Jane Whitaker Mead was born on August 13, 1958, in Baltimore, Maryland, and died on September 8, 2019, at her home in Napa, California.
A poet of national distinction, Mead was educated at Vassar College, Syracuse University, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. She was the author of five books of poetry and a chapbook, all of which were given new issue in To the Wren: Collected and New Poems 1991-2019, published in August by Alice James Books.
Much of Mead’s poetry was informed by her devotion to the land, a bond deepened in 2003 when, following the death of her father, she left her position as tenured Poet in Residence at Wake Forest University to oversee the management of her family’s vineyard, Mead Ranch, in Napa. A recent review of To the Wren in Publishers Weekly noted “The natural world, in its bounty and brutality, is a grounding force for Mead, a reminder of a time scale beyond the human span.”
Mead’s fifth book, World of Made and Unmade, an account of her mother’s dying, was long-listed for the National Book Award and a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize, about which the judge’s citation stated “Her language serves loss as a bell serves its chime….These resonant poems discover what it means to live, die, and come home again.”
Mead was the recipient of grants from the Lannan Foundation, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Her poems appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Poetry, New England Review, Colorado Review, Virginia Quarterly, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, and The Best American Poetry, among other publications and anthologies.
A beloved teacher, her tenure at Wake Forest University was complemented by teaching positions throughout her career at Colby College, Southwest Texas State University, Washington University, New England College, Drew University, and the University of Iowa.
An ardent advocate for the writing and reading life, Mead was co-owner, with poet Jan Weissmiller, of Prairie Lights, an independent bookstore in Iowa City, where she was a longtime resident, dividing her time between the Midwest and California, where working alongside her dedicated vineyard manager Ramon Rodriguez and his wife Silvia Rodriguez, she nurtured the vitality of Mead Ranch, producing zinfandel and cabernet grapes that supplied noted northern California wineries.
A committed conservationist and proponent of eco-justice and social justice, Mead championed issues as varied as water rights and the rights of immigrant workers. She sat on the board of her family’s foundation, the Giles W. and Elise Mead Foundation, dedicated to preserving and improving the environment, the advancement of medical science, and other social and humanitarian issues.
Mead’s respect and regard for animals was legendary. “The history of man is the history of animals: / door to the spirit world…” she wrote in her long poem “The World Per Se.” Over the decades, she cared tenderly and diligently for the animals whose home she shared; her dogs Alice, Toby, Emma, and Leo played especially key roles in her life and her poems.
Equally legendary was her generosity of spirit that touched the human lives around her, from family to friends, employees, and others. Caring deeply for the happiness and well-being of those whom she loved, she often gave of herself through time, material support, or a gentle imparting of wisdom and humor that left indelible lessons in quiet, but influential, ways.
Mead was preceded in death by her father Giles W. Mead, Jr., a former Harvard professor of ichthyology and past director of the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, and her mother Nancy Whitaker Mead Mahoney, who owned a prosperous pecan farm in southern New Mexico.
She is survived by her siblings Parry Mead Murray (William), Giles “Whit” Mead (Laura), Richie Mead (Tamara), and Gale Mead; nieces and nephews Shane and Aspen Ahmad, Alexandra Mead Rothing (Matthew), Mitchell Mead, Russell and Kevin Mead, and Peter Murray; and grandnieces and nephew Quinn and Audriella Ahmad and Lila Jane Rothing; as well as her ranch family the Rodriguezes and their children Israel, Jessica, and Eric. Along with family, she is mourned by a world’s worth of committed and profoundly saddened friends.
Mead’s death marked the conclusion of a relentless and unwavering response to cancer, against which she held out hope to the end, testament to the words she wrote in the final stanzas of her poem “The Origin,” from her third book The Usable Field:
. . .
Twice I have walked through this life—
once for nothing, once
for facts: fairy-shrimp in the vernal pool—
on the failing vines. Count me—
among the animals, their small
Count me among
the living. My greatest desire—
to exist in a physical world.
