Ronald Lee “Ron” McGowan was born April 10, 1943 in Berkeley, California. He attended the University of Oregon and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Sacramento State College. He was an avid outdoorsman, and loved to hunt and fish with friends and family.
He was married in January of 1971 to his lovely wife, Seana who continues to live in St. Helena.
Ron was an active member of various clubs/organizations including Rotary, American Legion, his hunting club and the AHC. What Ron was most proud of was his military service, while he served in the Navy from 1961 to 1965. He saw much of the world aboard the USS Vancouver.
While Ron was born in California, he spent some of his younger years in Burns, Oregon before settling back in the Napa Valley with his real-estate practice of over 40 years.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Burns and Marjorie, and his loving Sister, Maurine.
A Celebration of his life will be held in the near future in St. Helena. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor can be made to Operation HomeFront (www.operationhomefront.org).
Elaine Marie (Kapplinger) Pufford, 94, passed away after a brief illness on September 1, 2019, at home surrounded by her family and friends. Elaine was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife, sister, aunt and friend.
Elaine was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on January 24, 1925 to Charles August and Edna Marie Kapplinger. Elaine was one of five siblings, 3 brothers and a sister. She graduated from Saginaw High School where she was National Honor student all through high school and received the Commercial Cup, the highest honor for a business student to receive.
After graduation, Elaine accepted a job as Executive Secretary to the Superintendent of Schools in Saginaw. During this time she met and married her husband of 64 years, Arthur E. Pufford, prior to his passing away in 2016.
Elaine and Art adopted and raised two children, Arthur E. Pufford II and LuAnn Elaine Pufford. In addition to raising a family, Elaine enjoyed doing volunteer work. She served as a member and Branch President of the Saginaw branch of Needlework Guild of America, member and past President of Garden Club in San Rafael, founder of the Creekside Garden club Sonoma, member of Santa Rosa Quilt Guild, member and past President of Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club, and did volunteer work for 10 years at Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Valley.
Elaine loved spending time with her family and friends, traveling, reading, arts and crafts, and golf. She had a passion for gardening, sewing and quilting, and loved to make quilts as gifts for family and friends.
Elaine is survived by her two children, Arthur and LuAnn, grandchildren Lacey (Dave), Curtis (Amanda), and great-grandchildren Matthew, Annabelle, and Penelope.
A celebration of life and memorial tribute for Elaine will be held at the clubhouse in Oaktree Vineyard, Napa.
Renee, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother and friend, passed away at home on Friday, October 4, 2019 at the age of 79. Renee was born to the Keiser family on May 23, 1940 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She was protectively doted upon by her 3 older brothers until she left to attend nursing school at Wilmington General Hospital.
She then joined the U.S. Air Force, where she attained the rank of First Lieutenant as a medical officer. She continued working on and off as a nurse for years after settling in Napa.
She is survived by her husband, Robert Sisson, of 49 years; her children and their partners, Mark and Yvonne Morris, Sandra Sisson and Graeme Colmer; her grandchildren, Melissa and Rebecca Morris, and their families. Respecting Renee’s wishes, she will be privately cremated with no funeral services.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society. Condolences and words of sympathy may be sent to the family online at www.tulocaycemetery.org.
Our mother, Mary Jane Rossi, passed away after a brief illness on October 7, 2019 at the family home where she had resided for over 80 years.
She was an only child born on December 14, 1929 in Richmond/Crockett, California to her parents, Guiseppe (Joseph) and Irma Giacomini. Her father suffered from asthma and moved the family to a small vineyard in St. Helena seeking a drier climate in 1938. She attended Ursaline Academy in St. Helena. After her graduation, she started work at Beringer Brothers Winery as a secretary.
In June 1951, she married our father, Andrew Rossi, and our parents remained with our Nonna (grandmother) at the same home on the vineyard. Soon afterward, children followed, and Mom stayed home with us for many years. As we grew older, she returned to work at St. Helena Parochial School. Later, she worked at a Sears Catalog store in St. Helena, returned to Beringer Winery as a buyer for the gift shop, and finished her working career at Beaulieu Winery.
Throughout those years, she stayed busy with St. Helena Catholic Church and other community activities, but always found time for family and friends. Mom was an accomplished seamstress who also enjoyed knitting and travel. Her greatest joy was her family.
