Wednesday, 29 May 2024


Herb Colt. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Herb Colt, a beloved husband, devoted father, cherished grandfather, and pillar of his community, passed away on April 10, 2024, at the age of 87 years old, leaving behind a profound legacy of love, service and kindness.

Born on March 5, 1937, Herb devoted his life to enriching the minds of countless students as a devoted math and science teacher for many years. He also taught art and many other subjects as needed.

He first taught at Livermore High School where he taught for five years. He then taught at Hopland High School for five years before coming to teach at Kelseyville High School where he taught for over 40 years. He also taught at Mendocino Community College for 25 years.

His passion for education went beyond just academics; he also taught the values of perseverance, integrity, and curiosity. He taught with compassion and humor, always encouraging his students to work hard and do their best.

As a track and cross country coach, Herb inspired his athletes to reach for greatness, instilling in them the values of hard work, determination, and sportsmanship.

When not in the classroom, Herb could be found at the Kelseyville Fire District as a volunteer firefighter and EMT during the school year and an employee during the summer for 44 years. He later served as a fire chaplain for a short while. Herb’s commitment to helping others extended to teaching CPR, empowering countless individuals with life-saving skills and knowledge.

In addition to his professional and volunteer endeavors, Herb served faithfully in various leadership roles within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including as a bishop. His unwavering faith, compassion and dedication to serving others were a source of strength and inspiration to all who knew him.

Herb’s memory will forever be cherished by his loving family, friends, generations of students, and community members whose lives he touched with his kindness, generosity and leadership.

A celebration of Herb’s remarkable life will be held on Saturday, April 20, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 600 16th St. in Lakeport. The service will begin at 10:30 a.m. with light refreshments to follow.

While Herb may have left this earthly journey, his spirit will continue to inspire and uplift all who were blessed to know him.

Keith Petterson. Courtesy photo.

Eric ‘Keith’ Petterson

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Keith Petterson was “born at a young age” in Lakeport, California. His parents, Jean and Katie Dorn Petterson were pear farmers in Kelseyville.

With his two brothers, Dave and Tom, he grew up working on the farm and developed a lifelong love of farming. He continued farming his entire working life.

After high school graduation, Keith earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He “crammed four years of schooling into five,” obtained his pilot’s training and license and met and married Joyce Autry.

They moved back to Lake County, where he continued to farm the family pear orchards, and where his children, Stacia and Eric, were born.

Besides farming, the whole family enjoyed the outdoors: camping, riding horses, hunting, fishing and diving. Keith also enjoyed sailing and took many trips with his son, Eric, and cousin, Myron Holdenried, and different friends, to the Windward Island, Sea of Cortez and Tahiti.

Besides sailing, Keith traveled to several South American countries with the Agricultural Leadership Program, as well as numerous trips to visit his cousin, Reid Dorn, who grew wine grapes in Chile. He traveled to Guam and France to visit daughter, Stacia, who was living there.

In 2005 he met and married Denise Ishihara, and they traveled to Australia and Alaska, and celebrated one magical Christmas in Yellowstone National Park.

Keith loved road trips and traveled to Texas and Nebraska with “The Queen Mother”-in-law and sisters-in-laws, Vicki and Kathy, and stepson, Rob.

He loved to see the natural scenery but also the farmlands to see what crops were being farmed. But the sight that excited him the most was the tractor dealerships, where he would point out which tractor he wanted.

The most wonderful thing about Keith was his love of family and friends, many of them lifelong.

He is survived by his wife, Denise; his brothers, Dave and Tom; children, Stacia (Jim) Drape and Eric (Laurie) Petterson; stepsons, Rob (Jennifer), Rich (Kristen) and Scott (Lauri) Ishihara; and his beloved grandchildren, Chloe, Annie, Caleb, Emily, Gus, Cate, Eva, Josie, Brianna, Lucas, Ava and Dominic. He also has two great granddaughters, Ophelia and Iris. His love for them kept him going through numerous health challenges.

He maintained his positive attitude and enjoyment of life until the end when he passed away April 5 in the home in which he grew up.

He was an inspiration of strength and fortitude and will be deeply missed. He loved to take the road less traveled, and his motto was, “I don’t just travel to medical appointments, I go on adventures!”