Memorial services are being planned for Napa (springtime at Mead Ranch), Woods Hole (Cape Cod), Iowa City, and New York City.
The family recommends any organizations of choice that match Jane's range of concerns as potential recipients for those who might wish to make a donation in her memory.
Carol June Lyons (Jennings) passed peacefully with her family by her side on August 28, 2019. On March 21, 1933 she was born in Silver City, Iowa and in 1936 her family moved to Oakland, CA. Shortly after they moved to the Napa Valley and as a young child they lived on Atlas Peak where she and two of her siblings attended a one-room school house. Some of her fondest memories were of time spent on Atlas Peak.
She graduated from St. Helena High School in 1950. In 1951, Carol married Wesley “Red” McDaniel and together they had three children. She and Red belonged to many horse clubs such as Rolling Ridge Riders and Pope Valley Ropers & Riders. Carol & Red divorced but stayed in each other’s lives as friends. Carol maintained a wonderful relationship with Red and his wife Lynda McDaniel.
During the 1970’s, Carol worked at Safeway in St. Helena. In 1980, Carol married Paul Lyons Sr and they moved to Mariposa where they built a home “The Sweet Pines Ranch” After a few years the coast called their name and they moved to Reedsport, Oregon where they fished together and met many great friends. In 2000, Paul & Carol moved to Yountville, CA to be close to family again.
Carol loved sports, mostly baseball and basketball, but watched it all and enjoyed rooting on her favorite teams. She also loved to play cards at different celebrations with the family.
Carol will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by many. The list of loved ones Carol leaves behind is LONG. She is survived by son Mike McDaniel (Kathy), daughter Cindy Armstrong (Rick), daughter-in-law Ruby McDaniel and step-daughter Diana Monez (Dan); 6 grandchildren: Mike McDaniel II (Lacey), Michelle Pramuk (Mike), Mitch McDaniel (Mayra), Dylan McDaniel, Jim Armstrong (Ashley), Amber Hillabolt (Ryan), along with step-grandchildren Robert Buehler & Mindy Monez. Carol also has 10 great grandchildren whom she loved very much, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Our hearts are at peace knowing she has joined her siblings Ken Jennings, Betty Schulte, Marian Matsiak, Patty Hendrickson, husband Paul and beloved son Rick.
A celebration of Carol’s life will take place on Sunday, October 27th, 2019 from 12pm – 3pm in the clubhouse at Bella Vista Park in Yountville.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to:
Veterans Home of Yountville, 260 California Dr., Yountville CA 94599
The Music Man has a new venue. Bill passed away peacefully after a yearlong battle with cancer. A native Californian, he grew up in Berkeley graduating from Berkeley High School in 1957.
Bill worked for PG&E in the Concord area for 10 years before changing over to AT&T and eventually working and retiring (1991) in Nevada County.
Music was a passion for Bill. He played trumpet in many bands, mostly in the Sacramento area and piano/keyboard on weekends and for special occasions. He played at Powell’s Steamers in Placerville with the Jimmy Rivers Band every Sunday for 24 years. Bill was involved with Bob Ringwald (Fulton Street Band) at the beginning of the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee in 1974. He was associated with many Jazz bands such as Stan Mark, Gramercy Six, K Street Ramblers, the Nutones, Love Boat and, most recently, Bill Dickson Trio at the Meadows in Napa with Gary Reynolds and Tony Kaye.
He was predeceased by his wife of 40 years, Marie, brother, David Dickson, sons Mark and Chris, and grandson Curtis. He leaves behind his wife Holly Holiday Dickson, son Scott Dickson, grandson Devin Dickson, sister Dorothy Beatriz (Val), former wife Sharon and extended family members Bonnie Bickel, Deborah Daniell, (daughters), Jessica, Michael Walenter (Francesca), Shawn Callahan (Amy), Kelly Tirri, grandchildren, Michael, Brandon, Levi, Gracie and Jake (great grandchildren), and many nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind extended family members including Perry Quinn and family (Colorado) and Jeff Holiday (Napa). He is dearly missed by his beloved cat Missy.
