Obituaries for the week of 1/23/2013

Wayne Richard Bienkowski

Sharon Rae Monahan

Marilynn Britton

Marilyn W. Souders

Pansy Louise Herrick

Myrtle M. “Dena” Hedley

  On Dec. 18, 2012, we lost Wayne Bienkowski unexpectedly due to an acute respiratory failure. He was born Sept. 5, 1948.

  While in the Army for four years Wayne was stationed In Louisville, Ky., and Germany. He traveled all over Europe in his “magic” VW bus. Wayne always reflected fondly on his time in Kentucky.

  Wayne was a wildlife biologist who loved the outdoors. He had a fun competitive nature and enjoyed challenging friends and family to ski down the black diamond runs at Squaw Valley.

  Wayne enjoyed sports of all kinds, especially football. When he was in high school he regularly played flag football with his buddies and would always come home a muddy mess.

  Wayne had a kind, giving heart and whenever anyone was in need he would help. He would help friends rebuild cars, repair decks, fences, homes and anything else that needed to be done. Wayne was also a huge animal lover. If he couldn’t find them a home, then they became his. He enjoyed simple things in life like cutting firewood with his dear friend Sandy.

  Wayne also believed in giving back to his community. He was a member of the Chester Elks Lodge 2662 since 1982 and the exalted ruler from 1984 to 1985. Wayne was proud of his involvement in the Elks and their accomplishments. He volunteered as a coach for several youth sport activities.

  He leaves behind his father, Chester; his brother Bruce; sister Rosemarie; sister-in-law Jean and brother-in-law Howard; and his nephews Taylor, Joel, Jonathan and Jason and his niece Jennifer, who will always have a special place in their hearts for Wayne.

  Wayne will be missed as a dear son, dear brother and dear uncle.

  A Celebration of Life will be held this spring.


  Sharon Rae Monahan passed away on Dec. 29, 2012, at her home in Portola; she was 62.

  Sharon was born in Portola on Nov. 19, 1950, to Roy and Dorothy Monahan. She graduated from Portola High School with the class of 1968.

  Sharon is survived by her mother. She was predeceased by her father.

  Sharon worked in child care, for Wal-Mart and in medical records for the State of California and High Desert State Prison. 

  Sharon was known for her dry sense of humor, her love of children, her generous spirit and her love of friends.Telephone calls, cards, books, words of encouragement, and even money were given out by Sharon to people who were ill or just needed a mental boost.She had a sense of humor that kept a person in a cheerful mood.

  Friends and family honored Sharon’s memory at a memorial service held Jan. 12 at Portola Station Baptist Church.Inurnment will be held at a later date at Whispering Pines Cemetery where her father is buried. Manni Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements.


  Marilynn Alice Wilson Britton, 89, of Quincy, died Jan. 7, 2013, at home with her family at her side. Born at home on Oct. 21, 1923, to Mary Chadwick Eastwood Wilson and Glenn William Wilson, she was raised in Mountain View. She graduated from San Jose State College in 1945 with a degree in occupational therapy, working with injured World War II service members at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco after graduation.

  In a botany class at SJSC, she met Lloyd Britton. They were engaged on Christmas Eve in 1943, and the next day Lloyd left for B-24 pilot training and the air war in Europe. They were married Aug. 18, 1946, honeymooning at Gold Lake in Lakes Basin.

  They first lived in Alameda while Lloyd finished his forestry studies at UC Berkeley, and soon after graduation moved to Santa Barbara for a Forest Service job. This began the first of many Forest Service moves; first to Orleans on the Klamath River; Eureka, briefly; next, many years on the Descanso Ranger Station in the San Diego Mountains; then San Bernardino; Fresno; Willows; and finally Quincy in 1971, where Marilynn lived for the rest of her life.

  Marilynn and Lloyd raised six children. When they were small, Marilynn took night classes at San Diego State, University of Riverside and Chico State where after 17 years she finally obtained her teaching credential at age 48. She worked as a home study and substitute teacher in Quincy until she was 72.

  Marilynn was a Cub Scout and 4-H leader, Sunday school teacher and PTA officer. When her children were older, she began volunteering at the Quincy food bank; the hospital thrift shop; with Quincy Community Hospital Auxiliary and the Pink Ladies at the Quincy convalescent hospital; and was Plumas County chairwoman for the American Red Cross for 15 years. She was still volunteering at the food bank and convalescent hospital until the week before she died.

  She especially enjoyed being the old-time “school mistress” with the Plumas County Museum’s Pioneer School Days program for all county fourth-graders each year. The Friends of the Library Literacy Program was another favorite volunteering opportunity, as was helping at the museum. Marilynn was active in Eastern Star and AAUW for almost 70 years, and she was quietly honored to receive a Paul Harris Fellowship award from the Rotary Club of Quincy last month.

  For many summers she enjoyed growing family and group flower gardens at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds.

  And in her spare time, she was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother. Though she and Lloyd traveled our western states extensively, they only ventured overseas once. She said she traveled vicariously through the worldwide travels of her grandchildren, and intensively questioned them for many happy hours about all they saw and experienced, taking great joy in their stories and photos.

  Marilynn was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Lloyd; her parents and brothers, Bill and Glenn Jr.; and her granddaughter Charity Lynn Britton.