A graveside ceremony to honor Keith will be on Monday, May 6, at 11 a.m. in the Kelseyville Cemetery on Bell Hill Road.

Lunch and sharing stories about Keith will take place immediately afterwards at the home of cousins Debbi and Brent Holdenried.

Arrangements by Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary, 707-263-0357 or 707-994-5611, or visit

Keith Petterson. Courtesy photo.

John Mackesy. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — John Mackesy, 78, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Hidden Valley Lake, California, on March 28, 2024, of cancer.

He loved his family and friends and tried mightily to live his best life until the end.

Throughout his illness, John took daily walks. For two of those four years, John was the most frequent user of the local gym.

John was married to Elsie for almost 50 years. He was father to Kimberly and Daniel, whom he himself delivered at home in Anderson Springs, California.

Also known as Rubio, Mr. Twirls and Jackie, John was a colorful character who would often break into a spontaneous dance as a way of spreading joy, love, fun and friendship.

John was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Nellie Christina Mahoney Mackesy and Joseph Mackesy from County Cork, Ireland. He graduated from the Cambridge, Massachusetts schools St. Paul’s, Sacred Heart, and Harvard (1967), where he majored in history.

Religion and history being major aspects of his life, John believed that the greatest commandment is “Love.” He advocated for peace and diplomacy, writing detailed antiwar essays that were published in newspapers around the world.

John worked as an insurance executive after graduating from college and serving in the United States Army. During the time he lived in Lake County, California, John worked as a geothermal roustabout, a rural mail carrier for the United States Postal Service and a tour guide at Beringer Winery.

When not at work in the geothermal fields, John roamed the mountains with his two Irish Setters, Peanut and Saturday.

At home, his favorite pastime was reading bedtime stories to his children. Together he and Kimberly memorized long passages from “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” John read Homer’s “The Odyssey” out loud to Daniel when Daniel was in college. His resonant voice filled the room, animating every character and instilling in his children a love of reading and literature. John’s daughter, Kimberly, grew up to become a writer.

John loved to light up the world with smiles. His mail route served some retirement homes, and when delivering the mail John would make it a point to stop and talk with the elders who would wait for him by their mailboxes. At Christmas time, he brought his family to them door-to-door singing Christmas carols.

At Beringer winery, John charmed tourists from around the world. When he was named Tour Guide of the Year four years in a row, he attributed his success to having kissed the Blarney Stone.

Always devoted to his family and community, John coached children’s sports teams for many years in soccer, T-ball, Little League and Senior League baseball, and basketball. John spent hours pitching baseballs for Danny to hit and playing catch with both kids. He founded the Middletown-Cobb Youth Basketball league in 1988 and ran it for its first two years.

John volunteered in the classrooms of both of his children, and, after they were grown, in the classrooms of his wife, Elsie. He tended to the school garden, which he had raised thousands of dollars in grant money to improve. John’s son, Daniel, grew up to become a plant biologist.

Time spent in the garden led John to appreciate the honeybees. John began photographing the bees and became an internationally recognized award winning bee photographer.

On holidays and special occasions, John was visible wearing his green Leprechaun suit and handing out gold chocolate coins. John took pride in his Irish heritage and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day enthusiastically every year. His favorite sayings included Love is Faster than LightÔ (which he invented), Double Good Luck, and Have a Hap Hap Happy Day.

Music was essential to John’s life. He listened to folk, rock and classical music, and he especially loved traditional Scottish fiddle tunes. An exuberant and appreciative concertgoer, John danced freestyle like no one was watching. At one concert, John a.k.a. Rubio/Mr. Twirls was proclaimed from the stage to be an honorary member of the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers. He sincerely believed that if all people would take the time to really listen to the music, especially music without lyrics as a language barrier, their differences and disagreements would disappear, and the world would know peace.

As an empty nester, John enjoyed swing dancing with his wife, Elsie. He boasted about their opportunities to dance with world champion Lindy Hoppers. They traveled to dance conventions before taking trips to Cape Breton Nova Scotia, Hawaii and other parts of the USA, and Ireland.

