Tuesday, 07 February 2023





Steven Martin Gerstmann was born Feb. 28, 1960, and passed away in Lake County on Feb. 28, 2009, due to heart failure.

Steve was born in San Francisco and raised in Marin County. He graduated from Sir Francis Drake High School, and served in the Army during the Vietnam era, stationed in Germany.

A fine musician and song writer, Steve spent time in Hawaii working as a jazz and rock musician, and married his wife, Charlotte. They later moved home to the Bay Area and then up to Lake County, scene of many happy childhood summers spent with his brother and sister, many cousins, and aunts and uncles.

Later in life Steve was a big fan of karaoke, and enjoyed watching the abundant wildlife in Lake County.

Steve is survived by a brother, Tom, his wife, Diane, and their son, Jeff, all of Petaluma; his brother, Frank (Lee) of Oakland; and his sister, Ingrid, her husband John and their two daughters, Farallon and Eleanor, of Manhattan, along with many Cassidy and Oberg cousins.

Brig. Gen. Jack Ross McMills (Ret.) passed away on March 5, 2009, in San Francisco. Courtesy photo.





Brig. Gen. Jack Ross McMills (Ret.) went home to be with the Lord March 5, 2009, in San Francisco, at the age of 77, with his devoted wife and family by his side.

Jack was born in San Mateo on May 16, 1931, to Dr. and Mrs. James O. McMills of Millbrae.

He grew up in Millbrae and graduated from Burlingame High School where he was recently (2004) inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. He went on to San Mateo Junior College where he won the Northern California J.C. Golf Championship in both 1950 and 1951. In the late 1970s and 1980s he won 11 golf championships. He holds two golf course records.

Jack attended the University of California, San Francisco, and graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Benning, GA, majoring in logistics. He was a liaison officer for the US Military Academy at West Point for the West Coast.

He served in the US Army for 33 years and stood strong through the Korean War, receiving three purple hearts.

Adding to his extensive education and military background, he was on the sheriff's department in five counties: Trinity, Glenn, Colusa, Lake and San Mateo.

In Lake County, Jack was a Sheriff's Boat Patrol deputy from 1987 to 2000. He and wife, Gratia, lived in the Buckingham area of Kelseyville for many years.

He was a member of the Rotary Club in Weaverville and Orland, and a member of the Masonic Lodge for 54 years.

Jack was currently the president of the Willow Creek Mutual Water Co. and active member of the CWA. Jack's life occupation was service to his country and community. His favorite place to be was at the ranch, duck hunting; he loved to golf and was dedicated to his family.

He is survived by his loving wife, Gratia, of Willows; sister, Andrea Peck; niece, Sharon; nephews, Scott of Manton and Norm Taylor of Lakeport; daughters, Jackie Armstrong and husband Timothy of Modesto, Tina Spessard and husband Steve of Tehama; nine grandchildren – Jimmy and his wife Nikki, Daniel, Lucas, Amber, Alisha, Bridget and husband Adam, Melissa, Jamie, Cody; and five great-grandchildren – Shawn, Brynn, Lexi, Mikalah and one on the way. Two special family members Mark and Leslie Shannon and their daughters Leah and Sarah also survive him.

Services will be held on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, at the Civic Memorial Building/Veterans Hall in Willows at 1 p.m.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to a charity of your choice.


Army officials came to give Leroy Mefford a proper military funeral. Photo by Ginny Craven.

LAKEPORT – On a cloudy Thursday afternoon, Leroy Mefford was laid to rest.

The veteran of the U.S. Army found his final resting place one of honor at Veterans’ Circle in Hartley Cemetery on Feb. 26.

Little was known about Mefford to those in attendance, save his friend John Erfurth. What they didn’t know about the Army veteran didn’t matter. It was what they did know that brought them there.

What was known was that Leroy E. Mefford was born May 17, 1921 and that he served his country with honor in the United States Army from Dec. 18, 1943 to Dec. 10, 1945.

This man died with no known living relatives. He had spent the last 30 years living with his friend John.

When it came time for burial, the Military Funeral Honors Team of Lake County ensured that their comrade received the honors he deserved – the honors he earned.



The US flag is folded and presented at Leroy Mefford's funeral on Thursday, February 26, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.




A United Veterans Council's Military Funeral Honors Team bugler plays



Stephen Joseph Vecellio, aka “The Cookie Man,” died in distress on Feb. 25, 2009.

Born Sept. 18, 1945, he was raised in the Bay Area and attended school in both Oakland and San Leandro, Calif.

He joined the US Marine Corps after graduating in 1963. He served his country for eight years in Vietnam and later San Diego, during which he was a member of the the First and Third Marine Divisions.

He continued serving his American Vietnam brothers as post commander of the Disabled American Vets Chapter 7 and was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He established and was commandant of the Marine Corps League “Frank Reasoner” Detachment of Hayward, Calif.

From 1990 to 1993 he served two terms as a member of the California's Veterans Boards, appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian and Gov. Pete Wilson. He established and served as executive director of the Veterans Resource Council, an organization sponsored by the Small Business Administration, assisting veterans who wanted to open small business.

He served on the committee for the Vietnam Memorial in Sacramento, helping to coordinate Mr. Bob Hope's San Francisco Bay Area visits and taking the mock-up of the memorial around to various groups.

During the first Gulf War, he was selected by Sen. Pete Wilson to head up “Operation COHART” (Californians Organized to help Our Reserves and Troops).

