 53, of Angels Camp died Monday in Angels Camp.

Mr. Hemrich was born in Santa Maria and had lived in Angels Camp for the past 28 years.

He had served in the U.S. Army and was an electrical contractor and owned Hemrich in Angels Camp for many years.

Mr. Hemrich is survived by his former wife, Dianne Hunton, of Angels Camp; a daughter, Kristy Hemrich, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and two brothers, Kurt Hemrich of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Michael Hemrich of Modesto.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Angels Memorial Chapel. Inurnment will be private.

Donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, 207 E. Alpine Ave., Stockton 95204-3405.

James L. McGowan

Oct. 5, 1936 - March 7, 2003

Former Sonora resident James L. McGowan died Friday near Goldendale, Wash. He was 66.

Mr. McGowan was born Oct. 5, 1936, in San Francisco to James and Helen McGowan.

The family lived in Sonora, where Mr. McGowan graduated from high school. He served in the Army and worked most of his life as an equipment operator in heavy construction in California, Nevada and Washington.

He loved to fish and travel.

Mr. McGowan is survived by a daughter, Terri Reed of Portland, Ore.; his mother, Helen McGowan of Sonora; a brother, Jerry McGowan of Sonora; and two grandchildren.

A private service is pending.

Erdman Funeral Home in Goldendale is handling arrangements.

Notices

BERGSTROM — Richard Lewis "Rick" Bergstrom, 53, a former resident of Arnold, died Tuesday in San Jose. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

HIDALGO — David W. Hidalgo, 41, a former resident of Big Oak Flat, died Feb. 23 in a Stockton hospital after a brief illness. Neptune Society of Stockton handled arrangements.

SIMS — Jean E. Sims, 95, of San Andreas died Saturday at a San Andreas care home. San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

GRIMES — Herschel Omer Grimes, 81, of San Andreas died March 4 at a San Andreas care home. San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.