Obituaries for the week of 7/1/2009

Patricia Bell McElroy, 79

MaryAnn Hilliger Cummins Heald

Herndon Joseph “Duke” Dhom, 87

James Nicholas Freemyers, 90

Ruth Maria Hart, 94



Patricia Bell McElroy unexpectedly passed from this life June 22, 2009.She was born March 8, 1930, in Clear Lake Highlands.

Pat moved to Quincy in 1944, where she met George, the love of her life. They were inseparable from that time forward and recently celebrated 60 years of wedded happiness.

Pat enjoyed making beautiful quilts, traveling, gardening, taking care of their home on the ocean and spending time with their lifetime friends.

Pat is survived by her husband George; children Susan and Steven Adams, Dennis and Karen McElroy and Mark and Melinda Rother; grandchildren Danielle and Bobby Vest, Amy Adams, Asa and Nadine McElroy, Robert Gott and Ryan and Emily Gott; sister Barbara Bishop and brother and sister-in-law Loren and Earline McElroy; many nieces and nephews and a large circle of loving friends.

Pat will be remembered as a loving, faithful wife, mother and grandmother. The family has lost their angel.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to the American Heart Association, 28 Hanover Lane, Ste. B, Chico, CA 95973 or the Alzheimer’s Association, 1060 La Avenida, Mountain View, CA 94043.



MaryAnn Hilliger Cummins Heald entered into eternal peace June 11, 2009, surrounded by her daughters and granddaughters.

Her life was rooted in Long Beach, graduating from Long Beach Poly High School in 1956 and attending Cal State Long Beach. She was born Feb. 2, 1939.

She was passionate about being outdoors and enjoyed gardening, animals (especially, dogs), sports—snow skiing, tennis, golf, swimming, mountain biking and hiking.

Other activities she enjoyed were Bible study, knitting, crocheting, sewing and music (piano and flute—she was a member of the Long Beach All City orchestra for three years.)

MaryAnn loved the Lord and was active in A.A. She was a member of Portola United Methodist Church in Portola, California. She lived a life filled with grace, simplicity and faith in God.

MaryAnn is survived by her five children, Michael Cummins, Mark Cummins, Jill Loya of Lincoln, Joni Smidt of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Kristen Buehler of Yorba Linda.

Other remaining family members include all of her grandchildren: Michelle Gehrke, Nicholas Cummins, Joshua, Jordan, Joanna, Jerusha and Jillian Loya, Zachary and Dillon Smidt, Kelsey and Jackson Buehler. She is also survived by her loving ex-husband, Ronald Heald and many friends.

She was the daughter of Harold and Neva Hilliger who preceded her in death, as did her brother Hal.

She was lovingly cared for at U.C. Davis Burn Unit by Dr. Palmieri, Liz Phelan, Alura, Anne, Maureen, Lauren, Marty and the entire staff.

A memorial service to celebrate and honor her life will be held Saturday, July 18, 2 p.m. at Portola United Methodist Church.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the SPCA in her name.

Herndon Joseph “Duke” Dhom, 87, of Vinton died June 16, 2009 at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno.

He was born Nov. 25, 1921 to the late Harold and Ruth (Miller) Dhom of Jasper County, Ill.

His early years were spent on the family farm. He graduated from Willow Hill High School before joining the U.S. Army. Duke proudly served in the Army Corp of Engineers building roads, bridges, airstrips, etc. in the South Pacific during WWII. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

Duke worked for a time with his father surveying for power lines in Illinois. He moved to Big Bear Lake in 1949 to work in the logging industry, where he met and married Virginia “Jerry” Parrish.

He then moved to Sierra County and eventually settled in Vinton in 1951. He worked in the local sawmills for a few years and built the JD Trailer Ranch beginning in 1953.

He worked as a carpenter in Reno, Nev. for over 30 years while building and running the trailer court. Duke retired from the Northern Nevada Carpenters Union, Local 971 in 1983.

His wife Virginia died in 1987.

For many years people driving through Vinton enjoyed seeing the beautiful Christmas lights he put up at the JD Trailer Ranch.

About 20 years ago, Duke discovered a new interest in hot air ballooning. Through this he made many new friends and hosted many balloon parties. It was a joy to drive by and see the beautifully colored balloons dot the sky.

In 1993 he married Mary “Bobbi” Duncan. They enjoyed several years of traveling, camping and hot air ballooning until health problems slowed them down.

