Monday, 25 September 2023


Val Hanchett. Courtesy photo.

Val Howland Hanchett was born May 8, 1945, and died on June 9, 2023. He was 78 years old.

He was born in Everett, Washington on Victory in Europe — or VE — Day while his dad was still engaged in the conflict in the Pacific.

Growing up in a newspaper family, Val would find himself helping from the age of 10 when his family moved to Woodland, Washington.

His parents, Ross and Bonny, had purchased the Lewis River News and that is where Val got his first taste of the “back shop” and hot metal printing. He learned how to operate the large sheet fed press and by the time he was a teenager, he was setting type on the Mergenthaler Linotype.

Val was among the last of the printers to know the craft well, perfecting his printing and graphic arts skills from the time of hot metal through the transition to cold type.

After owning and operating the paper in Woodland, the family, which now included two sisters and a baby brother, moved to Lower Lake, California, where Ross and Bonny had purchased the Clear Lake Observer.

Val began 30 years of helping to develop one of the best weekly papers in Northern California. He toiled many hours alongside his Dad putting the paper out every week. After a transition to offset printing, the grind lifted but it was still difficult.

As he worked at the Observer, he attended Lower Lake High School where he graduated in 1963.

Several of his friends entered the printing trade as well, learning their craft while working at the Observer. The Observer was truly a “family” newspaper, with two and sometimes three of Val’s sisters working there along with younger brother Jon who was a photographer and pressman.

Val married young to Sandy Jones. They had daughter Lisa in 1964. After divorcing Val continued working at the Observer and met his second wife Franki Lininger who worked with him there. They had two children: Ross and Janelle.

Val was a stickler about the look of the paper; he knew typefaces like the back of his hand and after transitioning to offset he was soon publishing newspapers with full color photo features on page one, a difficult accomplishment in those days. He was a talented and creative man.

The Observer was the first to print the popular skateboard magazine Thrasher. Val used his graphics expertise to produce fine images and establish the concept for the still-existing magazine.

Val and his partners established a wine country magazine called The Wine Country Review; he was also a founder and board member for the Clear Lake National Bank.

The Observer sold in 1987 and the Hanchett family eventually came into possession of the Cloverdale Reveille newspaper. By then Val had moved to Santa Rosa but was soon working as publisher at the Reveille alongside his then-widowed mom and his younger sisters, once again.

Val Hanchett. Courtesy photo.

Soon his current wife, Neena Tripathi, was at his side and the couple worked to produce another fine weekly paper until its sale in 2013.

During his time growing up in Lake County the family owned a home on Clear Lake in the Jago Bay area. Val had fond memories of swimming and diving off the community pier there on his few days off in the summer. He remained very fond of Lake County and retained many friendships there.

Val was a bright and complicated man. He had challenges but overcame them. In his later life he was a mentor to fellow members of his AA Fellowship offering important support and advice. His sense of humor was legendary and he was never above self-deprecation.

He was close to his sisters and forever grieved the loss of his younger brother Jon who died at the age of 46. His children remember him as a dad who loved them and did his best to be there for them.

Val leaves his loving wife, Neena of Cloverdale, and three children, Lisa Davey-Bates and her husband, Perry Bates of Ukiah; Ross Hanchett and his wife, Sara Katey Hanchett, of Lincoln; and Janelle MacDonald and her husband Mac MacDonald in the Netherlands.

He is survived by his sisters, Mary Stowell of San Diego; Roberta Lyons of Lower Lake; and Kathryn McKaig of San Jose.

He will be missed by six grandchildren: Lauren Young and Lindsay King, John, Lucy and Oliver Hanchett, and Ava, Charles, Georgia and Arlo MacDonald.

He also leaves four great-grandchildren. His two nieces and a nephew will miss him as will his cousins in Washington and Idaho and his many good friends all over Northern California.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ross and Bonny Hanchett, and his younger brother, Jon.

The family is planning an open house in remembrance of Val’s life to be held in Cloverdale on Aug. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Fire Creek Lodge at Clover Springs, 210 Red Mountain Drive.

All of Val’s family and friends are welcome.

Val Hanchett at the Linotype machine. Courtesy photo.

Ross Reed. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Classic car builder and retired operating engineer Ross Reed’s love of life and family did not come to an end with his death. Ross passed away on June 23, 2023, with his wife Sherrie at his side after a courageous battle with cancer at age 64.

Ross was born to Jane and James Reed on Dec. 6, 1958, and grew up in Windsor and Healdsburg alongside his three brothers, Jimmy, John and Ronnie.

He had an accomplished career as an operating engineer and always had a story when driving by a dam, overpass or highway that he worked on. He loved building classic cars with his dear friend Vern and completed his personal project, a light blue 1956 Ford pickup in 2014.

Ross became a father in 1990 to Shelby and 1992 to Andrea, who he raised with their mother Sidney. Ross and his girls enjoyed many trips together along the California coast where Ross dived for abalone, fished and camped. He loved sharing 15 grandchildren together with Sherrie.

Ross is survived by his wife; Sherrie, his daughters; Shelby and Andrea, and his brother, Ronnie, among many other family and friends. He made friends everywhere he went and his generous heart will always be remembered.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held on July 8 at 10 a.m. at Chapel of the Lakes in Lakeport, with a reception to follow at the Reed Ranch in Kelseyville.