Mom is pre-deceased by our Father and our brother, Tommy. She is survived by her children and their wives, Ed Rossi and wife Mari of Scotts Valley, Cathy Cline and her husband Larry of Napa, Dennis Rossi of St. Helena, and Susie Bushey and her husband, Greg of Petaluma; her grandchildren Tristan Cline and his wife Courtney of Napa; Kelly (Rossi) Aikin and her husband Sean of San Diego, Sarah (Rossi) Johnson and her husband Daniel of Monterey, and Timothy Rossi of San Francisco, Shalan Crysdale and his wife Geneveve and children Charlotte & Jack; and the delight of her final years, her great grandchildren Andrew, Mackenzie, and Madelyn Cline.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, October 24th at 7:00 PM at St. Helena, Catholic Church with a recitation of the rosary. A funeral mass will be celebrated Friday October 24th at 11:00 AM at St. Helena Catholic Church in St. Helena, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in St. Helena. Following the interment, a reception celebrating Mom’s life will be at the hall at St. Helena Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, we suggest donations to St. Helena Catholic Church, St. Vincent de Paul or a charity of your choice in Mom’s memory.
Mary Lynn Clarke peacefully passed away from her life to be with the Lord, Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at the Meadowsillas in Napa California. A Graveside Service will be held at the Early Union Cemetery in Iowa at later date.
Mary was born December 8, 1927 in Early Iowa. She graduated from Early Consolidated School in 1945 and attended the American Institute of Business College.
She worked as a secretary at the Early Consolidated School. In 1951 she moved to San Francisco and worked many years as a secretary in the canning industry.
She married Fredrick D. Clarke (deceased) in 1979 and moved to Napa. She became a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Ted and Mary were worldwide travelers. Mary was an avid Giants and Warriors fan right to the end of her life. In 1997 Mary moved to the Meadows and served as the Librarian.
Mary is survived by her brother Neil Hess , sister-in-law Laura Hess, niece Jill McFarlen, and step granddaughters Sally Giancanelli and Sera Daugherty.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Ester Hess and brother Richard.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, California.
On Monday October 14, 2019, Lee Cooke aka “Cookie” of Napa, took his final slide into “home plate.”
Lee was born on January 13, 1939 in Vallejo California to Walden and Ramona Cooke. Lee grew up in Vallejo where he was well known for his athletic skills in baseball and football (holding many records), while attending Vallejo High School and Junior College.
Lee married his high school sweetheart Donna Mitchell and together they raised their three daughters Kerri, Jamie and Kristi.
The family relocated to Napa in 1969 and the Cooke home was known by family and friends as the place to gather for weekend BBQ’s, 4th of July celebrations and annual Easter egg hunts.
After becoming a bachelor again in 1977, Lee reconnected with his longtime friend Lani Lamb and in 1978 married the love of his life and together they spent 40 years making unforgettable memories.
Lee was employed as a UPS driver for 37 years. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and great uncle. His hobbies included gardening, golfing, fishing, traveling and anything to do with sports. He enjoyed the holidays, especially Christmas when the family would come to gather
Lee is survived by his wife Lani, daughters Kerri (Jim) Slevin, Jamie (Steve) Icay and Kristi. Stepson David (Jeanne) Lamb, stepdaughter Lorri (Brandon) Sax, brother in law Michael (Mary) Keelen, grandchildren Ryan, Nicole. Sam, Jacob, Jillian, Trevor, Michael, Tamra, Carlee, Colby, Robert and Cassandra . He is also survived by 6 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Lee is preceded in death by his parents, Walden and Ramona and his brother Wayne.
A celebration of life will be held in the near future. The family suggests a donation to the Alzheimers Foundation in lieu of flowers.
Danielle “Dan” Lucchesi died peacefully at Napa Senior Living on Tuesday October 8th in Napa California at the age of 92. Dan is preceded in death by his wife Caterina of 67 years and his daughter Donna.
Dan was born on September 11, 1927 in Lucca, Italy. In 1946 at age 19 with the support and guidance of American Army Sergeant Phillip Martin, Dan secured the necessary documents to board passage on a Red Cross cargo ship from Naples to New York. After gaining access to the US through Ellis Island he made his way to San Francisco where he met his wife Caterina “Kay”. Although Dan and Kay were born two miles apart in Lucca Italy, they met for the first time in San Francisco and were married in 1948.