A special thanks to Kaiser for all their care and help during his many treatments and Kaiser Hospice for their TLC. A very special thanks to Willy, his caregiver and task master for the past year. He encouraged Bill to keep on going as best he could.
Bill had many farewell celebrations prior to his passing and did not want a Memorial Celebration afterwards.
The family suggests donations be directed to your County Humane Society or a charity of your choice. Memories and notes of sympathy may be shared at claffeyandrota.com.
Our sweet Aunt Betty passed away peacefully on September 7th, 2019 at the age of 97 years old. She was born to Joseph and Ima Burch at their home on Randolph Street in Napa. In 1939, she graduated from Napa Union High School. One year later, she married Herb Winfrey of Napa. It was a beautiful backyard wedding at her parents’ home. They had no children. Uncle Herb passed away in 1988 after 48 years of marriage.
Aunt Betty was also preceded in death by her brother, Joseph Burch; sister, Lorraine Price; niece, Jackie Price; and nephews, Joseph Burch and Michael Price.
Aunt Betty was a caring Godmother to JudiAnn DelBiggio, Cindy Radi Huntly, Darcy Radi Sims and Erika Radi Dooly. She was also a wonderful aunt to Jerry Burch (Sally), Greg Price (Nancy), Tim Price (Kim), Bill Cox (Gail) and many great nieces and nephews.
Growing up she was active in Rainbow Girls assembly #7 of Napa and received the Rainbow Cross of Colors. Aunt Betty was also involved with The Silver Spray Order of Eastern Star and with Rebecca’s.
Aunt Betty worked for 14 years at Cameron shirt factory and 25 years as a bookkeeper at the Napa State Hospital. After retirement, she and uncle Herb moved to Hidden Valley Lake where she resided for 34 years. Aunt Betty loved to volunteer at the Local Fire Sirens, Stonehouse Historical Society as well as the Middletown senior center.
Aunt Betty’s smile would light up any room and she will be truly missed by all of us. At the request of our aunt, there will be no services. Our family would like to thank Collabria Hospice for helping us through this journey.
Martha Combs Abbott was born in St. Helena, California, on October 7, 1940, and passed away on August 29, 2019, at 78 years old. She is preceded by her parents, Thomas L. Combs, Sr. and Marth Combs Stevenson, and half-sister Francis Tofte. She is survived by her half-brother, Thomas L. Combs, Jr. and sister, Catherine Johnson; ex-husband Milton M. Abbott, Jr. (Naomi); 2 children, Milton Colby Abbott (Pamela) and Leslie Abbott-McBroome (Bill); 5 grandchildren, Brittany Mines (Rob), Christopher Abbott, Ashley Abbott-Wormington (Todd), Brittany McBroome, and Travis McBroome; and 3 great grandchildren.
Martha was raised in Napa, California where she graduated from Napa High School in 1956. After marrying Milton M. Abbott, Jr. in 1959, she lived in Napa and Fremont, California, until 1967 when the family relocated north to Humboldt County, where they resided in Arcata and McKinleyville. During that time, Martha worked for Humboldt State University in the Library and Purchasing Department. After the dissolution of her marriage in 1980, she returned to the Bay Area where she worked for the Sonoma State University, Napa Junior College, and the California Conservation Corps. In 2003, Martha retired from the California Conservation Corps., moved back to McKinleyville to be closer to family, and worked as a resident manager at Azalea Gardens for JLF Construction. Martha spent her last years in the loving care of her daughter, Leslie Abbott-McBroome.
