Obituaries for the week of 11/17/2010

Mava “Letha” Harris Dods, 91

William Warren Scovell, 95

Jean Campbell Schoensee, 91

George Clarence Harvath, 85

Constance "Connie" Grothkopp, 86

Letha Dods passed away at the age of 91, in the loving care of her family in Sacramento, on Sept. 23, 2010, six years to the date her husband, Victor, passed. Born in Clio, March 9, 1919, the 3rd child of Theresa “Tessie” L. O’Rourke Harris, originally of La Porte, and James Lawrence Harris, originally from Goodyear’s Bar. She was a sister to Ivan Burr Harris and Ruth Harris Thurston, who preceded her in death.

Letha moved to Portola to attend school, and worked later at Polly Ann Bakery and Cash Mercantile during the Depression, where she met and married Victor Bovee Dods, originally of Provo, Utah, in 1940. Victor soon after began railroading for the Western Pacific. Letha was elected Portola City Clerk in the late 1960s, and served Portola for many years.

Letha was descended from Gold Rush pioneers who eventually settled in the mining town of La Porte. She inherited the great determination and respect for hard work that enabled her family to survive in this sometimes hard country.  Her uncles were known as some of the first “snow-shoe” racers (downhill skiers) in this area. Some of her relatives worked as miners, gold rush merchants, and La Porte hotel owners.

Letha was very active in Eastern Star, where she was Worthy Matron and was awarded her 50-year membership, and the PTA, where she was awarded Lifetime Membership in honor of her service there. She was instrumental in obtaining the Western Pacific caboose which stands in downtown Portola.

Surviving family members include daughter Vicki Lee Bovee Dods Thrailkill and husband Timothy Thrailkill, their daughter Stacey Thrailkill Johnston and grandsons Jacob and Zachary, daughter Stefanie Thrailkill-Durant and husband Patrick Durant and their child Aidan Durant, all of Sacramento, and  son Todd Bovee Dods and wife Peggy, and their children Victor Bovee Dods and Annie Bovee Dods of Orinda.

Letha and her husband Victor will be interred together in Beckwourth Cemetery at a later date.


William Warren Scovell passed away suddenly on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010.

Bill was born to Nathaniel and Laura Scovell in Alton, Ill., on April 24, 1915. He moved to Oregon as a teenager. It was there that he met his wife Marie. They married Aug. 16, 1936, in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Bill's first job was a newspaper linotype operator, in Tule Lake. He had to leave the job after getting lead poisoning. In 1941 he and his wife Marie and their two children, Pamela and Dennis came to Quincy to visit Marie's parents. Marie's father told him about a job at the Bridgewater and Banington Mill in East Quincy and they never left. Bill worked for Pop Small at the Feather River Bulletin for a year in 1945, as a linotype operator, until the regular man returned from war duty. He worked at and helped build several mills in and around Quincy including Sierra Pacific's mill in 1964. Bill worked as a millwright and a supervisor until his retirement in 1977.

Bill was a 50-year member of the Masonic lodge, where he held many offices and received many awards. He was also a 50-year member of the Feather River Grange. Bill and Marie have attended the Methodist church since 1943.

Bill was a remarkable man who told wonderful stories of his childhood and working days. He filled our hearts with laughter. He loved to go fishing and tinker in his workshop.

In passing, Bill leaves his beloved wife of 74 years, Marie, son Dennis and son-in-law Jim Weis of Quincy; sister Natalie of Oregon; grandchildren Kim and husband Tim Titus of San Diego, Krista Scovell of Quincy, Erin Weis of Vacaville, Susan and husband Dan Martens of Vacaville, Warren and wife Nicki Scovell of Virginia, Jeremy Scovell of Washington DC, Annie Weis of Quincy, and Noel Weis of Quincy; ten great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren and a fourth on the way. Bill was preceded in death by his daughter Pamela and sisters, Peg, Betty and Dottie and brother Charlie.

A memorial for Bill will be held Saturday, Nov. 20, at the LDS church at 11 a.m. We hope you come to celebrate Bill's wonderful life with us. Donations can be made to the Local Masonic Lodge or the American Heart Association.



A Sierra Valley pioneer granddaughter died Nov. 9, 2010.

Jean was born in Sloat, Sept. 1, 1919, to her parents Edna and Charlie Campbell. During the summers, she was raised in her father's logging camps throughout Plumas and Sierra counties. The family spent their winters first in Sacramento, then in Piedmont. She graduated high school from Oakland Tech and attended U.C. Berkeley for two years, where she acquired her passion for bridge. Along with her sister Harriet, her most intimate lifelong friend, she completed registered nursing training at Sacramento Co. Hospital, present site Of U.C.D. Medical Center. They both then worked at St. Mary's in Reno and the Plumas Industrial Hospital in Quincy.

