“90% of everything is crap” often said by Mark W. Somerville, is Sturgeon’s Law, written by Theodore Sturgeon, one of Mark’s favorite authors. This adage was the lens through which Mark viewed life while also believing “life is about avoiding the sharp edges and pointy things”. Mark’s struggle avoiding the sharp edges and pointy things ended on the evening of March 4th of 2020 as he slipped away from this world while listening to one of his favorite songs, “Summer Rain” by Alphaville; Mark was 51. Paul Somerville eloquently stated “Mark loved deeply, but also suffered from depression deeply, which ultimately led to declining health, which took a sudden, unexpected, downward turn”.
Mark’s life sparked into existence September 2nd of 1968; born to his mother, Judith Trammel, née Sharrow and father, William Somerville in Vallejo, CA. Mark attended schools in Napa, CA and graduated from Vintage High School. Mark was a rebellious teen; one friend stated they spent “edgy days, exorcising our childhood demons” together. Mark attended Napa Valley College and studied Psychology and Graphic Design; he also began studying martial arts, specifically Tai Chi and Kung Fu. Except for living in Morro Bay, CA for six years, Mark lived in Napa his entire life. While in Morro Bay, Mark lived on a sailboat and worked in food service to support his passions for surfing, painting, and music. Mark surfed nearly every day, created thought provoking art that was shown in galleries in the Morro Bay area, and exercised his musical abilities by playing the cello with a local musician, Banjo Jeremy. Upon returning to Napa, Mark found a new love, a love of motorcycles; and stated motorcycles “gave him wings”. Mark continued his martial arts studies under the expert tutelage of Sifu Michelle Dwyer and after years of study and practice Mark earned the title of Sifu. Mark began his career as Sifu Mark, teaching Tai Chi and Kung Fu at the Synergy Wellness Center in Napa, giving private lessons, and teaching Tai Chi at the Spa at Silverado. During this time, Mark also became an adept contact juggler. In 2015, Mark suffered a debilitating back injury and was unable to continue teaching.
Mark met his wife Aileen in 2009 and the two married in 2014. Mark and Aileen spent much of their time together verbally sparringiscussing everything from politics to philosophy, using each other to practice their verbal judo. The rest of their time together was spent practicing martial arts, playing games, making music, hiking, soaking in hot water, thrift store shopping, visiting museums, attending concerts and lectures, and watching movies and sunsets. Mark’s favorite holiday was Halloween. With the house decorated as a horror movie set and Mark dressed to match, Mark would scare—I mean, hand out candy to the kids; parents and children enjoyed the activity. Kids tested their courage to see who was brave enough to knock on the door while their parents encouraged them, barely able to stifle their laughter. Throughout the years, Mark’s favorite tagline was “evil has all the chocolate and the nightmares are free”. Everyone had a grand time.
Mark, a music aficionado, liked to lie on the floor head between two speakers to immerse himself in music that intertwined melody and cacophony; like mbv (aka: the Blue Album) by My Bloody Valentine. Mark, also a voracious reader, enjoyed reading out loud to his wife. Engine Summer by John Crowley was Mark’s favorite book and like Mark, had many layers. Mark identified strongly with the protagonist, Rush That Speaks, a truthful speaker. Mark reading the following passage from Engine Summer is quite easy to imagine, “Time, I think, is like walking backward away from something: say, from a kiss. First there is the kiss; then you step back, and the eyes fill up your vision, then the eyes are framed in the face as you step further away; the face then is part of a body, and then the body is framed in a doorway, then the doorway framed in the trees beside it. The path grows longer and the door smaller, the trees fill up your sight and the door is lost, then the path is lost in the woods and the woods lost in the hills. Yet somewhere in the center still is the kiss. That’s what time is like.”
Mark, beloved by all, was sensitive, stubborn, passionate, extraordinarily gifted and talented. Mark possessed an otherworldly grace that transcended this world and he has been described as “one of the gentlest, kindest, most accepting souls on this Earth”.