In 1958 Dan started a successful tile and terrazzo business. His company was responsible for installing much of the BART flooring from Daly City to Concord stations. In 1962 Dan and Kay and their two daughters moved to Moraga where he lived until he retired. He enjoyed his retirement and traveling with friends in their RVs across the US. In 2011 they moved to the Meadows Retirement Community in Napa to be close to their daughter. In 2015 after 67 years of marriage Dan lost his wife Kay. After a short illness earlier this year Dan moved to Napa Senior Living.
Dan is survived by his daughter Diane Benfield and her husband Keith Benfield of Napa. He is also survived by his companion Lucy Abbott. Lucy was a very dear friend to Dan and they shared wonderful times together.
Dan was a gentle loving man and will be missed by all that knew him.
Special thanks to Krystal Smith and her staff at Napa Senior Living for their care and dedication.
Ann Smith passed away Thursday, October 17 at The Berkshire Residential Home Care facility. She was born on October 9, 1932, in Kansas City, Kansas. She left High School at the end of her Junior year and went to the University of Chicago under a special program for gifted students. Chicago was too far from home so she returned to Kansas University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree. She met her husband, Duane Smith, at Kansas University and they were married on September 3, 1953.
Ann enjoyed bird watching and playing the piano among many other things. She was the Office Manager at the Teacher’s Union in San Francisco for 17 years. Ann retired in Napa in 1989. She was best known for speaking her mind to her husband’s embarrassment. She loved to travel and saw most of the world.
Ann is survived by her husband, Duane, her sister Jeanne, son’s Tim and Andy and grandson Scott. Services will be private. A special thank you to Collabria Hospice who helped care for Ann.
Mara’s life began in Oakland on December 5, 2010. On September 30, 2019, she died there, far too soon.
For the first half of her short life she was an Oaktown girl through and through: she loved to play at Dimond and Montclair parks, stroll around lake Merritt, visit the Dimond branch library and get a cookie from La Farine on the way home. After listening to classical music on the radio in the morning at White Rabbit day care, for a long while, that was the only kind of music she would listen to.
After moving to Napa, inspired by her experience at Connolly Ranch, Mara wanted to become an “‘erbalist.” As she grew older, this ambition quickly turned to copious slime making (squishy, stretchy, puffy, clear, glittery, glow-in-the-dark, ad infinitum). As the slime recipes abounded so did her ability to trouble shoot until she achieved what she wanted. After a while, she set her sights on becoming a chef and a scientist. During the most recent summer, Mara would get up early to make her mother a breakfast of a perfectly fried egg over easy, toast, and coffee. Mara was looking forward to learning cursive and to getting a puppy after she was done wearing braces.
Her favorite thing in the world was playing with her friends and cousins. Recently, she opted to get hot lunch at school only because it meant she wouldn’t have to take the time to unpack her lunchbox and delay her playtime after school. Play often consisted of building cardboard hideouts, making carefully engineered “snail villages”, and flying down the stairs in a specially outfitted cardboard box.
When not playing with her friends or cousins, she loved riding horses, fishing with her dad, traveling with her parents, and spending time on the beach.
Mara was a great mathematician, nature lover, reader and a friend to all. She was quiet but not shy, observant with piercing eyes, fiercely independent, persistent, loyal, and kind. Despite her youth she contained the depths of an ocean.
Mara’s light will be forever shining in the hearts of those who were lucky enough to know her and survive her: her mother Dominik and father Mukund, grandmother Mrudulla and grandfather Vlado, her relatives and cousins in Croatia, India, and the United States, and her friends.
Billie Lou Bingham, 92, passed away September 24, 2019 at The Meadows in Napa. Billie Lou Antoinette Downing was born January 11, 1927 in Denver, CO to the late William and Irene Downing. She moved to Vallejo, CA and met the love of her life James Bingham in 1946 and married in 1947.
They resided in Napa and had 5 children. Billie worked several years for the telephone company and Mohrs Answering Service. Billie Lou is survived by daughter Linda, sons Donald, Barry (Kathryn), Kevin (Holly), numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and several other living relatives.
She was predeceased by her husband in 2002, son Gregory in 1996 and two brothers Don and Eugene. There will be a service at St. Apollinaris Catholic Church in Napa on Saturday November 2nd at 11:00 am.
