Thursday, 25 February 2021


Clifford Ruzicka and wife, Nancy. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Clifford Donald Ruzicka was born on Jan. 20, 1936, in the small farming community of Pischelville, Nebraska to Henry and Marion (Hrbek) Ruzicka.

He passed away in the early morning hours of Dec. 17, 2020, after a life full of hard work, outdoor adventures, and time with his family, friends and engineering team members.

Cliff was the youngest of four children. He attended school in a one-room country schoolhouse near their farm, often the teacher’s only student.

His parents sent him to town to board so that he could attend Verdigre High School, where he was a key athlete on championship basketball and six-man football teams. One woman who knew Cliff as a young man wistfully recalled, “One night I watched him score five touchdowns.”

After graduation, Cliff entered the Army. After completing boot camp, he was sent to Ft. Gordon in Georgia to train for the United States Army Signal Corps.

Due to his ability to speak and understand the Czech language, he was hand-picked for the 7144th Signal Technical Intel Team stationed in Salzburg, Austria performing intelligence duties during the Cold War in 1954-1955.

He wore civilian clothes and blended with civilians in bars, restaurants and community events to determine Soviet troop movement while traveling around Europe in a “Volkswagen Bug.”

Upon his honorable discharge, Cliff immediately applied to college and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1961 with a degree in civil engineering. He married Marie Hospodka, and by the time he graduated from college, they had three small children at home, Joy, Jon and Jim.

Cliff worked as a civil engineer for the city of Lincoln, before being recruited by the California Department of Water Resources to design infrastructure for the Oroville Dam and bridges for the California Aqueduct Project. The family relocated to Sacramento when their fourth child, Jill, was born.

Always the entrepreneur, Cliff wanted to open his own civil engineering business. He moved his family to Lake County, where the rolling hills and distinct four seasons reminded him of his home in Nebraska.

He initially worked with Raymond Murphy Associates, a San Francisco engineering firm, designing Clear Lake Riviera, and later with Lange Brothers Construction. After starting his own company, Ruzicka Engineering, he continued to share office space with Lange Brothers.

After a divorce in the early 1970s, Clifford met Nancy Randall through mutual friends, the Hinmans, Bruns and Bullards. They were married in 1974.

On New Year’s Eve in 1976 Cliff and Nancy became parents of twins, Mark and Marla.

Cliff and Nancy were passionate about economic development and worked tirelessly to promote Lake County, encouraging investment for quality development. They worked with residential developers to create quality housing ― Riviera Heights, Riviera West, Del Lago and Westlake Marina Resort Homes ― as well as improvements at Konocti Harbor Inn, The Geysers, Homestake Mine, Work Right Shower Doors, Vittel of France, Blue Shield Insurance, shopping centers, mobile home parks, wineries and vineyard development.

He designed campgrounds, marinas, launch ramps and infrastructure for our cities, Lake and Mendocino Counties, state and federal projects, and housing and casinos for tribal governments. Recently he has been referred to as “The Cannabis Development Guru of Lake County,” encouraging legal, quality development for local job creation.

Cliff gave back constantly to his community. He sponsored Little League teams, could be counted on to sponsor and participate in community events, donate free engineering/surveying services for local improvement projects, always churches, and even mentored people through their sobriety.

Cliff is preceded in death by his two daughters, Marla and Joy Ruzicka; his parents and siblings Glen, Marcella, and Violet.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Randall Ruzicka; children, Mark, Jon, Jim and Jill Ruzicka; and grandchildren, Allegria, Avalon, Nancy and Brayden Ruzicka, and Oliver and Philip Leighton.

His Nebraska nieces and nephews, Cindy Binger (Jerold), Bonnie Riley (Calvin), Cathy White (Duane), Jackie Lechtenberg (James), Jeri Ruzicka, Steven Ruzicka (Bonnie), and Dale Kovanda (Lisa), all meant the world to him. Also his favorite hunting and fishing companions Mike Raynor of Dakota City, Nebraska, Dennis Brand of Ketchikan, Alaska, Wilford Low of San Francisco, and his dog, Piper.

Celebrations of his life will be held, future dates to be announced, in Lakeport, California, Verdigre, Nebraska, and Ketchikan, Alaska at Cliff’s favorite fishing spot, “The Roaring Hole.”