Mark is survived by his wife, Aileen Gano Somerville, step-daughters Jenai and Alyssa Cooper; mother, Judith Trammel; father William Somerville; siblings, Paul Somerville, Alyssa Trammell MacDonald, Morgan Trammell and Jonathan Trammell and their spouses; Aunts Kathleen Potthoff and Janet Somerville; Uncle Jerry Somerville and his spouse; a plethora of cousins, a few by name are Anna Kim, Beth Cartino, Jason Lybeck, Marc Matsumoto, Mari Morris and their spouses; numerous nieces and nephews; in-laws; students and friends. Per Mark’s wishes, there were no services; just a direct cremation. The moment of Mark’s cremation was marked by a disturbance in the Force. To celebrate Mark’s life, hike, play a game, juggle, create art, read a book or listen to music. Mark was a huge supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and rights. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. 584 Castro Street #392, San Francisco, CA 94114. Mark was also an Ordained Minister in the Church of the SubGenius and would encourage everyone to acquire “Slack”.
Reservations for hauntings have been filled, but a wait-list is being created. If you would like to be placed on the wait-list please forward your name to the family online at www.tulocaycemetery.org. If you would like to just leave condolences and words of sympathy, please by all means do so.
Lou (Grumpy) Schuyler age 98 passed away on Thursday, March 26, 2020 at the home of his daughter and son-in-law Sue and Steve Martin of Oroville, CA. Lou was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy, sons Jimmie, Robert and Steven and brothers George and Pete. Lou is survived by his daughter Sue (Steve) Martin of Oroville, CA; a son David Schuyler of Woodland, CA; his sister Mary Rains of Manteca, CA; five grandchildren, Kimberly (Steven) Krause of Eureka, CA; Ron (Andrea) Martin of Oroville, CA; Dan (Pam) Martin of Napa, CA; Amber Cabitto of Woodland, CA and Kyle (Chelsea) Schuyler of Michigan, as well as many great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Lou was born in Boston, MA, raised in New York and moved to California as a teenager with his family. As a young man he joined the California Conservation Corps, and then in April 1940 he joined the U.S. Navy. Lou was serving aboard the USS Medussa at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941 when it was attacked. Lou left the Navy in 1945 to be with his wife and new daughter in Oakland, CA. He worked as a mechanic for Key System Transit and then was hired by Southern Pacific Railroad CO. where he as a Fireman and later a Locomotive Engineer until he retired in 1986. In 1977, Lou and his wife moved to Napa, CA; where he often ran the Southern Pacific train through the Napa Valley. In 1984 the Southern Pacific CO filed a petition to abandon its tracks through the Napa Valley. Lou was upset about this as there had been rail service in Napa for well over 100 years. Lou along with his daughter Sue formed a business called “Society for the Preservation of The Napa County Railroad” and established the motto “Save the Napa Valley Railroad”. They gathered signatures and were able to get a proposition on the ballot to force the County of Napa to purchase the railroad right-of-way. Their ballot petition was unsuccessful but raised enough interest in the railroad issue that a number of local investors got together and formed the “Napa Valley Wine Train”. The rest is history; the “Wine Train” is now a world renowned destination for visitors to the Napa Valley. Lou served as a worker during construction and as chief engineer and Road Foreman of Engines from its inception until his second retirement in 2003, when he moved to Oroville, CA to be near his daughter and family. Among other accomplishments in Oroville, Lou served as a volunteer for the Butte County Sheriff’s Dept. as a member of the S.T.A.R.S. Program where he logged in over 2600 hours. Lou was known for his kindness and great sense of humor; he was an avid fisherman and loved to play Pinochle.
Ricardo Zavala a Napa resident passed away on March 21, 2020, at the age of 46. Ricardo was born in Napa on August 2, 1973, to the parents of Luis and Obdulia Zavala.
Ricardo enjoyed watching TV shows, movies, and listening to music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. His favorite music was pop, alternative, R&B, and Jazz. He enjoyed watching and reading about Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein on the Internet and YouTube. Ricardo enjoyed going to the park, relaxing in a Jacuzzi, going to the beach and spending time with his friends.
Ricardo is a graduate of Napa High School and attended Napa Valley College. He worked for Safeway, Walmart and Target. Ricardo lived in Napa his entire life and devoted much of his time and energy as a care giver to his mom and dad.