She enjoyed traveling, golfing, bowling, reading books, and spending time with her pets, friends, and family. Martha was extremely proud of her children and grandchildren. She belonged to Arcata Chapter #207, Order of the Eastern Star and served as Worthy Matron in 1977, was a past grand officer, as well as Bethel Guardian for Arcata Bethel 116, Order of Jobs Daughters. Martha led a full life and left an impression on those who knew her. She will be greatly missed.
Services for Martha are being provided by the Order of the Eastern Star and Rev. Harriet Nelson on Sunday, September 15th, 2019, at Six Rivers Masonic Hall, located at 251 Bayside Road, Arcata, California at 2:00 p.m. Refreshment and fellowship will be provided following the service.
Rosemarie “Rosie” Gardner passed away peacefully in Napa on September 9, 2019 at the age of 80.
Rosie was born in Crailsheim, Germany, on March 12, 1939, and in her younger years endured the hardships of World War II, where she also discovered the kindness of the American soldiers who introduced her to delicacies such as oranges and chewing gum. Later, she earned a certification in home economics, which she put to good use taking care of her family, friends and any strangers who came her way. Rosie moved to Napa in the early 1970s but never lost her lovely German accent.
Under blue skies on a December day at Lake Tahoe, she married Ed Gardner, an Iowa native, who spent his career at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Together, they made their home and raised their children in Napa for forty-six years. When asked why she stayed in Napa, she always replied, “It is the most beautiful place on earth.”
To meet Rosie was to be her friend. With a warm smile and quick wit, Rosie filled a room despite her short stature. She was a master with a crochet hook, a clever crafter, a sharp businesswoman, a tireless volunteer and a beloved part of the Napa community. Many of you have celebrated the birth of a child, had them christened, or even kept yourself warm in one of her beautiful creations. Even well into her 70s, she could be found holding court at her booth at the Napa Farmers Market. You also may remember seeing her driving around town in her car with her personalized license plates “R U ELVIS.” She never gave up looking for the King.
She loved her family, and everyone was part of her family, which may be why she was known by so many simply as “Oma.” A lover of all animals, she could never bring herself to replace her beloved Italian Greyhound, Lina. She loved her grandchildren almost as much as she loved that dog.
She is survived by her devoted husband Ed; her son Thomas, his wife Sally, and their two sons Sam and Joey; son Sean and his wife Sarah; daughter Kathleen, her husband Donald, and their son Calvin; and stepson Dennis, his wife Rene and their daughters Deanna and Megan.
Her family would like to thank her brother-in-law John Gardner and extended family, her physicians Dr. Adhye, Dr. Srebro, and Dr. Anderson for their compassionate and devoted care over many years as well as the staff of Queen of the Valley hospital for their dedication.
Donald John Kocarnik was born and raised in Scappoose, Oregon, graduating from Scappoose High School. Upon graduation he enlisted in the US. Air Force, serving in Pusan, Korea then stateside until discharge. He married Shirley Lee in 1955, residing in Utah and California.
In 1980, he married Elaine Kalamaras of Napa, CA. For many years he worked at Mare Island Naval Base, retiring in 1994. He enjoyed traveling with Elaine, garage sales, fishing, restoring antiques and his volunteer activities.
Don also enjoyed dancing and socializing with friends until the time of his death. He was also involved with parish ministries, and the Catholic church later in life. Don passing was preceded by the death of his wife Elaine, Parents, Louis & Julia Kocarnik and sister Edith. He is survived by his sisters, Lorraine Davidson, Beaverton,OR and Mary Ellen Schaeffer of Santa Maria, Cal. Survivors also include stepsons; John Kalamaras of Newport Beach, CA and Nick Kalamaras of Las Vegas, NV; step daughters Vickie Erickson of Napa, CA, Christine Bledsoe of Boise, ID, and Stephanie Faulkner of Newport, OR; as well as his extended family of grand children and nieces and nephews.
Internment to be at Willamette National Cemetery, Portland OR, with full Military Honors. Donations may be made to St. Polinaris Catholic Church in Napa or your favorite charity.