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

Bob Berg. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Bob (Bayard) F. Berg was born on March 14, 1933, in Mineola, New York and was called to heaven at 90 years old on June 14, 2023. He was residing in Buckingham in Kelseyville.

Bob was a beloved son to Treadwell Kirkpatrick Berg and Eleanor Folger of New York. He is survived by his loving children, Jeff (wife Laura Snider) of Kelseyville, Steve of Oregon and Kurt of Kelseyville; three grandkids, Zachery (wife Taylor), Holly and Jerri; two great-grandsons, Noah and Conner who he was very proud of.

Shortly after graduating high school in Garden City, New York, Bob voluntarily joined the United State Navy and served from 1952 to 1956. During that time, he met our mother, Ruth Holland, at a U.S.O. dance in Massachusetts. They soon married in 1957 and eventually moved to San Jose, California.

Bob took a job with PG&E working for 31 years before retiring and moving to Lake County. He enjoyed trains and boating and classic cars. May he rest in peace.

Visitation will be held at Clearlake Baptist Church, 555 N. Forbes St., in Lakeport on Friday, June 30, from 9 to 10 a.m., with the funeral service at 10 a.m.

Interment will be at Kelseyville Cemetery with a potluck gathering to follow at the American Legion Hall, 5005 Second St. in Kelseyville.

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

Mario Mirabella. Courtesy photo.

CLEARLAKE, Calif. — Mario Tito Mirabella was born Nov. 20,1990 at Deer Park, California, and entered tragically into rest at Clearlake, California on June 23, 2023.

Mario was the first born of a first born of a first born of a first born of Italian and Irish immigrants, making him an extra specially cherished person in the family. He was a good, sweet and kind soul who had the best of intentions. He brought much joy and laughter to family and friends and loved and cared most deeply for his children, Gabriel and Alexandria.

Mario graduated from Cornerstone Christian Academy and furthered his education in his passion, IT and computers. He always looked for ways to better himself and his family. He had a curious mind and many skills and talents that he used to help not only those he cared for, but anyone in need that crossed his path. Mario enjoyed the ocean, his pets, and spending time at the family cabin in South Lake Tahoe.

He is survived by his grandmothers, Carol Rodriguez, Linda Saccato and Sonya Mirabella; grandfather, Dennis Salomonson; mother, Denise Loustalot (Pete); father, Steven Mirabella (Belinda); stepfather, Peter Loustalot; sisters, Lauren Lambert and Lacey Loustalot; stepbrothers, Matthew Loustalot and Justin Loustalot (Jacqueline); stepsister, Amanda Mirabella; and children, Gabriel and Alexandria Mirabella.

He is also survived by his great-grand aunt, Carol Timmons (Pat); grand-uncles, Larry Saccato (Valynn Curry), Paul Saccato, James Saccato and Ray Johnson; grand-aunts, Marlene Saccato-Schollard and JoAnn Saccato (Jim Leonardis); second cousins, Ceara Saccato and Dayan Saccato; nephews, Logan England and Eruvey Muzquiz; niece, Mireya Muzquiz; along with numerous relatives in Napa County and Northern Italy, all who loved and cherished him.

Services will be held on Tuesday, July 11, at 10 a.m. at Jones and Lewis Memorial Chapel,16140 Main St., Lower Lake.

Internment will be at the Saccato family plot, Lower Lake Cemetery, 9040 Lake St., Lower Lake with a potluck gathering for fellowship and remembrance following at the Brick Hall, 16374 Main St., Lower Lake.

Arrangements by Jones and Lewis Memorial Chapel, 707-994-6417 or

Harold Kniss. Courtesy photo.

Harold Eugene Kniss
June 1, 2023

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Harry is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Bessie; daughter, Stephanie; son-in-law, Mike; grandchildren, Dominique and Nicholas; sister, Betty; brother, John; and many nieces and nephews.

Harry spent his life as a talented finish carpenter and was able to build or fix almost anything.

He was always up for fun and adventure riding dirt bikes, working on his dune buggy and fishing with his daughter.

He enjoyed going to baseball games and listening to audiobooks.

His many stories and witty humor will be missed by family and friends.

At Harry's request, there will be no services.

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

Norris Higgins. Courtesy photo.

Norris T. Higgins (Norrie)
July 21, 1933 — May 30, 2023

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Norris T. Higgins, a loving son, husband, father, brother, uncle, grandpa, great-grandpa, friend and proud Marine, passed suddenly on May 30, 2023, while tending his rose bushes in his backyard on a beautiful sunny day!

Norrie leaves behind his children, Cindy Smith (Kevin), Bonnie Hoeck (Walter), Harold Higgins, Bruce Higgins (Marilyn) and Richard Kettwig (Christine); 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

He is predeceased by his wife, Delphine Higgins, and his son, Steve Higgins.

Graveside celebration of life will be held at Upper Lake Cemetery on July 21 at 9:30 a.m.

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

Upcoming Calendar

09.26.2023 9:00 am - 2:30 pm
Board of Supervisors
09.26.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
09.27.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Town hall on homelessness
09.28.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
10.06.2023 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
David Arkenstone & Friends in concert
10.07.2023 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship Breast Cancer Run & Walk
10.07.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



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