Ricardo is the youngest of six brothers. He is survived by his loving parents, his brothers Jose Luis, Roberto, Fernando, Raul (Ralph), Miguel Ventura, and his nieces and nephews.
Because Napa County requires a shelter in place due to Coronavirus, services for Ricardo will not occur. The Zavala family expresses its gratitude and all the support received from family and friends.
Duane passed away at home with family by his side on March 20, 2020 at the age of 88. He was blessed with 37 grandchildren and 91 great grandchildren, for whom he was so thankful. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Delores.
Duane was born in 1931 and raised on the family farm in Emerado, N.D. In 1951, while serving in the U.S. Army in Alabama, he married Delores. They moved their 3 young children to Napa in 1955, where they had 5 more children in the years to follow. Duane was hired at Jobe’s Repair Shop as an automobile mechanic in 1955 and eventually bought the business with his son, and it became known as MCM Jobe’s Repair.
Duane belonged to the Vallejo Horseshoe Club and competed in horseshoe tournaments throughout the state. He also competed in several World Tournaments and was a lifetime member of Half Moon Bay Horseshoe Club.
Our dad’s greatest passions included spending time with his large family, camping in his motorhome, playing accordion and harmonica, and singing. Among his favorites were “Will There Be Any Freight Trains In Heaven,” “The Tennessee Waltz,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”
We can almost hear him now, singing and playing “The Blue Skirt Waltz” and “The Wreck Of Old 97”…
A family graveside funeral is scheduled for 10:30am, April 3rd at Tulocay Cemetery, with a memorial at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Jude, Shriners or Hospice.
Irene Purcell, 95 yrs. old, died on March 5, 2020, in Hagerman, Idaho. Irene was born, November 12, 1924 in Yutan, Nebraska. She was married to Robert Purcell for 53 yrs. Robert died in 1996 in Napa, California. Irene lived in Napa for over 40 yrs. and moved to Hagerman, Idaho last year. Irene was school bus driver for Napa Unified School district for many years..When she retired from driving school bus she worked as receptionist for Evans Airport Service for a few years. Irene was devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Children are Gloria Vaughn, Folsom, California, Patti Cox, Hagerman, Idaho and Robert Purcell, Estacada, Oregon. Grandchildren are Deborah Murphy, Monica Yarbrough, Cara Roderick, Amy Cox, Jennifer Jennings, Tiffany Alferd,Great grandchildren are Kelsey Murphy,David Yarbrough, Dayton Roderick,Kalia McGill, Aria Alferd, Abryahna Jennings, Makaelyn Jennings. Great granddaughter is Wynter McGill. There are no services planned as requested by Irene...family will have private celebration of her life.
Russel Halvor Wyer was born in 1936 and during his younger years was raised “off the grid” on a 60 acre ranch in the mountains above the Napa Valley, California. Growing up he and his brother Stan logged fir and redwood trees, helped their dad operate a small sawmill for ranch use, and learned land surveying. He graduated from St. Helena High School in 1954 and put himself through college at UC Berkeley. He graduated in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Civil/Environmental engineering.
Upon graduation he received a commission in the US Public Health Service and was stationed in South Dakota to work on the Sioux Indian reservations. He married a hometown young lady, Lucille Hough, before heading to South Dakota. After two years he was reassigned to Kansas City to work on water pollution control. When his four (4) year tour was over he, Lucille and their two daughters Yvonne and Kathleen moved to California. He obtained his California Professional Engineers license and decided to return to environmental work. They moved to Charlottesville, VA where they had their third child, Christopher. Russ worked on water pollution projects in the mid-Atlantic States before moving to Northern VA to join the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
His most interesting assignments while working for EPA included being a member of a US delegation that traveled to the USSR to establish a research program with the Soviets on marine pollution. He participated in many international meetings in London to develop rules for incineration of waste at sea. He was the EPA project manager assigned to work with the USAF to incinerate two million gallons of Agent Orange at a remote location in the Pacific Ocean. He spent a number of years managing the Superfund hazardous site cleanup program.