Memorial donations to the Marla Ruzicka Memorial Futsal Soccer Field planned for Lakeport’s Westside Park, the Verdigre Community Foundation or Hospice of Lake County would be appreciated by Cliff’s family.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Margaret (Maggie) Fulton was born to John and Helga Hedlund (originally from Sweden) on Jan. 27, 1935, in Los Angeles, California.

She lived in the Los Angeles area for 44 years.

She went to be with the Lord on Dec. 7, 2020.

In 1948 she, along with her mother, father and brother, Arnold traveled across the ocean by ship to Sweden to visit and meet her family she had never known. It was the trip of a lifetime.

In 1967 she married the love of her life, Karl E. Fulton, originally from Nebraska.

She was employed in a wide range of positions. One of the most educational and rewarding was her employment with Hear Center in Pasadena, California. She worked with hearing impaired babies and children and observed the remarkable and exciting technological advances accomplished to help and enable children and adults to hear and talk.

During that time, she was involved in an International Conference of Hearing with Speech specialists and experts from around the world. The Hilton Hotel in Pasadena hosted the event, and it was one of the highlights of her life.

In 1979 Karl and Maggie moved to Lakeport, California, and started a different life as retirees.

In 1986 Karl preceded her in death and she returned to work.

The Lake County Health Department was her final employer, where she worked for over eight years helping children with disabling illnesses and physical disabilities, coordinating with their parents, doctors, hospitals, nurses, and therapists.

This position was the most gratifying and heartwarming and was the grand finale of her work life as she witnessed so many miraculous cures and results.

Maggie retired in 1996 from the county of Lake. Her time and ministry since then have been a concentration of presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to searching and lost souls.

She enjoyed her church (Community Baptist Church in Nice) and their activities and attending Christian conferences. She could be a leader as well as a follower. She loved the Lord, her family, friends and deep relationships, her country, and her kitty, Heidi. She also enjoyed writing, music, art, reading, the ocean, and traveling.

Maggie is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Arnold and Janet Hedlund; her niece, Karla and her son, Steven; her nephew Keith and his wife, Jessica, and her children, Jeremy and Ruby. Also surviving are a stepdaughter, Beverly Fulton, and two step-granddaughters, Manda, and Teri.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to your favorite charities.

Geraldine Brown Johnson. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Geraldine Brown Johnson of Sulphur Bank entered into rest on Dec. 14, 2020, in her home Elem in Clearlake Oaks, California.

Geraldine was the firstborn of seven children to Jim Brown II of Elem and Elvina Hopper of Big Valley and the Hawaiian Islands.

Geraldine was born in Lakeport, California, in the month of June 1940. She was raised in the Catholic Church and her traditional Native American culture. Geraldine was the first in her family to graduate from Lower Lake High School in 1959.

Geraldine had a beautiful singing voice and used to sing at the Lower Lake Theatre House before the showings began. She was an avid musician and studied classical guitar, played piano and was inspired by her love, Elvis Presley.

Geraldine moved to Oakland, California, to attend Heald Business College and after graduating she was employed as the executive secretary of the superintendent for Oakland Public Schools. She was the president of the Native Woman’s Club she helped her mother organize in Oakland.

Geraldine married her beloved husband Hason Johnson in 1975 in Nevada.

Her interests include traveling to many continents following the Grand Prix. Geraldine was a devoted Raider fan, a longtime Bay Area Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors fan.

Her tribal civic duties included Lake County Tribal Health Charter Board Member in 1982, a part of Elem Indian Colony’s first casino on tribal lands in 1994, and Elem tribal government’s first chairwoman from 2008 to 2010.

Geraldine was a role model, possessed a strong work ethic and high standards in education. She was known to have such style and grace, she gave the very best gifts, she loved the holidays and was a mother to all her nieces and nephews.

Geraldine Brown Johnson is survived by her husband of 45 years, Hason Johnson; her daughter, Jessica Brown; brother, Jim Brown III; sisters-in-law, Gail Brown and Carol Brown; her granddaughters, Virginia and Angela; her grandsons, Xalya and Ryan; her 23 nieces and nephews and over 100 great-nieces and great-nephews and great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews who called her Grandma Gerri.

Geraldine is preceded in death by her parents, Jim Brown II and Elvina Hopper Brown; brothers, Raymond, Marvin and Cecil; sister, Sharon Brown; granddaughter Niyla Anita Brown-Gonzalez; and her beloved fur baby Elvis.

A traditional ceremony will be held for Geraldine Brown Johnson at Elem in Clearlake Oaks.