  She is survived by her daughter Sue Britton Olson and husband Bill Olson, of Fresno; son Peter Britton and wife Sue, of Fresno; son Bill Britton and wife Debi, of Weaverville; daughter Jeannie Britton and husband Bob Wendel, of Hilisboro, Ore.; son John Britton, of Reno; and daughter Carolee Britton Gregg and husband Bill Gregg, of Davis.

  She is also survived by her 14 grandchildren: Kristin, Nathan and Joshua Olson; Ashley and Karley Britton; Jesse, Elana, Kara, Hannah and Sam Wendel, and Kaitlin, Brendan, Kallie and Bryce Gregg. Her brother-in-law, Garry Britton, of Auburn, also survives her, as do many nieces, nephews and cousins.

  Marilynn attended the Quincy Methodist Church and a celebration of her life will be held at the church Saturday, March 2. The family suggests any donations in her memory might benefit local Plumas County charities, or be of the donor’s choice.

  Marilynn loved her life in Plumas County and wished never to leave her mountain home. We are happy that she got her wish. This hardworking, quiet, loyal, kind, compassionate, beautiful, wise and independent lady was much respected and loved, and will be deeply missed.


  Longtime Indian Valley resident Marilyn Jean (Widmeier) Souders died Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, at Quincy, after a five-year residency at Country Villa Quincy Health Care Center.

  Born March 5, 1922, at Braymer, Mo., to George Reavis (G.R.) and Bernice (Wetzel) Widmeier, her first public achievement was championship in the Braymer Better Baby Contest 1922. Marilyn grew to excel in music, winning the High School Caldwell County Contest for her vocal solo “Take Joy Home” in 1936. Marilyn graduated from Braymer High School in 1937, at the tender age of 15. One of the first in her family to attend college, Marilyn was an alumna of Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas, having earned a Bachelor of Music in 1941.

  Following graduation and completion of a teacher’s course, Marilyn taught in a two-room schoolhouse, then was hired as music director of Buffalo High School in Kansas. In 1943, she enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, becoming a SPAR. Welfare Specialist Souders served in the Chaplain’s Corps during WWII, eventually stationed in Long Beach. During this time Marilyn was part of a singing trio, which performed on tour with the Rudy Vallee-directed Coast Guard Band. She was honorably discharged in 1945.

  Near the end of the war she met and married Warren E. Souders, an Ohio native and Coast Guard serviceman.

  In 1956, the Souderses moved to Plumas County and purchased the funeral homes in Greenville, Westwood and Chester. The couple privately adopted a baby girl, Lynn Ann. After one happy year of bonding and parenthood, the birth mother, with her parents, sued and won return custody of the child. The Souders then went through Children’s Home Society to adopt baby boy William Reavis in 1958, and Jean Ann in 1960.

  Following her divorce in 1971, Marilyn went to work for Cheney California Lumber Co.; the mill was later purchased then closed by Louisiana Pacific. Marilyn was fortunate to then be hired into the Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, from which she retired June 1990.

  Marilyn Souders was an active community member who highly valued her friendships and family. She was a proud veteran and unapologetic flag-waving patriot. She involved herself in the following groups and activities: Greenville Community United Methodist Church, its choir and UMW; Sierra Study Club; American Legion Post 568; Phi Mu sorority; Zeta Alpha chapter; Order of Eastern Star, of which she was a 50-plus year member, as was her mother; antique club; Greenville Soroptimist Club; and Children’s Home Society. She was also founder and chief driver of Sierra Singles; life member of both the Cy Hall and the Plumas County museums; thrift store volunteer; member of NARFE; and volunteer at Greenville Elementary School. She lived for travel and dining out. She loved music and “getting her hands in the dirt.”

  In passing Marilyn leaves her son, Master Chief William Reavis Souders, USN, Ret., and wife Khamla, of Maple Valley, Wash.; daughter Jean Souders, of Los Angeles and Greenville; three grandsons, Souraphol Vongmani and wife Joy, Souliphanh Vongmani and Tony Vongmani; and one great-grandchild, Joanna, daughter of Souraphol (Souli) and Joy.

  There will be an announced memorial service in May.


  Chester resident Pansy Louise Herrick, 84, died Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at Seneca Health Care District’s hospital.

  She was born July 15, 1928, in Susanville, to Tennessee natives Joseph and Ruth (Husky) Elam.

  She is survived by her son Tom Herrick, of Chico, daughter Sherrie Bridgman, of Chester; brother Henry Elam, of Alder Grove, B.C.; three grand- and seven great-grandchildren.

  She was predeceased by her husband Joe in 1998.

  A celebration of Pansy’s life will take place Saturday, Jan. 26, at 190 Carol Ave. Chester, from 1 – 5 p.m. Private inurnment will take place in the Chester District Cemetery. An opportunity to express condolences to the family along with signing the memorial guest register is available online at fehrmanmortuary.com. Memorial donations can be made to Joseph’s Closet, c/o Fehrman Mortuary and Crematory, P.O. Box 803, Greenville, CA. Make the check out to the Lake Almanor Community Church.


  Myrtle M. “Dena,” Hedley, died Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, with her family at her side.

  She was born in Centralia, Ill., on April 22, 1924, to Lena and Barney Loyd.

  Surviving are her brothers Tom, Ronnie and Marty, along with sisters Joan, Billy and Gail.

  Memorial donations may be made to breast cancer research, the Alzheimer's Foundation or Sierra Hospice, c/o Fehrman Mortuary, P.O. Box 803, Greenville, CA 95947. At her request no services will be held. An opportunity to express condolences to the family along with signing the memorial guest register is available online at www.fehrmanmortuary.com.


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