In 1987, he was selected to participate in the President’s Executive Exchange program which included working in the private sector for one year. This program included a trip to five European countries and Russia to meet with government officials and discuss their major management issues. The program concluded with a handshake and photo with President Ronald Regan.
He returned to EPA and worked on industrial waste management. During this period he was divorced from his first wife and later married a high school classmate, Roxetta Bostrom. He later left EPA and joined Bechtel Corp in San Francisco. He was the Project Manager on a State water control project in the East Bay area. Upon Bechtel winning a cleanup contract at the Hanford site, Russ and Roxetta moved to Richland, WA in1994. They both enjoyed the Tri-Cities and decided to stay after his retirement. He had many hobbies including fishing, target shooting, woodworking and 3D printing. He joined the Richland Rod & Gun Club and served on their Board of Directors for many years and developed two Club websites, Facebook and a data management program.
Dad was always very close to his two daughters, son, niece and his six grandchildren. He maintained a family history and prepared a Holiday Letter of the entire family’s activities each year for over 50 years.
Russ died on January 25, 2020 of natural causes. He is preceded in death by his wife Roxetta who passed away after a two year battle with cancer, his brother and parents. He is survived by Yvonne Wyer, Kathleen and Scott Armstrong, Christopher and Sandra Wyer, Tammy and Oscar Sanderson, Rona Franzoia and her family, Tom and Mike Bostrom, and his six grandchildren Bryn and Camyrn Armstrong, Brandon Escobar, Izzy, Gabby and Philip Wyer. Also two very close friends Linda and Mark Spinner.
Russ and Roxetta will be buried together at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery at Igo, CA at a date to be determined.
Victor (Vic) Burt, 100, passed away March 18, 2020 in Napa. Vic was born in Fort Morgan, CO on October 5, 1919 to Harry and Florence Burt. Soon after he was born the family moved to a ranch north of Fleming, CO. Then they moved to a farm near Sterling, CO where he started school in a one-room country school house. Then they moved into town where he attended schools until graduating from Junior High School in 1933. The family moved to Sidney, NE in July 1933 where Vic started high school graduating in May 1937. While in high school he participated in football, basketball, track, dramatics, debate team, and was co-editor of the yearbook. After graduation he worked for the Nebraska Highway Department, but soon decided he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life doing manual labor. At that time he decided to join the military, so in April 1938 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy attending boot camp in San Diego for Hospital Corps School graduating in December 1938 number nine out of 50 in the class. He served at many duty stations and served on several ships during World War II and the Korean War. In October 1957 he transferred to the U.S. Navy Fleet Reserve and retired in 1967 with an honorable discharge. The Navy was very important to him. He was a very patriotic man. Vic retired as Chief Hospital Corpsmen.
After retiring from the U.S. Navy he worked at the California Medical Facility as a Storekeeper for about eight years. He then went to work at Mare Island Naval Shipyard leaving there in 1973.
Vic was married to his first wife (Alvina) until she passed away. Later he married Yvonne. Vic and Yvonne enjoyed traveling. They visited many interesting places in all 50 states and a number of foreign countries. Also enjoyed many cruises. Vic enjoyed gardening, reading and also enjoyed fishing for many, many years at Diamond Lake, OR.
Vic was predeceased by his parents (Harry and Florence), two brothers (Kenneth and Rex), sister (Doris), son (Loel,}, daughter-in-law (Ann), and his first wife (Alvina).
Vic is survived by his wife, Yvonne, two children Elaine and Steve (Debbie), two brothers, Delmar and Bob (Dodie), numerous grand, great-grand (another one due in July), and great-great-grandchildren, and nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Vic may be made to First Presbyterian Church; 1333 Third Street; Napa, CA 94558 or Continuum Hospice Care, 5401 Old Redwood Hwy, Ste 110; Petaluma, CA 94954.
Vic’s family would like to thank the staff of Continuum Hospice Care for all the wonderful, caring help they provided. Also the caregivers from Stayman Estates.
Thomas “Mot” Charles Wilson, aged 92, passed away March 20th, 2020, in his St. Helena home.