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

John Lincoln, long-time resident of Kelseyville, California, passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve in Valencia, California, six years to the day after his wife of 65 years, Gena, passed. He was one month short of his 96th birthday.

Born John Clement Lincoln on Feb. 6, 1925, in Tempe, Arizona, he was raised along with six brothers and sisters in the town of Safford, Arizona.

On his 18th birthday, he traveled to Phoenix and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After completing flight training, John was assigned to the 19th Troop Carrier Squadron where he flew C46 and C47 transport airplanes throughout the South Pacific theater in World War II.

Eventually, he flew supplies and personnel into Tokyo, Japan, two weeks after the surrender in support of American occupation efforts.

After being discharged, John moved to Pasadena, California, where he met Gena Mae Brotherton.

After a 10-day courtship, they were married in Las Vegas on Nov. 11, 1949, and settled in the Los Angeles area.

He worked for the Pasadena Water Department and attended night school where he studied freight traffic management. One of his instructors saw promise in him and referred him to a company named Products Research Corp.

While there he sensed an opportunity for a career change and accepted a traffic management position with Los Angeles Wholesale Institute and California Shipper’s Association, two membership associations that consolidated freight shipments for its member companies. There he rose quickly to the position of CEO.

During his tenure he merged the two freight shipping organizations into LAWI/CSA Consolidators Inc., moved the general offices to Glendale, California, and grew the combined company into one of the largest non-profit shipping companies in the country, employing over 400 people and operating multiple shipping facilities in many western and eastern states.

He served several terms as the president of the National Freight Traffic Association and testified before Congress on matters relevant to rail and truck shipping over the years.

Upon retirement, he and Gena eventually settled in Kelseyville. He went on to work for many years for the county of Lake as its first safety officer, developing safety protocols for the county’s many departments. Over time his efforts resulted in a significant reduction in workers compensation claim costs for the county.

Over their lifetime together, he and Gena owned and flew many airplanes, took up sailing and then motor homing.

John is survived by his three sons: Tom (Ruth) of Lakeport; Braden (Regina) of Valencia; and Todd (Linda) of Reno, Nevada. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

There are no services scheduled. The family asks that any donations in his name be made to a veteran’s organization of choice.

Betty Lou Bunch. Courtesy photo.

Betty Lou Bunch
Aug. 10, 1928 – Dec. 17, 2020

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Betty was born in Bentonville, Arkansas. She moved to Lake County with her husband William in 1978 after he retired from the military.

She enjoyed travelling, crafting, and playing cards with friends. She was a longtime member of Grace Church in Kelseyville.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, William E. Bunch; son, William E. Bunch Jr.; and brother, Floyd Campbell.

She is survived by daughter, Elizabeth (Darell) Odom of Kelseyville; sister, Mary Plueddemann of Ohio; five grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; and great-great-grandchildren.

Private interment will be held at Kelseyville Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Services of Lake County or Gideons International.

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

Mildred Pickersgill. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Mildred Elizabeth (Mancha) Pickersgill was born on Feb. 12, 1924, in Mill Valley, California.

A child of the Great Depression, she remembered taking the ferry to San Francisco before the Golden Gate Bridge was built.

Mildred was raised by a single mother along with her five siblings and worked at the local movie theater to help make ends meet. Here she ran into Clayton Lawrence Pickersgill (who apparently watched the same movie multiple times in order to chat up the pretty usher).

Clayton was soon drafted and sent off to boot camp, and then went AWOL in order to marry Mildred before being shipped off to fight in World War II.

During the war, Mildred worked as a draftsperson; she refused to learn how to type as she did not want to become a secretary.

After Clayton returned home, they ultimately moved to Lake County where she designed and drew up the blueprints for their family home. Always practical, she bragged that in 27 years she never paid a single cent of interest on her credit cards!

Mildred was always civic-minded and never hesitated to march down to the Board of Supervisors to give them a piece of her mind.

She played violin and was very active in the leadership for the Lake County Community Orchestra. She served as president of both the historical and genealogical societies.

She loved and supported her children and grandchildren without fail. Many of them received homemade stuffed animals – Pooh-bears and Piglets being family favorites.

Mildred was a pillar of our family and died peacefully on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, at 96 years of age.

She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Thea Mancha; sons, Howard and Bill; many grandchildren; one great-grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews.

There will be no ceremony: any charitable donations may be made in her name to the Lake County Symphony Association at

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

Upcoming Calendar

02.27.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
03.06.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
03.13.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
St. Patrick's Day
03.20.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market

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