John is survived by his beloved wife, Elsie; his daughter, Kimberly Clare (husband Steve) Scheer; his son, Daniel (wife Kathleen) Mackesy; his brother, Joseph (wife Mary deceased) Mackesy; his sisters, Ellen (husband Kenneth) McLaughlin, Patricia (husband Kevin) Morse, and Joan (husband David) Harper; his nephews, Andrew, Joseph, Patrick, Albert and Peter; his nieces, Caitlin, Meaghan, Caroline and Sonia; his 20 great nieces and nephews; his cousins Joe Desmond (wife, Catherine) and Freda Desmond; his brothers-in-law, Albert (wife, Betsy) Zanger and Thomas Zanger.

His brother, James, and James’ wife, Vicki, predeceased him.

Private services are being held and planned. Those who wish to honor his memory may make donations to or veterans for

Finally, his family would like to leave you with one of John’s favorite messages: “Fill your heart with love, fill your mind with light, and send out love in all directions.”

Mary Carter. Courtesy photo.

In Loving Memory ...

Mary F. Carter

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — On April 12, 2024, Mary Frances Carter passed away at Orchard Park Memory Care unit after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mary served the community for over three decades. She retired as a nurse from Sutter Lakeside Hospital after 23 years, her last few years in the Birthing Center, and volunteered as an EMT2/Medic with the Kelseyville Fire District. She was a member of the Early Lake Lions, and served as a president of the Big Valley Lions.

She is survived by her husband, Don; her two sons, David and Glen; five grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and four great-great grandchildren.

Mary was loved by all who knew her and was especially known for her sense of humor and compassion.

She loved to travel by Don’s side while flying with him and on extended road trips. We will always miss her smile and beautiful disposition.

Arrangements by Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary, 707-263-0357 or 707-994-5611, or visit

Clayton Smethurst. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Clayton Smethurst, a beloved father, brother and grandfather, passed away on March 30, 2024, at the age of 81.

Born on July 25, 1942, in Longview, Washington, to Jack and Stella Smethurst, Clayton brought joy and laughter to the lives of all who knew him.

After graduating from high school in Astoria, Oregon, in 1960, Clayton proudly served in the Army. He then embarked on a fulfilling career as a propane gas delivery driver in Lake and Mendocino County, California, where he worked for over 30 years.

Clayton's quick wit and funny sense of humor brought smiles to everyone around him; it brought him great joy to tell everyone he was a ‘professional gas-passer.’

Clayton is survived by his sister, Judie Davis; daughter, Candace (Larry) Griffin; son, Shane (Leia) Smethurst; two nephews; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and his longtime partner, Lola.

He will be dearly missed but forever remembered for his laughter, kindness, and dedication to his family and country.

Arrangements by Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary, 707-263-0357 or 707-994-5611, or visit

Steve Fistler. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Stephen “Steve” Fistler, a man of unwavering dedication to his family and friends, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 25, at age 74, surrounded by his family.

Steve is survived by his devoted wife of 53 years, Tresa; son, Eli (Cheryl); daughter, Sally (Brett); grandsons, Ricky (Kristien) and Hunter; granddaughter, Britney; and many other extended family members.

Steve was born to Kenneth and Madelyn Fistler and grew up in Napa, California.

He joined the fire department while still a teenager, demonstrating his early commitment to public service. Steve spent two years as a seasonal firefighter for CDF before becoming a permanent firefighter at the Napa station.

Around 1976, he moved his family to Lake County, California, and soon after, he was promoted to captain with CDF.

Steve spent most of his career at Station 31 in Middletown, California, where he was known for his leadership, mentoring many firefighters, and being a trustworthy colleague and friend.

Even after retiring in 2001, Steve’s dedication to helping others never waned, and he would often stop at the scene of accidents to assist first responders.

Steve loved his family and worked hard to provide a memorable life. Over the years, he enjoyed
taking his family on camping trips, fishing, hunting and car races.

After retirement, Steve found a love for hot rods belonging to a couple of local car clubs. With help from family and friends, he restored a Chevy SS, which won him several trophies at car shows over the years.

Please join the family on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m. at Station 31 CAL-Fire station 15522 Lake St. in Middletown, in celebrating the life of Steve.

Instead of flowers, please make donations to the California Waterfowl Association:
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