Mot was born on Spring Mountain, August 10, 1927, at the Conradi Ranch, now known as the Robert Keenan Winery. He attended schools in both St. Helena and Calistoga, all the while working at his family’s ranch on Bale Lane. During his time at St. Helena High, he earned varsity letters in football, basketball, and track.
After graduating from SHHS, Mot joined the military, serving as part of the occupation forces in Japan. Once his military obligation was fulfilled, he returned home to St. Helena and attended Napa Valley Jr. College earning his AA degree. He then moved on to College of the Pacific where he had been granted a football scholarship. Before he could graduate, he was offered a job with PG&E that was too good to pass up. Mot returned to St. Helena where at 26, he married and proceeded to raise his three children. He, eventually, moved on to work for Pacific Telephone & Telegraph from which he ultimately retired.
Mot was an active member of the St. Helena community, helping to develop Crane Park, coach Little League, and start “Old Men’s” baseball & basketball leagues. Additionally, he was a member of the Ford Model A Club, where he could proudly display his restored cars, and a life member of the American Legion.
In 1978, he married Carol Cazet and moved back to Spring Mountain where he and Carol proceeded to establish and run Deer Run Bed and Breakfast. They happily ran the B&B for the next 28 years, enjoying their guests and winning awards like Frommer’s “Best 50 B&Bs in North America.”
Retiring for a second time, Mot threw himself into his lifelong hobbies, watercolor and traveling with Carol. They were fortunate to be able to make good friends where ever they traveled whether it be the British Isles, Europe, New England, or Hawaii. Everywhere they went, Mot took his camera, gathering pictures he would later turn into watercolor paintings.
Mot is survived by his loving wife, Carol, and their children, Craig Cazet (Julie), Bob Cazet (Michell), Scott Cazet (Tommy), Michelle Cazet Parriott (Jerry) and five grandsons, Jonathan, & Nicholas Cazet, Ty & Kasey Cazet, and Maxwell Parriott. He will be missed by his brother, Bob, and nephew, Rob, his aunt Stella, cousins Rich and RaeAnn, Arlene and Bill, Marilyn, Shirley, and their families.
Elwin Foster Clemons (Clem) 85, passed away peacefully on February 18, 2020. Mr. Clemons was born in Boynton, Oklahoma November 29, 1934. At the age of 8 he and his family migrated to Napa, California just after the dustbowl.
Elwin (Clem) graduated from Napa Union High now called Napa High School. Later he received his Associates Degree from Solano Community College. He began work at Mare Island Naval Shipyard as a welder and retired as a General Forman in 1989.
Elwin and lifetime friend Charlie Springer joined the National Guard Reserves at Fort Ord Artillery Division, in Monterey, California. He served proudly until Honorably Discharged in 1958.
Elwin met, fell in love and married Wilma Gean Wylie. Wilma had two daughters Brenda Wylie (Bandy) and Charline Wylie (Beccia) from a previous marriage. Elwin loved and raised them as if they were his own. Elwin and Wilma together had two boys, Jay Clemons and Jack Clemons. Elwin’s family meant everything to him. He made sure the family took summer camping trips, fishing excursions, outings at the coast and yearly trips to visit family in Oklahoma.
Elwin could fix or make anything. He enjoyed working on classic cars with his son. They restored a 1953 Mercury Monterey and showed it at local car shows. Together they rebuilt a 1968 Pontiac Firebird, and a 1965 Mustang that they raced at Sears Point.
Elwin was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and brother. He is survived by his sons; Jay and Jack Clemons, daughters; Brenda Bandy, and Charline Beccia, grandchildren; Wayne, Bush, Melissa Bush, Nick Beccia, Danielle Campbell, David Beccia, Brandon Clemons, Courtney Burcina, and Jamie Clemons, great-grandchildren; Nathan, Anthony, Amelia, Grayson, Lavender, Bryce and Penelope, brother Allen Clemons, and sisters; Maxine and Wanda, and many nieces and nephews. His family will miss him dearly.
In lieu of flowers donations to the Dementia Society of America will be appreciated.