Robert Rocky Schindler passed away at Saint Helena Hospital on October 10th 2019 he is survived by his wife Adelina Schindler, daughter Lori Smink, grandchildren Joseph Jones and Morgan Cameron, nieces and nephews Billynn Mohammad, Clifford Schindler Katie Nulty Kory Schindler Kirk Schindler Kerry Schindler Jeff Biddle preceded in death by son Joseph Milani and daughter Tammy Schindler we will be having a celebration of life on Saturday October 19th at 3 p.m. at the Rancho de Calistoga Community Center at 2412 Foothill Boulevard Calistoga all his family and friends are welcome.
“Walt” Hampe passed away early Saturday morning, October 12, 2019, at his home of 48 years on the Silverado Trail. With him were his wife of 65 years, Wheyting, his daughter Carrie, and his son Carl. With him in spirit were his grandchildren Davis, Marian and Margaret Hampe, and his daughter-in-law Frances Marion Hampe.
Walt grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Washington University, St. Louis, where he met a foreign student in his biology lab class with whom he would spend the rest of his life. After living in Germany, Berkeley, and London, Walter, Wheyting and family moved to St. Helena in 1961 to begin what he thought was a brief tour teaching high school. This began a teaching career that would span three decades at St. Helena High School.
Walt did almost everything at SHHS. He taught Algebra and science because of his chemistry degree, and he taught history and humanities because of his Masters in History. For a number of years, he was Principal of St. Helena High School. He taught thousands of students over his career and befriended hundreds of them. His goal was to bring the knowledge of the world to students who were growing up in a rural, agricultural valley in the pre-Internet era. He delighted in doing this; many, many students appreciated it.
After retiring from SHHS, Walt went to work for Sutter Home Winery, based on his long friendship with the Trinchero family. Among his many duties, he was a regular participant in community and civic activities, where he inevitably ran into his former students. It gave him great pleasure to be one of the ambassadors for this local wine family that did well while also doing good.
After retiring from Sutter Home, Walt continued his work as Board Member of the North Bay Regional Center and Napa Valley Support Services, where he helped advance that organization’s mission to improve services to local residents with disabilities. He served on the board well into his 80’s.
He remained a fixture at SHHS reunions until the very end – attending the Reunion of the Class of 1974 this past August, with the help of a walker, his son, Carl, and his grandson, Davis. It was a beautiful summer evening, with a long table set on a lawn by the vineyards and winery of a multi-generational St. Helena family. The evening sun filtered through the plum-colored west hills. Tired upon returning home, he observed: “I really enjoyed that.”
Among many things, Walt was a citizen of St. Helena and the Napa Valley. By his own measure, his life was long, happy and satisfying.
Randy Zavala, often simply called “Z”, left this world Thursday evening, September 19th, at Saint Helena Hospital, surrounded by his family and close friends.
He was born January 24th, 1956 in Stockton, Ca. to Ynes and Nellie Zavala. He graduated in 1974 from East Union High School, Manteca, Ca. Randy loved music, and played the lead trumpet in the high school jazz band, and baritone in the marching band. He was also particularly proud of his 1968 Chevy long bed truck that he’d rebuilt, and perhaps more than once got in trouble for doing burnouts in the school parking lot with it.
In June 1981 he completed his journeyman certification from Napa County Apprenticeship Program as a heavy equipment mechanic. This certification opened a door to a profession that became a lifelong passion, where he strove for excellence while always sharing his knowledge with others. He went from working at Basalt Rock Company to Robert Mondavi Winery in June 1987, and then to Opus One Winery in January 2005 until his retirement in February 2019.
Randy never faltered in the vineyards, meeting challenge after challenge while supporting those around him with his experience and genuine love for the work. He worked expertly with top-of-the-line tractors and implements from all over the world, and created long-lasting relationships with the producers; Bobard, Collard, and Boisselet. Were another vintner to come with questions regarding the newer narrowly planted vineyards and the specialized equipment needed to manage them, Randy was the mechanic they would contact. His wife eventually nicknamed him the “Engine Whisperer”.