He is survived by his wife Mary; stepsons Larry Duncan of Auburn and Robert Parrish (Muriel) of Tacoma; brother Robert Dhom; sisters Genevieve Shryock and Judy Huitt (Larry) of Illinois and sister Betty Ramelli (Ted) of Vinton; sister-in-law Frances Dhom of Tennessee and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Virginia, stepson Fred Parrish, brothers Dean Dhom and Richard Dhom who died in infancy and sister Mary June Ochs.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Manni Funeral Home of Portola. Funeral services were held Saturday, June 20, at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Loyalton. Duke was laid to rest at the Vinton Cemetery.


James Nicholas Freemyers, 90, a retired Fruit Growers Supply Company forester, died June 21, 2009, of natural causes at his Yreka home, where he was a 52-year resident.

Nick was born Oct. 9, 1918, in Fair Oaks, the youngest son of James Marion Freemyers and Amy Leonard Crook. He spent his childhood in Westwood, and was a member of the Westwood High School graduating class of 1934.

As a young adult, he worked for the Red River Lumber Company in Westwood at the Venetian blinds department. Later, he and his first wife, Louise Martine, were self-employed at their variety store business in Chester. They had three children, Lorena, Donald and Gerald.

In 1955, Nick married Marie DePriest Monroe, who had a daughter, Kathy Monroe, from a previous marriage. Together, they had a child, Cindy Freemyers.

Nick was employed as a forester for the U.S. Forestry Service in Chester before moving to Hilt, where he was employed by Fruit Growers Supply Company as a mill worker and forester from 1956 to 1983, when he retired.

Nick’s reforestation projects led to experiments and discovery of inoculating trees using mycorrhizae fungi in the Siskiyou forest plantations.

Planting millions of trees in his lifetime, he discovered new methods, which led to accelerated growth in trees and lumber production. His methods are still being used worldwide.

As a silviculturist, Nick was invited to give lectures to other foresters and scientists at several Oregon and California universities. Oregon State University instituted a new program of reforestation and study due to this discovery.

Nick was a member of the Hilt Volunteer Fire Department and also fought many forest fires in the Siskiyou area and in Northern and Southern California while employed with Fruit Growers.

Among his many interests, he engaged in mining gold and mercury ore. Other hobbies included photography, genealogy, computer work, oil painting and gardening.

Nick was an active member of the Siskiyou Amateur Ham Radio Association from 1972 to present, and also a member of the National Association for Amateur Radio, with call letters W6JVF.

As a ham radio enthusiast, at age 15 he built his own radios and has communicated with other worldwide ham operators over the past 74 years.

During the 1955 Yuba City flood, he communicated water flow volumes to the U.S. Core of Engineers in the Sacramento Valley.

Nick was a school board trustee for the Yreka Union High School District from July 1971 to February 1974.

Nick was preceded in death by his first wife of 17 years Louise, and his second wife of 41 years, Marie, his youngest son Gerald Freemyers, his brothers Leonard and Stanley, and a sister Leona.

He is survived by his children, Lorena Freemyers Lowe and her husband, Ted, of Marysville, Donald Freemyers and his wife, Alberta, of Oroville, Cindy Freemyers Sharp and her husband, Dan, of Olympia, Wash., and Kathy Bonner of Red Bluff, 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

A graveside service will be held Wednesday, June 24, at 11 a.m. at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Red Bluff.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Madrone Hospice, 255 Collier Circle, Yreka, CA 96097. Girdner Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

After 94 wonderful years of love, life and the biggest heart ever, Ruthie died in Graeagle, her home for the last 33 years.

Ruthie was born Aug. 12, 1914, in Marceline, Mo., the only child of Lucy and Earl Riddle.

Her beloved husband of 67 years, William (Bill) Ralph Hart, also an only child, passed away in Graeagle seven years ago.

Ruth and Bill brought nine beautiful children into this world, who then contributed to this world by giving Ruth 25 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Ruthie was a local in Graeagle who worked until she was 84—first at Thrifty Drug in Quincy, then at Dodge House, later Blairsden Market, then at Feather River Inn and other jobs in between. She was well known and loved by all.

Ruthie was predeceased by two sons: Chuck (Susanville) and Larry (Idaho). She is survived by her children Mary (Phoenix), Bill (Orangevale), Sister Bernadette, RSM (San Francisco), Liz (Lafayette), Sherry (San Francisco), Jim (Graeagle), her faithful caretaker for the last 15 years, and Rob (Roseville).

Services were held June 15, 2009, in Portola at Holy Family parish. Another service will be held in San Francisco in August.

Arrangements entrusted to Manni Funeral Home.

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