Rosella, long time resident of Napa Valley, passed away suddenly at her home in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Friday, July 12, 2019.
Rosella loved to surround herself with beautiful and interesting things and was well known for her green thumb. Anyone who ever visited the half-acre garden she created at her home on La Homa Drive in Napa remembers the abundance of gorgeous blooms and aviary full of colorful finches and canaries. She also loved her toy poodles and cats, of which she owned several throughout the years, but her beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren were by far Rosella’s absolute greatest joy.
Born in French Camp, California, on October 1, 1933, to Rose and Vernon Lentz, Rosella graduated from Fairfield’s Armijo High School in 1951, and married Curtis Nichols on August 9, 1953. In 1963 the young family moved to the Napa Valley. Once all her children were attending school Rosella went to work for the Napa Valley Unified School District Transportation Department until her retirement. After retiring, she enjoyed gardening and travel with her second husband Darrell and mother Rose. In June of 2018 Rosella moved from Napa to Florida’s beautiful Treasure Coast, near her daughter’s home.
Rosella is survived by her son, Larry Nichols (Donna), daughter Lynda Nichols (Michael Hatten), grandchildren, Matthew Mulczynski (Sara), Jessica Darbyson (Gabe), and Samuel Nichols, great grandchildren Gwendolyn and Owen Darbyson, and Chloe Mulczynski, as well as her brother, Onis Lentz (Olga). She was preceded in death by her son, David Nichols, and her husband, Darrel Carr.
A graveside service will be held at Tulocay Cemetery on September 20th at 10:00am. Friends wishing to attend are welcomed.
Jeanette Marie Doxsee passed away on September 1, 2019 in Napa, at the age of 81. She is survived by her beloved husband Loren Doxsee, daughters Denise and Lisa (Chris), grandsons Ryan, Alex, Jack and Troy, and brother Gordon Christianer.
Jeanette was born in Oakland, California and graduated from Oakland High School. It was there that she met and married her high school sweetheart, Loren Doxsee. Jeanette and Loren were married for 61 years.
At a young age Jeanette displayed a love for classical music that continued throughout her lifetime. She played violin in her high school orchestra and excelled at piano. She especially loved playing her Steinway grand piano. Jeanette was involved with the Napa Valley Symphony League for many years and served as president for three years. She particularly enjoyed coordinating the summer music series at Mondavi Winery which served as a fundraiser for the symphony. In later years she supported and enjoyed the music of the Napa Valley Jazz Society.
Jeanette worked as a secretary for an insurance agency in Oakland but left work to focus on family. In 1976, the Doxsees moved to Napa, settling in Browns Valley. While raising her girls, Jeanette enjoyed participating in their school activities including serving as a school librarian, Brownie troop leader and PTA member. When her girls went off to college Jeanette returned to work at the Napa Valley Volunteer Center and as an employee of the Napa Valley Symphony.
Jeanette enjoyed playing tennis, sewing, researching family genealogy, the fellowship of her PEO sisters (particularly her best friend of many years Suzie Johnson), gardening, doting on her cats and spending time with her family, of whom she was extremely proud. She was always curious about the world and had a complete collection of National Geographics which she enjoyed sharing.
Jeanette and Loren shared a passion for music, travel, fine food and wine. Together they enjoyed exploring the world, attending live music and theater events and frequenting their favorite restaurants and wineries in the Napa Valley.
Sadly, Jeanette’s later years were blurred by Alzheimer’s Disease. A private memorial for family and friends will be held at a later date.
Charla passed away at home on Friday, August 23 after a hard fought 5 year battle with breast cancer. She was 63. Charla was born to parents Charles and Dorothie Slade on July 28, 1956, in Waco, Texas. After relocating to Wheatland, CA in 1963, Charla spent her entire youth in Wheatland and graduated from High School in 1974.
Charla eventually relocated to Napa, CA during 1980 and worked in various administrative positions in the Winery Industry for 30 years. Charla was also a 911 dispatcher for two years. Charla retired from Guala Closures in February 2019.
