Lavern 'Vern' Williams Sr.

Dec. 9, 1930 - June 6, 2006

Delbert Lavern "Vern" Williams Sr., bluegrass music legend and Valley Springs resident, died June 6 at a San Andreas hospital of respiratory failure. He was 75.

He was born in Newton County, Ark., and began playing music with his family at an early age. He moved to California in 1952 with the U.S. Marine Corps and continued to play music, first with his younger brother, John Jr., and then in a partnership with Ray Park beginning in 1959, and lastly in 1974 with his own "Vern Williams Band," which also backed up country-bluegrass legend Rose Maddox.

He made an impact on bluegrass music, especially on the West Coast. He made several seminal bluegrass recordings and was recognized by the State of California by official acknowledgement and tribute in 1987 and by official commendation in 2001. He also received the International Bluegrass Music Association's Award of Merit, and was the first to be awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership in the California Bluegrass Association. His song arrangements continue to be covered by numerous bluegrass artists.

His videography was produced in 2004 and can be viewed at the IBMA headquarters in Owensboro, Ky.

He lived in Calaveras County for the last nearly 40 years.

Mr. Williams is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marjory; five brothers and sisters; two daughters and a son; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Angels Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

William Vernon Morrison

May 14, 1927 - June 11, 2006

Longtime Coulterville resident William Vernon Morrison died June 11 at a Sonora care home. He was 79.

He was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and had lived in Coulterville for 30 years. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was stationed in Guam and Saipan.

He worked as a bartender and enjoyed hanging out with friends at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Coulterville.

Mr. Morrison is survived by his son, Bill Morrison, of Oroville; and grandchildren, Billy Morrison, of Hemet, Riverside County, and Emily Morrison, of Oroville, Butte County.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Coulterville Cemetery.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Lucy Benning

March 29, 1937 - June 25, 2006

Valley Springs resident Lucy Benning died June 25 at a San Andreas hospital. She was 69.

She was born in Mineral Wells, Texas. She grew up in Texas and lived there until 1965. Then she moved to California. She was a homemaker and worked as a waitress for the Golden Acorn Restaurant in Galt, Cosmopolitan Restaurant in Lodi and another restaurant in Stockton. She was also a co-owner of the restaurant, Chaps, in Lodi.

She moved to Valley Springs in 1992 to become a care provider for her granddaughter, Melanie DeMarco.

She is survived by her daughters, LaQuita DeMarco, of Valley Springs, Vickie Case, of Stockton, and Beverly Weaver, of Lodi; a son, Ron Weaver, of San Andreas; brothers, Robert Walden, of San Diego, and Bill Walden, of Oregon; a sister, Deanie Mason, of Lockeford, San Joaquin County; 11 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter, Kayla Kappmeyer.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at 265 Brandy Court in Burson.

San Andreas Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.


BARNES Matthew Barnes, 34, former Sonora resident, died yesterday at an Oakdale hospital. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

COON Thomas Eugene Coon, 78, of Jamestown, died Friday at a Stockton hospital. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

LUNDBERG Donald Roland Lundberg, 78, of Sonora, died Friday at his home. Visitation is scheduled from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home. A memorial Mass will be celebrated 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sonora. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

WESTMORELAND Rhea Westmoreland, 94, of Jamestown, died Friday at a Sonora hospital. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.