He retired from Pacific Gas & Electric after 30 years in the Oakport yard. He joined the community of Hidden Valley Lake where, for the past nine years, he attempted to enjoy Lake County.

Stephen was the son of Alvina (Babe) Vecellio and predeceased by father Joseph Vecellio.

He left behind his loving wife of 25 years, Toni Vecellio. He is survived by his two daughters, Diane Marie Vecellio of San Leandro and Victoria Camacho and her husband Rui of Pleasanton; and stepson, Brian Tuller of Santa Rosa. He also was survived by his nine grandchildren who were the light of his life: Anthony, Samantha, Jared, Roy Josh, Steven, Laura, Daniel, Angelo and Juno, all of the Bay Area; his brother, Gene and wife Jeanette Vecellio of Ripon; sister, Renee Campanella and husband Charles of Pleasanton; three nephews; one niece; two grand-nieces and one grand-nephew.

His favorite saying: “God and the Soldier, All men adore, in times of trouble, but no more. For when the war's over and trouble righted, God is neglected and Soldier slighted.”

A funeral mass will be held for Stephen at noon on Saturday, March 21, at St. Joseph Church, 21396 Highway 175, Middletown.

Family requests any donations be made to our local Catholic churches: Weekend masses at St. Joseph Church in Middletown or Our Lady of the Lake in Loch Lomand (contact at 987-3676), or daily masses at Queen of Peace Church in Clearlake (contact at 994-6618) as his family plans to attend all masses at these churches.


Ike Hill farmed for decades in Lake County, and was devoted to his family and community. Courtesy photo.


Norman “Ike” Hill was born Feb. 15, 1928, in San Francisco and died Feb. 22, 2009, in Lakeport, due to complications from a stroke.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 56 years, Lucille; father, Louis F. Hill; mother, Imogene Ayer Hill Hastain; and stepfather, Frank Hastain.  Image

As a teenager, Ike was active in the school band as well as sports. He played the trumpet in the band and earned his Block L in basketball, baseball and track. He was active in Big Valley 4-H and quite proud to be the second recipient in Lake County to earn his 4-H All Star in 1943. Ike graduated from Clear Lake Union High School in 1946 and went on to attend UC Davis for a few years.

Ike and Lucille married in 1951 and built their home in Big Valley. He was drafted into the Army in 1954, and shipped to Korea, but was sent home 23 months later after the death of his father. While at Fort Ord, Ike received first place honors in rifle competition.

From that point on, Ike farmed pears and walnuts for the rest of his life. He also provided commercial spraying and tractor work for various growers in Big Valley. For a time, he sprayed approximately 450 acres of pears. He was one of a few people at that time shaking walnut trees mechanically in Big Valley.

Ike was a member of the Lake County Fruit Exchange, later known as Mt. Konocti Growers, past president of the Lake County Farm Bureau, a former member of the Lake County Farm Supply Board of Directors, and was active in many local issues involving agriculture.

Ike was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Happy Day School, a school devoted to teaching and helping individuals with developmental challenges. This was arguably the beginning of People Services as it has transformed through the years.

Ike suffered a stroke in 2001 and although at times his memory would fade, he got along just fine. He enjoyed riding his Honda four-wheeler to Finley to get the mail, shoot the bull with his cronies and, of course, go to Angel’s Rock House for a tortilla and “coffee.” Ike will always be remembered for his unwavering devotion to his wife and family, especially his daughter, Millie.

After Ike lost Lucille on June 1, 2008, life was never the same for him. What kept him going was knowing he needed to look out for his daughter Millie, which he did, always.

Ike is survived by his daughter, Millie; son, Louis; daughter-in-law, Cyndi; granddaughter, Kylie; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews; and many, many dear friends.

Graveside services will be held at Hartley Cemetery on Thursday, March 12, at 11 a.m. Arrangements are by Chapel of the Lakes.

Friends are invited to attend a potluck gathering at the Finley Grange following the service.

Donations in his memory may be made to Big Valley 4-H, 5618 Oak Hills Lane, Kelseyville, Ca 95451.


Lori Anne Bond-Keech. Courtesy photo.



Lori Anne Bond-Keech passed away unexpectedly at the age of 48 on Feb. 23, 2009.

She is survived by her husband, Steven Keech of Lucerne; daughter, Chelsea Jill Bond; parents, Frank and Connie Prim of Petaluma; sister, Jill McNaughton of Petaluma; brother, Mike Mann of Renton, Wash.; stepbrothers, Greg and Matt Prim; nieces, Coryn Bush, Alysha and Amanda McNaughton, Isabella Prim; nephews, Ryan Mann, Nick and Zach Prim; uncle and aunt, Craig and Carolyn Bond; cousins, Angie, Melissa and Carly Bond of St. Helena; and mother-in-law, Dr. Catherine Lucas of Berkeley. She was preceded in death by her father, James Miller.

Lori grew up in Petaluma, was a Petaluma High School graduate and received her degree in journalism.

She had an amazing sense of humor, loved to read, was an avid sports fan and very proud of her daughter.

Services will be held on Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m. at Grace Church, 1314 Spring St., St. Helena. A celebration of her life will be held at the church following the service.

Family requests in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Miwok Valley Elementary School, 1010 St. Francis Dr., Petaluma, CA 94954 in honor of her daughter.


Upcoming Calendar

02.07.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
02.08.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
100+ Women Strong in Lake County
02.09.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
02.09.2023 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Middletown Area Town Hall
02.11.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
02.12.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
Valentine's Day
02.16.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown

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