Charla was passionate about animals and was successful in breeding and showing boxers since 1981 under the name Cabernet Boxers.
Charla is survived by her husband of 14 years, Gary Goudeau; mother Dorothie Slade; sister Sandra Suetta; and brother Philip Slade. Memorial services will be held at Grace Church of Napa Valley on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 11:00 a.m. In Charla’s honor, donations can be made to your local animal humane society.
David Ladley Swanson, 53, of Durham, North Carolina, died on September 2, 2019. David was born to Lois and Bill Swanson in 1966. He attended high school at Justin Siena in Napa, California, and college at Brown University. He received his masters degree in International Public Policy from Duke University. David married Sally Rosenberg in 1992, and they had two children, Terra, now 26, and Hayden, 25. For the past 25 years, he worked as an investment advisor with his father.
David died of sudden cardiac death while hiking Roan Mountain. Hiking was one of David's passions – he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and trails around the country and the world. But David had many more passions. He worked tirelessly to improve health care in developing countries, especially in Africa. He wrote prose and poetry and songs. He fought for racial and economic justice. He loved music deeply – both listening to it and performing it. He danced brilliantly. He surfed with gusto. He threw himself into friendships and had so many friends, new and old. He loved nature, from the farm he worked on outside of Durham to every wild place he could find.
Most of all, David had a passion for family. Everyone in his family – his parents, his brothers and sister, his nieces and nephews, and especially his wife Sally, his daughter Terra, and his son Hayden – knew that David loved them unconditionally. His joy in being with family was boundless and contagious and effortless. David was a model of how to be a loving spouse and nurturing parent, and his and Sally's home is a place of laughter and true affection.
David lived a life that was true to his deepest values. He worked hard to make the world a better place. He accepted everyone for who they were. He brought so much joy and life and love to those around him – to family and friends and strangers. His spirit and energy will live on in everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
David was preceded in death by his mother, Lois. He is survived by his father, Bill; his wife, Sally; his two children, Terra Camille and Hayden Ladley; his brothers, Ed and Jonathan; his sister, Kristen; and his many nieces and nephews. Should friends desire, memorial contributions can be made to the Equal Justice Initiative (www.eji.org) or the Sunrise Movement (sunrisemovement.org), two groups close to David's heart.
Daniel “Dan” Del Santi passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and friends on August 27, 2019 at his life-long home in Wooden Valley, at the age of 94.
Dan was born March 8, 1925 at home in Alta Heights-Napa to Italian immigrants, Baptista and Maria Del Santi. Dan served in the U.S. Navy during WW-II and worked for 40+ years as a Supervisor at Basalt Rock Company. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, dogs, mushrooming, herding cattle, grafting trees, playing Uno, making beer and wine, growing vegetables, and holding “court” with friends under his walnut tree. Fondly known as the “Nut Man” of Wooden Valley, Dan provided nuts to all.
Dan was preceded in death by his parents, brother Joe Del Santi, brother-in-law Henry Timm, sister-in-law Claire Del Santi, nephew Jimmy Del Santi, and niece Janet Collins. He is survived by his loving sister, Rena Timm of Napa, nieces Joanne Ellis (Yuba City), Dr. Robin Timm (Napa), and several great nieces and a nephew. Dan also had a large and loving extended family including Rosie and Jake Wheeler, George Shanks, Susan Sedillo, Gilman Clark, Donnie Pridmore, Mike and Ryvonne Bruno, Jeff Dunlap, Danny McQueeny, and many more.
The family would like to thank the caregivers and staff at Collabria Hospice for their care. Memorial donations in memory of Dan may be made to the Napa County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, 942 Hartle Court, Napa, 94559. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.tulocaycemetery.org
A celebration of Dan’s life will be held at a later date on the Del Santi Ranch and will be welcome to all who knew and loved this generous and caring man.