At a co-ed volleyball game at Quincy High School, she met the love of her life, Bob Schoensee, a University of Minnesota Forestry graduate who was assistant manager at the Quincy Diamond Match Company. At the outbreak of WW II Bob enlisted in the Army and proposed marriage. Jean accepted and they were married in Oakland July 25, 1942. She followed him in a whirlwind of duty: San Diego, Georgia, Louisiana (where in August 1943 their first daughter Barbara was born) and then to Staten Island. While Bob served as a Major in the U.S. Army in Europe, Jean and Barbara stayed in Delleker with her- parents. She worked nights at the Western Pacific Hospital in Portola.

When Bob returned from the war, they bought the Knickrem property in Mohawk, with Jean creating a bed and breakfast there. For 25 years, until 1971, they established and successfully operated Mohawk Boys Camp, which was located at the present site of Plumas Pines Condominiums. Jean was the camp's registered nurse. Two more daughters were born (Suzi and Kathryn). Jean worked the nightshift and, also, intensive at Western Pacific, as well as a private care nurse for the McClairs at White Sulphur Springs Ranch. Bob taught school and was principal at Mann Elementary in Graeagle and then at Portola High School.

In 1961, they moved to Quincy where Bob became Assistant Superintendent of Plumas County schools. She was a housewife, managed their acquired real estate as well as Mohawk Boys Camp and was active in Soroptimist, and Rhodora clubs.

1969 found them looking toward the future. They developed, and Jean managed, Middle Fork Mobile Home; Park, located on the property which they owned in Mohawk. Upon retiring as Superintendent of Plumas County schools in 1975, Bob and Jean designed and built their dream home in Mohawk on a bluff overlooking the Feather River. Jean loved traveling and, during the years, the couple traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and. Canada, Europe and Central America.

Along with others, Bob created Plumas Bank. Jean took part actively in every aspect of their business life together.

Jean was a founding member of Eastern Plumas Hospital Auxiliary Nifty Thrifty and Portola  Soroptimist Club. For many years, she worked as a docent at the Plumas Eureka State Park in Johnsville.

Being a devoted and loving wife and mother, a woman's' rights advocate and an avid reader, she remained intensely interested in national and world events. She loved bridge, the mountains and good food until the end of her life.

She is preceded in death by her sisters Harriet Richards and Adele Coblentz. She is survived by her adoring husband of 68 years Bob Schoensee, daughters Barbara Schoensee of Fiji, Suzi Schoensee of Sattley, Kathryn and Robert Finn of Grass Valley, her grandchildren Ian and Dylan Morris, Andrew Ringwald, Anthony Schoensee and Crystal Finn, and her great-grandchildren Tupelo, Kalyx, Favor and Rosalie Morris.

A celebration of Jean's life will be held at a future dates. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to a charity of your choice.



George C. Harvath, SSGT U.S. Army Retired, passed from this life peacefully under the compassionate care of those at Seneca Health Care District's Long Term Care Unit and Sierra Hospice Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010. He was 85-years-old.

George was born in Monroe, Mich. Sept. 13, 1925, to the late John and Anna (Vargo) Harvath. He left school early and shortly thereafter joined the U.S. Army, a career that lasted nearly 21 years.

Serving in World War II and later in Korea, George was decorated for his valor with a Bronze Star and receive two Purple Hearts.

He ended his career at Fort Jackson, S.C., where he shared his knowledge with new recruits as an advanced infantry instructor. George retired in 1966. Just two weeks ago George was re-awarded his medals which had been misplaced throughout the years in a beautiful ceremony at the long term care unit of Seneca Health Care.

He soon settled in the Plumas County mining community of Seneca and affectionately gained the nickname of "Seneca George." He and his wife relocated to Chester in 1972.

George enjoyed the outdoors especially fishing and working in his yard.

The last of his family, George lost his beloved wife of 24 years, Thelma May, in 2003 ,and also joins his two brothers, Martin and John, along with his sister, Viola, in their eternal home.

He is survived by a host of dear friends.

A celebration of George's life to include full military honors will take place in the Chester District Cemetery 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, and will be preceded by a time of viewing and visitation from 10 a.m.  to noon at the Fehrman Mortuary Chapel-Chester.

An opportunity to express condolences and sign the memorial guest register is available online at fehrmanmortuary.com.



Born in Topeka, Kansas, Connie Grothkopp was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area where she earned a Master's degree in art from Stanford University.

Her artistic talents were directed toward the production of fiber arts and jewelry. These art forms were practically employed during a two-year stay in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she operated a small cottage industry.

On her return to the Bay Area, Connie taught in secondary schools and then applied for a position as art instructor at Feather River College in the three-dimensional areas of art.

On joining the FRC faculty, in the early 1970s, Connie developed courses in jewelry, textiles and ceramics rounding out a full AA and transfer program in art.

Along with those courses, she also taught conversational Spanish.

Taking early retirement in 1980, she moved to southern California and, finally, to Sequim, Wash. There she pursued designing and making jewelry as well as continuing to teach Spanish for the local community college.

An avid, seasonal mycologist, Connie loved walking the woods with friends hunting for edible mushrooms, a habit she continued in Sequim.

Her friends and former students will remember her vibrant personality, passion for social justice, and driving concern for the environment.

She is survived by her son, Fritz, and his four children and son, Eric, his wife, Gayle, and their daughter, Lindsay.



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