Randy was larger than life; something recognized by all who came into contact with him. To quote his dear friend Alan, “He was an inspiration, a man who gave well beyond his means, a man filled with love and eager to share it. Even so, he was often misunderstood by those who may have been intimidated by his physique, façade and/or his high standards and his insistence that all around him achieve them. Sunglasses; bandana and baseball cap over a long black thick braid; solid chin, stern visage; overalls, work boots; immense shoulders, a body of steel (products of hours in the gym daily); deep, serious, unsmiling voice.” While strangers may have even been alarmed at first (a reaction Randy often found highly entertaining), it never took long to see past those dark glasses and catch the twinkle in his deep brown eyes, or the Cheshire cat grin that played constantly at the corners of his mouth. A committed prankster, his chuckle would start low, then erupt into laughter that shook his shoulders. He was loved for this, and much, much more.
Randy was predeceased by his beloved father Ynes Zavala, who was also taken much too early.
He is survived by his mother Nellie Zavala; his wife Josanna Borelli-Zavala; his daughters Marianna and Marcelina Zavala; his brothers Ed Zavala (Jane); Mark Zavala (Kim); Ynes Zavala (Stacey); his older half-brother Greg Zavala (Mary); former wife Carolyn Craig (Jan); and many more aunts, uncles, first cousins, nieces, and nephews.
There is a phrase of how some people are capable of leaving footprints on hearts. Forget that! Randy left boot prints, overall grease, and funky loud Tower of Power tunes on our hearts!
There will be a celebration of his life November 1st at 12 PM at the Randy Zavala Vineyard Equipment Shop, 1144 Oakville Crossroad, Oakville, Ca. All who loved him are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, his family asks that you please donate to a cancer treatment facility or research organization of your choice.
William (“Bill”) Sutliff Davis was born Feb. 1, 1952 in Aledo, a small farming community in western Illinois, where his mother, Marie Sutliff Davis, moved the year before to spend her pregnancy with her older sister Edith while Bill’s father, Robert, was recalled by the U.S. Army to serve in the Korean conflict. He was the second of four children, following behind his sister Sara (“Sally”). His years as the baby of the family were cut short by the arrival two years later of his brother John (“Jack”) who would be his roommate for the next 17 years. The family moved in 1959 from Racine, Wisconsin, to Southern California, settling in Claremont, where the fourth child, a boy named Thomas (“Tom”) was born in 1961.
Bill loved baseball and played Little League as he grew up. He kept the Angels (not the Dodgers) as his favorite home team the rest of his life, which caused some friction with his mom who became a dedicated A’s fan after moving to the Bay Area in 1972.
At Claremont High School Bill played varsity soccer, another sport he followed he rest of his life. Bill began to work as a sophomore at Claremont High School, where he graduated in 1970, after which he received a relatively low draft number — 86 out of 366 — and waited to see if he would be called up to fight in Vietnam. Fortunately, the war was winding down and he was not needed. Bill remained in Claremont, staying with the family of his best friend and later moved with them to Boulder Colorado, where he lived for more than a decade. He worked for a time stocking the shelves at Liquor Barn, one of the biggest liquor stores in the world at that time and it was here that Bill’s life long interest in wines began. He would eventually work selling wines to restaurants throughout Eastern Colorado. In Colorado, Bill waited tables and cooked tableside for many years at the Greenbriar Inn, a Michelin-rated restaurant at the foot of the Rocky Mountains that repeatedly won the Wine Spectator’s Best Award of Excellence, It was here where his life-long interest in cooking began. Bill returned to California at the end of the 1980s.
In the San Jose area, Bill continued to work in the hospitality industry at various restaurants and catering companies while attending college classes to become a graphic designer. He met and married Lenore McKenna in 1993 and they moved to San Francisco, where their first son Joseph Carter Davis was born. In 1994, Bill moved with his family to a vineyard property in St. Helena. Bill and Lenore welcomed twin sons in 1997-Andrew McKenna Davis and Wilson James Davis.
Bill worked as a caretaker on the estate providing hospitality service to the family and their friends and guests. He continued designing memorable meals in this environment and remained working for the Crocker family for 23 years until he became ill with a rare neurological disorder.
Bill will be remembered for his gentle kindness, his incredible work ethic and his devotion to ice cream, baseball and the Golden State Warriors. He was unfailingly thoughtful and generous in every way. His integrity, humor and analytical common sense brought great comfort to his family until the last days of his life.
A service to celebrate Bill’s memory will take place on the afternoon of November 21st at the arbor at Crocker Starr winery at 3:30.