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.
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.
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.
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.
Our loving Father and Grandfather Richard passed away peacefully on the morning of Wednesday March 4th at the age of 85. He is predeceased by his loving wife of 52 years, Mary Catherine Lipanovich in 2009, and daughter Joanne Lipanovich in 1998. He is survived by his sons Michael and John Lipanovich and daughter Lisa (Husband Jim) Garton; and seven grandchildren: Tony, Taylor, Luke, Rachel, Nolan, Jennifer, and Leah. Richard was born and raised in Oakland, Ca. His parents John and Rosina (Noni) Lipanovich came to the US through Ellis Island in 1912. He was the youngest of five with three brothers and one sister: Frank, John, Anne, and Tony. Richard graduated from Oakland High School where he ran track. He then joined the US Army where he served for two years. Richard then worked briefly at Southern Pacific Railroad until he took a job at Martinez Fire Department. Richard then got hired at Richmond Fire Department where he worked a long career and retired in 1986 as a Captain.
Richard and Mary moved to Napa in the late 1960s where they built their family home in east Napa. Richard had many interests which included his love for dogs. He started his own kennel, Vista Hills, where he trained and showed German Shepherds from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. In the 1970s, Richard acquired a Plumbing Contractors License where he plumbed many homes throughout Napa Valley. Richard also obtained a Commercial Fishing License and spent time fishing the Pacific coast and would sell his fresh catch on the San Francisco piers.
As an Oakland native, Richard was a lifelong fan of the Raiders, A’s, and Warriors. Late in his life, Richard dedicated his time to playing Bocce Ball at the Senior Center in Napa where he met some great friends. Richard had a passion for fishing. In retirement, he started a business, Richard’s Rods and Reels, where he built custom fishing rods of all kinds. He also repaired fishing rods and reels for many customers. Richard enjoyed fishing all over but especially loved fishing at Lake Pyramid and Eagle Lake.
Richard always dreamed of living in Baja when he retired. Richard and Mary followed that dream and bought a home in Los Barilles, Baja California Sur, Mexico in the late 1990s. They resided there about half the year Into the 2000s. Richard would fish for marlin, tuna, dorado, and other fish on a daily basis while Mary would spend time with friends enjoying the sun and beaches, just waiting for Richard to get back from fishing. They both made many friends in Los Barilles and cherished their time there. Richard also lived in Cool, Ca before returning to Napa in 2015.
Overall, Richard had a wonderful life and was loved by so many people. He will be missed but the family finds comfort knowing that he is reunited with Mary. A Celebration of Life Service will be held and the date is to be determined.
Luis Alfonso Mora, 39, passed away peacefully on March 17th 2020 at his home after his long courageous fight with Bile Duct Cancer.
Luis was born on June 15th 1980 in Napa to Alfonso Mora and Maria Luisa Torres. Luis attended St. Helena High School and started his 20 year career at Grgich Hills Cellars in Rutherford where he was the Cellar Master. Luis married his soulmate, Nicole Raquel Brundige on Feb 2008. They raised 4 kids together Mona, Mia, Mary Jane and Nico. Luis was a dedicated husband and devoted father, whose children were the most important part of his life. He enjoyed hiking, biking, and taking trips to Tahoe with his family. Luis had a contagious smile and personality. He would light up every room he entered. He loved life and was a happy person.
Luis is survived by his wife, children, siblings, and parents.
We will all miss him very very much and while we wish his time was longer with us at least we can find peace in knowing that he is at rest and no longer in pain, joining the other angels in the heavens. The memorial service will be postponed for now due to the current Covid-19 pandemic however if you can find it in your heart to take a few minutes of silence to remember your favorite moments with him, his smile, and infectious personality I am certain he would appreciate it as he watches from above! He will be missed and loved by all that had the privilege of calling him Family & Friend. We love you and will never forget you Luis!!!!