John Edwin Van Fleet, 77 , passed away on Wednesday March 25th after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. John was born in Greenville CA and moved to Napa CA as a teenager where he attended Napa High school and met his life long wife Christina McCall. After high School in 1960 John joined the Air-force and was stationed on the East Coast. When he returned from the military John and Christina were married in 1965 and enjoyed 55 years of happiness together.
John started a long time career as electrician where he was a Superintendent for Steiny Electric for 25 years. He then worked for Heaps Electric and finally for Mike Brown Electric where he ended his career in retirement in 2004. After retirement John and Chris moved back to Taylorsville to enjoy the mountains, fresh air and family.
John was an outdoors-man at heart from an early age. What he loved most was to be hunting, fishing or just going for a drive in his jeep. His family would remember him as always being there with a big smile and open arms to lend a helping hand. His favorite time of year was opening day of trout season where he and his brothers would try to catch the biggest fish in order to obtain the perpetual trophy.
John is survived by his wife Christina Van Fleet, his children John A. Van Fleet (Renee), Cindy Lewis (Steve), Cheryl Riedel (Rich) and his adopted son Ronnie Sefried (Ann). John was also a very proud grandfather to his 7 grandchildren, Mackayla, Wyatt, Jena, Tyler, Trevor, Hailey, Lindsay, and little Cody. John also survived by his many nieces and nephews were very dear to his heart. The memories of target shooting, fishing, feed cows, jeep rides and long walks will always be with us.
John was the youngest son of Viola and Hammond Van Fleet. John was predeceased by his parents and his siblings Haymond Van Fleet, Robert Van Fleet, Margret Kampschmidt and MaryLou Ebersole.
A celebration of life will take place in Taylorsville CA later this year.
We would like to give special thanks the Napa Senior Living for taking such great care of John. We are grateful for your care and compassion.
Vicky Altamura Dezell, 90, passed away on March 15, 2020.
Vicky was born on December 19, 1929 in Calabria, Italy. She came to America as a young girl, and was raised in her hometown of Buffalo, New York. It was there she met Frank Altamura. They were married in 1948 after Frank’s deployment in the Army during WWII, and together they had four sons. Their life’s journey would bring them to Napa in 1965. Her family was everything to her. Vicky was a stay at home mom, raising her sons and taking pride in their accomplishments. She was a devout Catholic and was an active parishioner at St. Thomas Aquinas church. She was a long time member of the Napa chapter, Sons of Italy and she was also involved with the Napa Faculty Wives Club, taught Italian cooking and chaperoned many senior day trips through Napa Valley College’s Community Education Program. The accomplishment that she was most proud of was her volunteer work at the Kaiser clinic in Napa where she logged thousands of hours assisting her fellow Kaiser members. Vicky loved dancing, reading, bowling, playing bocce and listening to Italian opera. When her sons were grown, Vicky worked many years for Tom Gracia at Family Drug. She and Frank traveled the world; their trip to Japan being especially memorable.
Sadly, after 48 years of marriage, Frank passed away in 1996. But her journey started anew when she connected with David Dezell. Vicky and Dave had many good times together, living, laughing and just enjoying retirement. In her later years, Vicky became a devoted Golden State Warriors fan and she and Dave spent many a night rooting for them whenever they were on TV. They were happily married for 22 years, taking care of one another right up until the Good Lord called Vicky to be at His side.
Vicky is survived by her husband David Dezell, her sons Carl (Linda), Giovanni, Peter (Catherine), and Paul (Kristina). Her brother Frank Riga (Ann), and her adoring grandchildren Gina, Carl Matthew, Nicholas, Gabriel, Stefano, Cameron, Annalisa, Peter David, Cristiana, Maria, Paul Gary, and Sofia. Her brother-in-law, George Altamura and his wife Jackie, many nieces and nephews and a large extended family. She was predeceased by her parents, John and Margherita (Cannito) Riga, husband Frank Altamura and brother, Peter Riga.
Mom, you were our shining star, our guiding light, the matriarch of our family and we will miss you beyond measure.
A celebration of Vicky’s life is planned for later in the year. Any memorial contributions can be made to the Napa Valley College Foundation or a charity of the donor’s choice.